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I am working with a user in my organization who recently had her mailbox contents restored and now is unable to add entries to her autocompletion list.

We are all using Exchange 2010 and Outlook 2010 on Windows 7. The user's mailbox was originally corrupted when one of our Exchange Servers dropped a LUN, and the user's mailbox was subsequently restored from backup using NetApp SMBR (Single Mailbox Restore).

Specifically, the user is able to remove people from their autocomplete cache, and those changes appear to be persisted into their mailbox. But adding people to the cache never works. Here's what I've tried already:

  1. Ensure that Cached Exchange Mode is turned off
  2. Created a new mail profile
  3. Logged into a completely different Windows 7 desktop
  4. Deleted the contents of "Suggested Contacts"
  5. Clicked "Empty AutoComplete List" in Outlook preferences
  6. Ran Outlook.exe with the flag /CleanAutoCompleteCache

But in every case, we are still unable to save any autocomplete entries from Outlook.

Also note that I tried this in Outlook Web Access, but because OWA uses a different autocomplete cache than Outlook, the user had no problems at all in OWA. This is strictly limited to the Outlook desktop client.

Which brings me to the reason I'm asking this question on ServerFault and not SuperUser. Clearly the user's mailbox on the Exchange server is somehow damaged. I would restore from backup, but restoring from backup is how I got into this mess in the first place. The user's mailbox is large (5+ GB) so ideally I would like to repair in-place.

  • Are there other possible causes of problems with autocompletion that I haven't considered?
  • Are there any solutions that are likely to restore full functionality? Is there some way to re-export and re-import the mailbox that would keep everything intact?
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The autocomplete list is stored as an hidden message w/ the subject "IPM.Configuration.Autocomplete" in the Inbox folder of the user's mailbox. You can't get at it with Outlook, but other tools will let you.

Call me heavy-handed, but I think I'd grab a copy of MFCMAPI and use it to backup an then delete the autocomplete cache. (As an aside: MFCMAPI is just a fun tool to use to go digging around in the innards of a mailbox with.)

Microsoft has some step-by-step directions in the knowledge base. There's some talk of "corruption" of the autocomplete list in that article that's worth looking at, too.

  • Sounds deep... but definitely interesting. – ewwhite Oct 7 '14 at 2:38
  • Thanks for the lead! I'll definitely try it out. The user I'm working with is on vacation, so I'll update in a week or so. – Nic Oct 8 '14 at 20:13

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