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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Limitations
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2005, 2006, 2008
 Version 1.09  Revised 9/7/2008

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    1. Installation

    2. Initial Configuration

    3. USB Issues

    4. Guest Issues

    5. Firewall and Proxy Issues

    6. Outlook Errors

    7. Synchronization Errors

    8. Mobile Information Server / Outlook Mobile Access

    9. Exchange ActiveSync Error Codes and Solutions

    10. Missing Calendar, Contacts or Tasks Items

    11. Security Advisories

    12. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - General

    13. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Limitations

    14. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - 85010014

    15. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Firewall, VPN, Proxy

    16. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Logs & Services

    17. ActiveSync 4.x Troubleshooting Guide - Connection Flow

    18. USB Advanced Network Functionality

    19. Microsoft ActiveSync 4.2 Troubleshooting

    20. Using ActiveSync 4.x and Visual Studio 2005 and the Emulator

    21. Understanding ActiveSync or WMDC Partnerships


With the recent release of Windows Mobile 5.0, Microsoft has released ActiveSync 4.0.  ActiveSync 4.0 continues to build on prior version of ActiveSync with some significant changes for Windows Mobile 5.0 devices including support for synchronizing Media, support for USB 2.0 devices, Internet Explorer Favorites synchronization for Smartphone. These updates are only available for Windows Mobile 5.0 devices. Microsoft released ActiveSync 4.1 to improve the user's experience with networks (specifically VPNs, firewalls, and parental controls) and Outlook. This article covers some common issues and solutions for users of ActiveSync 4.x.  I recommend that users of ActiveSync 4.0 upgrade to ActiveSync 4.1 to see if their problem has been solved with the upgrade. Also, Microsoft has just released ActiveSync 4.2.   The latest version of ActiveSync is 4.5  which supports through Windows Mobile 6.1.    Microsoft also has a ActiveSync 4.0 USB Connection Troubleshooting Guide which may be helpful as well.

  1. ActiveSync 4.x no longer supports the ability to select specific categories of the calendar, contacts and tasks to synchronize to your Windows Mobile 5.0, 6 or 6.1 Pocket PC.
  2. ActiveSync 4.x no longer allows the user to specify the frequency of synchronization with Windows Mobile 5.0, 6 or 6.1 when synchronizing with Outlook.  With previous versions of ActiveSync the user could specify that they wanted to sync Manually, On Connect and Continuously.  ActiveSync 4.x only offers continuous synchronization.
  3. ActiveSync 4.x no longer supports network based TCP/IP synchronization with Outlook.  Prior versions of ActiveSync allowed users to synchronize via Ethernet, Wi-Fi and modem.  This was removed for security reasons.
  4. ActiveSync 4.x no longer installs the Pocket Word file converter.  Since the Pocket PCs can read and write the desktop file formats, it is no longer needed by most users.  If you need the Pocket Word converter, then install ActiveSync 3.8 and upgrade to ActiveSync 4.x.
  5. ActiveSync 4.x does not provide a way to disconnect synchronization.  If you sync via Infrared and move the Windows Mobile 5.0, 6 or 6.1 device away from the PC, it will still think it is connected until you perform a soft reset.  An alternative to disconnect without a soft reset is to open ActiveSync on the PC and click on File - Connection Settings and uncheck the option to sync via Infrared.  Once the device has disconnected, you can recheck the box to use Infrared again.
  6. ActiveSync 4.x with a Windows Mobile 5.0 device does not support converting Access tables to Pocket Access (CDB) format.  ActiveSync 4.2 with a device prior to Windows Mobile 5.0 does support the conversion of Access to Pocket Access (CDB) format.  This includes some versions of Microsoft Money (2006 and prior) that use this conversion process for their database.
  7. ActiveSync 4.2 or earlier is not fully compatible with Outlook 2007.  Users have reported problems synchronizing the Notes field for Calendar, Contacts, Tasks as well as the Notes item type.  At this time you need to upgrade to ActiveSync 4.5 to fully supports Outlook 2007.
  8. If e-mail is received in another folder or subfolder other than Inbox, the user will not receive the notification that new e-mail has been received.

If your problem is not resolved here, try Bev Howard's Solving ActiveSync Issues, the Microsoft ActiveSync Troubleshooter or Microsoft's Knowledge Base search on ActiveSync or Microsoft's Knowledge Base search on Mobile Information Server.

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