AutoComplete addresses lost in Outlook after restart

Every time when I restart Outlook, the AutoComplete cache is completely empty again and no suggestions are being made when addressing an email.

How can I make Outlook retain the addresses?

AutoSuggest buttonThe AutoComplete cache is saved upon closing Outlook.

When Outlook isn’t closing properly on your computer, your AutoComplete cache may not have been saved either and thus shows up empty the next time that you start Outlook.

Most often, this issue is caused by an add-in preventing Outlook from shutting down properly or even crashing it.

An example of an add-in which has caused a lot of issues is the “Outlook Change Notifier”. So I’ll use it as an example in this guide. Note that this is just an example; other add-ins can cause the same issues as well.

Outlook Change Notifier add-in

Add-Ins buttonWhen installing iTunes, it also installs an Outlook add-in called Outlook Change Notifier.

An older version of this Outlook Change Notifier add-in didn’t let Outlook shut down gracefully anymore. As a result, Outlook wrote a corrupted AutoComplete list when shutting down which couldn’t be loaded anymore when you start Outlook the next time.


How? buttonAs mentioned previously, while this solution discusses the Outlook Change Notifier add-in, other add-ins could cause the same issues and therefor the solution discussed here can be applied to other add-ins as well.

The Microsoft Outlook team has also implemented shutdown-guard solutions to handle these types of crashes and to prevent the AutoSuggest list from becoming corrupted because of this. However add-ins do have the option to specifically bypass this so it may still occur.

You can disable the Outlook Change Notifier add-in in the following way;

  1. File-> Options-> section: Add-Ins
  2. At the bottom of the dialog press the button “Go…”
  3. Scroll down the list until you find “Outlook Change Notifier” and disable it.
  4. Press OK to confirm and close the dialog.

After disabling the add-in, close Outlook and run scanpst.exe against your pst-file to fix any issues that might have gotten into your pst-file because of the forced Outlook shutdown process.

Disabling the Outlook Change Notifier add-in.
Disabling the Outlook Change Notifier add-in in will make Outlook remember names again.

Things to note

Behavior & Limitations buttonWhen dealing with this issue, also consider the following;

Some things specific to the iTunes integration with Outlook;

  • Syncing with iPod/iPhone/iPad
    The Outlook Change Notifier add-in is used to sync Contacts, Calendars, email account information, or Notes stored in Outlook via iTunes to your iPod, iPhone or iPad. Disabling this add-in prevents this from working.
  • iTunes sync with Outlook is deprecated
    Apple has marked the iTunes sync feature with Outlook as deprecated and could remove it entirely from future versions of iTunes.
    The recommended alternative would be to use the iCloud add-in from Apple instead or use an Exchange or account which offer support for syncing mail, contacts and calendar data without the use of an add-in.
  • iTunes Outlook Addin
    There is also an add-in called “iTunes Outlook Addin”. There is no need to disable this add-in.
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