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March 25, 2008

Outlook Contact/Address Book problem

OK. Now, my addresses are gone. It says "The address list could not be displayed. The contacts folder associated with this address list could not be opened."

Oh my GOD I hate Outlook. I've had problems with this before, so I'm going ot review what I figured out the Outlook Contacts last time.

It looks like I have "Contacts", but not addresses. So, after doing some research on the difference between "Contacts" vs. "Personal Address Book", it looks like the Contacts are stored in the .pst files, but the "Personal Address Book" is stored as a .wab file.

Hmm. But, the more I look at the Contacts section, I see that I have the email addresses in there. So, I think I have everything I need, I just think it isn't showing up for some reason.

Let's make one thing clear - Microsoft has royally fucked this up. It should not be that hard. The email addresses should just appear and if they don't then these people are morons. I'll figure it out, like I always do, sorting through their poor design, but I swear to go I hate those idiots in Redmond.

Microsoft suggests this solution.

1. Start Outlook.
2. On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
3. Click View or change existing directories or address books, and then click Next.
4. Click Outlook Address Book, and then click Remove.
5. Click Yes when you receive the prompt to confirm the removal.
6. Click Add.
7. Click Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
8. Click Outlook Address Book, and then click Next.
9. Click OK when you receive the message to restart Outlook.
10. Click Finish.
11. Click Exit on the File menu to quit Outlook.
12. Restart Outlook.
13. In the Folder list, right-click the folder that you want to use with the Address Book (for example, right-click contacts), and then click Properties.
14. Click the Outlook Address Book tab.
15. Click to select the Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book check box (if it is not already selected), and then click OK.

I did steps 1-12 and it worked. I couldn't figure out how to do steps 13-15, but it was working anyway, so no big deal, I guess.

There are apparently different types of "Address Books", but I'm using an "Outlook Address Book", apparently. My assumption is that the "Outlook Address Books" must be stored in the .pst files, but I'm not sure which .pst file it's in. Very confusing.

Here's some more information on the subject from Microsoft.

Outlook Address Book
The Outlook Address Book is created from contacts in your Contacts folder and includes an entry in the E-mail field or in the Fax telephone number field. You can have multiple e-mail addresses for each contact.

When you update your contacts in the Contacts folder, the Outlook Address Book is updated at the same time. The Contacts folder appears as a separate entry under Outlook Address Book.

A new feature in Outlook allows you to create distribution lists from your contacts. To do this, open your Contacts folder, and then click New Distribution List on the Actions menu.

Personal Address Book
A Personal Address Book is best used to store personal distribution lists to which you frequently address messages, such as a list of everyone on the racquetball team. If you use Exchange Server, you can also add an address for a public folder to the Personal Address Book. Personal Address Book files have a .pab extension and can be stored on a disk.

NOTE: The ability to create a distribution list from your contacts may eliminate the need for a Personal Address Book.

Personal folders (.pst) files
Personal folders (.pst) files are folders that you create to store messages on your hard disk or on another server. You add a main personal folders (.pst) file as a service to the user profile and then give it a file name. Personal folders (.pst) files have a .pst extension.

I'm not clear which .pst file has the contacts in it, though. Presumably, the contacts are stored in 1 or more of the .pst files. But, on the left-hand navigation pane, none of the .pst files appear to have a folder named "Contacts". This is peculiar, I think.

Finally, I figured out that the "Contacts" folder is in the Current.pst file. The way I figured this out was to go to File - New - Folder, and I could see that there was a folder named "Contacts" under the Current.pst Personal Folder. Now - why does this folder not appear in the Current.pst Personal Folder in the left-hand navigation pane?

Hmmm. After playing with it some more, I've decided that it does show up on the left-hand navigation pane, but you have to click on "Contacts" on the left to see it. I was expecting it to show up under mail, and it doesn't. This is because when you create new folders, you have to specify what they will be used for (tasks, contacts, mail, etc.

Now, I think what I'm discovering is that the .pst files use the "Folder contains" field as a category of sorts. So, when you click on the "Mail" category in the Navigation pane, it shows you all of your open .pst files, and underneath each open .pst file, it lists all folders in that .pst file with a folder type of "Mail and Post".

When you click on Calendar, Contacts, or Tasks, it will show you if there are mutliple Calendars or Contacts or Task folders in the various .pst files.

The best way to figure out what you're looking at under Calendar or Contacts or Tasks is to click on the Calendar, Contacts, or Tasks in the left-hand navigation pane and then it will list one or more folders in the navigation pane. If you right-click on the folder, it will then tell you the location (.pst) file that it is stored in.

So, I think that everything is working now. Outlook still sucks, but it's working again. God I hate Microsoft.

Posted by Rob Kiser on March 25, 2008 at 11:38 AM


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