Exchange 2013/2016 Outlook and OWA Search Does Not Work

As with all previous versions of OWA, Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016  has a search function that is above the mail column as seen below.

Exchange 2013 owa search

I came across an issue recently where if you did a search in OWA 2013, no results would be show, no matter what information I used as the search keywords. No matter what no search results where found. In Exchange 2013 , the search index is stored with the Mailbox store where the users are located. To resolve this issue and build the OWA 2013 or OWA 2016  and the Exchange search index again we needed to do the following. This error may also occur with Outlook clients that are not in cached mode.

In exchange RTM navigate to services stop the Microsoft Exchange Search service.In Exchange CU1 and CU2 stop both the Exchange Search services (Exchange Host Search and Exchange Search service)  as well as the Search Host Controller . Once done locate the folder on your server where the Mailbox database is where the user is trying  to search from. For example mine is here.

C:\Program Files >Microsoft > Exchange Server > V15 > Mailbox > Mailbox Database 1403936621 < Exchange 2013
C:\Program Files >Microsoft > Exchange Server > V16 > Mailbox > Mailbox Database xxxxxxxx < Exchange 2016

 

Exchange 2013 Search database

If you are unsure where the the mailbox database is use the command below from power-shell.

 

Get-MailboxDatabase "yourmailboxdatabase" |fl name,*path*

Once the path is located you will find a folder name with a long “GUID” and the word Single on the end.

exchange 2013 search guid

Rename this folder .old.

We then need to start the Microsoft Exchange Search service again, The server will now begin to rebuild its search index.

Give it plenty of time to rebuild then issue the command below and make sure the status of Content Index Status is seen as healthy.

Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus

As seen below, if it says healthy try your search and you should see that your search results now appear in Outlook and OWA 2013.

Exchange 2013 rebuild search index

Tags: OWA

Allen White

Allen is a Consultant for ITPS in the North East of England and holds the following accreditations. MCSA, MCSE, MCTS, MCITP, CCA, CCSP, VCP 4,5 and HP ASE, AIS - Network Infrastructure.

Comments (24)

  • Avatar

    andrej770

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    In CU1 you have to actually stop both the Exchange Search services as well as the Search Host Controller, then rename the folder and restart.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Ben

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    Handy article. Everything I search for returned copy status relating to DAGs and all I wanted sorted is the index search on the server side.

    Status is currently crawling after restarting the Exchange search services. You may want to add in stopping both the Exchange Host Search and Exchange Search service in order to rename that folder.

    Thanks for the article.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Allen White

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      Glad to help, I think I noted that in CU1 that you need to stop the extra services, ill clarify that in the article. thanks!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Manoj

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    One more thing, While renaming we need to rename it to “.old ” only or just replace “.single” with “.old”?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Allen White

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      It does not matter what it is called, aslong as it does not keep the same name :).

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Olli

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    Works with CU2 too. Thanks for the article.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Brice

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    Thanks for the article! I had the same issue (CU2) and could not find anything on Microsoft’s site on how to do this.

    Migrated from 2007 SP3 RU10 to 2013, where I applied CU2 after the migration. Index state was unknown a week after all mailboxes had been migrated, and search was not working unless in cached mode.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Greg

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    Worked like a charm. Many Thanks!!!

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Jessica

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    We’re on CU5 but unfortunately the fix is not working and the index won’t rebuild, it’s just doing nothing :/

    Reply

  • Avatar

    BladeBay

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    Can .old folder be deleted after rebuild?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Mohammed Fasi

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    We haver recently installed Exchange 2013 SP1 and when am trying to search anything from search box of 2013 OWA it does nothing anbd says” An error occurred while searching. try again later.” Is the above mention solution applicable for 2013 SP1 as well? Please confirm.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Ryan

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    This worked on CU6 as well. Can the .old folders be deleted after they all turn healthy?

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Zib

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    Great post! It didn’t Worked for me the first time, but after I also stopped Exchange Transport Log Sarch service, and started all three Again, it worked.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      JPX

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      YES! same for me.
      when i restart the Exchange Transport Search then the rebuilding start.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Scott72

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    Anyone know how this applies to DAG members? Do I need to rebuild the index on all DAG members, I am guessing?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Allen White

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      Actually I would try on the active DAG node first..

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Oliver

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    Actually I had to run the command: Get-MailboxDatabaseCopyStatus to start rebuilding the index. Only after that the Search Index Folder was recreated.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Tiago de Aviz

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    Oliver’s suggestion along with the rest appears to have solved it.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    john@imcco.net

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    before going through all this, try the search in Internet Explorer, if it works in IE, then there is maybe nothing else to do to get to work in other browsers. I tried all this to get to work in Chrome with no luck.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Lamar

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    If I stop the services in question will the mailboxes on the DBs still be accessible during this rebuild?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Allen White

      |

      Yes 100% it’s just rebuilding the search cache index

      Reply

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