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mizzourob 09-30-2011 04:54 PM

Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
I posted this to my blog last night, but thought I might get a few more responses here....

I recently switched to Windows Phone 7 from Windows Mobile, but I am awash in frustrations over being able to manage my calendar and contacts. My situation is as follows:
  • My phone needs to access my cooperate Outlook email, calendar, and contacts, along with my Gmail, and personal Yahoo accounts. (set #1 of calendar and contact entries)
  • My employer runs an Exchange Server with which my office computer (set #2 of calendar and contact entries) connects to via Outlook 2010. However access to the exchange server is not allowed away from the office environment, and I must resort to using IMAP for accessing my corporate email on my home computer.
  • At home I use Outlook 2010 to manage my cooperate and Yahoo email accounts (over IMAP and POP3 respectively), along with my calendar and contacts (set #3).

Previously using Windows Mobile, any changes I made to my calendar or contacts at the office would sync over-the-air with my phone, then they would be synced to my personal Outlook address book and calendar via a USB connection and Windows Mobile Device Center. If I made a change on my phone, it would update my office computer over-the-air via the exchange server, then would update my home computer via USB. Finally if I made a change on my home computer, once I synchronized it with my phone, my phone would be update to date, which would then cause my office Outlook to match.


The key here was that Windows Mobile had a single calendar and address book, and that everything synced to that single repository. Now with Windows Phone 7, each account I add to the phone can have a separate contact list, and calendar in addition to email inbox. My goal is to maintain separate inboxes, and maintain a single set of contacts and calendar entries.


One possible solution that I tried for about a week was to use the Outlook Windows Live Hotmail connector to create a repository of contacts and calendar entries. I was able to synchronize my home Outlook contacts and calendar appointments to it, and then at the office I could synchronize my work copy of Outlook to my Hotmail account. Then I set my phone’s address book and calendar to only display the Hotmail contacts and calendar. This worked, but with one big drawback. A while back I invested a good deal of time adding contact photos/business logos to each entry in my address book. This way I see their photo in the bottom right corner of an Outlook email. Note that not all of my contacts have a Facebook or other social media profile. Much to my frustration, this system of synchronizing my calendar and contacts had wiped away all of the contact photos ( I made a backup PST file first!) as Hotmail will only support an image if the contact has a Windows Live Messenger profile.


Now I am left without the ability to properly synchronize my Outlook experience across all three of my primary Microsoft clients. If I cannot solve this very annoying issue, I may be forced to revert to Windows Mobile, or at least running a Windows Mobile device as a hardware peripheral for synchronizing my data using both the Wi-Fi and USB connections to create a bridge. This does not seem ideal, and I am still feeling like “upgrading” to Windows Phone 7 was really a downgrade in key functionality, and the new tagline “put people first” is a taunt as I cannot organize (synchronize) my people (contacts) to be able to put them first.


My next attempt at keeping everything in sync will be using Google via a 3rd party sync tool. If Google is my only option to sync my data, it makes me rethink my loyalty to Windows Phone; maybe I should be open to Android in the future if this is not solved by Microsoft?


Any thoughts?

rhogue 09-30-2011 06:16 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
Rob,
Setting up multiple email accounts is no problem, but it will merge contacts and calendars. Although when you go to the calendar, you can go into settings and choose which calendars to display. When you go to settings on the inbox, you can also link multiple mailboxes so all messages are in a single place...or you can keep them split...your call.

I assume you have the mango update already, right? If not, load the update and you are done.

WMFan85 09-30-2011 06:59 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
I had a lot of frustrating moments with Windows Phone 7 when I switched like not being able to access network drives, not being able to snooze reminders for longer than 5 minutes, not being able to use the device as a mass storage device (I could just plug it into our copier and scan right to the card), and many other things.

Mango solved 1 or 2 issues, but for the most part there are a lot of things I still can't do.

BUT Windows Phone 7 for the most part is a great operating system and I love the connection to Skydrive. That is one of the main reasons I won't switch back. I don't consider it much faster because my Fathom with a 1GHZ snapdragon was just as fast or faster.

eric12341 09-30-2011 07:24 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
@mizzourob sounds like the main independent variable in this situation is ur employer not allowing access to the exchange server outside of the office. if that was permitted ud be able to seamlessly sync all those contacts,calendars and emails. and yea I strongly recommend u install mango if u haven't already.

