Keeping unlinked or closed pst-archives indexed

I have a couple of old pst-file archives which I don't keep actively connected to Outlook as I don't use them on a daily basis. On occasion I still need to access one of them and I connect it to Outlook via;

  • File-> Open-> Outlook Data File...

If I then want to do a search within the archive, the results are always incomplete as the archive has not been fully indexed yet.

Is there any way I can directly search within the archive directly without needing to wait for it to be indexed?

There are actually two methods you can use here to prevent that you need to wait on the Search Index to be completed before being able to search within a pst-file;

  • Method 1: Disable a pst-file from being indexed.
  • Method 2: Create an “Archive” mail profile.

Method 1: Disable a pst-file from being indexed

Any new pst-file that gets connected to Outlook automatically gets selected to be indexed as well. If you were to exclude the pst-file from being indexed then the search feature of Outlook will fall back to the slow non-indexed search but would return all search results without needing to wait for an index to be build.

To exclude a pst-file from being indexed choose;

  • Outlook 2007
    Tools-> Options-> button Search Options…-> deselect the pst-file that you do not want to be indexed
  • Outlook 2010
    File-> section Options-> section Search-> button Indexing Options…-> select Microsoft Outlook-> button Modify-> expand Microsoft Outlook-> deselect the pst-file that you do not want to be indexed
  • Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016
    It is no longer possible to individually select which pst-file should be indexed in these versions of Outlook.

Method 2: Create an Archive mail profile

If you want to use an indexed search, another approach would be to create a separate Mail Profile with all the archive pst-files attached to it; You don’t need to add any mail account.

  1. To creating a separate Mail Profile for archiving use Control Panel-> Mail-> button View Profiles… . Cancel through the account configuration screens and Outlook will ask you if you really want to create a mail profile without any mail account configured with it; choose OK.
  2. When you now start Outlook with that Archive mail profile you can attach your archived pst-files via;
    File-> Open-> Outlook Data File…
  3. Make sure you leave Outlook open long enough the first time to get everything indexed.
  4. To search for a message within the archive, start Outlook with the Archive Mail Profile instead of using your regular Mail Profile.

Note 1: For more details about creating an additional mail profile see: Adding/Recreating a Mail Profile.

Note 2: For more details about typing search query commands see:
Instant Search query commands reference

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