Microsoft reveals fix for Outlook search not working in Windows 11

Outlook 365

Windows 11 has its fair share of problems, and it has also caused problems with other software that people have come to rely on. While it is somewhat understandable when third-party software is affected, the same cannot be said of Microsoft's own software.

The company has acknowledged an issue with Outlook for users who have upgraded to Windows. The problem Sees Outlook failing to return any search results, as well as the error message: "Search performance will be impacted because of a problem with how Outlook search is configured". Now Microsoft has revealed a fix.

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Describing this as a "fix" might be a little generous as even Microsoft refers to it as a "temporary workaround".

Microsoft describes the problem as follows: "After the upgrade to Windows 11, Outlook searches return no results. This issue will happen with any account where the emails and other items are stored locally in PST or OST files such as POP and IMAP accounts. For Exchange and Microsoft 365 hosted accounts, this issue will affect offline search for the data in the locally stored OST files. During the Windows upgrade, the search index is deleted and gets rebuilt after the upgrade is completed".

It is this last sentence which is key, but Microsoft says:

Although this is expected behavior, it's disrupting until the search index is rebuilt.

The company shares details of how to disable the Windows Desktop Search service for Outlook. It says that that is helpful if you find that the indexing is taking too long and you need to urgently search:

  1. Press Windows + R, type regedit and press Enter to launch the Registry Editor
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Policies \ Microsoft \ Windows
  3. Click Edit > New > Key and name this new key Windows Search
  4. Make sure you have the new key selected and click Edit > New > DWORD Value
  5. Name the DWORD Value PreventIndexingOutlook, double-click it and set its value to 1
  6. Exit the Registry Editor and restart Outlook

Image credit: dennizn / Shutterstock

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