activesync

We're today revisiting the Exchange ActiveSync saga between Google and Microsoft. Google has once again provided Windows Phone consumers with an extension to access services using EAS. The company extended the grace period to July 31st, but now Google will be looking at December 31st to provide Microsoft more time to implement CardDAV and CalDAV support in the latest Windows Phone 8 update, according to a report over on The Verge.

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Google is set to cease supporting Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for its array of online services, including both GMail and Calendar. This will prevent consumers from setting up accounts on Windows Phones with both contact and calendar support (but will not affect those who already have email configured on Windows Phone). Consumers who make use of said features will have to go through workarounds to get connected, or switch across to Outlook.

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There's only just over a week left until Google flips the switch to drop Exchange ActiveSync support. Should you be an avid Google user and utilise Gmail (among other services) on your Windows Phone, you'll be left in the dark to an extent.

What the changes mean for consumers is from February onwards we'll no longer be able to synchronise calendars and contacts through a Gmail account (though email will still function normally) set up new Google accounts to take advantage of calendars and contacts using EAS (only email will function using IMAP). Those who already have accounts configured will be fine, according to Google.

Not all is lost, however. While you can take this as a golden opportunity to change over to Outlook, Microsoft is planning to support CardDAV and CalDAV in Windows Phone, according to sources familiar with company plans. The two protocols are actually Google's preferred route to synchronise content. Microsoft is attempting to work against Google's decisions of late to prevent consumers from being left out.

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Starting February 1st 2013, Windows Phone users won't be able to create full Gmail accounts on Windows Phone. Does Microsoft have a plan?

This afternoon Google has announced the discontinuation of their support of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS aka the standard for many who use email) after January 30th 2013. The question you may be wondering is, how does it affect Windows Phone?

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Just a follow up on that Hotmail with Exchange Activesync support--word is, it is now Active Live err...working.

The settings are pretty straight forward if you are familiar with setting up an Exchange account on your device. Simply enter this info and you should be good to go:

Server / URL: m.hotmail.com

Username: Enter full email address, for example: someone@example.com

Domain: Leave this blank

SSL: Enable this

Certificate: Accept the SSL certificate when prompted

Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks: All can be enabled

[via LiveSide.net]

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It appears that Microsoft will finally flip the switch and enable Exchance Activesync for Windows Live Hotmail. According to a ZDNet UK report, this feature will become active on August 30, 2010 allowing for contacts, calendar and hotmail to be synced with your Windows Live Account (some devices will be compatible with Task sync as well).

This will put Windows Live on an even playing field with Google, who has supported Activesync with Gmail, calendar, and contacts for some time. This will also give the new Windows Phone 7 a more complete connectivity package.

Indications are that in testing, Activesync was fast, simple and glitch free.  It appears the server address for Activesync configuration will be m.hotmail.com but nothing official has been released. 

So with the ability to sync contacts, appointments, and now email with Windows Live I wonder how many will switch over from Google?

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BirdieSync 2.0 released

BirdieSync 2.0 has been released which supports synchronization of Pocket Outlook with Thunderbird cards and mails, and Lightning or Sunbird events and tasks.

Birdiesync has it's own synchronization engine and does not rely on ActiveSync. The synchronization engine maintains a history, manages unresolved items, and allows for multiple computer synchronization. The independent sync engine may create an unexpected benefit for those wanting to sync their Windows Phone with a home computer and an Exchange Server.

Reading from the FAQ of BirdieSync's website, "It is possible to synchronize your mobile device with Outlook if it is installed on a different computer (without Thunderbird/Sunbird being synchronized on this machine). So you can synchronize your mobile device with Outlook and Thunderbird if they are installed on 2 different machines. Simply be aware that all the modifications performed on either computer will be replicated on the other one." This may not be possible if you're running Windows XP the drivers for Windows Mobile Device Center (needed to connect your Windows Phone to your computer) are bundled with Activesync.  But if you're running Vista or Windows 7, it might be worth a try.

BirdieSync is compatible with Thunderbird 3.1, Lightning 1.0b2 and Sunbird 1.0b1. It is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits). You can download a 21 day trial version of BirdieSync here and it will set you back 19.95 Euros (about $25 USD if my conversion rate is correct).

