Outlook keeps almost all of your data in a special personal folder file (.pst). That includes the AutoComplete list. That's the list that pops up when you start typing someone's name or address in a new message. This list is a special tool that Outlook stores in a separate file. It's easy to take for granted — until it stops working correctly, or isn't available at all. Making a backup is easy; finding the file is the hard part. To find the Outlook file that contains your AutoComplete list, do the following:
- Close Outlook.
- Open Windows Explorer and enter the following address in the Address control: %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook. Windows Explorer will update to the appropriate Outlook folder.
- Right-click the Outlook.nk2 file. It may have another name, but there should be only one file with the .nk2 extension.
- Select Copy from the resulting submenu. From there, you can copy the file to an external drive, USB drive, or CD — wherever you store your backup copies. If you copy the file to another folder on the same local drive, be sure to rename it to avoid problems.
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Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.