SOLVED: Outlook – Something Went Wrong And Your Search Couldn’t Be Completed

If your Outlook returns a yellow box saying “Something went wrong and your search couldn’t be completed” the most likely issue is your Windows Search Service is damaged.

You can verify this in two ways:

  1. Click the START button and type something.  If it shows SEARCH INDEXING WAS TURNED OFF.  TURN INDEXING BACK ON, this is likely your issue
  2. Click the START button and type SERVICES.MSC to start the Services management console and see if the WINDOWS SEARCH service is not running.

To fix this problem you should RIGHT click on the WINDOWS SEARCH service and select START.  In the unlikely event that works, you are done, but most likely you will need to flush an rebuild the Windows Search service.  The fastest way to solve this is to delete the Windows Search Service data and have it rebuild from scratch.

  1. Click the START button and type SERVICES.MSC to start the Services management console
  2. Double click on WINDOWS SEARCH and set it to DISABLED (as shown in the screen shot above)
    1. Note that STOP will not do the trick, you must force it to DISABLE
  3. Reboot
  4. Delete all files from both:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Temp

    1. These are hidden files, so be sure that hidden files are made visible
  5. Click the START button and type SERVICES.MSC to start the Services management console
  6. Double click on WINDOWS SEARCH and set it to AUTOMATIC – DELAYED START
  7. Either reboot or manually start the WINDOWS SEARCH service

As this point all search indexes have been removed and will take time to rebuild.  Outlook, in particular, will only rebuild it’s index when it is running so make sure you leave Outlook up for a few hours.  You can tell it is working because when you do a search in Outlook it will have a ‘we’re indexing right now, try again later’ type message and not the yellow bar ‘Something Went Wrong…’ message.

If you are adventurous you can also try to force the start from the command line.  If the Search Service has corrupted data, you will see SERVICE SPECIFIC ERROR 2147750271 if you try to start the WINDOWS SEARCH service from a CMD line (NET START “WINDOWS SEARCH”)

If you still have problems run the System File Checker:

  1. Right click on the START button and select CMD (ADMIN) or POWERSHELL (ADMIN)
  2. Type sfc /scannow and press enter

 

Comments

  1. Avatar
    Chris Paris July 8, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    For those who cannot find the Search folder where indicated here, another installation area is:

    C:\WindowsSearchnIndex2018

    The subfolders are then the same as those indicated in the article.

  2. Avatar
    Júlio Nobre May 11, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    In my case, I solved this recent and very anoying “Something went wrong” issue on my Office 365 (Outlook 2016 / 2019) defining the ServerAssistedSearchTimeout registry with value 5000 (decimal)

    ServerAssistedSearchTimeout – Timeout in milliseconds that Outlook should wait for Exchange to provide search results before falling back to use local search.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\software\microsoft\office\16.0\outlook\search
    DWORD: ServerAssistedSearchTimeout

    For further details, check How Outlook 2016 utilizes Exchange Server 2016 FAST Search article
    https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/outlook-global-customer-service/how-outlook-2016-utilizes-exchange-server-2016-fast-search/ba-p/381195

    Hope it helps

  3. Avatar
    Clay Corder May 6, 2020 at 7:44 am

    Outlook 2016, running on Exchange (not O365). I followed all steps. Still same message. Below the Yellow Triangle !, is a message, “It looks like there’s a problem with your network connection.” followed by: “Let’s look on your computer instead”. In my case, the search then executes. In another user’s case, the search executes, but includes only emails older than the last month.

  4. Avatar
    Anthony E. Blumberg May 5, 2020 at 7:17 am

    This fix appears to be outdated. The two file locations that require deleting all files no longer seem to exist in Windows 10 as of May 5, 2020:

    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Temp

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews May 5, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Hi Anthony;

      Both of those folders still exist and are still on my implementations which is the OFFICE365 PRO+ – TARGETTED BUILD so it is more than current. The C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search requires admin rights to access and it may be a hidden folder.

      Please let us know what you find.

  5. Avatar
    IT Pro February 26, 2020 at 9:47 am

    did not work for me either. still receiving the same error

  6. Avatar
    Josh January 24, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    No luck for me either. Tried all these options, plus the ones in the comments. Going crazy here. It’s been 5 months now and I can’t get rid of it. My laptop, work machine, and cell phone, have zero issues. Just my home office machine.

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews February 10, 2020 at 8:47 pm

      Hi Josh;

      We saw some issues with Outlook on O365 Pro+ some time ago. It turned out that MS was just having an outage and 45 minutes late all was well. I take it that this has being going on for some time and a backend problem at MS is not your issue, but I thought we should mention it for others that may be reading this.

      Can you confirm that the SEARCH SERVICE is running and not stopping after a few minutes?

  7. Avatar
    Steve Vasilion November 25, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    I went through these steps and still receive the “something went wrong…” error. What else can I try?

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews November 27, 2019 at 4:29 pm

      Hi Steve;

      You could try a repair of your Office installation.

  8. Avatar
    DD Floyd August 18, 2019 at 6:06 am

    I followed these instructions but the issue reappeared. I have been playing with this for days and found that View –> Reset clears the No Results search temporarily. Also, based on which folder is selected before initiating a Search and regardless of what the search setting is the results vary in number for the same criteria. EX: Click on XXX sub-folder in Inbox, then Search with All Outlook Items selected results 541; Click on Inbox and the same search returns 874.

    Consistently, if File –> Options –> Search –> Include results only from: – is set to anything except Current folder, the No Results plague returns.

  9. Avatar
    Person March 23, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Or you could go to search index and click rebuild index………..

  10. Avatar
    Davel February 3, 2019 at 4:36 am

    Many thanks.
    This worked for me.

  11. Avatar
    me December 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

    does not help.

    • Ian Matthews
      Ian Matthews December 31, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      ‘Does not help’, does not help your case. What are you seeing and what have you done to resolve it? I have successfully used the process documented here on several occasions so I know it works.

Questions or Comments?