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Windows Live Hotmail is slated to officially receive Exchange ActiveSync support sometime this summer. However, while nothing has been announced, it appears this support is already active.

Liveside.net is reporting some users are having success in syncing their Hotmail accounts through ActiveSync. Through trial and error, the server address has been identified as  m.hotmail.com, SSL should be enabled, and you leave the domain blank. Obviously you enter in your username and password accordingly.

If you're feeling adventurous, give it a try but remember, this isn't an official announcement so there may be performance issues present.  Also, with ActiveSync only able to sync with one Exchange Server, you will have to delete your existing data.  Make sure you have things backed up before giving it a whirl.

In reading the Windows Live Hotmail FAQ Sheet, calendar and contact support is also present with Exchange ActiveSync.  There's no mention of task synchronization which may be a downside for some.

It's nice to see ActiveSync support coming to Windows Live and Hotmail.  It may make the choice between Windows Live and Google a little more difficult to make.

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Google email sync down?

Has anyone else noticed that they can't sync Google Gmail via Activesync over the past few days? At first I thought it was just me but soon came to find that the "Error Synchronization" message was being displayed on other Windows phones.

The official error code is 0x8600050c (Communications Error) and in looking over at Google Mobile's Help Forum, there are a few solutions available.

The first suggestion is to delete the current Exchange Server relationship and re-create it. Another solution suggests to un-check the email option in Activesync, reboot the phone, re-check the email option and sync.  The latter seems to have the most success.

We couldn't find anything official from Google on the cause of these errors or of a "official" solution. If we hear of anything we'll pass it on.

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Here's a forum post from WMExperts reader Blinocac200sx, who has a problem with his Exchange account.

How do I change my exchange account. It's currently set for a place I no longer work for, and now I want to use it at my current job. I can change the server, but it doesn't want to let me change the domain or user name.

The answer's easy enough, if you know where to look. (Yeah, welcome to Windows Mobile.)

What else is going on in the forums? Simbadogg asks about over-the-air updates with Windows Mobile 6.5. The Celio REDFLY developer's forum is jumping. And Glidersgalore needs some help sending a contact by e-mail. Join the conversations!

 

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Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 (and ActiveSync) is coming, and that means new features for Windows Mobile. Some of them are for IT types, others directly affect you, the end user. Here's what's in store:

On the Server side:

  • Block/allow/quarantine phones: That's one for the IT side.
  • OTA update of Outlook Mobile: That's right, a new version of the app can be pushed to your phone. Wouldn't hold your breath in hopes of seeing this outside of a corporate environment, but you never know.
  • Sync SMS: It'd been rumored for a while. You can send text messages to networked phones from Outlook or OWA access and respond from either, as well as from your phone.

On the phone side:

  • Threaded messages(!): Instead of cluttering your inbox with each and every message, they're threaded by "conversations." Nothing you're not already used to elsewhere, and a welcome addition to Windows Mobile. There also are options to ignore threads or move them to other folders.
  • Reply state: See which messages you've replied to or forwarded.
  • Voice card/transcription: If someone sends you a voicemail through Exchange, it's transcribed(!!!) and you can play it directly in the e-mail. Very cool.
  • Get free/busy: No, not like that. It's just quick way to see if someone on your network is free or busy.

Again, this all involves Microsoft Exchange 2010, through it'd be great to get some of the Outlook Mobile features for people outside a corporate envrionment. For those of you on the inside, start lobbying your IT department now.

Microsoft Technet via wmpoweruser

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So ActiveSync, which has already sort of been replaced by Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) in Vista, may be getting its walking papers. Again.

Make room for Device Stage in Windows 7, evidently due when...well, when it's ready, according to Microsoft (lets say 2010).

But this isn't just some re-brand. Nope, Device Stage is going to be a sort of "universal sync" tool that any device manufacturer could abide by, allowing everything from regular flip phones to cameras to any periph you can think name. Programming is done via XML.

Evidently, Julie Larson-Green, vice president of program management for the Windows Experience (that's a mouthful) demonstrated it last week.

The real benefit here of course is that you may now be able to avoid installing proprietary syncing software for all those cameras, phones, printers, MP3 players, etc. Plus, it'll handle your future WM7 device to boot.

