With older versions of Outlook (up to 2007) the NK2 file was used to store recently used email addresses so that you could then use them when you started to type an email like an auto-suggest system. This was great for users but a nightmare for IT techs as most users assume that these are “contacts” – when we know they are not and are basically stored in a temp file! so in the past IT techs have had to copy over these NK2 files and then tell users to make sure they add these to their actual Outlook contacts (which of course they never do!).
Outlook these days does not use this method of storing auto-suggestions in an NK2 file but stores them in the “Suggested Contacts” instead – so simply copying over the NK2 file will no longer work – you have to import it.
So, I have the NK2 file – how do I import it into Outlook?
If you upgrade to any newer versions of Microsoft Outlook from an older version, then the NK2 file is automatically imported upon starting Outlook for the first time so you do not have to worry.
New Installation of Outlook
However, if you create a new Outlook mail profile or when using Outlook on a new computer, you should import an existing NK2 file using the following method:
Copy the NK2 file to the following location:
Rename the NK2 file to the same name as your mail profile.
You then need to start Outlook using a command line to import on load. To do this, run the following command:
Outlook will then import the NK2 file into the Suggested Contacts folder and you should find that all the old “contacts” are now available when your end user tries to compose an email.
If you have any questions or comments on this guide, please feel free to use our comments system below.
Q: What is an NK2 file? A: An NK2 file was used in older versions of Outlook (up to 2007) to store recently used email addresses for auto-suggestion purposes.
Q: What was the purpose of the NK2 file? A: The NK2 file stored email addresses that users frequently contacted, providing auto-suggestions when composing emails.
Q: Why was the NK2 file problematic for IT technicians? A: Users often confuse the NK2 file’s contents with actual contacts. IT technicians had to educate users and manually transfer the NK2 file’s contents to Outlook contacts.
Q: Does modern Outlook versions still use NK2 files? A: No, newer versions of Outlook store auto-suggestions in the “Suggested Contacts” folder instead of using NK2 files.
Q: How can I import an NK2 file into Outlook? A: You can import an NK2 file into Outlook by copying it to the appropriate directory and using a command line to import it upon Outlook startup.
Q: Does Outlook automatically import NK2 files upon upgrading? A: Yes, when upgrading to newer versions of Outlook, NK2 files are automatically imported upon the first startup of Outlook.
Q: What should I do if I’m setting up Outlook on a new computer? A: For a new installation of Outlook or on a new computer, manually import an existing NK2 file by placing it in the correct directory and using a command line to import it.
NK2 File: A file used in older versions of Microsoft Outlook to store recently used email addresses for auto-suggestion.
Suggested Contacts: A folder in modern versions of Outlook where auto-suggestions are stored instead of using NK2 files.
Mail Profile: Configuration settings and data associated with a user’s email account in Outlook.
Command Line: A text-based interface used to input commands to a computer program, in this case, used to initiate the import of an NK2 file in Outlook.
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