Outlook is smart. When you type a username into Outlook 97, 2000 and 2003, it tries to "guess" what username you are typing after a couple of keystrokes in the address field. Names will magically appear of people you have sent e-mails to in the past.

Microsoft refers to this feature internally as the "nickname" system. Nicknames are not derived from the address book or from Active Directory, but from input to the address fields. As a result, they are stored separately from both the user's address book and the Active Directory store itself.

As helpful as this feature can be, many users (and administrators) are not aware of it. Or, if they are aware of it, they may believe that the user name(s) called up by it are derived from the address book or Active Directory. As a result, users and admins alike may not notice that these names may be inaccurate or outdated. This can create problems: misdirected mail, user frustration and also slow Outlook load times if the nickname cache becomes excessively large.

You can deal with this problem in four different ways. One is to periodically delete the nickname cache, which is stored in \Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\<profile name>.nick (or \Documents and Settings\ <profile name>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\ <profile name>.nick). Outlook 2003 uses a file with the extension .NK2. Note that the profile folder may be hidden by default.

A second option is to disable the use

    Requires Free Membership to View

of nicknames entirely. In Outlook, look in Tools | Options | Email Options | Advanced E-mail Options, and uncheck "Automatic name checking" under the When sending a message section.

A third option is to use a Microsoft utility for interactively deleting nicknames from the list, found at http://support.microsoft.com/?id=242074. The fourth option is to educate users on how to manually prune the nickname list. When typing in a name in an address field, the nickname list that appears can be browsed by scrolling up or down. To delete a name from the list, simply move the highlight to the name in question and hit the Delete key.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter.

Do you have a useful Exchange tip to share? Submit it to our monthly tip contest and you could win a prize and a spot in our Hall of Fame.



This was first published in May 2004

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.