Technology Advisor Blog

Removing entries from your Outlook email "nickname" cache

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 6/5/14 9:29 AM

Outlook AutocompleteOutlook has a time saving "autocomplete" feature that's a big help most of the time, but can sometimes cause issues.  When you compose a new email message in Outlook, as you start to type in the first few letters of the recipient's email address, you'll see that Outlook will have suggestions for you based on who you have emailed before.  This is a great time saver, and over time your list will grow.  An important thing to know, is that it's not actually your address book, it's a cached list of anyone you have emailed in the past.

The downside is that sometimes the list will contain an outdated or invalid address.  If you ever email someone new and have a typo in the address, it will be saved and clutter your list for next time, which can cause you to make the same mistake over and over again.

Outlook Delete AutocompleteTo get rid of the bad address, scroll down the list, highlight it, and hit delete.  

The file that stores all these addresses is called a "Nickname" file and has an extension of .nk2.  If you get a new computer, and copy your mail and address book, your nickname file will initially be blank.  Many users call us and report that their address book is missing.  It's actually the .nk2 file, which can be migrated to the new system, but you may also choose to rebuild it fresh to decrease your "clutter".

Tags: Outlook, autocomplete, nickname, .nk2

Turn on or Turn off the Junk Filter in Outlook 2010

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 10/26/12 4:19 PM

Whenever there's a mystery regarding a "missing" email, the first thing we look at is if the email is sitting in a spam filter.  We always recommend just using one spam filter, preferably "in the cloud" so mail is filtered BEFORE it gets to your mail server, and distributed to your laptop, smartphone, iPad, and wherever else you read your mail.

Recently, I installed a new solid state drive in my laptop, and when I had problems with moving over the disk image, I ended up re-installing Microsoft Office.  I didn't realize it at the time, but when I completed the installation, the "Junk" filter was turned "on" by default, and I was breaking one of my major rules - I had TWO filters guarding my mail.  A few weeks ago, I was looking for a mail message that I couldn't find, and thought perhaps I had deleted it by mistake, and didn't think much of it.  Just this week, a client mentioned an mail message he had sent, and I couldn't find it.  "Search" of my inbox didn't reveal the message, but when I looked at the mail history in the "People" pane, there it was.  It was sitting in my "Junk" box, which I never check because I'm opposed to using it in the first place! 

Junk Setting Outlook 2010Changing your "Junk" settings is easy. On the "Home" tab in Microsoft Outlook 2010, click on "Junk" in the upper left hand corner. This will open up a window where you can change your settings.

In the main tab, "options", you can turn off the Junk filter, or select an appropriate setting if you want. You also have the option to select "Safe Senders", "Safe Recipients", "Blocked Senders" and "International" settings.  The built in Junk filter does provide a lot of options, and will work well if the only place you read your mail is in Outlook on your main system.  

Junk Mail Settings -OutlookBut these days, with so many other devices,  we highly recommend a cloud based spam filter so you mail gets filtered BEFORE it gets to your mail server, and you have only one place to check for the invariable "false positives" - those messages that you DO want to receive that get falsely dispositioned as spam.

Next time you find yourself searching for a missing email message, make sure you have only one spam filter running!  Two spam filters are NOT better than one!

Tags: Outlook, eMail, spam, Junk, Filter

Two Spam Filters are NOT Better Than One

Posted by Ann Westerheim on 12/23/10 3:14 PM

Have you ever had an important email go missing?  An important customer order that just doesn't arrive in your inbox? Well, the the first place to look is your spam filter.  There's a good chance that the email may have gotten flagged as a "false positive" for spam.  If you check your spam filter, you'll find the message.  As long as you only need to look in one place, it's a quick detour.

The exact numbers vary, but according to a 2010 report from the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG)in the first half of 2010 covering about half a billion mailboxes, spam accounts for 88-92% of all mail. 

With such a high volume of junk, its tough for your one important message of the day to get through properly.

We typically recommend filtering mail BEFORE it gets to your mail server.  We've been working with Postini for years and find it to be an effective solution, but there are many other options.  Filtering spam on your desktop means that spam will still show up on your smart phone and if you filter in multiple locations, it becomes difficult to track the "false positives".  Some people may assume that two filters will help, but it just means more places to look for the false positives.  Problems really pickup when users unknowinglyrun two spam filters.  Perhaps your junk filter is on in Outlook, or you change a setting directly on your mailserver (often controllable by the user in webmail).

Bottom line - select ONE spam filtering solution that's effective and get rid of the spam BEFORE it even gets to your mail server.  Unfortunately, the spammers aren't going away, so its just one more thing to deal with on your computer.  No filter will be perfect, but if you can efficiently check for false positives in only one place, you'll make things much easier for yourself.


Tags: Outlook, eMail, spam

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