Many users use Outlook and other desktop clients to send and receive corporate or personal emails which is a really convenient way of sending and receiving emails. Most of the desktop clients provide you with a feature to auto complete the email address as you type it in the To, CC or BCC fields. This is a very good feature but can easily turn out to be the most dangerous one too.
Recently in my company there was a internal mail which was supposed to be sent to the top and middle management. The person who sent this mail had company clients email address in his contacts and one of the names was similar to that of my colleague. The person in question used the auto complete feature to type in the email address.
By mistake instead of typing my colleagues email he typed in the client’s email, this email went to the client fortunately the email was about a weekly meeting to be held that Friday. It could have been much more worse if the email in question would have contained critical information.
You can see how one of the best features could turn out to be one of the most dangerous one too. In order to overcome this situation we will look at how to disable the auto complete email address feature in most of the popular email clients. In addition we will also look disabling the feature in Yahoo Mail.
Disabling Auto Complete in Outlook 2003 / Outlook 2007
1. Go to Tools -> Options and click on Email Options, this should open up a new window.
2. Click on the Advanced E-mail Options button. A new window should open up to show you the advanced options. In this window uncheck the box next to Suggest names while completing To, Cc, and Bcc fields
Once you have finished making the changes click on Ok buttons and the auto complete feature will be disabled.
Disabling Auto Complete in Outlook Express
1. Go to Tools -> Options and select the Send Tab. In the options shown below uncheck the box next to Automatically complete e-mail addresses when composing.
Once you have deselected the option click on the Ok button and auto complete option
Disabling Auto Complete in Mozilla ThunderBird
1. Go to Tools -> Options and select the Composition Tab. In the composition tab select the Addressing sub tab. De-select the check box next to Local Address Books under When addressing messages look for matching entries in option.
Once you have deselected the check box click on Ok button. The auto complete should now be disabled in ThunderBird.
Disabling Auto Complete in Eudora
1. Go to Tools -> Options and scroll down till you see the Auto-completion option. In the right side uncheck all the boxes under the option Auto-complete items in recipient fields with data from:
Once you have deselected the check box click on Ok button. The auto complete should now be disabled in Eudora.
Let us also have a look at how you can disable auto complete in popular web mail services.
Disabling Auto Complete in Yahoo Mail
The option to disable the auto complete in not directly available in the new user interface. To view this option click on the Filters link and click on Create or edit filters. (Note this is only so that you can go to the Yahoo Mail classic options page). Once you are in the classic options page click on the Mail link under options in the left side.
On the new page that loads click on the General Preferences page, scroll down until you see a Message Actions header in this option under option AutoComplete: When composing an email choose the Do not use Address AutoComplete option and save your settings.
Once this is done the auto completion of email address will be disabled.
Once you disable this function you can easily click on the To, CC and BCC buttons in your email client to launch your address book from where you can select the contacts to whom you want to send out an email to. As a added measure always add the recipients after you have finished typing the email, this will help you avoid sending the mail by mistake and also focus more of the attention on who you are sending the mail to.
Though this may sound a bit inconvenient it is really helpful to avoid disasters. Have you ever sent emails to recipients you had not intended to? Do let me know through your comments.
P.S. I could not find any way to disable this in Windows Live Mail, Hotmail and Gmail. If anyone knows about this please comment on it or contact me and I will update the post with appropriate credits.