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Outlook returning search results out of order

Posted on 2007-11-20
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I have an unusual problem with Outlook and Exchange that is frustrating one of my pickier clients.

The user is running Outlook 2003 with Exchange 2003 on SBS in non-cached mode.  When he executes a search, the results don't come back in chronological order--messages from weeks ago will pop up first, and then earlier and later messages are filled in around those as the search progresses.  He is absolutely adamant that the search must return the most recent messages first, and frankly it seems like it should operate like this anyway.

The server was installed by a different consulting firm about three weeks ago and I believe the Exchange database was ported from an older server.  He claims this problem started after the migration.

I am at a loss for what to do here.  I am going to try an offline defrag on the chance that it may re-order the data, but that's a shot in the dark.  Anyone have any idea how to solve this for sure?
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Question by:flux303
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9 Comments
 

Author Comment

by:flux303
ID: 20322577
I was just informed that this is actually with Outlook set to cached Exchange mode, although the same issue happens in non-cached mode.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20323808
It's entirely normal for a standard Outlook search to return results that way.

If he's that picky install Windows Search and he'll have instant search capability... the results will start showing as he's typing in the letters.  http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/desktopsearch/choose/windowsdesktopsearch.mspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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Author Comment

by:flux303
ID: 20363997
I don't think that's accurate, Jeff.  I just came acros MS KB 308608 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308608), and it seems that this (or something very similar) can happen when a mailbox is moved between servers.  Unfortunately, I've tried the solutions listed in the KB article, and searches still seem to be returning results in a random order.

Is there a way to integrate WDS directly into Outlook 2003 on Win XP?  I never used WDS when I was on XP--went from Google Desktop to Vista--so I'm not too familiar with it, but if I recall the installations I've seen correctly, it places an input box on the taskbar.  I know that this client won't go for it if it isn't right there in Outlook.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20379219
That KB article is interesting, but honestly, I've never seen Outlook return results from newest to oldest when searching a large mailbox folder.  They are always sorted when the search is over, but usually the search results come in rather randomly.

WDS definitely integrates into Outlook 2003 on Win XP.  Google Desktop is a comletely different technology.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:flux303
ID: 20438820
Still looking for a good resolution to this problem if anyone has any suggestions.
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Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20439319
EE doesn't work like other forums... posting that won't bump up your question, and since it's now over 3 weeks old, it most likely won't get looked at again by anyone else.

So... either we can continue working together or you can ask for this question to be deleted (by posting a request to the Community Support Zone) and post a new one.

I'm certainly willing to help you out here though...

Did you try one or both of the workarounds it suggested in KB308608?  (sorting the messages in a temporary folder or exporting the mailbox to a .pst file and then reimporting)?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:flux303
ID: 20439616
I did indeed try the solutions in the KB, but none of them seem to be resolving the problem.  Looks like it might be a question for Microsoft.  

If you have any further suggestions, Jeff, I'd be happy to hear them... otherwise I'll accept your answer as the solution.
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Accepted Solution

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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 500 total points
ID: 20439799
Well, the thing is that as I first stated, I've never seen Outlook Advanced Search return results in order, but of course the resulting display is in order once all records are found.

Remember too, if you're using Cached Exchange Mode you can delete the .ost file on the workstation to allow Outlook to rebuild it, which might help a bit.

Overall though, using Windows Desktop Search will return results instantly without any waiting... so even if they do come in out of order, it won't be noticable.  :-)

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Expert Comment

by:PattonBoggsIT
ID: 33984683
Referring to Question 22973670 from 11/20/07.

Can someone tell me if this issue continues to be a problem in Outlook 2007 or if it has been resolved?
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