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How to Copy the Autocomplete Information to a New Outlook Profile

Posted: Monday, January 10th, 2011 by Kevin

Whether you are moving to a new Hosted Exchange solution or you are just recreating your profile on a new machine, one of the most difficult things to lose is your automatically filled list of email addresses. Thankfully, these are stored locally on your machine and can be migrated to your new profile. Here is what you need to do:

IMPORTANT:   You must exit Outlook before starting the following procedure. The names will be included in AutoComplete when you restart Outlook.

For Outlook 2003 and 2007

1. On the computer with the saved AutoComplete names,

  • On an XP machine, go to drive:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
  • On a Vista machine, go to drive:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

NOTE   Depending on your file settings, this folder might be hidden. To view the files in this folder, do the following:

  1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings, under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

2. Right-click profile name.nk2, and then click Copy.

TIP   You can copy the file to removable media, such as a floppy disk or a CD, and then copy the file to the correct location on the other computer. Or you can attach the file to an e-mail message and send the message to yourself. On the new computer, open the attachment in Outlook, and then save it to the correct location.

3. On the computer where you want to populate the AutoComplete feature, copy the file to drive:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.

4. If the Outlook user profile name is different on the computer where you are moving the .nk2 file, you must rename the file with the same Outlook user profile name after you copy it to the correct folder. For example, if you move Kim Akers.nk2 from the original computer with an Outlook user profile name of Kim Akers, and you copy the Kim Akers.nk2 file to the new computer, you must rename it with the Outlook profile name being used on the new computer.

5.If you are creating a new profile on the same machine, you will want to rename the .nk2 file that was created for your new profile and then rename the imported .nk2 file to the new profile name. For Example, if your new profile was profile2.nk2, you could rename it profile2.nk2.old. Then you would rename profile1.nk2 as profile2.nk2

6. If prompted about replacing the existing file, click Yes.

7. Open Outlook to view changes.

For Outlook 2010

1. Open the start menu and type in:


2. The Auto Complete file starts with Stream_Autocomplete and ends in .dat

3. Pay careful attention to the dates these were last edited. The new profile will have the most recent date. Copy the full file name from the old autocomplete file and replace the new on with that name. When prompted, overwrite and you should be able to open Outlook with all of your autocomplete data

5 Responses to “How to Copy the Autocomplete Information to a New Outlook Profile”

  1. Andrew says:

    For XP the Outlook 2010 .dat file is located in “drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook”

  2. Hafed Ghamdi says:

    Thx for this great and excellent article, it was really helpful.

    We are facing a case with one of our users who just got most of his Autocomplete information disappeared from his outlook and OWA. Moreover, we found an old Autocomplete file.dat has a big size and we used to receover most of the lost data. However, now these contacts do not show in OWA but only in outlook. Is this recoevery proceess will update the owa autocomplete contacts (on the server side) or it is going to be only valid on the workstation only.


  3. Lance says:

    Wow! This worked on the first try! Thank you for sharing this information.

  4. KC says:

    I’ve been looking high and low for these instructions. I just switched a law firm over from an in-house Exchange sever to Microsoft Online Exchange Services. After the conversation, no ones auto-complete worked. I made a copy (to be safe) of the Stream_Autocompletexxxxxx.dat file and renamed as you suggested. It did not work at first. I had to let Outlook re-create the Stream_Autocomplete a couple of times before it stuck.

    In the end you saved me alot of heartache and pain. Thanks!

  5. Prabagaran says:

    Need to transfer autocomplete from MS Outlook 2011 for Mac to another new Apple machine, which has Outlook 2011 for Mac (not yet configured).

    How do I do that ?

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