Sunday, September 13, 2009

When is a nickname just a pain...

When it's a Microsoft Outlook nickname, that's when.

Outlook tries to be helpful. One of the ways it tries is by keeping track of the email addresses that it has seen. These are called 'nicknames' and they pop up when you're typing in an address so that you don't have to remember/type the whole thing. This can be very nice.

However, it doesn't work so well when you get an old email address in there and can't get it out. Then you may actually keep sending to the wrong email address repeatedly. That can be very un-nice.

This happened to me and there are three solution options that I've found: two of them not so nice and one quite nice.

The first two are from Microsoft:

1. You can select the unwanted nickname and delete it by pressing the {DEL} key.  Unfortunately, even though I did this multiple times, it kept coming back like the unwanted guest.
2. You can completely delete the nickname file (see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article). It works, but it's like bulldozing your house to get rid of a cockroach. I did find a reference to a Microsoft nickname utility file, but it only went through Outlook 2000, which is pretty old now.

The last option is from a software company called NirSoft.

3. Here you can download a neat little nickname utility program. Works like a champ and you don't have to throw the baby out with the bathwater like Microsoft's solution. NirSoft has a bunch of other very nice utilities - check them out! For example, they have a little command line utility - nircmd - to perform many little small tasks, including an option to empty the Recycle Bin: very handy when I do my backups.

Makes you wonder how these features get added without adequate support. Seems to me if you're going to add a feature, you should make the assumption that it may not work at some point and give the user a built-in, supported solution to remedy the problem.

All in all, I spent quite a bit of time trying to solve this problem, which it should have been an easy fix.

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