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Why did my mail get sent to my friends old email address?


I have a friend whose name and email address are in my address book. I sent
items to him often, but I get mail administration returns saying the email did
not go through because the email address was wrong and then it shows me his old
email address.

His address changed months ago and I deleted it from my address book and
installed his new email address and made it the preferred address.

What more can I do to get rid of this irritation?

The first thing that comes to mind is that your email program might be
trying to be “helpful”.

Too helpful, as it turns out.

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My semi-educated guess is that it’s auto-complete which is confusing

Auto-complete is that feature where as you begin typing an email name the
program starts making suggestions on what email address you’re most likely to
be wanting. For example, all my wife has to do is type “L” in an address field
in Outlook, and it automatically suggests my email address, so she just presses
Enter and she’s saved a lot of typing.

“The confusion comes from the fact that in many programs
… auto-complete suggestions don’t come only from the address book.”

The confusion comes from the fact that in many programs including Outlook,
Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and I believe even Thunderbird and others,
auto-complete suggestions don’t come only from the address book. Most will
include email addresses you’ve sent email to before regardless of whether
they’re in your address book. The result is that if you start typing a name and
your mail program offers a suggestion it may still be the old address.

The next time pay careful attention to what it pops up as a suggestion. If
it’s the old address then in most programs you can hit down arrow to select it,
and then hit Delete to remove it from the auto-complete list.

If you routinely use auto complete (as most of us do, it is pretty darned
handy), you can test this theory by addressing the email by specifically using
the address book. In most programs that’s usually done by clicking on the “To:”
button and selecting directly from the address book that pops up. That should
get you the email address as actually stored therein.

Do this

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2 comments on “Why did my mail get sent to my friends old email address?”

  1. Many thanks – spent hours cleaning up the address books. I had Outlook as well as Windows Mail in Vista and sent me in a loop.
    You were right as usual.
    Kind regards,
    Nazrul Sheriff.


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