Microsoft breaks Tasks Search and Filtering in new Windows Outlook release in certain countries

Jan 23, 2018

Our office received a flurry of emails Monday and today, Tuesday, from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa stating that the latest monthly update release of Windows desktop Outlook has broken all Task module searching and filtering. [Update: Just got one Wednesday from Canada].

The reports are that manually searching in the search box in the Tasks module does not work anymore. And all filters in preset and custom views no longer work. Unfortunately, that means the MYN views in the tasks portion of the To-Do Bar also no longer work since they no longer filter out completed or future tasks.

We can’t confirm this in our office (we’re in the US and it works here), but the fascinating thing is that it turns out we have the same version and build number as those users have (Version 1712 Build 8827.2148). So this seems to be a regional issue. I asked users there to try and switch Outlook language settings to English United States, and that did not solve the problem. Since we can’t duplicate it here, we have no solutions, or ways to experiment with ones. But in the past when search stopped working Microsoft suggested treating it like a corrupted index or a corrupted Outlook install. However this does not sound like that—this sounds like a more specific and systemic bug in Outlook itself.

Workarounds?

As to workarounds, there are ways to roll back to previous versions of Outlook. We haven’t tested these, but here are two articles that provide methods of doing that.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/restore-outlook-previous-date-46283.html

https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/search-broken-outlook-2016-pop-accounts/  (this latter article is not about this particular problem, but does have a rollback method)

Or if you don’t want to roll back, another suggestion would be using a mobile app to view your MYN tasks like TaskTask (iOS) or Nine (Android). You can of course still enter tasks in desktop Outlook, and convert emails to tasks, just not view them filtered correctly in Outlook.

Or perhaps even consider switching to Toodledo for a while, to manage tasks.

If anyone finds a workaround, let us know so we can post it.

I’ve posted a Microsoft community report on this. You should go to it and reply that it is affecting you or click the “I have the same question” button. Click this link:

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/msoffice_outlook-mso_win10-mso_2016/windows-outlook-2016-task-search-and-filtering-is/fde1d1f5-57fc-46f5-a2c6-340dbd7947e1?tm=1516747772837

Michael

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8 Responses to Microsoft breaks Tasks Search and Filtering in new Windows Outlook release in certain countries

  1. Fredrik says:

    Hi,

    I experienced the same problem, I couldn’t get my MYN task bar to show after the update. Outlook kept on crashing.

    As a workaround, I created a new outlook profile and setup the MYN task bar view in it. Now I’m back in business.

    BR

    /Fredrik

  2. Michael Linenberger says:

    This should be all fixed now. If it is not fixed for you, update your copy of Outlook. That should do it. Michael

  3. David Feigal says:

    Outlook in the US was broken too with an update that came in several weeks ago. I was going to try your links to fix when an update this morning fixed the problem. The to-do list was useless. No ability to filter or sort, but I could create filters for Tasks — although could only view it as a separate page. Outlook was also unable to show all e-mails in the inbox. I don’t know if that is total fixed. The work around was to empty the inbox and then the invisible e-mails could be seen in deleted. They could be seen if moved to any other folder than in-box.

    While I have the blog … I have a suggestion. Could a field be created to number tasks so that for the same project you could have a list of several ‘next tasks in order’ Ideally as one would be completed the second in the hierarchy would appear in the to-do list. That allows focus on the next bite of large projects while setting up a couple of steps to move to completion. I set this up in MS Access to supplement my todo list but it would be great to have it in Outlook.

  4. Michael Linenberger says:

    Hi David, thanks for your comment. Interesting on your having a US issue too. Regarding your suggestion for tracking next tasks, I’ve tried to find a way to do what you suggested and never came up with an easy way that worked. If you do, let us know. All we have is the Series or MORE task where all next tasks listed inside notes section of a single task. Described in Outlook book. Thanks, Michael

  5. Jon says:

    Hi,

    One way to do this would be to create a user-defined field, add it to your saved views and also add it to a new Task form if you want. I did this to create a DEADLINE field, since we know about the issues with start and due dates in Outlook. I have been very happy with how this is working.

  6. Tony says:

    Hello.
    I’ve just installed office 365 in a new laptop and tried to set up the MYN formatting (Which I’ve been successfully using for many years) The Flag status field is not available as a selection in the column option view. I checked my other laptop – running a slightly older version of office 365. It still has the flag column showing in the task list but Flag status has also disappeared from the available column options. And it’s no longer showing in the right hand column of the Show Columns window. (Show these columns in this order) Somewhat annoying! I can see there are several other ways to mark a task as complete – but all are a bit more cumbersome.

  7. Tony says:

    Actually – I found the “complete” field. Which I added. And this puts a nice check box instead of a flag. . And it’s working just fine for completing tasks now. Which I guess is more logical – I never quite saw any other useful purpose for the flag anyway.

    • Michael Linenberger says:

      Tony, the Complete field certainly can work. There are some additional advanced options that the right click menu on the flag field offers, but we rarely talk about them, they are covered in later chapters in my Outlook book. For example, if you want to defer a group of tasks to tomorrow, shift or ctrl select the group, right click one task’s flag, and choose tomorrow. As a result the start date will be reset for all of the selected tasks at once—rather handy. Same with marking a group of older tasks with today’s start date—it’s a nice way to mark a group as Target Now all at once.

      As to why the flag is missing, there is a bug in outlook that occasionally removes it. That’s discussed in Chapter 3 of the Outlook book, as well as a solution. But if you don’t have the book then you might simply try adding the flag back this way, it might work: view settings, columns button, then in the show columns window, on the left side, find the “select available columns” dropdown, choose All Mail Fields, and then Flag Status should show up in the list on left so that you can add it to the list on right. Hope that helps.

      Michael

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