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Import contacts from an nk2-file

I’ve got an nk2-file with addresses that I don’t want to lose as they are not in my Contacts folder yet. Now I’m switching to a new computer I wonder;

How can I move over or import the contacts from the nk2-file?

Button Outlook.NK2In general, you can just move over the nk2-file to your new computer.

However, if your new computer is running Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, then additional actions are needed as Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 no longer uses an nk2-file for caching addresses but stores these addresses (hidden) within the Outlook mailbox itself.

Importing the nk2-file in Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013

When you upgrade to Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013, the nk2-file is automatically imported upon starting Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 for the first time. When you create a new Outlook mail profile or when using Outlook on a new computer, you can import an existing nk2-file in the following way;

  1. Copy the nk2-file to the following folder;
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
      C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
    • Windows XP
      C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Settings\Microsoft\Outlook
  2. Rename the nk2-file to the name of your mail profile.
    To find out this name use the Mail applet in Control Panel and click on the Show Profiles… button.
    By default, your profile is called “Outlook”. So in that case you would call your file “outlook.nk2”.
  3. Start Outlook with the /importnk2 switch;
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
      Start-> type; outlook.exe /importnk2
    • Windows XP
      Start-> Run; outlook.exe /importnk2
  4. Outlook will now process the nk2-file and import it into a hidden property of the mailbox but not in the actual Suggested Contacts folder in Outlook 2010 (Outlook 2013 no longer uses this folder). See the note below if you want to turn them into real contacts. After processing, Outlook will automatically append .old to the nk2-file. So in our example it will now be called; outlook.nk2.old

Importing the nk2-file in Outlook 2010 on Windows 7
Importing the nk2-file in Outlook 2010 on Windows 7.

Note:
The above instructions are a section of the full guide; Upgrading to Outlook 2010

Moving over the nk2-file for Outlook 2002, 2003 and 2007

When you are currently using Outlook 2002, 2003 or 2007 and you’ll also be using that on your new computer, then all you have to do is copying the nk2-file to the correct location on the new computer. Sometimes you’ll need to rename the file though so it will match the name of the new mail profile.

  1. Copy the nk2-file to the following folder;
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
      C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
    • Windows XP
      C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Settings\Microsoft\Outlook
  2. Rename the nk2-file to the name of your mail profile.
    To find out this name use the Mail applet in Control Panel and click on the Show Profiles… button.
    By default, your profile is called “Outlook”. So in that case you would call your file “outlook.nk2”.

Note 1:
As addresses are not kept in the nk2-file forever (it’s only a cache file) and because Outlook’s link to the nk2-file sometimes gets broken as well, it is really recommended not to rely on the nk2-file and to create separate contacts for addresses that you want to keep. When you want to import the addresses of the nk2-file as actual contacts, you can use NK2Edit from NirSoft (free for personal and non-profit use).

Note 2:
For an overview of other files, locations and registry keys Outlook stores data or settings in, see the guide; Files and Settings guide for Outlook



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