Outlook 2016 search not working - possible solution

    General discussion

  • Here is what worked for us in case it helps anyone else:

    Problem: Outlook 2016 search stopped working without explanation between one day and the next. Could not search email contents nor contacts , etc...

    Resolution: Remove extraneous Office installations then repair the good one

    Explanation: This was a newly purchased 2 month old computer (Win 7, but this may apply to Win 10 also). Tried repairing the .pst, fiddling with addins and tried many of the troubleshooting methods to force a rebuild of the Windows Search Index. Outlook always said "no results found". When removing "Outlook Files" from the search options, the number of files indexed would go down by 2 and then when adding it back in, the number of files would go back up by 2 - reproduceably. It certainly seemed like they were included, but the indexing of these was oddly quick - the indexing status was going to completed in seconds which didn't make sense for the amount of contents in the pst.

    In event viewer - for Outlook, we noted the following error code:
    "ScopeId does not match what we have saved locally"

    The error referenced the user's pst file. We thought maybe the pst had been renamed, but could not find evidence of that.

    I went looking in "Add and Remove Programs" and saw both Office 365 and Office Home & Biz 2016 listed. The Office 365 would have been preinstalled by the manufacturer. The H&B was OEM version installed by the local computer shop as part of our purchase. Both programs had the same recent update date, whereas they did not several weeks ago when we actually activated the H&B key (at that time Office 365 was in date of the base softwares manufacturer put on the computer). Presumably the recent update updated both and caused the 365 to be dominant now. i.e. Search was looking for any Outlook files affiliated to that version.

    So we resolved by removing the unwanted Office 365, (and restart of course), followed by "change -> quick repair" of the Office H&B and as fast as I could open Outlook and try a search, search now worked!!

    The local shop should have uninstalled that preinstalled click-to-run 365 trial? BEFORE installing our purchased version. THEY DO NOT PLAY WELL TOGETHER!

    (i must say this given today is St Patty's!)

    Friday, March 17, 2017 7:41 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your solution sharing about the searching issue in Outlook 2016.

    Generally, it is suggested to keep using Office applications with the latest updates. If there are multiple version Office app installed, please keep the higher version one as the default applications on Windows.


    Winnie Liang

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    Monday, March 20, 2017 7:08 AM
  • One more option is repair the Windows index, because Outlook search is based on it.

    Monday, March 20, 2017 8:48 AM
  • As mentioned, that did not help.
    Monday, March 20, 2017 9:32 PM
  • sigh... while those 2 points are good advice, neither was the issue here.
    The Office suite being used was faithfully kept current!
    There was not a "higher version" of an Office app. Both Office suites has been updated on the same day by Windows automatic updates to the EXACT SAME VERSION. You don't necessariy keep the higher one - you keep the one you paid for ! And remove the other preinstalled crud that no one wanted in the first place.

    Monday, March 20, 2017 9:52 PM