Workaround: Outlook Search Results may be Incomplete

by Michael W. Lind on April 3, 2013


I’ve written before that I rely upon the search feature in Microsoft Outlook.  There are many times a day that I search for an important email.  Usually, the search finds just what I need, but every once in a while I see this message:

Search results may be incomplete because items are still being indexed

The incomplete results wouldn’t be so bad, but too often the indexing never finishes.

The recommendation from Microsoft is to rebuild the index when it appears that Outlook has stopped indexing.  The procedure is easy enough, but if you have tens of thousands of emails to index, it will take hours and you won’t be able to search for anything during that time.

I wanted to find a quicker fix and wondered if the indexing process just needed a restart.  A blog entry at gave me the direction I needed to put together a quicker-to-implement solution than Microsoft’s.

  1. Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools
  2. Double click Services
  3. Find Windows Search
  4. Right click Windows Search and select restart
  5. Close Services
  6. Wait a few seconds or minutes for the indexing to complete.

Since I started using this procedure, I’ve had no large blocks of time where I couldn’t search my email.

Now, if only I could find a way to keep Windows Search from stopping in the first place!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter K January 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm

This worked for searches of my emails in Outlook, but I still get the same Indexing error when searching through my Outlook Contacts.

Michael W. Lind January 13, 2016 at 9:02 pm

That is odd. I’ve never seen that before.

Avinash Immaneni December 14, 2016 at 7:09 am

It worked for me 🙂 Thanks

Michael W. Lind December 14, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for stopping by!

chris April 30, 2018 at 12:19 am

Didn’t seem to work for me

Michael W. Lind May 3, 2018 at 8:12 pm

Sorry to hear that.

Mark G. Schwartz May 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm

This worked for me as well. The error went away and it is now indexing all emails. If you use this method restart Outlook as well, for the me the fix didn’t take till after the restart. When I went to restart the service it showed it as running before I tried anything. I have Outlook 2010/Windows 10.

Michael W. Lind May 16, 2018 at 9:05 am

Thanks for the feedback, Mark!

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