Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

By: standss , Jul 19th, 2010

The Search functionality in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 is great… unless it is not working. Most of the time rebuilding the search index clears up the problems. Unfortunately it isn’t obvious, at least not from inside Outlook, how you can do this.


Search in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 uses Windows Search Indexes (i.e. it’s a Windows feature and not an Outlook only feature). If Windows Search Indexes are not built properly or corrupt you may find that Outlook Search does not work properly.

Rebuilding the Search indexes is easy if you know where to look:

How to Rebuild the Search Indexes

Warning: This process takes a long time. I suggest you run it just before you leave the office for the day (or just before you go to sleep at night):

Bring up the Indexing Options screen. (Instructions below depending on your version of Windows)

Windows 7/Vista: Click the Windows Start button and type “index” in the Search box. Indexing Options should appear under programs. Click Indexing Options to bring up the Indexing Options screen.

Click the Advanced button on the Indexing Option screen.

Click the Rebuild button.

Your current Search Indexes will be deleted and rebuilt. Once the rebuilding process is complete (I told you that this will take some time so hopefully you’re doing this just before you leave the office or go to bed) you should find Search working perfectly again.


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17 Replies to “Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010”

  1. I had a lot of problems with the build in outlook search, I rebuilt the index different times, but nothing worked! So decided to use an external search tool for Outlook and voilá everything works perfect now! Oh by the way the tool I decided for is Lookeen, small and easy in use!

  2. It is also worthwhile to rebuild them regularly when defrag’ing your drive. Delete the indexes, defrag, then rebuild. It definately speeds up my machine. And if your machine slows down it is often due to the search building indexes… one can pause the indexing and response times improve.. Continue re-indexing when you are not so busy.

  3. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  4. I have been letting Outlook 2010 index for several months and it does not complete indexing (indexed 88,000 with 46,000 remaining to be indexed). Even worse, it indexes old emails before new emails. Have tried resetting it, which started all over again and waited additional months. It never completed. I gave up and bought Copernic and now use that. Copernic indexed my files and emails in about one hour. I am surprised that Microsoft has not fixed their indexing software.

  5. Yes ! It worked very Fine for my Outlook which troubled for almost a month …
    Thank you Google !!

  6. I’m with Jansen.

    Because I’m such a huge believer and used of Standss products, I bought Tags without even thinking. Not until after the install did I realize that it was dependent on the resident search function in my Outlook 7. Duh…. Boy am I a dummy. Search does not work on my machine. I have reindexed until I’m blue in the face. I just doesn’t work. It is the only function of Outlook in which I have absolutely no confidence. Like Jansen, in the rare occasions when I need to search, I use an outside tool called xobni(that’s inbox spelled backwards and it is FREE.) It is fantastic and there has never been an indexing issue. Thanks to Jansen, I’ll be checking out Lookeen.

    BTW, I believe that Quick-File, InsertText,MailMerge, and Project Centre are, to use a well-worn cliche, the greatest things since sliced bread. Please don’t screw with them!

    Don’t get me wrong, I support and even teach some of Michael Linenberger’s systems. I have a “Processed Mail” folder and mostly work from an empty Inbox. I can do so because I have Quick-Files, a well designed folder system and my To-Do Bar is finely tuned. But, in my never so humble opinion, a well organized folder system is absolutely necessary to a user who is project centered and has to maintain emails with attachments for liability and legal reasons.

    Don L. Zahnle
    Real Estate Broker

  7. I am ms outlook user for many years, it is possible that sometime files get corrupt due to computer virus, power failure etc. I have use only Kernel for PST repair software to recover and repair .pst files and recover also from for every type of deletion.

  8. @Dorian, it is possible that the files can get corrupt due to computer virus or power failure (if the file was open or in use leaving the file in a unstable state).

  9. I have rebuilt Outlook files several times, and it works for a second, then starts reindexing and does not work at all. My guess is that I have a great amount of organized mail on my desktop.
    What might work for me is setting the computer to index over night or once a week on weekends, but so far I havenot figured out how to do this.

  10. Hey I am so glad I found your weblog, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Digg
    for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a fantastic post and a all round exciting blog (I also love
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