Outlook 2010 – Auto Complete Files

Just a quick one as a reminder as it caught me out!

You’re probably aware that Outlook stores the names that appear when you type a mail recipient in an .NK2 file.


In the past when moving a user between PCs all we needed to do with grab the .NK2 file from the old PC and copy it to the new PC.

Turns out Outlook 2010 doesn’t use an NK2 file anymore!

If you’re using Outlook 2010 look at your contacts folders. You should see a folder called “Suggested Contacts”


This where the names are now stored.

The idea is that you can easily manage them and more importantly because the names are stored in your mailbox they will follow you around on different PCs.

So the main thing is how do you transfer them across from an old PC running an older version of Outlook?

There is a Microsoft Knowledgebase article detailing the whole thing here.

Simply put,

Outlook has a command line flag “/importNK2”.

Grab the NK2 file on the old PC from one of the following locations.

  • Windows XP
    Drive:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Windows Vista and later versions

Browse to the folder “%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook”

Make sure the NK2 file is in that folder and the filename matches your Outlook profile name.

e.g Andy.NK2

Run Outlook with the switc

Outlook.exe /importNK2


The KB article says that the import process renames the file with a .file extension but this didn’t seem to happen when I did it. (though it might have just been me!)

Note if you perform an upgrade from an old version of Outlook to Outlook 2010 this should have been done for you automatically

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Andy Parkes is Technical Director at Coventry based IT support company IBIT Solutions. Formerly, coordinator of AMITPRO and Microsoft Partner Area Lead for 2012-2013. He also isn't a fan of describing himself in the third person.

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