Rebuild Outlook Index: Troubleshooting Outlook search issues


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Outlook is a vast program. It actually has several programs: Mail, Calendar and Contact Manager. Task Manager is also included. It can become more complicated as you use it more and require more. This includes rebuilding your PST file and migrating email to a new computer. You may also need to add new mailboxes. Outlook is not working properly. This could be a problem with your mailbox loading or with search. The solution is simple: Rebuild Outlook Index.


Instant Search does not display any results, or only shows results up to a date. It also doesn’t show results that are older than a specific date. It indexes overnight, but it has not changed.

How do I get it to index all my messages?

Instant Search in Outlook is capable of breaking down at a few levels.

This article will help you troubleshoot Instant Search.

Outlook Search is not working properly? It’s easy to fix it. Follow these seven steps to get Outlook search working once again.

Outlook Search is not working? Rebuild Outlook Index

This Outlook search fix will help you get started. It usually solves the problem right away. There are two options. Both methods are fast and work well.

Option 1: Using programs and features

If Outlook search isn’t working, you can type to rebuild the Outlook index. Enter Control Panel in search box of the Windows 10 and choose the best match to open Control Panel. Go to Programs > Features Scroll down and select Outlook. Scroll down to select Outlook Or Microsoft Office.

Now, Select Change. You can now choose from the top menu as shown in the image below. Now you can choose Quick Repair Or Online Repair. Select Quick Repair to get it done quickly and select Repair to fix Outlook indexing issues without having to use your internet connection.


Once the process is complete, restart your computer. Check if the issue is fixed or not.

Option 2: You can use the Outlook Index Repair Menu Option

You can also repair your Outlook index using a second option. All you have to do is know where it is located.

Open Outlook and then choose  File > Options > Search. Now choose Indexing Options, follow by Advanced.


Final, choose Rebuild and Click here OK. This may take some time. Once the rebuild is completed, you can restart your system.

I mage showing Rebuild outlook search index

While the index is being rebuilt, searches won’t work. So wait until it completes. It takes time depending on how many emails you have, the file size and your processing power.

The status of the process is updated at the top in Indexing Options window. You’ll notice ” Indexing speed reduced because of user activity if you have other applications running in the background.

When the rebuilding is completed, it’s done!

Do some searches again and you’ll be amazed at the improvements in speed and functionality.

These are the two methods to Rebuild Outlook Index. Now, I will discuss when to rebuild outlook search index. If you Rebuild Outlook Index without knowing the cause, this may break normal outlook functionality and you may loose your important data.

Troubleshooting Outlook search issues

General And Known Problem: When to Rebuild Outlook Index

There are often issues with the Search Index on both the Outlook and Windows sides. While some of these bugs may not be too serious, Outlook could sometimes not show search results for certain configurations.

This page contains information about Search issues and workarounds.


If the problem isn’t due to any known issue, verify that the mailbox or pst-file has been marked as indexed.

  • Outlook 2010File-> Options-> section search-> button Indexing Options…-> click Modify-> Expand Microsoft Outlook
    Make sure your pst file or mailbox is selected in the list under Microsoft Outlook. If your mailbox is not listed, create it.
  • Outlook 2013 / 2016 / 2019, Microsoft 365
    File-> Options-> section search-> button Indexing Options…-> click Modify
    Make sure Outlook is selected.
    Outlook 2010 does not allow you to specify which mailboxes and pst-files you want Outlook to index. You can either index Outlook 2010 or you don’t.
The Locations to be Indexed in Outlook 2010.
Outlook has been selected as an Indexed Place in Indexing Options.

Verify for any pst-file corruptions

Outlook may not display the correct results after your pst file has been marked. This is usually a sign that there is corruption in your pst.file. These errors can be fixed by scanning your pst file with scanpst.exe. OutlookTools is free and can locate this file in the same directory as outlook.exe. It will be easy for you to find it.

After the repair is complete, open Outlook and let it sit idle for a while. Check to see if everything is indexed.

  • Simplified Ribbon (Microsoft 365).Click in Search to make the Search Tools tab visible within the Ribbon. Click on the ellipsis icon (3 dots) to the right. Choose Search Tools-> Indexing Status…
  • Classic Ribbon
    To make the Search Tools tab visible on the Ribbon, click in the Search field. Click here to select Indexing Status…

Indexing large files or mailboxes can take a while. If the indexing takes longer than 30 minutes and your computer is not used for more than 30 minutes, it could be an indication that something is wrong.


Deactivate Outlook and then re-enable Outlook.

You can force Outlook to reindex its data by going back to Search Options. Depending on which version of Outlook you are using, select Outlook or the file that is causing you problems. Close Outlook, wait about five minutes, and then verify in Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC), that outlook.exe has stopped.

It is possible to see a lot disk activity. This is because the Search Indexer is removing indexed items from the Index.

Open Outlook once more and then go to Search Options. Select Outlook or the pst file you just selected. You can leave the computer running again to see if the computer reaches the “0 items remaining” status.

Now you can Rebuild the index using 2 options explained earlier


How do I delete and recreate the index file in Outlook?

This Outlook search fix will help you get started. It usually solves the problem right away. There are two options. Both methods are fast and work well.

Option 1: Using programs and features

More details given above

How do I know if my outlook index is rebuilt?

Rebuild Search Index in Outlook Step 1 – Open Search Options. These steps allow you to rebuild Outlook’s search index which can fix broken search in Outlook. … Step 2 – Open Indexing Options. Select Indexing Options. Step 3 – Select Outlook. Select Outlook. … Step 4 – Rebuild the Search Index. … Step 5 – Check Indexing Status.  

Raushan Kumar
A Cook, Software analyst & Blogger.


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