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2007-07-14

Outlook hangs due to Search Issue


I love to keep all my e-mails. So, I have huge outlook .pst files dedicated to some some active lists that I subscribed more than 10 years ago. Recently, I noticed that instant search in Outlook 2007 was not functioning properly. It would never find anything.

I checked the instant search index status (Tools > Instant Search > Indexing Status). It said something like
"Outlook is currently indexing your items." 1 item remaining in Inbox 150000 items remaining across all open mailboxes

It was clear that instant search was not working properly. So I checked "Windows Search" service by typing "Start > Run > services.msc"
Services was up and running...

Then I checked "Control Panel > Indexing Options". I decided to rebuild the index. So, I clicked "Indexing Options > Advanced > Rebuild" and changed Index location to a folder in a different drive that I usually use for backups.

Things went totally haywire after that :( Whenever I tried to check Indexing Options, it gave me messages like "Retrieving windows Search status" or "Windows search is performing maintenance". Restarting service did not help.

To add to my troubles, Outlook 2007 stopped working. I was able to start it in Safe Mode but it would not start in regular mode and just freeze during startup.

I started Outlook in safe mode and then ran Office diagnostics (Outlook > Help > Office Diagnostics), which found no issues. Google searches did not result in anything useful. Finally, I used Office 2007 CD to "repair" to no avail.

At this point I was not sure why Outlook was not working but because all this stuff did not happen the same day, at first I did not suspect them to be related. In fact, after an unexpected power outage, some Vista permissions were screwed up and I was thinking that issue could be related to .pst folder permissions.

Then it downed on me! I disabled/stopped Windows Search and then started Outlook. Puff! It launched without any issues. Basically, Outlook 2007 was detecting that Windows Search was not available,and disabling Instant Search.

I did a little bit more search on how to build index and found this MSDN thread:

"Set the registry value HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Search\SetupCompletedSuccessfully to 0 and try restarting the Windows Search service."

I did and it worked. Windows Search started indexing items properly and Outlook 2007 launched without a hitch. Problem solved.

For reference, below is what I saw in the Event viewer when index was corrupted and restarting service would not help:

Log Name: Application
Source: Microsoft-Windows-Search
Date: 7/14/2007 4:28:59 PM
Event ID: 3026
Task Category: Gatherer
Level: Error
Description:
Advise Status Change failed. The system is probably low on resources. Free up resources and restart the service.

Context: Windows Application, SystemIndex Catalog

Details:
The content index server cannot update or access information because of a database error. Stop and restart the search service. If the problem persists, reset and recrawl the content index. In some cases it may be necessary to delete and recreate the content index. (0x8004117f)

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank You very much for your help.
I had the same issue as yours and now it is solved.

Anonymous said...

ADIL,

YOU ARE THE MAN! I HAD THE EXACT SAME PROBLEM AS YOU AND FOUND YOUR BLOG, PERFORMED EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, AND IT WORKED JUST AS YOU STATED! I BOW DOWN TO YOU AS I HAVE BEEN WORKING THIS ISSUE FOR A WEEK NOW AND GLAD TO FIND YOUR BLOG.

THANK YOU AGAIN, MY FRIEND.

CHRIS

Adil Hindistan said...

Awesome! I am very happy to hear that it worked for you guys!

Anonymous said...

Yep - worked for me too! Been irritating me for days.

Dave Megee said...

Thanks! I had the same problem and looked everywhere to solve it. You had the only answer!!!

Anonymous said...

Great. Solved my problem.

Another happy reader.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Adil,

Thank You!!!!! This worked for me.

Glenn

Alex said...

There is good tool which works with outlook files and more in this sphere as far as I can see-download microsoft outlook recovery software,it has free status as far as I remember,besides that program has many admissibilities,utility recover data from Microsoft Outlook pst files, program can be also used to recover information from Microsoft Exchange ost files and/or convert them into Microsoft Outlook pst files,restore mail messages, tasks, contacts, meetings, notes and logs in files with the .pst extension,recover Outlook files and data from corrupted pst files of all Microsoft Outlook mail clients, from Microsoft Outlook 97 to Microsoft Outlook 2003,save the recovered information as files with the *.pst extension, you should have the Microsoft Outlook 98 mail client or higher installed on your computer,runs under all Windows operating systems starting from Windows 98 (Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows XP).

Jamie Hanrahan said...

To Adil: A million thanks for posting this. I couldn't figure out why my Outlook wouldn't open. Knew it wasn't a problem with the .pst because the .pst opened fine if I copied it to another machine.

I even tried a System Restore back to a point where I knew Outlook was working - didn't help.

Another symptom: Attempts to rename directories in Explorer would hang that Explorer browser window. The rename actually did happen, and other Explorer windows and the taskbar, Start menu, etc., would keep working, but the one from which the rename had been done was stuck.

And yet another: Extremely long shutdown times (more than an hour).

My one clue was that the Search Indexer was hitting my C: drive a LOT.

All fixed by this fix. I was about ready to resort to a wipe and clean install and we all know how much we want to avoid that. You saved my weekend! Thank you again!

Alexis said...

Yesterday my brother asked me about one unpleasant problem,exactly his mails were damaged.And we together solved this situation with help-recover ost file.Tool is free and we find it in social net our city.It can also recovering ost files will help you not to lose contacts of your partners, when Microsoft Exchange Server is out of order.

Alex said...

Yesterday I had the big problem.All my mails were damaged and was dissapeared.But a friend call me and advised-fix microsoft outlook.To my surprise program helped me very easy.And I knew that it can saving the output data either as a single .pst file or as a set of .eml, .vcf and .txt files.Besides that tool helped me for free.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I spent hours before I found your solution!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much. I spent hours before finding your solution.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! My client had the same problem, the index was over 250,000 items had been corrupted. Good on ya!