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Summary: After a Windows 10 upgrade, Outlook contacts may vanish. This article explores recovery methods, including utilizing the ‘Windows.old’ folder and checking the Outlook Address Book service. If issues persist, Outlook PST Repair software can rescue missing data, recover deleted emails, and more. Enable system restore to prevent future complications, ensuring a seamless upgrade experience.

Every new system version or upgrade promises enhanced security, bug fixes, and exciting new features. However, for some users, transitioning to a new OS version can be a daunting process, fraught with potential pitfalls such as data loss and data corruption.

Based on numerous user search queries, it has become evident that a significant number of users are grappling with the ‘Outlook Contacts Missing Issue’ following their system upgrades to Windows 10.

This article presents effective methods to resolve the issue of missing Outlook Contacts on a Windows PC after an upgrade. We will guide you through the process of recovering your valuable contact information.
Outlook Contacts on a Windows PC

What Happens When You Upgrade to Windows 10?

When a system running an older version of the Windows Operating System upgrades to the latest version available, all files created and stored in the C drive from the previous installation are relocated to the ‘Windows.old’ folder.

Moreover, in the event that the new Windows version fails to meet your expectations, you can utilize the contents of the ‘Windows.old’ folder to revert the system to the preferred previous version.

This folder can also be employed to recover lost data in Outlook. To locate the folder for Outlook, refer to the following path:


Inside the Windows.old folder, the data usually remains hidden; to unhide the Outlook Folder data:

  1. Open the Outlook Data Folder – inside Windows.old folder.
  2. In the menu bar, switch to the View tab.
  3. Now, checkmark the Hidden Items option.

If data restoration from Windows.old folder fails, in such situation try the other methods provided below.

Check Outlook Address Book Service is Added

Before proceeding, ensure that the Outlook Address Book Service is added to your Mail Profile. Outlook displays contacts exclusively within the Contacts Folder when this service is included.

With below steps you can check whether the Outlook Address Book Service is Added or not:

  1. Open Outlook 2016.
  2. Click on the File tab in the left > Account Settings > Account Settings.
  3. Switch to Address Book tab and check if Outlook Address Book is added or not, as shown below:Outlook Address Book
  4. To confirm, double-click on the address book highlighted:address book highlighted
  5. If Outlook Address Book Service is not added yet, click New
  6. Select Additional Address Book and click Next.
  7. Now, select Outlook Address Book and click Next.
  8. Close & restart Microsoft Outlook 2016.

Once you’re done with the steps, re-open Outlook and check whether the service is now available or not, as it’ll show all Contacts from the Contacts Folder associated with the Mail Profile.

Confirm that Contact Folder is Marked as Outlook Address Book

Along with adding the Outlook Address Book Service, we also recommend you confirm that Contact Folder is Marked as Outlook Address Book, as shown below.

To check or mark the Contact Folder as an Outlook Address Book, perform the steps given below:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook 2016.
  2. Move the cursor down to bottom-left of the screen. Click the People/Contacts icon.People/Contacts icon
  3. Click Contacts and right-click and select Properties
  4. Switch to Outlook Address Book tab.
  5. Now, check if Show this folder as an email Address Book is marked, if not then checkmark it.checkmark

With this method, all your missing Outlook Contacts might appear back, but in some case even doing so would not help at all.

Recreate the Mail Profile

If, despite designating the Contacts Folder as an Outlook Address Book and verifying the inclusion of the Outlook Address Book service, it remains inactive, it indicates a potential issue with the service itself. It may be corrupt or malfunctioning.

To get over this problem, you would have to re-create your Mail Profile.

A Mail Profile represents a collection of settings and files tailored for a specific email account. It can accommodate multiple email accounts and accommodate various account types, including POP3, IMAP, Exchange, Gmail, and more.

To re-create mail profile, perform the steps provided below:
To manage mail profiles or re-configure an existing one or re-create, first, you need to locate the mail application (applet) available in the Control Panel.
Note: Mail applet’s availability/location varies as per the Windows version running on your PC.
Mail applet’s availability

  1. Once you click on the Mail application, a wizard would appear on-screen, similar as below. Click on the Add button.
    Mail application

    1. While you start with adding a new Mail Profile, make sure that you do not use Copy, as It will copy the existing but corrupt data into the new profile.
    2. Until your new Mail Profile is ready and working as expected, we recommend that you do not delete the old Mail Profile.
  2. Now, enter a name for the new Mail Profile.
  3. Click to add a new email account.
  4. It is important that you select proper account settings & type as per your ISP and mail provider.
    1. For most of the Outlook versions available currently, you may proceed to enter a display name, the email address, a strong & secure password, and rest leave on Outlook. The desktop email client will automatically acknowledge account details and configure the profile accordingly.
  5. Go through the on-screen instructions to finish up configuring and re-creating the Mail Profile.
  6. Now that the Mail Profile is re-created, it is time that you select that profile to let Outlook start with it; to do so, select Always use this profile in the mail application, said above.

Creating the Mail Profile again substitutes the issue of corruption associated with the old profile on your system.

Kernel for Outlook PST Tool

Alongside exploring the aforementioned options for recovering missing Outlook Contacts, it’s also essential to consider data restoration from a locally stored PST file on your hard drive. While native methods can be helpful, they may not always provide a foolproof solution.

In such situations, we recommend employing an Outlook PST Repair software to effectively address your Outlook-related needs. This tool offers immediate repair and recovery of corrupt or damaged PST file data without the need for technical expertise. Regardless of the size of your Outlook PST file, you can simply locate the file and initiate the repair process.

In addition to recovering missing Outlook Contacts, this tool also enables you to recover deleted emails, create backups of PST data files, access attachment files, and perform a range of other essential tasks.


A system upgrade can either be a smooth experience or a troublesome one. To ensure a smooth transition and avoid complications, we recommend enabling the system restore feature. If you encounter the issue of missing Outlook Contacts after upgrading to Windows 10, you can apply the methods discussed above. Additionally, for addressing scenarios like these, consider reading our article on tips to recover deleted contacts in Outlook 2016.

Kernel for Outlook PST Repair