How to reset the nickname and the automatic completion caches in Outlook

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Summary
Microsoft Outlook maintains a nickname list that is used by both the automatic name checking feature and the automatic completion feature. The nickname list is generated automatically as you use Outlook. If the nickname cache is corrupted, Outlook may be unable to identify recipients, may offer incorrect recipients when automatically completing the email address, or may send the message to the wrong person.

Unlike earlier versions of Outlook that store the nickname cache in a file on your computer, Outlook 2010 and later versions store the nickname cache in your primary message store. For example, if you are using a Microsoft Exchange Server account, your nickname cache is stored in a hidden message in your mailbox. 

How to remove nickname cache entries, one at a time

Outlook 2010 and later versions

  1. Open a new email message.
  2. Type the first few characters of the nickname cache entry that you want to remove from the cache.
  3. When the entry appears in the list of suggested names, move your mouse pointer over the name until it becomes highlighted, but do not click the name.
  4. When the “X” icon appears next to the highlighted name, click X to remove the name from the list.

Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003

  1. Open a new email message.
  2. Type the first few characters of the nickname cache entry that you want to remove from the cache.
  3. When the entry appears in the list of suggested names, use the UP and DOWN arrow keys on your keyboard to select the entry, and then press DELETE on your keyboard.

How to clear the whole nickname cache

To have us clear the whole nickname cache for you, go to the "Here's an easy fix" section. If you prefer to fix this problem yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Here's an easy fix:

To fix this problem automatically, click the Download button. In the File Download dialog box, click Run or Open , and then follow the steps in the easy fix wizard.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.
  • If you're not on the computer that has the problem, save the easy fix solution to a flash drive or a CD, and then run it on the computer that has the problem.
For Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2008 R2


For Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2003





Let me fix it myself

Outlook 2010 and later versions

To reset the whole Outlook nickname cache for Outlook 2010 and later versions, use one of the following methods: 
Method 1
  1. Open Outlook.
  2. On the File tab, click Options.
    The screen shot for this step

  3. Click the Mail tab.
    The screen shot for this step
  4. Under Send Messages, click Empty Auto-Complete List.
  5. Click Yes.
Outlook will generate a new nickname cache.


Method 2
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Start Outlook by using the /CleanAutoCompleteCache switch. To do this, type Outlook.exe /CleanAutoCompleteCache

    Note If Outlook is not installed in the default location, you must point to the path of Outlook.exe.
Outlook will generate a new nickname cache.

Outlook 2002 through Outlook 2007

Windows 7 or Windows Vista
To reset the whole Outlook nickname cache, follow these steps:
  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Click Start, and then click Computer.
    The screen shot for this step
  3. Click Organize, and then click Folder and search options.
    The screen shot for this step
  4. On the View tab, click Show hidden files, folders, and drives.
    The screen shot for this step
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, and then click Run.
  7. In the Run dialog box, type the following command (including the quotation marks), and then click OK:

    “C:\ Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook”


    NoteUsername in this path is the name of the currently logged on Windows user.
  8. Right-click the .NK2 file that has name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  9. Rename the file as profilename.bak, and then press Enter.
  10. Start Outlook.
Windows XP
To reset the whole Outlook nickname cache, follow these steps:
  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Click Start, and then click Search.
  3. In the Search Companion panel on the left, click All files or folders.
  4. In the All or part of the file name: box, type *.NK2.
  5. In the Look In box, click to select your local hard disk.
  6. Click More advanced options, and then click to select the Search hidden files and folders check box.
  7. Click Search.
  8. Right-click the .NK2 file that has the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  9. Rename the file to profilename.bak, and then press Enter.
  10. Close Windows Explorer.
  11. Restart Outlook.
Outlook will generate a new nickname cache.

To reset the Outlook nickname cache for Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), follow these steps:
  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Start Windows Explorer.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  4. Under Advanced Settings, click to select the Show hidden files and folders check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Start, point to Search, and then click For Files or Folders.
  7. In the Search for Files and Folders box, type *.NK2 in the Search for files or folders named box.
  8. In the Look In box, click to select your local hard disk.
  9. Click Search Now.
  10. Right-click the .NK2 file that has the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  11. Rename the file to profilename.bak, and then press Enter.
  12. Close Windows Explorer.
  13. Restart Outlook.
Outlook will generate a new nickname cache.

To reset the Outlook nickname cache for both Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and Microsoft Windows 98, follow these steps:
  1. Exit Outlook.
  2. Start Windows Explorer.
  3. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  4. Under Advanced Settings, click to select the Show all files check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Start, point to Search, and then click For Files or Folders.
  7. In the Named box, type *.NK2.
  8. In the Look In box, click to select your local hard disk.
  9. Click Find Now.
  10. Right-click the .NK2 file that has the name of the profile that you want to reset, and then click Rename.
  11. Rename the file to profilename.bak, and then press Enter.
  12. Close Windows Explorer.
  13. Restart Outlook.
Outlook will generate a new nickname cache.

Did this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
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Article ID: 287623 - Last Review: 08/15/2016 03:53:00 - Revision: 15.0

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2002 Standard Edition, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016

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