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Outlook missing older auto-suggest email addresses

Posted on 2015-02-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2015-02-24
We recently switched domain controllers and therefore have new user accounts. The workstations had to have Outlook set up for the new user account. We did import all the mail, calendars and contacts from the previous "user".

When composing a new message, we used to be able to start typing an email and Outlook would auto-suggest the rest of the address. That still works when sending to contacts, or when sending to someone previously sent with the new setup, but all the people sent-to pre-conversion no longer auto-suggest. Why not?

Can I fix this?
Question by:jmarkfoley
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 40622663
This is for the outlook auto complete list.  First close Outlook.

If the prior user account is still saved on that workstation, you can go into the user profile folder and find the nk2 file in Outlook folder.  You will need to have hidden files and folders shown to find it.  You'll need admin privileges to traverse the folders.


Open in new window

There should be a file in there like olduserprofile.nk2.  If that file is there, then you can copy it to the same path but in the new user profile to replace that nk2 file, it may need to be renamed to match.  However, this will wipe out your new auto-complete entries recently made.
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

cpmcomputers earned 400 total points
ID: 40622764
Outlook 2010/2013
Does not use the nk2 file
The entries are stored in the users profile as an auto stream file  

Expert Comment

by:Phil Coulson
ID: 40622843
Hey there,

In order to resort this problem all you need to do is check that the NK2 file exists or not. If it exists follow these steps:

1. Copy the old nk2-file to the following folder

For Windows Vista/7/8
For Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Settings\Microsoft\Outlook

2. Rename the nk2-file to the name of your mail profile

As you find the nk2 file, rename it to your profile name. The default profile name is "Outlook", so the new name for the nk2 file will be "Outlook.nk2".
Start Outlook with the /importnk2 switchas defined below:
Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
Start-> type; outlook.exe /importnk2

Windows XP
Start-> Run; outlook.exe /importnk2
The Screen shot defines where to type outlook.exe/importnk2

Outlook will now process the nk2-file and import it into a hidden property of the mailbox but not in the actual Suggested Contacts folder in Outlook 2010 (Outlook 2013 no longer uses this folder).

follow this process, hope this will sort out your problem. For any further queries feel free to contact back.

*but this is only applicable for Outlook 2010 and below.

Phil Coulson
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Author Comment

ID: 40623283
I guess I should have mentioned, older Outlook versions were 2007 and 2010. The 2007 users have now been migrated to 2013. I do have access to the old user accounts in C:\Users\...\Outlook\ however, even for the former 2007 users there are no .nk2 files.

cpmcomputer's link say, "In Microsoft Outlook 2010, the Auto-Complete List is no longer saved in a file with an extension of .nk2. The Auto-Complete List entries are now saved in your Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox or in the Outlook Data File (.pst) for your account."

Outlook 2010/2013 ...  The entries are stored in the users profile as an auto stream file
I have the .pst files exported from the original Exchange .ost's. So, where can I find these auto-complete  "stream" files?
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 40623954
Ok first for outlook 2007

The autocomplete feature is contained in an nk2 file in the users profile
It is located as a hidden file so make sure
" show hidden files and protected system  files is set and also show extensions for known files is ticked
There are three tick boxes  

See this link for details
That should allow you to see the nk2 files
In the old profiles
I think it is stored at
(This from memory "local" may be "roaming"
So you may need to fish around
Sorry I do not have a pc to refer to and many google articles specify the wrong folder

Copy the file to the same location in the new profiles and run
Outlook.exe /importnk2 from an elevated command prompt

For outlook2010 a bit more complex

Caution these processes will overwrite any new folders since you moved the profiles

Expert Comment

by:Phil Coulson
ID: 40625268
Hey there once again,

Okay, so the location for the auto-complete  "stream" files is,


This folder will contain "Stream_Autocomplete.dat" files. For further reference please visit the link below:

I guess this might solve your problem. In case of any doubt feel free to discuss.

Best Regards

Author Comment

ID: 40627336
Altering the folder view options did the trick helping me locate nk2 files. For Outlook 2007 these files are in C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook, per Phil Colson's post.

Also, for Outlook 2010 users, I did find the Stream_Autocomplete...dat files in C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\RoamCache\

I've successfully copied the 2010 Stream_Autocomplete file per cpmcomputers' link. I've asked the user to let me know if it works.

Meanwhile, slight wrinkle with the nk2 files. I have located and copied them. But, the 2007 users have now been upgraded to 2013 directly. So, how do I import those nk2 files? Can I still do: outlook.exe /importnk2? I don't want to experiment!

Accepted Solution

Phil Coulson earned 1600 total points
ID: 40627526

Ok, so now to import the nk2 files, all you have to do is follow these simple steps:

1. [b]First make sure that the .nk2 file is in the following folder [i](although you have already done that)[/i][/b]


Note: before proceeding further you should make sure that the .nk2 file must have the same name as your current Outlook 2013 profile. The default, profile name is "Outlook".
In case you want to check the profile name, follow these steps:

a) Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
b) Double-click Mail.
c)  In the Mail Setup dialog box, click Show Profiles.

2. [b]Click Start, and then click Run.[/b]

Type run in the search bar and click on 'run'.As you can see i have typed 'run'. Click on the run to open the application.

3. [b]In the Open box, type outlook.exe /importnk2, and then click OK. [/b]

Type 'outlook.exe /importnk2'This should import the .nk2 file into the Outlook 2013 profile.

Note After you import the .nk2 file, the contents of the file are merged into the existing nickname cache that is currently stored in your mailbox.Caution: The .nk2 file is renamed with a .old file name extension on the first start of Outlook 2013. Therefore, if you try to re-import the .nk2 file, remove the .old file name extension.

As far as i am concerned this will definitely get the job done for you. Hope this information satisfies your doubt. Any further query is always welcome.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 40627534
Agree with phil
His procedure should sort your final issue

Author Comment

ID: 40629617
Looks like those procedures for both Outlook 2010 and  Outlook 2007 -> 2013 worked! Thanks! Great to have access to such expertise.

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