Not bad MS, not bad.

Ars Technica via Solsie

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Tip: Kill ActiveSync

So here's a real oldie but goodie that goes back years

If you ever just wanted to plug your WM device into a computer to perhaps charge it or just use as a card reader but not sync with ActiveSync, then this freebie app is for you.  (You know what we're talking about, even if you don't "sync" with server it still goes through that dumb connection process.)

ActiveSync Toggle does just that: you run it and hit the "disable it" button and poof, it unloads AS from your system.  But the best part is with one-click you can just as easily re-enable AS (other freeware apps make it more difficult).

I've used this app personally for years, but the company that actually made it stopped distributing it for awhile, so it was hard to find.  But alas, the internets makes it easier to find things, so here ya go.  Now it goes without saying this won't work with Vista and WMDC, but at least that is a little easier to manage.  Get the app here via FileDropper and thanks to red_hanks at XDA for bringing this back to our attention.  Also, see out "permanent Guest Mode" tweak for ActiveSync as well.

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There was a fleeting moment of consternation in the run-up to the Windows 7 beta as it was rumored to lack support for Windows Mobile. The definitive answer: Fugetaboutit.

Speaking as a longtime Windows XP user who had avoided Vista at all costs, I've had nary a problem using Windows 7 with my Motorola Q9h, though I did have to download Microsoft's Windows Mobile Device Center -- aka WMDC (for you anti-Vista folks, that's basically Activesync with a nice UI on the front end). Hopefully we'll see WMDC built in to the final release of W7. For now, you can get it here.

If you're already used to WMDC, you should have no problems in Windows 7. If you're still looking to get in on the beta program, go download it here (at least through Feb. 10, when the official download ends).

Granted, we were hoping for a little more functionality with Windows 7 and Windows Mobile — Microsoft has this whole darn ecosystem it's working on, it'd just be nice if we could do more than simple sync, install, and file transfer. But, hey: working's working, at it appears to be a step up over ActiveSync.

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Tip of the Week: Advanced "Note" Syncing w/Outlook

One group of questions we get a lot of around here deals with various types of syncing with Windows Mobile (see other guides: "How to sync with Google", "MediaCenter", "LiveMesh", "Calendar/Live Mail") . Often we know a solution but every once in awhile, one of our readers has a unique trick up their sleeve like that cool ActiveSync "Gues Mode" hack.

In this case, rc46 is a big "Notes" user on his phone and computer (Outlook), but he found the lack of syncing options to be...lacking.

Specifically, WM Notes does not support categories, offer a way to organize and is even "off" by default (yeah, you need to turn it on). Luckily with some elbow grease he figured out a way around these limitations and greatly enhanced his Notes use.

Care to know how he did it?

Read on for details. (And if you have a cool trick that only you know about, share it with us!)

There look to many steps here, but in reality, most of these are straight forward, so don't be alarmed.

Part I: Enable Notes in ActiveSync

  • Perform an ActiveSync and leave WM device connected to PC.
  • On PC in Active Sync go Menu -> Tools -> Options
  • Now check the box that says notes and wait for the sync to complete.
  • Now disconnect WM device from the computer

Part II: Organize Your Notes

  • On the WM Device make a folder inside My Documents called "Notes"
  • Move all the notes that are currently in My Documents into that new "Notes" folder
  • Next inside the "Notes" folder make sub-folders for categories such as "Personal" "Business" and so on.
  • Now on the WM Device move the appropriate notes into these folders.

Part III: Time to Sync Again

  • After you sync look in Outlook on the desktop and you will see all the notes are automatically renamed with the folder structure as part of the name.
For example, the note titled "Christmas List 2008" will be changed to "Notes\Personal\Christmas List 2008"
This allows the notes to be sorted by category on the desktop as well as the WM Device even though no Outlook categories are really assigned on the desktop.

