Microsoft Outlook autocomplete vs. Address Book

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AutoCompleteThis kb article from Microsoft kb 2199226 shows exactly why it is important to save your important Outlook contacts in your address book properly rather than just rely on the false pretense that they are safe in the autocomplete forever.  They are temporary, not permanent and if you read the kb article carefully you’ll see there are limits as well as to how many contacts you can store.

Maybe the limits are enough, and yes, you can backup Outlook 2007 and earlier versions of Outlook automatically by including the correct location in your backups, but 2010 and earlier require a special procedure outlined in great detail in the kb2199226 article I mentioned above.

I tell my clients all the time to add their contacts they want to keep in their address book but they insist on relying on their auto complete which gets quit extensive.  This becomes a huge problem potentially if the computer crashed and the database that stores the auto complete emails were not backed up.  Here’s the summary below.

  1. You are limited to 1,000 email addresses using auto complete in all versions of Outlook with the exception of Outlook 2007 having 2,000.  Before and after 2007 version is 1,000.
  2. Outlook 2007 and earlier stored backups in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.nk2
    Simply backup that file and you’re ok.
  3. Outlook 2010 and earlier stored backups in a way that you need a special program with detailed instructions to backup.  You must refer to Microsoft’s instructions in kb2199226.

So, again I recommend storing important contacts in your address book so they are included in your regular backups.  That is of course assuming you are even doing regular backups.  If you are using Outlook 2010 or later and your computer crashes, you’ve basically lost all those contacts.  We would only be able to recover the address book included in your Outlook data file.

About Daniel Gauthier

work as a peace officer in various forms. Daniel wrote a book in 2009 called “Tech-Knowledgy” which got him on television and radio a few times. The concept behind the book was “to level the playing field between computer techs and non-techies so they don’t get take advantage of”. Daniel has a couple certifications including MCP and A+; he is preparing to write the Network+ exam and has studied CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator). Daniel has run his own computer service business “TwinBytes” since 2004. He has done a few talks on cyber security and generally enjoys training, educating and helping others.