Outlook 2010 Search Not Working and Cannot Rebuild Search Index

I’ve had Microsoft Outlook 2010 less than 2 weeks and I have encountered two major problems – the first being the Outlook 2010 Auto Reply Error and now the Search feature does not work anymore. Not just the Instant Search function, but any kind of search! It just sits there “Searching…” and never returns any results. I’ve tried changing all of the settings for Search through Outlook as well as through the Indexing Options through the Control Panel, but to no avail. I even tried deleting and rebuilding the index altogether but even that doesn’t work. I can’t even select a Location to modify for some reason. I’ve Googled for solutions and have come across several other people having similar problems, but most of them have fixed it by trying different solutions… none of which worked for me!

It’s really frustrating when I’m paying money to upgrade software in hopes of fixing the issues I ran into with the previous version, only to find that I’m running into even more problems with the newer version. It’s getting to the point where I may just abandon desktop software in favor of moving to using only open source and/or cloud-based apps.


22 Responses to “Outlook 2010 Search Not Working and Cannot Rebuild Search Index”

  1. Arthur on September 2nd, 2010 11:55 am

    I am haveing the same problem with Outlook 2010. When i perform a search i get no results and i know there should be many results.

  2. Jeff on September 20th, 2010 2:59 pm

    Yep, same situation. I also find that my indexing won’t function. It won’t build an index.

  3. Ellis on October 7th, 2010 7:51 am

    We have had this on all our clients machines. We have therefore stop purchasing Office 2010 and have gone back to Office 2007.

    Microsoft doesn’t care.

  4. Martynas on October 11th, 2010 4:12 am

    Yep, mee too. Can’t find any email.
    This happened after removing the inbox and the registering it again..

    Did anyone find a cure for this ?

  5. Georgia Neame on November 9th, 2010 11:03 am

    Same problem – did anyone find a fix?

  6. wangterr on November 9th, 2010 2:18 pm

    If you have Windows 7 and updated from Office 2007 to Office 2010, it turns the indexing feature off during the install. Go to Control Panel -> Turn Windows Features on or off – > Turn on Indexing Service.

    Had the same issue here, apparantly there’s some kind of bug in the Office 2007 to 2010 upgrade.

  7. faceplant on November 13th, 2010 7:49 am

    I have Win 7 x64 with Office Pro 2010 loaded. I have a similar issue as you folks except I can rebuild my index from the control pannel applet. When it eventualy finished i can search my email again. The problem is it breaks again in a few days. I used to think putting the PC to sleep with Outlook open caused it. But I started making sure outlook was closed first and I still have the issue.

  8. Kieth Horwood on November 23rd, 2010 9:45 am

    I have the same problem of searching for emails with Outlook 2010. I can search for the last email to arrive in the inbox and it says it can’t find it!
    I went on the Microsoft website and they want me to pay for them to resolve their own cock-up.
    Can anybody give me an email address so that I can contact Microsoft without having to pay?

  9. Peter Bulgari on November 27th, 2010 8:31 am


    had the same problem. the only solution which worked for me is scanning and reparing the outlook data file with the tool SCANPST.exe located in the outlook’s instalation folder.
    Having 6 GB of imported PST file it took quite a while just to scan it. Then it reported that there were only minor issues and I do not need to repair, but I hit the repair button anyway. After another 30 min of working (seemed to be craashed, but I left it anyways) , the tool reported that it did. After that I’ve rebuilded the index and it worked again. (or you could just uncheck outlook from the index, close it.. and then recheck it. this way it will only add again the outlook data.. not the entire index).


  10. Andy on May 19th, 2011 1:51 pm

    Same issue here. Fresh install of Office 2010, not an upgrade, and my Win7 install is only a few months old. The search used to work but then I started getting index messages. Now it does not work at all. Tried to rebuild index, SCANPST.exe and none worked. Office 2010 is a mess and over engineered. I wasted too much money purchasing it.

  11. JouniT on July 7th, 2011 7:39 pm

    I’m having the very same problem. Any news how to fix this? I’ve tried practically everything from re-installing Office to all tricks considering indexing and Windows Search service. Nothing worked.

