Workarounds to Encounter “Instant Search doesn’t display any results” in Outlook

When you are trying to use Instant Search in MS Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, users may get the following messages in the  Indexing Status dialog box:
  • “No matches found.”
  • In this, the moment Search doesn’t display any results "Search results could also be incomplete because items are still being indexed.”
In this, the Instant Search encountered a problem and works only partially.

One reason behind the Outlook search not working can be a problem in Window Indexing service. And to repair the search problem, you’ve got to rebuild the “Index” created by the indexing service.

  • Rebuilding the Index
The best method to unravel this problem is rebuilding the index, which can automatically fix all other minor problems. So, to rebuild the index, you have to follow these simple steps;
  • Navigate to Control Panel and click “Indexing Options.” A panel will appear like this:
  • Now, choose the “Advanced” option to rebuild the index. A panel will display on your screen showing the “Rebuild” button. Click this button to start the rebuilding process.
The rebuilding process can take several hours for completion. So, it’s better to stay the system at rest until the rebuilding process is completed.

Apart from rebuilding the index, other alternatives are also present if you would like to ignore the long process of rebuilding the index.

  • Remove the Window Search Feature and Install Again
One basic cause of this problem is often the damaged Windows Search option. So, if the installation of the Windows Search got damaged, you can remove and reinstall it easily. If you’re a Windows 7 user, then execute these steps to reinstall the window search feature;
  • Go to Control Panel>>Programs and click on “Turn Windows features on or off” in the left pane of the screen.
  • Now, deselect the “Windows Search” option from the list and click “OK” to uninstall the Windows search option.
  • Now reboot your system.
  • Once the system reboot is completed, you’ll enable this feature with an equivalent process.
However, if you are using Windows 8 or 10, then you will not find the “Windows Search” option in the programs. For Disabling “Windows Search” in Windows 8 or 10, execute these steps:
  • Open the Run Window by Pressing Window Button + R, type services.msc in it, and click on “Ok.”
  • Scroll down to “Windows Search” in the displayed window and double-click on it.
  • A window will be displayed on the screen, now find “Startup type:” and select “Disable.” Then click “Stop” to stop the service and click “Apply,” and then Restart the computer. The “Window Search” option is going to be disabled from your PC. You can turn it on, by following the same steps.

  • Ensure that Indexing is complete
The second option to solve this problem is to check if the PST file or mailbox is indexed or not. To check for index marking, you’ll execute these steps:

In Outlook 2007 or 2010:
  • Launch Outlook and click on the “File” option from the up left corner.
  • Now, navigate to Options>>Search>>Indexing options>>Modify>>Expand Microsoft Outlook.
A list is going to be shown in Microsoft Outlook; you’ll need to confirm that the PST file or mailbox is displayed and marked on the list. And if it is not listed, then you’ll have to recreate your mail profile.

In Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 or 2019:
  • Launch Outlook and click on the “File” option from the up-left corner.
  • Now, click Options, and navigate to Search Section>>Indexing options>>Modify
In the indexing option, you have to make sure that Outlook is selected because Outlook 2013 and 2016 don’t provide you the option to index specific mailboxes or PST files. So, you have to index the complete Outlook.

  • Check for corruption in PST Files
If the Outlook isn’t displaying the right results even after marking the PST file, it might be due to corruption in the PST file. In order to repair this, you have to fix your corrupted PST file. There are several methods to repair a PST file, but the most used is the Inbox Repair Tool aka Scanpst.

While the PST file is recovery, open Outlook and checks for indexing. To check for indexing, follow these steps;
  • Open Outlook, click Tools>>Instant Search>>Indexing Status
However, if the size of the PST file or Mailbox is too big, then it can take some time for the indexing. If it’s showing that the PST files and Mailboxes are indexed, then you’ll not face this problem again.

  • Reset the Index
Even after rebuilding the index, if the moment Search doesn't display any results, then try restoring defaults. The difference between “Rebuild” and “Reset” is that aside from resetting all customize indexing settings, the reset method also will recreate the particular index files follow these steps to reset the Index.
  • Type “Troubleshooting” in the search bar
  • On the left pane of the window screen, you’ll see “View All.” Click this button.
  • A list of options will be shown up, select “Search and Indexing” from it.
  • Click “Advanced“; click “Run as Administrator.”
  • Click “Next” and complete the process by following the on-screen instructions.
The four methods mentioned above are proved to be very useful in solving the “instant search does not display any results” error.

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