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Microsoft Outlook email searches are broken again in Windows 11

Posted on July 11, 2022 by bis_admin

Microsoft is investigating an issue causing Outlook search not to display recent emails in desktop apps running on Windows 11 systems.

The problem affects POP, IMAP, and offline Exchange accounts because Outlook’s search feature uses the local Windows Search service to index emails.

Microsoft 365 and connected Exchange accounts are not impacted because they use Service Search, which is not affected by this issue.

“When searching in Outlook Desktop on Windows 11 you might not see the most recent emails in the search results,” Microsoft explains.

“If you check Windows Indexing Options in the Control Panel, the indexing might be running slow or might be paused.”

The company is currently working on addressing this known issue and shared a temporary fix for affected customers until a solution is available.

Microsoft advises Windows 11 users to mitigate the Outlook search bug by disabling Windows Desktop Search and switching to Outlook’s built-in search engine as a workaround.

To disable the Windows Desktop Search Service for Outlook, you must add a new PreventIndexingOutlook registry key using the steps outlined here.

Not Microsoft’s first Outlook rodeo

This is the second time Microsoft warned Outlook users of email search issues on systems running Windows 11.

Outlook users also reported experiencing search issues last year in Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019, and Outlook 2016 after upgrading to Windows 11.

As those affected said, Outlook no longer showed results when searching for specific emails on IMAP/POP accounts, in some cases causing the app to freeze completely.

Those problems started showing up in June 2021, right after the first Windows 11 preview builds surfaced, impacting emails and other items stored locally by POP and IMAP accounts in PST or OST files.

As mitigation, Microsoft also recommended users at the time to switch to Outlook’s built-in search engine, which would remove the cause of the issue: Windows Desktop Search being broken after the search index got deleted during Windows 11 upgrades.