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ActiveSync – Identifying Unresolved Items
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2002-2004
 Version 1.08  Revised 5/10/2004

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Introduction

So you have been using ActiveSync with your Pocket PC or Handheld PC for awhile and now you are seeing the Resolve Items link in the status window. The Resolve Items is being caused by Calendar item, Contact or Email message that cannot be handled by ActiveSync. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not provide helpful error messages as to which item is causing the problem or how to fix the problem. This article will explain how you can identify which item is causing the error and possible solutions to avoid this problem in the future.

What Causes Unresolved Items

Unresolved Items are caused by a variety of different problems with the synchronization process.   Here is a list of possible causes of unresolved items:

  1. One of the most common issues are that the files are open by another application on the desktop or the Pocket PC. I recommend closing all applications to avoid having the files open. In the Calendar, Contacts and Tasks as well as Email, a common problem could be a corrupted PST (mailbox) file. Using the program Scanpst.exe will allow you to identify any problems with your PST file and fix them.
  2. Another possible issue with Email is that ActiveSync attempts to convert all attachments and synchronize them. So if an attachment such as a .DAT file is not supported, the Resolve Items will be displayed.
  3. Also, if you place ink notes into your Calendar or Contacts, you cannot synchronize the notes to the desktop. The desktop does not support the ink format that the Pocket PC uses. 
  4. Another source of unresolved items is a problem with converting Word or Excel files including as attachments to Inbox.  You cannot convert or sync files with a password.  Further if your documents are more complex than the converter can handle, your pc may hang.
  5. Another possible cause of unresolved items occurs when a user modifies a contact, calendar item or task on BOTH the PC and the Pocket PC.  This is because ActiveSync identifies changes made on either the Pocket PC or the PC and synchronizes the WHOLE record.  So it either replaces the record from the Pocket PC to the PC or vice versa. In these instances, you need to decide which version is correct.  You can adjust this behavior in ActiveSync to indicate whether the item remains unresolved or is overwritten by the PC record or the Pocket PC record in ActiveSync (on the PC) - Tools - Options - Rules. 
  6. Another source is when users are inviting users to appointments which do not exist on the PC (normally their home PC) they are synchronizing.   In this case you need to either add the users to the Pocket PC and sync it with their PC or delete the invited attendees for the appointment.  You cannot just add the user to your PC because the Pocket PC is looking for that specific contact that existed previously.

Fixing Unresolved Items

First, I suggest closing all other applications besides ActiveSync and Outlook. Then clock on the Resolve Items to attempt to re-synchronize them. If this does not work then you will need to consider doing the following:

  1. First change the settings on the PC in ActiveSync - Tools - Options to not synchronize any of the options.  If ActiveSync still fails then visit the ActiveSync Troubleshooting Guide for further assistance. Re-enable the different types of data to sync one at a time to identify where the problem is occurring.
  2. File synchronization – remove all files from you’re Pocket PC My Documents folder and sync. Then add them back one by one until you identify the file causing the error.
  3. Calendar and Contacts synchronization – Create a new calendar or contacts folder and cut the items into the new folder. Re-synchronize until you identify the item causing the problem. Then review the item and consider deleting it and re-adding it.
  4. Inbox synchronization – Adjust the amount of days that are synchronized using ActiveSync – Tools – Options and select Inbox. Then click Advanced and reduce the number of days to sync until the error is no longer displayed.  If you are synchronizing multiple folders then unselect all the subfolders and add them back until you find the folder with the issue.  In some cases this alone will fix the problem. Then create a new Email folder and cut the messages for that day and paste them into the new folder. Then you can cut and paste them back one by one until you identify the problem message. Consider whether the message should be kept and you may want to export the text of the message so you can synchronize it as a file. This is done by opening the message and selecting File – Save As and then placing the file into the Pocket PC My Documents folder.   
  5. Microsoft has created a knowledge base article which explains POOM errors for the Pocket PC 2002 and ActiveSync 3.5 or later that can occur while synchronizing.  If you follow these instructions you can read the WCESCOMM.LOG and WCESMGR.LOG to identify the problem with Outlook..
  6. If you are using Outlook XP (2002) and you see the message "Attention Required" and after you click on the option to resolve items, the are still unresolved, it could be because the Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) component is not installed. See Microsoft Knowledge Base article 299625.
  7. If you are unable to sync and you have installed McAfee and are getting "unresolved items"  where you are synchronizing or receive "network error", disable the HAWK e-mail option. 
  8. If you see unresolved items in Inbox, try unchecking the option to sync Inbox, sync, then re-checking the option to sync inbox.  This should reset all downloaded e-mail via ActiveSync.

Conclusion

Now you have some methods to allow you to identify what is causing the Resolve Items message that shows up in ActiveSync. I wish Microsoft would provide a better method of identifying these issues so users do not have to perform these workarounds. A dialog box with a complete list of the errors and what was not synchronized would greatly help in this process.

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