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  1. #1
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    Outlook 2016 Indexing Failing

    I'm running up-to-date Outlook 2016 on W10 Pro. Sometime int he last couple weeks searching stopped working. No matter what I do, it gets no results. When I check the status of the indexing, it reports that it is up-to-date.

    Any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Have you checked the search settings to make sure your Outlook data is included?
    Joe

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  4. #3
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    It appears to be (though I find the listing to be a bit confusing). At any rate, "Microsoft Outlook" is one of the items listed in the "Included locations"

    I found the reindex button under options and ran it, but it was nearly instantaneous. It reports that 1,938,842 items had been indexed. (Is it actually doing a full reindex? Seems too quick by *far*.)

  5. #4
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    Have you run the search troubleshooter? It is accessible on the same form as the "Rebuild" button.
    Joe

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  7. #5
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    Yes. It found no issues. I ran it as Administrator.

  8. #6
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    You could try this - reboot (do not start Outlook), remove Outlook from the search index settings, rebuild the index, reboot (do not start Outlook), add Outlook back to the search index settings, rebuild the index again, reboot once more.
    Joe

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  10. #7
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    Is it necessary to avoid Outlook running during the entire process? I've been running the first step for about 1.5 hours and have 50K items indexed. Before I wiped the index there were 1.9 *million* items indexed (including emails of course). This may take many days.

    The next morning: It's now ten hours and 288K items indexed. And I'm still on the first pass.
    Last edited by mlo; 2017-03-19 at 07:43.

  11. #8
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    Evidently when you rebuilt before it did not start from scratch. You can run Outlook if you want.
    Joe

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  13. #9
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    I don't understand what I'm seeing. I restarted indexing and after about 8 hours it had gotten to 178,207 items indexed and the "Indexing Options" dialog was just sitting there. The little indexing animation at the top was rotating, but the count of files indexed was not changing. It was not unresponsive. When I started moving the mouse around, it stopped rotating and said that indexing was slow because of user activity. A few minutes after I stopped, the animation started again. *But the number of items indexed didn't change.* I tried Outlook and as far as I could tell nothing in Outlook had been indexed. It appeared to be just spinning its wheels.

    Recall that when this all started, there were 1938K items indexed. During this debugging process, in an attempt to speed things up, I removed a bunch of directories from the indexing list: Four were named with GUIDs and had hover text saying that the directories could no longer be found. A couple of things I don't use (Visio) or don't care about getting indexed (OneNote). I also added two directories that had many files that I don't want indexed: One contained a downloaded wiki (around 20K text files) and the other contained 198 zipped backups of that same wiki. Since it appears that indexing goes into unencrypted zipx files, this was potentially a *lot* of material, all duplicative. (Before this indexing problem started, I'd noticed that I got a lot of duplicate hits from the wiki. I did not follow up to confirm that they were in the zipped backups, but I don't know where else they could have been.)

    Note that my Outlook pst files are large: the active pst file is 7.6Gb, and I have 4 archive files of just over 28Gb total.

    Having done that, I reindexed again, and confirmed that the indexes re-started with zero items indexed. I also took care to make sure Outlook wasn't running, X1 search wasn't running (it indexes Outlook files also) and CompanionLink (synchronizes Outlook calendars and contacts to Google) was not running, but killing the tasks in Task manager. After 8 hours it was at a slightly higher (178,877) than previously, but again just spinning its wheels.

    I rebooted, made sure everything I know about which touches the Outlook files was not running and waited an hour: More wheel spinning, but no indexing.

    I started Outlook, and confirmed that while there *is* an index file it recognizes, it looks like nothing in the Outlook files have been indexed -- searches take 5-10 seconds to return "nothing found". I also confirm that using the Windows Search in the start menu seems to find my files nicely enough.

    Some inconclusive and puzzled thoughts:

    I've done some more Googling, looking for answers, but I could find nothing on the mechanics of Outlook indexing. One theory that occurs to me is that the indexer doesn't update the number of files indexed during indexing of a pst file and that when I thought it was stalled, it was actually indexing the pst files one, by one and taking many hours to do each -- maybe hadn't yet finished the first. (Piss-poor GUI design, IMO, if so.)

    I'm also puzzled by the discrepancy in the number of items indexed. 1938K seems far too big to be an actual file count -- the whole User folder only has 325K files, and parts of it are excluded. But 1938K seems too small to have indexed the contents of nearly 200 zip files each containing 20K files. I've not tried to figure it out exactly by carefully checking the excluded parts of Users, but I suspect that the 178K indexed files may be close to the number of indexable files in Users.

    So, there's a data dump. But I'm baffled.

    My plan now is to resume normal use of Outlook, et al, and continue Googling and hope that (a) it will eventually complete indexing the pst files or (b) I'll find something online or (c) one of you helpful folk will see the answer.
    Last edited by mlo; 2017-03-20 at 09:59.

  14. #10
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    Sorry nothing seems to help. Search indexing is a strange animal. I've noticed in the past that the indexer sits there for a long time apparently doing nothing then it takes off again. Good luck in your searching. I'll keep a lookout for something pertinent.
    Joe

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  16. #11
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    Many thanks for your help!

    Interestingly, sometime in the past half-hour, the indexing reported itself complete (on the Index Options dialog) without the number of files indexed having increased since last night. I still can't search email. (I rebooted first, just to be sure.)

    My next experiment will be to force an index refresh and see what happens.
    Last edited by mlo; 2017-03-21 at 12:36.

  17. #12
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    I spoke too soon, and new strangeness is happening. I decided to restart Outlook once more and look things over carefully once more. When I started a search and the search ribbon bar appeared, I clicked on "Search Tools" and looked at "Indexing Status". *It* reported that Outlook was currently indexing and 220K items remained to be indexed. I closed the dialog and checked it again and the number to be indexed had jumped to 280K. A third time and it was 330K items to be indexed. It continues to rise.

    An hour later: Now the number reported by Outlook's Indexing Status (which peaked well over 675K) is starting to decrease. The number reported by Indexing Options (178K) has not changed. It looks like there are two independent indexing processes, one for files (reported on by Indexing Options) and one within Outlook.

    The next day: Nothing. The Outlook indexing completed, the system rebooted, I restarted Outlook a couple times. Nothing new. The number reported by Indexing Options (178K) has still not changed. I think I'll restart the whole process again for one more try.

    And no luck at all. Not only does rebooting not change anything, but choosing to rebuild the index does nothing. I get a brief "rebuilding index" message and then it's done and nothing has changed.
    Last edited by mlo; 2017-03-22 at 08:42.

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  20. #14
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    Yes, it sure sounds like it. I'll try the revert and post the results.

    Thanks!

  21. #15
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    The latest click-to-run Office 2016 update which was just released contains this fix :

    "Fix an issue where the user can't search PST files"
    Joe

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