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Outlook search function has stopped working in Personal Folders (PSTs) ?

Eric7777 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
For months and years I have been able to search for a keyword in all my Personal Folders (PST files).  Then suddenly today the search function doesn't work !!!  ie. when I enter a keyword which appears many times in that folder I get no results !!!  And it isn't because the folder is still indexing because I have checked that through Tools->Instant Search->Indexing Status and there are no items ot be indexed !!!

Funnily enough, any emails that I have put in these Personal Folders today are searchable (ie. I can get them to appear in search results) but not any emails before today !!!

Any ideas ???  Is there a way that I can re-start / kick start the indexing process against all my personal folders to re-index everything somehow ???

Thanks in advance for any help.
Watch Question

Mal OsborneAlpha Geek

What is the size & type of your .PST files? Earlier versions are limited to 2Gb in size, once they get close to this all sorts of wierd behaviour can be observed. Outlook 2003 & 2007 supports larger .PST files, but if the file was originally created with an earlier version it is not upgraded.


My Personal Folders are all a sensible size (ie. under about 300Mb each) as I have always been paranoid about losing emails if I get anywhere near the dreaded 2Gn figure !!!
Top Expert 2008
Hello Eric7777,

What version of Outlook are you using, 2003 or 2007? You can view emails older than today, but cannot search for them?

1. If using Outlook 2003, reset the Outlook toolbar template. With Outlook close, do a search for and rename outcmd.dat file. Do the same for frmcache.dat and outlprnt files. Restart Outlook.

Outcmd.dat is located in C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder. It is a hidden file, so you have to unhide hidden files. Go to any folder and select Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders". Click OK.

2. If no joy, register two important Outlook files. Go to Start > Run and type regsvr32 OLE32.DLL
Do the same for INETCOMM.DLL

3. If no joy, an addin could be interfering. Disable Outlook Addins.  Go to Tools > Options > Other > Advanced Options > Addin Manager or COMM/Addins and disable the addins.

If you cannot open Outlook, do a search for and rename extend.dat file.

4. Check if an external program running in the background is interfering with Outlook. Check Firewall, antivirus and other security programs, Yahoo and Google toolbars, and desktop search programs. Disable these programs one at a time.

5. Repair Outlook. With Outlook open, go to Help > Detect and Repair.

6. If no joy, repair Outlook with this free utility -  OLfix

7. If no joy, create a new Outlook profile.

8. If no joy, reinstall Outlook.  Go to Add/Remove Programs and highlight Microsoft Office. Click on Install/Uninstall.  A menu will pop allowing you to choose repair or reinstall.

Hope this helps!

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Thanks war1

Some great ideas, but before I got too technical with your options I suddenly had an idea to create a new Personal Folder (PST file) and to copy the contents of one of my other Personal Folders across to it.....to see if this would at least force Outlook to index that new Personal Folder.

I have done this and not only is it indexing the new Personal Folder, but it is also indexing all the other Personal Folders (which had somehow stopped being searchable) so looks lik my problem is fixed !!!  Still not sure why it happened though !!!

Thanks for your help


Thanks war1 for your detailed help
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