I have a user who is trying to configure the Unread Mail search folder for a shared mailbox in Outlook 2007. I believe last time we accomplished this by doing an advanced find, and saving the search. However, on this computer I can't search more than one folder of the shared mailbox at a time.

Everything I have read online says this isn't possible, but we have one user who has it set up and working perfectly. There's no additional software or indexing, not even Windows Desktop Search 4.0 updates installed.


It seems like Outlook 2007 has introduced some limitations that didn't exist in Outlook 2003.

In Outlook 2007, searching multiple folders only works in the default store, not public folders, which is probably the problem you are encountering.

I have no explanation for the one client for which everything works, except if he has somehow managed to define that shared folder as his default store.

The only two solutions I can think about are :

  1. Try out Outlook 2010 - maybe searching multiple folders has been fixed
  2. Use a search tool, such a Slipstick (free) or Lookeen ($40), Lookout 1.3 (free, before it became MSN Desktop Search), Xobni (free or Pro at $29.95).


Do the following two articles contain a possible solution:

Custom Search Folders
Make Outlook 2007 search ALL folders instead of just the current folder

  • It's a shared mailbox which has been granted full access to, not a public folder exactly. – Garrett Sep 2 '10 at 7:56
  • See my edit above. – harrymc Sep 2 '10 at 14:25
  • +1 - @harrymc is correct as per usual ;) - this was removed in Outlook 2007 for "security" reasons supposedly. Is your user that is able to search on the exact same version? – JNK Sep 8 '10 at 20:31

Depending on what you are trying to achieve, in Outlook 2010 you could also:

  • go to the mailbox/directory you want to search on
  • right click in the white space chose filter, and apply any possible filtering option you could want to the folder - e.g. only unread mail, or all categories except "x", etc.
  • you can then save this as a view through the "View" tab -> "Change View" -> "Save Current View as a New View"
  • Then drag the mailbox/directory up to favorites for easy access, if desired.

To put this into context, I have the following set up:

  • share a generic mailbox with colleagues.
  • As new emails come into the mailbox I mark them with my category to show I have read it.
  • The view has a filter which excludes my category from the view, so once read it is hidden from view.
  • I have a button to unfilter the view to see read items with my category, and archive/action as appropriate.

So this is one way to bypass the restrictions with search folders on shared mailboxes.


I had problems creating search folders in a shared mailbox. The work-around was as follows:

  • Go to Tools->Instant Search->Advanced Find
  • Create Search Criteria and hit Find Now
  • Go to File->Save as Search Folder

The above steps would ONLY work for me if ALL of the following were also true:

  • On the Advanced Find screen, click Browse
  • Select the check box for the shared mailbox I wish to search
  • ALSO Select the check box for the Inbox underneath the shared mailbox I wish to search
  • ALSO select Search Subfolders at the bottom of the dialog box

Any other combination of the above, and the Save as Search Folder option would be disabled on the File Menu. We're using Outlook 2007 SP2. Good luck!


Try this: in the Outlook folder pane, scroll down to the bottom where you should see Search folders. Expand that, right-click on Unread Mail and select Customize this search folder. Click the Browse button and then click the box next to any folder you want to include in the search folder. Click OK, then OK again to save.

  • I can only see my primary mailbox when I do that, the shared mailbox isn't even in the list. – Garrett Aug 19 '10 at 16:13
  • I'm curious about what you said regarding advanced find and the shared mailbox. You said that you were unable to search on more than one folder. Normally, on the Advanced Find dialog, you can select multiple folders by clicking the Browse button. What do you see when you click Browse? – boot13 Aug 19 '10 at 22:31
  • I see a checkbox list, but when I try to select a second folder I get "The folder you selected does not let you search other folders at the same time. To search other folders, clear the check box next to this folder." Also, the "Search subfolders" check box at the bottom is greyed out. – Garrett Aug 20 '10 at 15:47
  • Can you select the topmost (root) folder of the public folders? If so, what happens when you search that? – boot13 Aug 21 '10 at 4:50
  • It only searches that level of the folder tree, and finds no messages. – Garrett Aug 31 '10 at 6:11

Disabling cached mode allowed me to search multiple folders!


In my case (using Outlook 2010 with Office365 server) I had a shared folder on Office365 that was included in my folders list because it has the Auto-Mapping attribute set for me. The primary mailbox whose coattails this appeared on was set to cached exchange mode, and I was unable to search all subfolders, and no Search Folders appeared under the shared mailbox.

After going to the "Advanced" tab of "More Settings..." in "Change Account" in the "Cached Exchange Mode Settings" group I unchecked "Download shared folders", saved the changes and had to restart Outlook.

After that, the "Search Folders" appeared under the shared mailbox, but I was still unable to select the shared mailbox or any of its folders for "Search mail in:" of the "New Search Folder" form.

However, by clicking in the search box, the Search Tools ribbon would appear and I could choose 'All Subfolders" there. Doing this at the shared mailbox root disabled the "Unread" choice from the ribbon, but I could type read:no in the search box and have it work. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any way to save this type of search.

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