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Outlook 2010 search shows no results

A year ago, all search functions in Outlook failed.   That is, no matter what I searched for in my mail folders, calendar, or contacts, NO results are now shown.  This, in spite of thousands of obvious matches.  

I search using the common search bar in the upper right corner of Outlook windows.  

It acts as though it is looking on Mars instead of my Outlook folders for matches, since in no case is ANY match ever found.   It is seriously broken.

So far, I have:
- created a new Outlook profile from scratch,
- rebuilt my index (several times),
- played with the locations that need to be indexed.  

I have run out of ideas.    Whenever I search, it completes in mere seconds, in spite of the many pst files which are located on my C drive.   Whenever I re-index, it runs too fast and the index rebuild completes too quickly if it were REALLY indexing my pst folders.   I have my entire C drive selected to index, and with my mail archives, I have approximately 6 pst folders, all of which are defined and accessible to my Outlook.    So, I think it is really NOT indexing my pst files.
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Steve Lingis
Asked:
Steve Lingis
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1 Solution
 
John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I have my entire C drive selected to index

I would just index applicable locations, but however.

1. Is Outlook (not the Outlook location) included as a Location to search?

2. Under the Advanced Index Options, File Types, are PST and OST selected ?

3. Is Outlook local to the machine (POP3) or is it Exchange?  If Exchange, OST files are searched.

Please do not wait a year to solve an issue. It gets much harder to resolve. If a machine is broken for a year, it is fair game for us to suggest you reimage the machine.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Actually, the 'year' was a slight exaggeration.....  I did notice a few months ago that when searching from my Calendar window, only older matching items would show.   That is, if I added new Calendar items, these would NOT appear in search results.  And then eventually, no items would show, because all old searchable items had become too old.    What this told me then and now is that new items were NOT being indexed.   And, that is when I also noticed that the search issue not only affected calendar entries, but also messages and contact, rendering Search in Outlook worthless.

Since then, I have been trying the various fixes I have seen available online.  I was trying to avoid having to create a new mail profile, but a couple days ago I bit the bullet and created a new profile from scratch, along with all the annoyances that come with a new mail profile.....   Very many things need to be reset when creating a new mail profile...

Anyway, just now, in the advanced option, every file type has always been checked, including PST.   (I don't use OST's).   Just for grins, I just now checked the box called 'Index properties AND file contents'.   See attached.   For some reason, it was NOT checked until just now.   Do you think this matters?  Maybe this will change things?  And so, after applying this change, my index is now being re-built.  I will let you know if this changes things....

Honestly, not having Search within Outlook really minimizes the value of Outlook.  Especially, since I have 5 large archives, all available to Outlook, but seemingly none available for Search.  Let's see what happens after this rebuild completes.  in the meantime, if you have other suggestion, I am all ears...

What is particularly annoying about this is that years ago, when Windows7 was announced, one of the big selling points of 7 was going to be the advanced search features.   Ahem!   Please, Microsoft, just give me something that works....  :-)  

Thank you!
Steve Lingis.
temp1.jpg
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I just now checked the box called 'Index properties AND file contents'.   See attached.   For some reason, it was NOT checked until just now.   Do you think this matters?

No. PST's are indexed by Windows and contents need not be checked.

I have a main PST and several active Archives. They are all indexed.

Let us know what happens when the current indexing is complete. If the whole hard drive, it could take many hours (overnight at least).
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
OK, the re-indexing rebuild is complete (~119k items indexed) and everything is the same.  That is, in Outlook, there is never any result for anything... ...not even if I search for a single letter!   It quickly returns.... "No matches found for ...."

A couple things have occurred to me...

1. The only way I can actually rebuild the index is through Control Panel==>Indexing Options.  The 'Rebuild Index' option works fine from here. That is, I can watch it count up from 1 to ~119k as it rebuilds everything.  However, in Outlook, using File==>Options==>Search, the same index rebuild request just spins for a few seconds and suddenly says 'Indexing complete' with the same ~119k.  It is NOT doing the same amount of work as the previous, since the previous takes several hours.

