How to reset the Outlook nickname autocompletion cache Print

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This article applies to Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007/2003 and Microsoft Outlook® 2002.

Outlook maintains a "nickname" list that is used by both the automatic name checking and the AutoCompletion features. The nickname list is automatically compiled as you address email messages. If the nickname cache becomes corrupt, Outlook may not be able to identify recipients, may offer incorrect recipients, may send to an incorrect or old email address, or may send the message to the wrong person.

If you are having problems with a single recipient, you can easily delete the one cached entry as shown in the following section, "Delete a single cached entry". Otherwise, proceed to the section titled "To delete your Nickname Cache file" further below.

To delete a single cached entry:

  • Open Outlook
  • Open a new message window; go to the File menu and choose New - Mail Message.
  • Type one or more letters of the recipient name or address; this will show memorized (cached) entries in a drop-down list.
  • Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the entry to be deleted. With the entry highlighted, press the DEL or DELETE key or your keyboard.
  • This removes the entry from your autocompletion cache.

To delete your Nickname Cache file:

Use the following steps that are appropriate for your version of Microsoft Windows to reset the Outlook nickname cache. After you restart Outlook, Outlook generates a new nickname cache.

Microsoft Windows Vista:

  • Exit Outlook
  • Click the Start Menu
  • Click Search
  • Click Advanced Search
  • Check the box for Include non-indexed, hidden, and system files (might be slow)
  • Search for *.NK2 in the Name field
  • Right-click the .NK2 file with the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  • Rename the file to profile name.bak, and then press ENTER.
  • Exit Windows Explorer.
  • Restart Outlook.

Microsoft Windows XP

  • Exit Outlook.
  • Start Microsoft Windows Explorer.
  • On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  • Under Advanced Settings, select the Show hidden files and folders check box.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Start, point to Search, and then click All files or folders.
  • In the Search Companion box, type *.NK2 in the All or part of the file name box.
  • In the Look in box, select your local hard disk drive.
  • Click Search.
  • Right-click the .NK2 file with the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  • Rename the file to profile name.bak, and then press ENTER.
  • Exit Windows Explorer.
  • Restart Outlook.

Microsoft Windows 2000:

  • Exit Outlook.
  • Start Windows Explorer.
  • On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  • Under Advanced Settings, select the Show hidden files and folders check box.
  • Click OK.
  • Click Start, point to Search, and then click For Files or Folders.
  • In the Search for Files or Folders box, type *.NK2 in the File name box.
  • In the Look in box, select your local hard disk drive.
  • Click Search Now.
  • Right-click the .NK2 file with the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  • Rename the file to profile name.bak, and then press ENTER.
  • Exit Windows Explorer.
  • Restart Outlook.


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