I am using Outlook 2016 on a Windows 10 laptop.

My question: Is there a way of disabling the drop down list of recent searches that automatically appears as soon as I click in the email search box? This feature could be helpful if it actually worked, but it doesn't work most of the time, and that has become extremely annoying. There is another way to select from a list of recent searches so I can do without this new(?) feature that doesn't work as expected.

I see someone else posted the same question a while back but the answer was to change something in the registry. I am definitely not comfortable nor tech-savvy enough to mess with the registry. Is there an easier option?

When I click in the search box to start a search the drop down list of recent searches immediately appears. Then one of two things happens:

  1. If I click on one of the items in the drop down list to select it, most of the time one of the OTHER items in the list pops into the search box and Outlook immediately performs that search instead.

  2. When I press Enter after manually typing in new search criteria (i.e., I don't want to use any of my previous searches shown in the drop down list), most of the time it selects one of the items from the drop down list anyway, and Outlook immediately performs that search instead.

I have noticed that if I type in search criteria and then press tab so the magnifying glass gets highlighted, the drop down list disappears (YAY!!) and THEN I can press Enter and the search is done correctly, using my new search criteria. However.....after years of using Outlook (several different versions over the years) I just can't seem to train myself to TYPE then TAB then ENTER. I should be able to just TYPE then ENTER, and Outlook should ignore any of the items in the drop down list.

Thank you for any help you can provide! Jayne


According to my knowledge, there is no option available to disable the recent searches feature in Outlook. You can only clear the recent searches MRU via deleting the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Profiles\profile-name\0a0d020000000000c000000000000046 REG_BINARY: 101f0445

You can create a .reg file as per the following Microsoft KB article to delete the registry entry as a workaround. However, it has to run the .reg file frequently as the search MRU creates once you search.

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