Microsoft recommends disabling Windows Desktop Search to fix Outlook search on Windows 11 (again)

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 10, 2022
Microsoft Outlook

If you run Microsoft's Outlook communication software on Windows 11, you may have noticed that searching is not always including the most recent emails.

outlook search issue fix

Microsoft explains on a new support page that users may see that indexing is slow or even paused in the Indexing Options of the Control Panel. The issue affects users with POP, IMAP or offline Exchange accounts according to Microsoft, but not users with Microsoft 365 or connected Exchange accounts.

The main difference between the two groups is that different search functions are used. The first group uses the local Windows Search service to index email, the second Service Search. While the first is affected by the email search issue, the second is not affected by it.

Microsoft is investigating the issue currently. The company published a workaround on a support page on its website to address the issue. It switches from using Windows Search to the built-in Outlook search when applied.

Workaround for Outlook email search issue

The workaround requires that you make changes to the Windows Registry. It is recommended to create a backup of the Registry or the system before changes are applied.

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows-R to open the run box. You may also open Start, type Run and select the result to open it.
  2. Type regedit.exe and select OK to launch the Registry Editor.
  3. Confirm the UAC prompt that is displayed.
  4. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows, e.g., by pasting the address in the path field at the top or browsing to the location manually using the sidebar structure.
  5. Right-click on Windows and select New > Key.
  6. Name the key Windows Search.
  7. Right-click on Windows Search and select New > Dword (32-bit) Value.
  8. Name it PreventIndexingOutlook.
  9. Double-click on PreventIndexingOutlook and change its value to 1.
  10. Exit the Registry Editor.
  11. Restart the PC.

Outlook will use its internal search now on the system, and the issue should be resolved. Note that you may need to undo the change after Microsoft fixed the issue. All that needs to be done is to set the value of the Dword to 0, or to delete the Dword entirely. Deleting is done by right-clicking on PreventIndexingOutlook and selecting Delete from the context menu.

Outlook's built-in search displays the following message to indicate that Windows Search is not used anymore:

Search performance will be impacted because a group policy has turned off the Windows Search service.

Not the first time, likely not the last

This is not the first time that Microsoft Outlook users were experiencing issues with search. A support page that has been updated in April 2022 the last time offered the same suggestion. The issue that Microsoft describes on it sounds similar to the one that users experience right now.

Users would not see recent emails in search results after installing Windows 10 updates or upgraded devices to Windows 11. Microsoft fixed the issues eventually and included the fixes in cumulative updates.

Microsoft recommends disabling Windows Desktop Search to fix Outlook search on Windows 11 (again)
Article Name
Microsoft recommends disabling Windows Desktop Search to fix Outlook search on Windows 11 (again)
If you run Microsoft's Outlook communication software on Windows 11, you may have noticed that searching is not always including the most recent emails.
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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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