Clearing Your Microsoft Outlook AutoComplete Cache

We just changed the configuration of our mail server and as a result my Outlook AutoComplete Cache was now wrong for a number of addresses, including all of our internal addresses.  While some people find AutoComplete to be annoying (and it’s easy enough to turn off – go to Tools | Options, click Preferences, click E-mail Options, click Advanced E-mail Options, and uncheck “Suggest names while completing…” – ok – that wasn’t so easy), I’ve always loved it and it was massively annoying to start having emails bounce from people I work with every day.

So – like a good user – I started trolling around in Outlook looking for a way to clear the cache.  I knew how to delete an item one at a time (simply highlight it when AutoComplete suggests it and hit delete).  However, after a few minutes I couldn’t find the answer.

Fortunately, there’s this thing called a Help file and thankfully F1 still brings it up.  I tried the offline help just for grins.  No go – it told me how to delete one at a time, but I already knew that.  I then tried Microsoft Office Online.  Voila – Reset the nickname and automatic completion cache.  The directions on the Microsoft site are a little tedious – if you don’t know your way around the filesystem, they are perfect for you; if you do know your way around, the instructions are as follows:

  • Close Outlook
  • Rename C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\yourname.nk2 to yourname.bak
  • Start Outlook

I feel clean again.

  • Kevin

    I followed your instructions. They worked, but afterward Out look was hard to open and wasn’t responding. I tried re-opening it a couple of times, but no luck. I restored the original file to it’s proper extension and got rid of the newly created nk2 file and everything went back to normal. This account is in large company using Exxhange. Any thoughts. I would like to purge the cache without the downside.

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