Outlook 2007 Search Disabled by Google Sync App for Outlook Plugin

So it would seem that when installing the “Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook” plugin there’s a minor issue with the Outlook 2007 client’s Instant Search Capability.  After installing the plugin the drop down for Instant Search within the Outlook client is disabled.  I suppose this is to be expected since the Google Search engine has a better grasp of the mail stored in the depths of my Google Apps mail account and its 25 GB of space.  However, when changing profiles back to my Exchange profile, I find that the Instant Search is still disabled.

Epic Fail.

While I understand Google’s intent is to be able to assist users in replacing their Exchange profile with their Google Apps e-mail profile with the sync plugin, there are those of us that will continue to use an Exchange profile and the Google Apps capability is a nice to have to be able to use the Outlook client interface.

At first, I thought perhaps this was an Outlook client issue that had been affected by SP2 or some other cumulative update that was applied, however after doing a little Googling, it seemed that no one else had reported a similar experience.  I also realized that this behaviour only became apparent after installing the Google – Outlook plugin.  So I uninstalled the plugin and wondered, “Will Instant Search work once more?”  Negative, Instant Search was still disabled.

Looking within the Search Interface, Windows Desktop Search was telling me that Indexing Outlook had been disabled by the System Administrator.  Doing a bit of digging around, it became apparent that I hadn’t disabled WDS, and the mail admins hadn’t done so either, so it was back to square one of looking through the registry to see what had been tweaked.  Where else to begin but Microsoft’s documentation pertaining to Group Policy settings and Windows Desktop Search which can be found at:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732491(WS.10).aspx

A registry key had been created at:

ComputerHKLMSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindows Search

with a registry key named “PreventIndexingOutlook” set to a value of “1”, telling WDS not to search Outlook under any means.  Simply changing this value to “0” and restarting the Outlook client and WDS and Instant Search were back up and running properly across all profiles.

Uninstalling and reinstalling the Google Sync plugin quickly reverted the registry key back to “1”, preventing WDS from indexing Outlook.  Even upon uninstalling the plugin, the registry key remained.  This seems like a bit of configuration management that should be corrected so as to ensure that users are not limited by Google’s plugin should they decide not to use it without hindering their search capabilities.

Bottom line, this is a registry change that is unexpected that is caused by the Google Sync Plugin.  Am I happy to see Google integration with the Outlook client, sure, but not at the cost of Search.

0 thoughts on “Outlook 2007 Search Disabled by Google Sync App for Outlook Plugin

  1. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the update. I was having a similiar problem with Outlook 2007 (sp2). I had downloaded Google Apps Sync and then deleted it.

    How do I make these changes to the registry as described in your post above? I am not a techie.

    Thanks,
    Vibhas

    Like

    • Vibhas,

      Because the Windows system registry is somewhat of a critical item, I would not recommend making changes to the registry directly unless you’re comfortable with working with it.

      I would recommend contacting a friend with a technical background perhaps to assist with this fix. It’s basically a simple key change value from 1 to 0.

      -Dan

      Like

  2. You should have been lucky that the Outlook search had been disabled, it is of no use for me and numerous other Outlook-Users. For that reason the search add-ins are also numerous, my favourite is lookeen, what is yours?

    Like

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