One downside: rc46 mentions is that the "Notes" application on WM won't show this new structure, so he recommends browings your notes and opening directly via File Explorer/Resco Explorer

Part IV: Adding New Notes

  • Open Notes and write away
  • New notes will then be saved to the folder "Device\My Documents\Notes\"
  • Open File Explorer and move new Note to appropriate sub-category created earlier

Part V: Creating/Modifying Notes on the PC

  • Create new Note as usual
  • Save as usual (do not attempt to add to sub categories)
  • Sync with your device --> Note synced to "Device\My Documents\Notes\"
  • Later, move Note on device to appropriate sub-category

Finally, rc46 has some closing advice:

I know this sounds like a bit of a hassle but in reality it isn't. Personally I just wait until I have about 10 or so un-catagorized notes in either the "Device\My Documents\" folder or the "Device\My Documents\Notes\" folder before I even bother with organizing them. Then I just do them all at once. Its really not a big deal once your used to it.
One weird little data point is for some reason sometimes you need to un-plug your handheld (disconnect it from the desktop) and then plug it back in before the notes will sync correctly after moving around notes in different folders. Just clicking the sync button in active sync wont do it. Must be an active sync bug?
Another little trick to quickly finding the note you are looking for is to use Resco Explorer instead of WM File Explorer. Just click on the binoculars and type some of name of the note and click search. You will find it right away.
This has been working for me for months now and I sync to 2 different PC's and have over 2000 notes.

So there you have it folks: the best way to sync and organize all your notes, with believe it or not, very little effort.

Thanks rc46 for the great tip!

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Ah, the price we pay for being on the bleeding edge. Windows Mobile Device Center is how Windows Vista wants to sync with your Windows Mobile device - it's a leg up on the old ActiveSync program in pretty much every respect but one - file syncing doesn't seem to work for you WM6 Standard Edition folks. Never fear, though, Brighthand is reporting that Microsoft feels your pain and will get WMDC fixed up right-as-rain in a little less than a month.

Currently, Windows Mobile 6 users can synchronize files between PCs and smartphones with Active Sync 4.5. Microsoft will update Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) on Windows Vista PCs to support file synchronization with Windows Mobile 6 by mid-June

Read: Microsoft Promises Fix for Windows Mobile 6 File Synchronization Snafu

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ActiveSync 4.5 out of Beta

It may not be Windows Mobile Device Center, but at least it's somthing: ActiveSync 4.5 has been released today. Doesn't look like there's anything new here that wasn't in the Beta, though. The biggest feature to 4.5 is faster file transfer speeds. The second biggest, ah, "feature" is that Remote PC Sync has been removed because it was just to difficult to keep secure. I've been using 4.5 Beta for awhile and I'm content with it.

Download details: ActiveSync 4.5 (thanks to msmobilenews for the ip)

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Windows Mobile Device Center for Vista now available

Ok Vista folks, time to once and for all give ActiveSync the heave-ho ...well, except that it is still called ActiveSync on your device. And WM5's OTA Exchnange Sync is ActiveSync too. You know, forget it, you're not heave-hoing all that much, just the ActiveSync app on your desktop... Because the promised replacement has arrived: Windows Mobile Device Center. It's a centralized place to deal with all your syncing, getting rid (hopefully) of the need to go into different programs to figure out their syncing.

Actually, I have a better idea: wait a while, this guy wishes he had. Then again, if you're the sort to already be running Vista, you're probably not the "wait awhile before installing" type. ;)

The Windows Mobile Device Center simplifies managing media between your Windows Mobile powered device and your PC. With the picture acquisition wizard, you can easily tag and transfer all of the pictures from your Windows Mobile powered device to your PC’s Windows Photo Gallery.

Read: Windows Mobile Device Center: Windows Mobile Synchronization for Windows Vista

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No WiFi Active Sync - here's why

I adore the Windows Mobile Team Blog. How great is it that the developers themselves not only post blog entries about the OS, but post open, honest, and funny blog postings about the os? While other divisions might just talk about the inability to use ActiveSync over WiFi with a curt “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature,” here we get Mike Calligaro actually explaining why, when, and how the decision went down.

Three Cheers to the Windows Mobile Division.

The official (and true) reason has always been stated as “We removed it for security reasons.” But, judging from the number of angry comments I see posted here, that explanation hasn’t really convinced anyone that it was a good idea. So, let me go into more detail. The first major issue is this: Exchange ActiveSync is encrypted and desktop ActiveSync isn’t.

Read: Windows Mobile Team Blog : WiFi Did You Do That?

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