Fix Outlook cannot search error appeared while performing instant searches in Outlook

Outlook works in efficient mail management and allows to store user’s personal information such as contacts, appointments, tasks, journals, notes etc. along with mails. Windows search indexing helps in easy search of the PST files. But in case of PST corruption, it would not work leading to a number of error messages including Outlook cannot search.

To demonstrate the above situation, consider a situation where you have upgraded Outlook 2007 to 2010 and now searching for PST items like mails, contacts, notes, appointments, tasks etc but instead of search results, you get the following error message:

"Instant Search encountered a problem while trying to display search results. Modifying your query may resolve this problem.”


There can be a number of reasons for this Outlook cannot perform search error which is as follows:

  • Due to incomplete indexing of PST objects
  • Because of any problems related to Windows search installation
  • PST file corruption can be another reason for the Outlook search not working


Depending upon the causes for Outlook cannot perform your search error, you need to go for its solutions like as:

Check that the PST indexing is being performed or not. For this, go to Tools-> Options->Indexing options->Modify and list MS Outlook. Make sure that the PST file is selected in the drop down list. If not, then recreate Outlook mail profile. But in case if the file is selected in the list, then close Outlook and restart it to again select the same file.

But if it does not work, then the problem is due to damaged index. So in order to reset it, go to Control Panel->indexing options->Advanced ->Rebuild button. Doing this, will rebuild the index and could solve your problem

In case of PST file corruption, you can make use of Inbox repair tool which works to fix up the PST corruption issues but with certain limitation. SO, when the inbox repair tool fails, the best is to go for PST Repair tool that is competent enough to resolve all your problems regarding PST corruption by maintaining the originality of the files.

PST Repair Free Download

Software Requirement

Processor : Pentium Class
Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / 2003 / XP / 2000 / NT4 (SP6)
Memory : Minimum 256 MB (512 MB recommended)
Hard Disk : 50 MB of free disk space
MS Outlook : MS Outlook 2010 / 2007 / 2003 / 2002 / 2000
Internet Explorer : Version 5 or later