2.  Since, when doing ANY search in Outlook, it immediately returns 'No matches found for....', it behaves as though it is looking in the wrong place for the index.  I have attached a screen print of the location, along with a screen print showing my indexed locations, which clearly show my Outlook and all my Outlook archives.

Thanks!
Steve Lingis.
index-location.jpg
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Not sure if both new attachments have come across.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
P.S.   'Regular' Windows search seems to work fine, whereas my problem is ONLY with Outlook search.  Perhaps, the fact that the index rebuild through the Control Panel actually does something, and the fact that the index rebuild within Outlook does not, gives us a clue.............
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Go to Outlook, Options, Search and review your options. Everything should be checked in there and it is you choice between current folder and all folders.

The Indexing Options button takes you to Windows Index Options which should take over.

If your operating System is Windows 7 or higher, Windows Indexing supports Outlook. You say Indexing is working.

If your operating System is XP, search works but nowhere near as well.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
This is Windows7 Ultimate.

OK, I have also noticed that when in the Outlook-version of indexing options (as opposed to the Control Panel version), for some reason Local Disk C: keeps getting unchecked.  Hmmm....   Anyway, as you can see in the attached, I just now rechecked it, and the items indexed count is incrementing again... ...will wait and see....

Question:  With Local Disk C: checked, is Outlook going to know to find all the pst files in C:?  In other words, is it going to find my main pst and all archive psts's and index all the mail, calendar, contact, etc items?    Do you think that is how this works?   Please note that in the Outlook setup, I do not have the ability to tell indexing about specific archives, but I do have this option through the Control Panel.

Certainly, this cannot be as complicated as Microsoft makes it seem.   I will keep you posted.  

Later, I will try moving the location of where the index is kept.   When searching, it just completes too fast, as if it is not really finding a meaningful index database to look for hits...

Thanks again,
Steve Lingis.
outlook-indexing-options.jpg
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you for the update. You really should not index C:\  It does not need to be indexed and there are many files which will not index.

Start again with Index Options.

Remove C:  and add Users, Outlook and then any other reasonable folder you want, make sure about extensions and rebuild the index and try again.

Windows Indexing, Search and Outlook 2010 search works just fine with Windows 7. I have been doing that for years.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
OK, since you have me convinced that this is supposed to work, I remain confident....

Here is what I have recently did....

First, I removed ALL search locations.   When setting this, Windows showed me '0 items indexed' and quickly finished.   This made sense.

Then, I went in and set my Outlook and Outlook Archives as 'indexable'.    This is currently running, showing '6 items indexed'.     Note that I have found the process that actually does this.  Please see the 2 new attachments.   When this process no longer shows activity, I will know that these 6 items (all pst files) will be indexed.  I can also see my hd light flashing, which tells me something is actually working.    

If this works, I will later go in and select users (actually, I will only select my profile within users) for indexing.   I don't want to get greedy at this point, as I simply want my Outlook pst's at this point.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks,
Steve Lingis.only these 2 items are currently selected
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Looks like I can only submit 1 attachment at a time... here is the 2nd.indexing process in progress
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You also need to add the Users folder for sure. Not just Outlook, but the Users folder.

Try that and I think you will find Indexing finds more items.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Here is my basic setup and it works.

Windows7-IndexOptions.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
OK, thanks.  Now that I understand the setup, and what to expect, I can set mine up similarly.  I won't have a chance until late Monday.   But I promise to report back on this as soon as I can...

Thanks again,
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
OK, all my searches are still empty.   Please see attached.  I know that the index is being built as I previously reported on the process that DOES the index build.   So the index database of all my stuff is there, is built, and takes many hours to build as expected.

So, what about the Index Location?   Please see page 2 of the attached.  What if I tried using a different index location, and forced it to rebuild elsewhere?   When I search, it just instantly responds as you see on that attached, which tell me that it immediately finds 'nothing'.    Where is your index location?  Mine seems to be a complicated folder structure, and maybe it just needs to be wiped and defined elsewhere....  

Your thoughts please.

