The ability to search From and Sent has not been removed. The inability is just one of the charming bugs some people are experiencing, as I was until Apple tech support gave me the aforementioned help. Maybe what helped me will help you.
Even working properly, I'm not fond of the changes made to Mail.app, but perhaps their virtues will be revealed in time. Or maybe they are an example of change merely for the sake of change.
Just need to add my two cents; get this off my chest.
Mail with Lion, searching is really bad, it's taken a step backward. I am guessing it helps iPads and iPhones do searches, but it is too limited on a desktop computer.
I like much of the new mail interface ... a lot, just not searching. Big yuk. Maybe I can reprogram myself to work and think the way Apple Mail is working, but for now, it really threw off my email management.
I went to the Apple website: http://www.apple.com/feedback/
to give feedback, but Mail is the one App that isn't listed.
I have totally given up and gone back to Outlook 2011, wish I could stay with Apple Mail, but I cannot:
Search is terrible
When ever I add a 2nd Exchange account (I need to), I lose all the sent mails of my personal account
It really is bad, very bad.
Hopefully the Zookeepers will get Lion to prioritize us long time laptop users.
This one has been bugging me for a while now too. This evening, I had time to try some things. All to no avail, but just to share my findings:
1. When I rebuild my Spotlight index, I can search within entire messages for a while. However, while the Spotlight indexing still goes on, somewhere along the way something goes wrong: the same search query which previously returned some 80 hits, suddenly literally turns up empty. Mind you: while the previous run of the query still is on the screen! I merely do a refresh ([ENTER]) of the query! Console logs nothing which indicates any problem.
2. When I kill mdworker-processes and mds from within the Activity Monitor, I can search within entire messages exactly ONCE. After that one, glorious time, it's over again. And also here, Console doesn't log anything of value.
I asked a colleague who switched to Lion recently, and he experiences the same thing (although he wasn't aware before).
Anyway, I gave this as a feedback to Apple. I'm sure they are aware of this flaw within Apple Mail 5, but it'll never hurt to put some emphasis on this. I asked my colleague to do the same.
I wanted to followup on my post. I had complained about not being able to search for arbitrary strings in the sender or "from" field. I sent a note into Feedback about it. A few weeks later I updated to OS X Version 10.7.1 and that problem is resolved. I can now enter "from:somebody" in the search bar and Mail will list out all emails that were from an email address that includes the string "somebody."
I presume they had already fixed it (pending release as 10.7.1) by the time I sent in my feedback.
zconger, I also have 10.7.1, but Mail search functionality still seems to be severely limited. I can successfully search for messages from/to recipients that are in Apple Mail's "Previous Recipients" list (see Window menu -> Previous Recipients), but NOT for messages from/to recipients who are not in this list (even if they've sent me hundreds of mails which I can clearly see if I scroll around my inbox). Is this not how it works for you? You can test by finding somebody in your "Previous Recipients" list, temporarily deleting them from that list (and making sure they're not in your Apple Address Book either), restarting Mail, and seeing whether it you can still search for messages from them. I predict you won't be able to (until sending them a message to get them back into the "Previous Recipients" list).
Coiske - it still works for me even if I delete the previous recipient from the list, but I am using a special method. Instead of typing "Sam" in the search bar and then selecting the recipient, I am typing:
Note the "from:" that I manually typed in. When I do that, Mail shows me all emails from anyone with "sam" in their email address, including:
That was the killer search feature that was not working for me before 10.7.1, and now it works.
Zconger: thanks for testing! I did try typing "from: search string" into the box, as you suggested. No dice for me. Sounds like we have slightly different issues. It seems the new Mail broke searching for a number of people, for a number of different reasons (depending on their exact configuration). My config is IMAP with "Keep copies of messages for offline viewing" disabled. Under this configuration, search works perfectly for people in your "Previous Recipients" list (or Address Book), but not at all for people who aren't in either of these two lists. I know other users with other mail account configurations are also having trouble with search, but I suspect the root causes of their problems may be slightly different.
After upgrade to Lion, endless Mail quits when trying to search. Thanks to previous tip, deleted the offending:
/MailRecents-v4.abcdmr (in Library/application support/AddressBook) [why you cannot just "go" to "library" is beyond comprehension, enormous step backwards!]
and search now seems to working as it should.
I have been driven crazy with just about everything since upgrading to Lion.
The searching in Mail not bringing up results was particularly useless, to the point of manually trawling through my inbox to make sure there really was the message there, which is just NOT sustainable, but the "from: (search name)" absolutely did the trick for me, and everything I was looking for managed to come up, so thank you!
How can this be called progress?!