Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I client of mine requested that rename one of their lists from 'All Associate Doctors' to just 'Associate Doctors'. I made the appropriate changes in Active Directory and am running into a problem with several of the Outlook 2003 clients on their network.

When most users click in the 'to' field of a new message and type 'a', a drop-down appears with all email addresses starting with 'a', including the old 'All Associate Doctors' list. It does not include the 'Associate Doctors' list. If they pick 'All Associate Doctors' from that drop-down and send the email, it bounces because the list doesn't exist anymore.

This stupid drop-down doesn't appear to be tied to the Outlook Contacts folder, or the Global Address List. It appears to be a list of everything ever typed into the 'to' box.

I tested this by addressing a message to 'joe1' and hitting send. It obviously bounced. Then I created a new message and put 'j' in the to box. Sure enough, joe1 is listed--and it shows up before the actual address 'joea'.

Apparently you can delete items from the list by typing in 'a' and then hitting the delete key for every item on the list.

Does anyone have a better way to clear this list of invalid addresses? Even better, can I set it to actually query the Global Address List or the local Contacts folder? I would even be happy disabling it rather than have people constantly mis-addressing messages.

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You're quite correct in saying that the list is not associated with the address book, or anything in exchange actually. It belongs to the client installation out Outlook, and is stored in a .NK2 file.

This is actually very useful if you've got 3 years of resolutions in there and you want to format your machine. Backing up and then restoring the NK2 file means that everythin is kept! Although you actually want the opposite in this case.

That said, you CAN delete individual entries from the NK2 file. When they type "A" and it populates with "All Associate Doctors", cursor down to it (with the keyboard, very important) and then hit the Delete key. But you already know this.

There is a freeware program that can modify NK2 files, which I guess could be scripted. You can find it here. otherwise, you can just turn AutoComplete off and stick to the AutoResolve feature (rather than getting a dropdown, Outlook resolves the names with you click Send, or press Control+K, or after a pre-determined amount of time).

share|improve this answer
That's exactly what I wanted! Thank you. My Google-fu was horrible with this question. I couldn't find that info anywhere. – Aaron C. de Bruyn Jan 5 '10 at 5:30
that being said I'd just delete the nk2 files and call it a day – Jim B Jan 5 '10 at 5:35
Probably the easiest thing to do :) And google-fu is difficult for such an obtuse topic, especially when one doesn't have the EXACT terminology. – Mark Henderson Jan 5 '10 at 6:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.