How to Delete Recent Searches in Outlook

By Craig Witt

Microsoft Outlook is one of the world's most widely used personal information management applications. It allows users to send, receive, manage and search email messages, maintain calendars and to-do lists, keep track of contacts through its address book, and much more. By default, Outlook stores search history data to help speed up future searches when the user looks for the same information. If you want to remove these history items from Outlook, delete the stored values using the Windows Registry Editor.

Step 1

Click the Windows "Start" button and select "Run."

Step 2

Type "regedit" and click "OK" to open the Windows Registry Editor.

Step 3

Locate the top-level Registry folder labeled "HKEY_CURRENT_USER," and then click the arrow or "+" icon next to the folder to expand it. Repeat the process for the following sub-folders: "Software" > "Microsoft" > "Office" > "XX.0" > "Outlook." The "XX" placeholder corresponds to the version number of your Outlook installation (e.g., "11.0" for Outlook 2003 or "12.0" for Outlook 2007).

Step 4

From the "Outlook" Registry folder, open the "Contact" folder, followed by the "QuickFindMRU" folder. Right-click the Registry value on the right-hand side of the screen labeled "QuickFindMRU," click "Delete," and then confirm your choice when prompted. Outlook 2007 users can skip this step.

Step 5

Return to the "Outlook" Registry folder, and then open the "Contact" folder, followed by the "StripSearchMRU" folder. Right-click the Registry value on the right-hand side of the screen labeled "StripSearchMRU," click "Delete," and then confirm your choice when prompted.

Step 6

Return to the "Outlook" Registry folder, and then open the "Preferences" folder. Right-click the Registry value on the right-hand side of the screen labeled "LocationMRU," click "Delete," and then confirm your choice when prompted.

Step 7

Return to the "Outlook" Registry folder, and then open the "Office Finder" folder. Right-click the Registry value on the right-hand side of the screen labeled "MRU 1," click "Delete," and then confirm your choice when prompted. Repeat the process for the value labeled "MRU 3."

Step 8

Close the Windows Registry Editor. By deleting the appropriate Registry values, your recent search history is removed from Outlook.

Tips & Warnings

  • Outlook 2007 users must remove two additional Registry values. Return to the top-level "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" folder, and then expand the following sub-folders: "Software" > "Microsoft" > "WindowsNT" > "CurrentVersion" > "Windows Messaging Subsystem" > "Profiles" > "Outlook" > "0a0d020000000000c000000000000046." Right-click the Registry value on the right-hand side of the screen labeled "101f0445," click "Delete," and then confirm your choice when prompted. Repeat the process for the value labeled "101f0446."