Many empty Contacts folders.. cannot get rid of them

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Outlook version
Outlook 2010 32 bit
Email Account
Exchange Server
A couple of days back, I have installed a lot of pending Office 2013 updates.
Today I noticed that I seem to have many many more contacts.. Well, empty Contacts folders, that is.
How can I delete them again?

Before the update, I had 3 Contacts folders in my main Exchange account, and perhaps a 6 Contacts folders in one of my Archive PST files. Now I have about 30 (!) Contact folders. The "new" ones are all named "Contacts" and empty.

I have plenty of PST files attached, which contain(ed) a lot of Mail folders, one "Deleted Items" and one "Search Folders" folder (not customized) and nothing else.

Now, suddenly, out of the green, perhaps related to one of the updates (?), I have in each of those PST files an empty "Contacts" folder. Who has added those folders? Worse, it seems I cannot get rid of those folders.
There was also an empty Contacts folder with the name "Lync" added.

Side effects are that they are shown in the address book, in the contacts navigation pane, in the folder view too. This is annoying. How can I get rid of those?
  • Right-click Delete the folder is greyed out
  • I could remove those Contacts folders from the Addressbook in Account Settings/Address Book. Right-click Properties and de-selecting "Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book" did not work. The option was greyed out.
  • If I add/create a new PST file, it is created without the Contacts folder. Good.
  • Scanpst does not "fix" the problem by removing the Contacts folder (obviously it's not a bad file thing ..)

Should I try to use MFCMAPI to remove the folders? I tried it with one PST and it works. But is it safe in the long run?

Thanks for any hint.
How many pst files are in your profile? Were calendar, tasks, and notes also created in each pst?

It's safe to use mfcmapi to delete them, although there is a chance the folders might come back.

It sounds like the pst were set as default at some point (now or in the past) - when a pst is set as default data file for new mail, the contacts folder is added (along with other default folders). If these folders were previously set as default and you deleted the folders (using MFCMAPI or OutlookSpy), something triggered their recreation.

Default folders are automatically enabled as address books - that's why you can't disable them. Lync Contacts is added to Exchange mailboxes when Lync is installed, so that is expected.
Hello Diane,

Thanks for your reply. I have 28 PST files attached (thus 28 additional, unneeded, empty Contacts Folders). The reason for so many PST files is that I want each file to be surely below 1GB. Most of the PST files are around 50-200MB size, a few are around 700-800MB. I know that having too big (>1GB) PST files will get Outlook into it's knees. At least on my PC this happens.

Is having a lot of smaller PST files actually better? I think so, but I do not really have a proof.

The profile was setup automatically when I started up Outlook 2010 on this PC the first time, about a year ago. The default setup came from our corporate IT folks. Meaning that I ended up with my Exchange account setup and one OST file. I then added the PST files one after the other. I created all of them for Mail storage only. None of those files was ever the main delivery destination for new messages. In Spring I upgraded to Office 2013. All went well with those files.
The Contacts folders were only added after the last update, I think. The only other thing I did today the first time was to access a new internal Sharepoint 2013 site.

I have created new profiles now and then. Each time I started with the one OST file and added existing or newwly created PST files.

I was able to (mail)disable the 28 additional Contacts folders by removing them from the Address Book in the Account Settings. After restarting Outlook, I would have been able to re-enable those folders for the Address Book one by one with right-click Properties. Not greyed out anymore. Of course I did not do that.

By the way, Lync Contacts is empty. I get my Lync contacts from the Global Address Book, I think.

Anyway, I have not seen any negative side effect by removing the unwanted Contacts folder from one of the PST files. I will let it run for a day or so to see what happens, and then remove the other unwanted folders with MFCMAPI.

Thanks a lot


Pst size isn't a big issue anymore, until you get closer to 10GB, then it can affect performance. Having 28 separate pst files can affect performance too... so you aren't really gaining anything with a bunch of really small pst files. Ideally, if the mailbox quota is high enough, keeping everything in the mailbox is the best option, fewer pst files would be the second best option.
Thanks Diane,
I've deleted the Contacts folders with MFCNAPI. So far all good.
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