GoodThings2Life 09-30-2011 07:35 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
I agree with Eric on this... the limiting factor here is more with your Exchange Server... you're saying they don't enable ActiveSync? If not, I'm curious about why not. As an Exchange administrator, myself, I can't think of any reason why I'd not allow ActiveSync but would allow IMAP... in fact, the opposite is true... I explicitly ban IMAP, because unlike ActiveSync, I can't secure my user data with IMAP. If data security were the issue, like a government or highly secure company, I would allow ActiveSync knowing I can remotely wipe a compromised device in a matter of seconds.

Incidentally, although each account syncs contacts individually, you use the "Link" button to combine them together for your integrated contact list. Linking occurs automatically for same-name contacts as well.

mizzourob 10-01-2011 06:21 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rhogue (Post 2148032)
Rob,
Setting up multiple email accounts is no problem, but it will merge contacts and calendars. Although when you go to the calendar, you can go into settings and choose which calendars to display. When you go to settings on the inbox, you can also link multiple mailboxes so all messages are in a single place...or you can keep them split...your call.

I assume you have the mango update already, right? If not, load the update and you are done.

Yes I am running Mango; I held out on switching to Windows Phone 7 until Mango was available. However this does not solve my problem; for example if I create a new contact or calendar appointment at work (on my computer with Outlook) while it will show up on my phone, my phone will not then update the rest of the contact sources that are linked together.


Quote:

Originally Posted by eric12341 (Post 2148047)
@mizzourob sounds like the main independent variable in this situation is ur employer not allowing access to the exchange server outside of the office. if that was permitted ud be able to seamlessly sync all those contacts,calendars and emails. and yea I strongly recommend u install mango if u haven't already.

Even if I did have access to my cooperate exchange server from home (instead of via IMAP) I would still have to have some sort of syncronizations software in place to sync the calender and contacts between my local (home) outlook and my cooperate outlook.

eric12341 10-01-2011 07:22 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mizzourob (Post 2148191)
Yes I am running Mango; I held out on switching to Windows Phone 7 until Mango was available. However this does not solve my problem; for example if I create a new contact or calendar appointment at work (on my computer with Outlook) while it will show up on my phone, my phone will not then update the rest of the contact sources that are linked together.




Even if I did have access to my cooperate exchange server from home (instead of via IMAP) I would still have to have some sort of syncronizations software in place to sync the calender and contacts between my local (home) outlook and my cooperate outlook.

if ur home outlook were also connected to the exchange server(s) there would be no need to sync with a USB cable.

mizzourob 10-01-2011 07:44 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eric12341 (Post 2148195)
if ur home outlook were also connected to the exchange server(s) there would be no need to sync with a USB cable.

I agree, but that is not possible, now my next strategy is to install a third party google sync tool (gSyncit) on my home computer and sync my home outlook calender and contacts to Google, then I'll do the same thing at the office on Monday. My other option is to get my employer to support Exchange over RPC so I can access it remotely from home, then use the CodeTwo Folder Sync outlook addin (free) at home to sync it with the exchange server; then I would set my phone to sync with my Exchange Server.

I feel like I keep beating my head against a wall trying to make everything work correctly.

eric12341 10-01-2011 08:24 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
yea u can try that and make sure that they know that IMAP is less secure than ActiveSync

mizzourob 10-05-2011 06:16 PM

Re: Windows Phone 7 Frustrations
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eric12341 (Post 2148204)
yea u can try that and make sure that they know that IMAP is less secure than ActiveSync

Unfortunately I found out my employer would not permit an off-site Exchange connection using Outlook via RPC. I am not an exchange administrator, but I thought that seemed bizare as they kept suggesting I launch a VPN to the network instead of using the RPC method.

I feel like I've exhausted my options; The only option that halfway worked was to sync my office computer and home computer to Google via a third party utility (gSyncit), and syncing my Windows Phone 7 device to Google. While that worked, it would not sync in real time (only when I activated it or set it to run).

So My last option was to try to simulate an Exchange ActiveSync connection on my home computer with DAVMail and then sync my local contacts and calender against the DAVMail connection using a different sync tool (CodeTwo Folder Sync). I was not able to get DAVMail working with Outlook, so at that point it just seemed like I was running in circles banging my head :banghead: when I already had a working solution (Windows Mobile 6.5).

The fact that the only halfway working solution I could figure out required me to sync all of my Microsoft clients (Outlook and Phone) to their competitor Google, makes me wonder how well they have thought out their Windows Phone 7 strategy :scratch:.

Thus I think I've made my decision to switch back to my Touch Pro2. The device can seamlessly sync all of my contacts between my cooperate exchange server and via USB to my home version of Outlook; not to mention the wi-fi tethering, local file storage, and proper support for landscape more.


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