Brad Feld

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Clearing Your Microsoft Outlook AutoComplete Cache

Sep 22, 2005
Category Technology

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.