    I’m really disappointed and not the least because the problem has caused difficulties to do my job properly.

  12. GH on August 2nd, 2011 5:24 am

    For all those who had similar problems and everything else failed – the ultimate solution is NOT using index for Outlook. To do this for Outlook 2010 –

    1. Close Outlook.
    2. In control panel, open “Index Options”.
    3. Remove “Microsoft Outlook” from “Included locations”.
    4. Restart Outlook.

    This will force Outlook to use the slow non-index search, but it works – every time.

    This works for Outlook 2007 too (although the options may be at different location).

  13. Debbie Lonergan on August 9th, 2011 12:32 pm

    I had the same problem. Last week, my .pst file became corrupt, and I had to use the scanpst.exe utility to repair it. That (thankfully) worked, but I lost my search capabilities. The file was showing as indexed, but my searches weren’t finding anything.

    I think I just found a solution. :) I copied my Outlook.pst file to the same folder which renamed it Outlook-copy.pst. Then I went into >File >AccountSettings >DataFiles and set the new copy as my default file. I then had to go into each email account (I have several) and choose the new copy as the file to place new items in. As soon as I finished that, I did a search on my Inbox, and I got the message that there were 54,000 items not yet indexed. So I think it’s working! :)

  14. Kat Kuhns on September 5th, 2011 11:19 pm

    Help! I am computer illiterate and have this same problem. Search was working fine and then about the end of july (I beleive after an update), it stopped recongizing any new emails. After searching the internet for help, now it won’t search any!

    Can someone give me a step by step of what debbie tried so I can cross my fingers and try it please!

  15. Donna on September 28th, 2011 3:10 pm

    This seemed to work for me. It was from GH.

    1. Close Outlook.
    2. In control panel, open “Index Options”.
    3. Remove “Microsoft Outlook” from “Included locations”.
    4. Restart Outlook.

  16. John on December 5th, 2011 12:35 pm

    I installed outlook 2010 a month ago. search was working fine and I was happy with teh serch spped. All in a sudden two weeks ago, search stopped includeing any of the recent entries. I can’t get search to pick up anything after November 15th. I spent lot of time searching for solutions. nothing worked yet. I did repair the outlook with the one of software listed and all mail indexed. Still having problem. don’t know what to do now. anybody any suggestions?
    Thank you

  17. L.R. Kovach on December 7th, 2011 2:46 pm

    I am also having this problem – new install of 2010 and Windows 7. It worked fine until a few days ago…I didn’t install anything new, so it is inexplicable. I would like to try to to remove Microsoft Outlook for Included locations, but I can’t seem to find a way to even do that! Very frustrating. Would someone please explain how to do that? I’ve been to Index Options, but I don’t see how to deselect it! Thanks!

  18. croco on January 12th, 2012 5:58 pm

    After a lot of struggle, I found a solution that works for me: Launch outlook in safe mode:
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /safe:3

    Thanks a lot to the guy who posted it here:

  19. Hussain on February 2nd, 2012 7:34 am

    Thanks Donna, it help me. Hussain

    Donna on September 28th, 2011 3:10 pm

    This seemed to work for me. It was from GH.

    1. Close Outlook.
    2. In control panel, open “Index Options”.
    3. Remove “Microsoft Outlook” from “Included locations”.
    4. Restart Outlook.

  20. Gigi Mack on April 6th, 2012 10:21 am

    Thanks! This tip worked perfectly.

  21. Mary on June 1st, 2012 7:43 pm

    I actually work as a vendor with MSFT and have access to their IT team. They can’t get index to work reliably either in Outlook. Every time I close Outlook it loses the index and has to rebuild it. I’ve had 10 different techs on 10 different calls, and they all do the same things listed above. Really horrid because I work with 1000+ sales teams and get a lot of email.

    I’m going to try the solution someone mentioned above for fixing corrupted .PST files.

  22. Rick Mahler on July 2nd, 2013 2:19 pm

    I’m running Vista and cured the problem this way:
    1. go to control panel
    2. programs and features
    3. turn windows features on and off
    4. turn on indexing and press OK
    This may take awhile to run, don’t turn off the computer as it is busy indexing.

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