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Guidelines For Fixing Issues with Instant Search in Outlook 2010

Updated on July 24, 2015

Need for Instant Search Option

Instant search allows filter through text and makes the interface to be user interactive. Instant search helps in finding words or sentences from the whole documents in Outlook 2010. This simplifies the manual effort of searching from the emails, tasks, and rest of the database. Somehow, we can say instant search option makes the software intelligent and smarter.

Issues with Instant Search and Causes

We may come across certain instances where instant search does not show results or shows partial results. Sometimes the instant search may not display results from particular folder or files or results before the certain dates. Some occasions may even prompt error messages while searching. Some of the possible causes for error are listed below.

  • You may not have checked certain folders in instant search option.
  • The indexing facility of the Outlook may be damaged.
  • Windows Search engine might be damaged due to some reasons.

How to Tackle the situation?

Check the Folders Marked for Indexing

First solution is to verify whether the corresponding folders are checked in the Instant search option. For this follow the steps given below.

  • Go to File > Outlook Options >Search> Indexing Options

  • From Indexing Options window click Modify button and expand Microsoft Outlook and verify that all the folders are checked in the options.

If the folders are not checked or listed here then you have to recreate and configure your profile so that instant searching works well.

Rebuilding Of Damaged Index

The second option is to rebuild the index. The rebuilding of the index may fix the instant searching problem if the cause is damaged index. The rebuilding process consumes considerable amount of time and also degrades the performance of the system.

To rebuild the index perform the following steps.

Go to Control Panel> Indexing Options>Advanced> Rebuild

Troubleshoot the indexing option

If resetting of the index option also doesn’t work then troubleshoot the indexing with wizard. To troubleshoot perform the following steps.

Go to Control Panel>Indexing Options>Advanced>Troubleshoot Search and Indexing.

Windows Search Feature Re-installation

The reinstalling of Windows Search feature may fix the issues with instant search failure in Outlook. This is because instant search feature in Outlook is enabled using Windows context indexer search engine. The re-installation of windows search feature fixes the issues in it.

Steps to re-install windows search feature.

  • Go to Control Panel>Programs> Turn Windows Features on or off
  • Deselect the option Windows Search

  • Click Ok.
  • Reboot your system.
  • Repeat the above steps in-order to turn on the Search feature.


Any of the above described methods will help to fix the issues in instant search option of Outlook 2010. If none of them fixes the issues some third party software or an expert from this field can help you.


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