Outlook 2003 Has No NK2 File and doesn't retain users between restarts

Posted on 2006-05-03
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Here is the situation:

Outlook 2003 opens and doesn't have any user information when typing a name in the To: field.  When you send one email to one user, for the entirity of that session, the user you sent an email to will be suggested per the "Suggest names when completing" box (which is checked under the Tools|Options|Email Options|Advanced tab).
Once the user exits Outlook 2003 and reenters, the information is not retained.  The send first situation can be recreated, but Outlook 2003 seems not to be saving the sender info between Outlook instances.


I found out where Outlook saves the file.  Under Documents and Settings|*User*|Application Data|Microsoft|Outlook.  When you go there and turn on all the appropriate view options (Tools|FolderOptions|View, Show the Hidden files and uncheck the Hide files) you don't see a NK2 file.  A search for NK2 files yield no results.  I created a dummy NK2 file hoping that Outlook would latch on to it.  It exists in the appropriate place, but stays at 0KB and the problem persists.

I have not tried an uninstall and reinstall yet.    

Has anyone else experienced this problem and/or know how to fix it?  It looks like Outlook 2003 just isn't writing the To: addresses to the file or is incapable somehow of creating the file.  All users have admin access to the computer.

Question by:crjohn0
    LVL 97

    Expert Comment

    Greetings, crjohn0 !

    The NK2 file could be corrupted.  Delete all NK2 files while Outlook is closed.  Then open Outlook should create a new NK2 file.

    You can view or edit your NK2 file with NK2CSV utility

    Best wishes!

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the suggestion, but as the original post said, no NK2 file exists.  It just isn't there.

    I have tried a detect and repair in Outlook.  I have also tried to create an NK2 file under Documents and Settings|*user*|Local Settings|Application Data|Microsoft|Outlook, but that didn't work either.

    LVL 97

    Assisted Solution


    Did you unhide hidden files?  NK2 is a hidden file. Go to any folder and select Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders". Click OK.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    More info .......

    You would need to search for *.pst to find it.  (not .pst)
    Also when checking the "show hidden files and folders", uncheck the "hide file extensions for known file types".

    The name will be Outlook.nk2, identified as an "Outlook Data File"
    Copy and paste the following into IE or Windows explorer to take you directly there...

    After you get the feature to work (at least temporarily), before closing Outlook, go back and look for it again.  It must be somewhere (at least temporarily), for it to work at all.

    Assuming the previous has been followed correctly ......
    You may have to repair the Outlook installation.

    Author Comment

    Yes, war1, as stated in the original post, I made sure that Show Hidden Files was checked.
    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    What about the rest?

    Author Comment

    Hi meintsi and thanks for the suggestion.

    I apologize that I didn't elaborate, but I did use the appropriate syntax when searching for the nk2 file.  Like I said in the original, there is no NK2 file.  It just doesn't get created.  Even when I have Outlook working correctly, the file isn't created.  Even temporarily.  

    I did figure out a solution.  It looks like the .NICK file that existed in that directory might have been corrupt.

    What I tried was, after exiting Outlook, was deleting the *entire* Outlook folder that was contained under Documents and Settings|%user%|ApplicationData|Microsoft.  

    When I restarted Outlook, it recreated everything and the NK2 file now exists.

    Although neither of you offered the correct solution, I feel I should distribute the points for your offers for help and persistence.

    Thanks and hopefully my solution will help others in the future.
    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    This must have been an upgrade installation.

    The NICK file was used for AUTORESOLUTION in Outlook 2000 and earlier.
    This has been replaced by the AUTOCOMPLETE feature starting with Outlook 2002 and later which use .nk2 files.

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