where does Outlook Express store autofill / autocomplete

Posted on 2012-03-19
Last Modified: 2012-03-21
Hi, I have a dude who lost his autofill information in Outlook Express.  I was wondering where this is stored.  Is it like Outlook using the nk2 file, or is it something else.

Thank You
Question by:Dan
  • 2
LVL 38

Accepted Solution

BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 37741070
If you are referring to autocompletion of email addresses, then Outlook Express does not actually store these in the same way as Microsoft Outlook does.  The "Windows Address Book",  also referred to by some as the "Outlook Express Contacts" exists as a *.WAB file which by default will be :

C:\Documents and Settings\<UserName>\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\<UserName>.wab

That should be the same as this:

"%userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\%username%.wab"

When autocomplete is enabled, all that happens is that Outlook Express does a lookup of the contacts in that *.WAB file and matches as you type.

If the user has lost the "autocomplete" feature, then I would say that it is either because autocomplete has been disabled, or the user's address book file is damaged or has been moved.

Check to see if the user's *.wab file is where it is expected.  The path is stored as the (Default) String Value in the registry key:
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WAB\WAB4\Wab File Name]

Check to see if the *.wab file opens to display the contacts when double-clicked.

If that is all fine, then verify that autocomplete is enabled:
Outlook Express > Tools menu > Options > Send tab > "Automatically complete email addresses when composing".

Hopefully you can get to the bottom of this.

Author Comment

ID: 37743258
Wow, thanks that does it, one last thing.  The user believes that there were more email addresses selectable from the auto fill than he has in his wab.

could this be?  if not, I believe he may be on crack.

Thanks, that was a great reply.
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 37746109
Thank you CrunchyTime.

I wouldn't like to risk suggesting that the dude's on crack, but I don't think it's possible.  I would have to test something for a definitive answer, but I think it will only autocomplete on the "default" email address for each of the contacts in the Windows Address Book.  If you are familiar with Outlook Express, then you will be aware that it is possible to add any number of old and new email addresses under one contact, but only one will be set as the default one.  Well I think the autocomplete only looks at the default email addresses.

Maybe the guy is on crack, because I don't really see any compelling reason to start guessing email addresses and wait for Outlook Express to guess what I'm typing and fill it in - not when the address book is so handy to open from the buttons beside the To, CC, and BCC fields.  If sorted alphabetically on surname or first name it's just a case of scrolling a very short distance and selecting.

I'm at a disadvantage because I never have autocomplete enabled for anything, but I wonder whether the "Windows autocomplete" and Internet Explorer autocomplete may also affect Outlook Express.  I don't think this will have any influence on the autocomplete behaviour of Outlook Express though, and I would be inclined to wonder what you have begun to believe of this person's smoking habits ;-)

Easy way to test I suppose.  Get him to deliberately start typing some names or email addresses into Outlook Express that he knows are not in the address book.  Easy way to print a reference list of names is to open the address book and File menu > Export > "Other Address Book" and choose *.CSV.  Select only the names and email addresses.  Either print from Notepad or open in Excel and print a "names list".


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