Microsoft shares fix for broken Outlook search in Windows 11

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Microsoft has shared a solution for Outlook users who encountered search issues after upgrading to Windows 11.

These issues started to appear around June when the first official and unofficial preview versions of Windows 11 surfaced.

As affected people said, Outlook has stopped showing results [1, 2] when searching for specific emails on IMAP / POP accounts, in some cases resulting in a complete blocking of the application.

“This problem will occur with any account where emails and other items are stored locally in PST or OST files such as POP and IMAP accounts,” Microsoft says in its list of recent issues affecting Outlook for PC.

“For Exchange and Microsoft 365 hosted accounts, this issue will affect offline search of data in OST files stored locally.”

According to Redmond, these issues impact Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, and Outlook 2016. According to Microsoft, the root cause is the deletion of the Windows search index during upgrade, which stops the search until that it be rebuilt.

To make sure that the index rebuild process is still in progress, you can check the current status by going to the Find what box, selecting Search Tools, and then choosing Indexing Status from the ribbon.

How to fix broken Outlook search in Windows 11

If indexing is still active and taking too long, you can fix Outlook search not returning any results by setting a registry key that turns off Windows Desktop Search and tells Outlook to use its built-in search.

After the Outlook search engine is launched, the following message is displayed indicating that search performance is affected: “Search performance will be affected because a Group Policy has disabled the Windows Search service.”

To turn off the Windows Desktop Search service for Outlook, you need to perform the following steps:

  1. In Windows, right click Start, then select To run. In the Open: box type regedit, then click Okay. This will open the registry editor.

  2. Find this subkey in the registry, then click on it:

  3. Click on Edit > New > Key, and name the new key Windows Search.

  4. Select the new Windows Search key.

  5. Click on Edit > New > DWORD value.

  6. Type PreventIndexingOutlook for the name of the DWORD, and then press Enter.

  7. Right-click PreventIndexingOutlook, and then click To modify.

  8. In the Value data box, type 1 to activate the registry entry, and then click Okay.

  9. Exit Registry Editor, and then restart Outlook.

If you want to re-enable Windows Desktop Search, you must disable the PreventIndexingOutlook setting by typing 0 (zero) and clicking Okay.

Microsoft also recently provided workarounds for a handful of other Outlook issues, including:



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