By Delia / Last update December 22, 2021

Outlook search freeze in Windows 11

Recently, a new issue has emerged in Windows 11, where some users have found that when using Outlook to search for old emails, they may fail to retrieve them or even get stuck outright.

Microsoft has acknowledged the issue and said that email and other items stored locally in PST or OST files (such as POP and IMAP accounts) can occur in any account, and for Exchange and Microsoft 365 hosted accounts, the issue will affect offline searches for data in locally stored OST files.


The issue is said to be caused by the removal of Windows search index files during Microsoft's upgrade to Windows 11, and affected clients include Outlook for Microsoft 365, Outlook 2019 and Outlook 2016.

Microsoft says they will fix the issue in a later release, but it may take some time. Until then, you can work around the Outlook freeze issue by bypassing the Windows search index by telling Outlook that you want to use Outlook's internal search instead of using the Windows search index.

How to bypass Windows search index

The steps are as follows:

Press Win + R to open Run window and type “regedit” to enter Registry Editor.

In the registry, find this sub-section.


Right click Windows folder, choose New > Key and rename it as “Windows Search”.

Under Windows Search, create a new DWORD value named “PreventIndexingOutlook”.

Open PreventIndexingOutlook and change its value to 1.


Close the registry and restart Outlook to make it effective.

Tip: If you want to make Outlook search use Windows search index again, just change the value of PreventIndexingOutlook to 0.