Thanks, Steve.all-searches-for-any-value-empty.docx
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
My index location is Program Data. I have never changed it. You can try, but I cannot tell you what the results will be. Work carefully on this.

Please use JPG files in future. The Word pictures were not that good and Word docs cannot be opened inline in E-E. I have to save them first.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Well, it says in the attached that I have moved my index to C:\Search.

However, after a rebuild, nothing is there!

Everything still gives me nothing.  I now have half a mind to delete the entire search structure under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft....new-location-rebuild.jpg    Something needs to be seriously reset.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
A rebuild should delete the index. Perhaps in trying to index the whole drive something has gone wrong.

I now have half a mind to delete the entire search structure under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft...

I cannot advise one way or the other. Now that you are using c:\search, you probably can.

I would not have used c:\search.  I would have used c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search_One or some thing like that to keep it protected.

Perhaps if you delete c:\search and the Microsoft search folder (I do not know if there will be collateral damage) and then use the default directory, set up your search locations properly and only then rebuild the index.

If you are still up, do this, and let the machine run overnight to rebuild the index.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Well, no harm done, since C:\Search is absolutely empty after at least 2 rebuilds.   The index structure IS being re-tickled and presumably rebuilt, not NOT in C:\Search, and presumably somewhere in c:\ProgramData\Microsoft, since I see edb and other files in there with current update times.    However, in c:\ProgramData\Microsoft, there IS a subfolder called search, with what appears to be a complete index and/or database structure of search information inside.   Could you possibly please send me a screen print of your Search structure?  Perhaps the 'Current Location' specified as c:\ProgramData\Microsoft needs at least one more level of qualification.  I do not remember every changing this default location.  I think the more I can approximate my settings to yours, the better chance of resolution, since we know that you work.  

Again, the behavior when searching is too fast.   It just seems that it is going somewhere for it's data which does not really have the correct index database structure.

Thanks,
Steve Lingis.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I am not sure what is going wrong. The objective (Windows Search and Outlook 2010) is good and works perfectly well on my Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines.

Below is a screen short of the setup on my Windows 8 laptop (which is the same as my Windows 7 desktop.

If you can remove the indexes (I am not sure about this), restart the computer and run System File Checker. Open cmd.exe with Run as Administrator and run SFC /SCANNOW. Allow to complete and run a second time. Restart the computer.

Now do an Office Repair from within Control Panel

Then restart again and set up indexing.

Windows-8.1-Search-Data-
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
I will need to do this in Safe Mode, since some of the files are locked, even with Outlook closed.   Actually, for safety sake, what I will do is save Search structure elsewhere before deleting.   I will not get to this until Friday earliest.

I will keep ya' posted...

Thanks!
Steve Lingis.
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Mr. Hurst, I stumbled upon the solution for this long-standing search issue with Outlook 2010.   As you know, no search would yield anything, in spite of all suggestions by everybody, including yourself.   Basically, all I ever wanted to search was mail folders in my pst, and my contacts and calendars.  This was a pretty basic requirement.

Here's what I did:  I changed my Outlook.exe properties to 'Run as Administrator'.   That's it.  Every type of search I've tried, now suddenly works.    Kinda crazy how such a basic and worthwhile function would not work, even in my admin account, without running as admin.

But if you would still like to solve this issue, one search question does remain:  When searching a mail folder (either in my active or one of my archive pst's, is there a way to search all subfolders at the same time?

Thanks again for supporting this.
Steve Lingis
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Interesting work around. I have not had to do this.

If you want to search ALL items in Outlook 2010, there is a setting the Search tab (Advanced Search) that permits this. See below.

Outlook-2010-Advanced-Search
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Steve LingisAuthor Commented:
Thanks again John.  This also works fine (but ONLY when Outlook is launched as admin.  If I revert back, then Search again does NOT work.  CRAZY!).    Hopefully next time my issue will have a more mainstream solution.  

Take care,
Steve Lingis.
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John HurstBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@Steve Lingis  - Strange result, yes. Still, I was very happy to help you. Cheers!
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