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I'm having the exact same problem. Tried creating a new test project, and that seems to work just fine, so I have to assume it's something in the project itself rather than something going on with the application. Anyone have any insight?
I actually tried that pretty early in the process, but still ran into the same problem. The good news, though, is that I seem to have fixed the project. It's a bit of a kludge, but whatever works.
I opened the *.hhp file for the project in question in Notepad, then opened the *.hhp file for another project that had the search tab, and compared them. I ended up making the following changes in the problematic project's *.hhp file to make their settings match:
In the OPTIONS section, changed Full-text search to Yes.
In the WINDOWS section, changed the settings for the project's main window to the following:
"Project Title","project.hhc","project.hhk","","",,,,,0x40040520 (etc.)
That last number in the line was something entirely different originally, and I think that's where the problem lay. Saved and closed the file, then recompiled and the tab now shows up.
Hope this helps!