We have just migrated from GroupWise to Exchange and I have a question about the auto-complete feature when composing new emails.

When creating a new email it doesn't seem to be searching the Global Address Book, or perhaps it is incredibly slow.

It seems to be indexing addresses after a user sends an email to them, and the auto-complete performance for these is good, but an address they haven't sent to does not auto-populate from our Global Address Book.

It works from within the Address Book, but not when composing a new mail.

This was the default behaviour for GroupWise, is there a way we can achieve this with Exchange?


That is just how the Outlook name cache works. Use CTRL + K to quickly check a partial name against the default address book; otherwise, just use Outlook for a week or so and the name cache will fill up with your contacts.

One think to keep in mind, is that when moving people between machines, don't forget to copy the name cache over (NK2 file located in appdata\microsoft\outlook) so they don't have to repopulate it.

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  • Ooh, I didn't know about the NK2 file! I'm going back to my old PC right now to copy it! – Mark Henderson Aug 20 '09 at 3:27
  • Thanks. I didn't know about the NK2 file. We're a TS environment, with people working between several offices, so that will come in handy. I guess people will just have to live with it until it gets some use. – LukeR Aug 20 '09 at 8:47
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    dovetailing off DLux's answer, you can compose an email, click the "To:" button, click the 1st email address, scroll to the bottom, press ctrl+a and click "To->" then ctrl+k, click "OK" then discard the email. This will fill the NK2 file with those addresses. – Keith Aug 21 '09 at 21:35
  • @Keith, great tip – prestomation Sep 16 '09 at 20:18

Another thing to keep in mind about the cache is that it can contain bad data. If you send the first email to a contact, but punch in an incorrect address, the cache will remember that incorrect address. I've seen many tickets for this issue.

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Outlook is a bit funny like that. Addresses you've used before that are in cache are instantly translated to their correct format, but addresses that have never been used often don't appear to be checked right until sending (especially for a large address book).

Try this for a test. Compose an email, type the persons name (or part of their name) in the "To", and just hit send anyway. Outlook will then attempt to resolve it to a Global Address Book entry on sending.

It means that you won't know if it's going to work right until you hit send, but it should still work.

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What DLux said, plus you can create a new email select everyone from the address book, then DON'T send the email, this should put the entire address book in the cache.

I migrated our system from GroupWise to Exchange about 5 months ago. Get ready to find a lot of little things that you say "But in Groupwise that was easy..." I miss it.

The NK2 file format is undocumented but some have reverse engineered it, there is a discussion of it here

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