Outlook 2010 restore Auto-Complete (Nicknames)

regisit used Ask the Experts™
I recently setup a new SBS 2011 box. As this was a tiny network with only 3 users, rather than go through a full-on migration from SBS2003, I took the simple route and set up a new domain and migrated the accounts, files and email manually.

Was previously using Outlook 2010 on the old SBS2003 box, hence the .NK2 nicknames file was no longer used and autocomplete entries were stored in the mailbox "hidden message".

For email I exported the entire mailbox to PST from Outlook 2010, then imported into the new SBS 2011 mailbox. However, this lost all the autocomplete entries. Seems the hidden message containing this information is not exported to PST.

I've tried to use the trick of copying the old Stream_Autocomplete_*.dat local cache file and renaming to the current file. But all that happens when I restart Outlook is that Stream_Autocomplete cache file is refreshed from the Exchange mailbox hidden message, overwriting all the entries with what's now in the mailbox hidden message.

The principle behind this move from using .NK2 files was a good one, but as Microsoft apparently didn't think to provide a means to export/import autocomplete entries from the hidden message, anyone have any ideas on how to recover autocomplete entries back into the mailbox hidden message?

I've seen other workarounds involving using contacts, but the vast majority of autocomplete entries are not contacts (and I don't want them all as contacts).
Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
Interesting issue,

I have seen some chatter saying that you can use NIRSOFT's NK2Edit to open the new cache and copy in the files from the old cache.  The tool is pretty easy to use, but i am not sure if the cache will be overwritten again afte you reopen outlook.

One thought, you may be able to open the old .dat file in NK2View or NK2Edit and save it as a pst, then use the outlook /importnk2 switch to import the contents in to your new .dat file in your roaming cache.


Thanks, that occurred to me too, but as far as I can tell, NK2Edit can open and save NK2 files as autocomplete stream files, but not the other way around. I've tried searching for a utility that will convert the new stream autocomplete files to NK2, but nothing so far.

I'll download and try it.
Cracked it!

The key to replacing the stream_autocomplete file is to get Outlook to recognise the local cache copy has changed and thus sync the local cache back to the mailbox hidden message. This is what happens when you make changes while working offlne.

So before replacing the local cache file with a copy that has previous autocomplete entries to restore, set Outlook to work offline and close Outlook. Then replace the local cache file (as shown in the link below). Once replaced, set Outlook back online and it will retain the local cache of autocomplete entries and sync them back to the mailbox.



Half-points awarded for proposing a solution and taking the time to respond.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial