Monday, January 12, 2015

Searching Email in Outlook

A critical requirement for my job is being able to rapidly search through e-mail in Outlook. Each year in January, I update my Outlook PST files - archiving old e-mail and switching over to a fresh PST file to start the year.

In many cases I will find that the Outlook search gets broken in the process. I click in the search box inside Outlook and get the dreaded "No matches found" message.

This last time it happened, I dug in and figured out how to fix the issue once and for all. This is what worked for me:

  1. Close Outlook
  2. Click Start and type "Indexing Options" in the box
  3. Click to open Indexing Options
  4. Click "Modify" to open "Indexed Locations"
  5. Under "Change selected locations", uncheck the box next to Microsoft Outlook
  6. Click Ok and Close
  7. Open Outlook
  8. Close Outlook
  9. Repeat steps 2-5 above, re-checking the box next to Microsoft Outlook
  10. Open Outlook again
  11. Click in one of the search boxes (above the e-mail listing in Inbox, Deleted, or Sent items)
  12. In the Search menu at the top, under "Search Tools", click "Indexing Status"
  13. It should say "Indexing x,xxx items remaining to be indexed" with the number going down as you watch. This means that Outlook is re-indexing everything. Once this finishes, you should once again be able to search in your e-mail.

These are other "tips" I found suggested on some of the forums and posts, which I did not need to do to fix this issue:
- Update Registry entry to reset "Prevent Indexing Outlook" value
- Running the Scanpst.exe tool to repair the PST file (although this has helped me fix other Outlook issues)