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How to Fix Contacts Disappear from Outlook Client Issue?

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    Summary: The "Contacts disappears from Outlook" issue can lead to issues in sending emails as users fail to find the email addresses of the clients or colleagues in their Outlook, leading to disruption. It is usually caused by synchronization issues or damage to the mail items in your local OST file. In this guide, you will learn reasons and solutions to fix the error. If the solutions fail, you may use Stellar Converter for OST to recover contacts from the local OST file.

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    Although Microsoft Outlook is a popular email and calendaring application, it is also vulnerable to issues and errors that may occur due to problems with the system, application, or data file (OST). One such error is “Contacts disappear from Outlook client” or “Outlook contacts not available in address book”. This issue can disrupt email communication as the user fails to find the email addresses of the client/customer and colleagues to whom they want to send an email. This can also be frustrating as it can lead to the loss of important contacts.

    Reasons for Contacts Disappear from Outlook Issue

    There could be several reasons or causes behind the “Contacts disappear or missing from Outlook” issue. These include:

    • Incorrect address book configuration
    • Offline mode
    • Accidental data deletion
    • Synchronization issues
    • Faulty Windows updates
    • Oversized or inconsistent Outlook OST data file
    • Outdated Outlook

    Solutions to Fix Contacts Disappear from Outlook Issue

    Follow the solutions discussed below in the given order to resolve the “Contacts disappear or missing from Outlook” issue.

    1. Enable Auto Suggest

    When Outlook stops suggesting the email addresses or names of people in your Outlook contact list, many Outlook users mistakenly assume that their contacts are missing or disappeared. However, that’s not the case. You can check and enable the auto-complete feature to start seeing your contacts while composing or replying to emails. 

    The steps are as follows:

    • Click File > Options in the left sidebar.
    • Click on the Mail tab.
    • Scroll down and under the Send messages section, check the ‘Use Auto-Complete List to suggest names when typing in the To, Cc, and Bcc lines‘ box or a similar option (varies based on the Outlook version). Click on OK to save the changes.
    Outlook options advance

    2. Check for Accidental Deletion or Filtering

    Sometimes, contacts may get accidentally deleted or filtered. Therefore, check for any accidental deletion or filtering. The steps are as follows:

    1. In the Microsoft Outlook client, go to the Deleted Items folder.
    2. Search for missing contacts.
    3. If you find the missing contacts in the Deleted Items folder, you can restore them to their original location using the right-click.
    Deleted Folder Outlook

    Additionally, check if any filters are applied to the contacts folder. Make sure to disable any filters to ensure that all contacts are visible.

    3. Check Synchronization Settings

    You should resolve the synchronization issue, which is another common cause behind such an issue. Ensure that synchronization settings are enabled and you are not offline.

    In Outlook, go to the Send/Receive tab and make sure Work Offline is not enabled. If it’s enabled, make sure to disable it. In case it’s greyed out, you can troubleshoot the Work Offline greyed-out issue.

    Also, enable Cached Exchange Mode, if it isn’t enabled or was disabled by you in the past. For this,

    • Open Outlook and go to File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings.
    • Double-click on your email and then make sure the Cached Exchange mode is checked.
    • Click Next > Finish.
    Cache exchange mode settings
    • Then, restart Microsoft Outlook for the changes to take effect.

    You should be able to view and access your contacts if this setting was disabled earlier.

    4. Create a New Outlook Profile

    A corrupt profile can also lead to issues that may lead to missing contacts or prevent you from accessing contacts in Outlook. In such a case, you can create a new profile. The steps are as follows:

    • Make sure Outlook is closed.
    • Open the Control Panel on your PC or laptop and go to User Accounts > Mail (32-bit).
    • Click on Show Profiles.
    • Select Add, type a name for the new profile, and click OK.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to sign in using the same email account and password.
    • After signing in, restart Outlook and choose your new profile from the dropdown.
    • Check if you can view all the contacts now. If the issue is resolved, go back to the Mail Setup – Outlook window and remove your old profile.
    • Once removed, when you open the Outlook, it will load your new profile with all accessible contacts.

    5. Recreate the Outlook Data File (OST)

    Inconsistent or oversized Outlook data file can lead to synchronization issues and other errors, including the disappearance of contacts. However, if your account or email profile is still active, you can recreate a new OST file and synchronize your address book from the mailbox server to your Outlook client and store it in a newly recreated OST file. T

    To recreate the OST file, follow these steps:

    • Close Outlook.
    • Press the Windows + R keys.
    • Type %localappdata%/Microsoft/Outlook and press Enter or click OK to open the default OST file location.
    default OST file locations
    • Select the OST file that belongs to your email account from where contacts are missing and create a backup copy by copying the OST file from the default location to a different folder or drive/volume location.
    • After the backup, delete the old OST file from the default location and start Outlook normally.

    The Outlook will create a new OST file and synchronize all mail items, including your contacts, in a new Outlook OST file.

    If the OST recreation fails or the contacts do not appear after rebuilding the file, you can use Stellar Converter for OST to extract and save the contacts from your oversized, faulty, inconsistent, or partially damaged OST data file to CSV or PST format. After the extraction, you can import the PST or CSV file into your new Outlook profile or account and restore all contacts.

    6.  Restore Contacts from CSV Backup

    If you have a backup of lost contact list in CSV or PST format, you can restore them to resolve the “Contacts disappear from Outlook” error. The steps are as follows:

    • Open Outlook and go to File > Open & Export > Import/Export. This starts the Outlook import export wizard.
    • In the Outlook Import and Export wizard, choose the “Import from another program or file” option and click Next.
    • Then, select the CSV file type to restore contacts from the backup of your contacts and click Next. If you have a PST backup, choose the PST format.
    • Click Browse to choose the location of the backup file.
    • Select the desired options for importing and click Next. Make sure to choose the relevant options.
    • Select the contacts folder as the destination and click Next > Finish.
    • Once the import is complete, check if the missing contacts are restored.


    The “Contacts disappear from Outlook” issue is not common but may occur in any Outlook version, including Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021. In this guide, we shared the most common causes behind the issue and troubleshooting methods to effectively resolve it. With these solutions and precautions, you can maintain a seamless experience with Outlook and prevent the loss of important contacts.

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    About The Author

    Shelly Bhardwaj linkdin

    I am a Product Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 8 years. I write about the latest technology tips and provide custom solutions related to Exchange Server, Office 365, MS Outlook, and many other Email Clients & different flavors of OS Servers. Read More

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