ICC Home / Members / Meetings / Peer Support / Documentation / Projects
The autocomplete cache:
Potential Addressing Problems for Outlook Users:
Certain changes on the Exchange side can/have invalidated cached entries on our Outlook clients. This results in mis-addressed e-mails bouncing and confused end users. The solution is to delete the autocomplete cache file---which leads us to another issue. An inherent problem with the autocomplete cache is its seeming fragility. Users have difficulties in adding addresses to their Contact folder, so they rely heavily on the autocomplete cache. Then the cache gets hosed and...
Here's How the Cache Works:(taken from the Exchange Messaging Outlook newsletter Volume 10, Number 6)
"We use Outlook 2003 and my users aren't very good at adding email addresses to the Contacts folder and rely heavily on the autocomplete cache, but it gets replaced often. Why does it seem so fragile?" First, I'll explain how the autocomplete cache works. The autocomplete cache is also known as the nickname cache and is stored as a hidden file in C:\Documents and Settings\ username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ profile_name.NK2 if you use Outlook 2002/2003. It has a limit of 1000 addresses, and new addresses are not added to it until you end the current Outlook session. There is a registry key you can edit to control the size of the nickname cache in older versions of Outlook, but it doesn't work with Outlook 2003. If the users are losing addresses of people they recently replied to, it's because Outlook crashes or does not close properly and the changes are not written to the NK2 file. The existing *.NK2 shouldn't be replaced by a clean *.NK2 if this happens, but new addresses you've sent new mail to or replied to won't be saved to the file. Less used addresses are replaced by new addresses when the NK2 contains 1000 addresses, but if something is corrupt, Outlook replaces the current NK2 with a new, clean one. If you have a mistyped address in your cache you can use the arrow keys to select the address and press Delete to remove it. You can also delete the existing NK2 file to completely clear the cache and start with a clean cache. Microsoft doesn't provide a tool to edit the nickname tool, however, if you need to view or edit the NK2 file, a third party utility called Owtlook is available. This tool allows you to edit the NK2, capture the addresses and create contacts, or populate it with frequently used addresses. Owtlook is especially useful for corporations that need to capture all addresses employees correspond with. If you're using the autocomplete cache as your address book because it's too much effort to right click on an address and save it as a new Contact, you should use a utility that creates contacts from all addresses you reply to, as the autocomplete cache is not a good substitute for contacts.
You can find a list of utilities at http://www.slipstick.com/addins/contacts.htm#data
Note: If you use an older version of Outlook, much of the above information applies, but the nickname file for older versions uses the extension .nick.
Reduce the Number of Names in the Nickname Cache (Outlook 2002)
Other vaguely related points of interest regarding autocomplete entries
For mailboxes, one will see a "legacy dn" entry within an autocomplete item such as: "<legacy dn>". This is tattooed on the object and will list the original Gatorlink username even if someone has later changed it. May bother such folks, but it cannot be helped.
For locally stored contacts, the email address will be appended, similarly within "<>" brackets such as: "<e-mail address>". This is simply an oddity of how the autocomplete items display within the Outlook user interface.
last edited 9 May 2007 by Steve Lasley