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Troubleshooting Sync Services on Windows with Microsoft Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, or Outlook 2010

Symptoms

If you're having difficulty syncing your contacts or calendars to iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes for Windows via USB, this article can help.

Resolution

Important: If you are syncing with OS X Mountain Lion or earlier, see these articles instead:

If you are using iCloud to keep your content up to date between your iOS devices, iCloud.com, and your computer, please see these articles instead:

Make sure your software is up to date

It is recommended that you use the latest version of your software:

Which option are you using to store your data in Microsoft Outlook?

By default, your Outlook data is stored in Personal Folders format (PST) unless you are using an Exchange Server to access your data. If you are using Outlook with an Exchange Server, your data may be stored in an OST file if you have Cached Exchange Mode turned on. An iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch syncing via iTunes will sync with the default PST or OST file. When using an OST file, only information stored locally, or cached on your computer, will be available to sync.

Note: You may be able to sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directly with your Exchange server. For more information on syncing directly with an Exchange server, contact your Exchange Administrator. There are resources for Exchange Administrators, including the iPhone Enterprise Deployment guide on www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise.

Back up your data

Refer to this Microsoft article for steps to back up the data in your PST file used by Microsoft Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Outlook 2007. This Microsoft article explains where the Microsoft Outlook 2010 data files are located. 

For information about backing up the data in your OST file, contact your Exchange Administrator. Your OST file should be on the server and backed up when the server is backed up.

Before troubleshooting, it is recommended that you make a copy of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch backup in a safe place. For more information about where to find the backup and what information it contains, refer to About backups.

Reset Sync History

If you find that some of your data syncs to your device but you see an unexpected number of changes or modifications, you may reset your sync history.  When you reset sync history you will be prompted to merge or replace information the next time you sync your information.   To reset sync history:

  1. Open iTunes.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Devices tab.
  4. Click the Reset Sync History button.

If the issue continues and you know all of the data is on the computer:

  1. Reset the Sync History again using the steps above.
  2. Select the device in iTunes and click the Info tab.
  3. Scroll down to the Advanced section, and under "Replace information on this iPhone/iPad/iPod touch" select Contacts or Calendars.
  4. Click Apply.

If the issue continues and you know all the data is on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Reset the Sync History again using the steps above.
  2. Remove all of the contact and calendar information from Outlook.
  3. Select the device in iTunes and click the Info tab.
  4. Scroll down to the Advanced section, and under "Replace information on this iPhone/iPad/iPod touch" make sure Contacts and Calendars are not selected.
  5. Click Apply.

Disable third-party Outlook add-ins

Outlook add-ins created by other manufacturers may interfere with the communication between iTunes and Outlook. If you are using Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 and your calendars and contacts are not syncing properly to your device, disable any third-party Outlook add-ins that are installed.
For Outlook 2003, follow these steps to disable third-party add-ins:

  1. Open Outlook 2003
  2. From the Tools menu, choose Options.
  3. Click the Other tab.
  4. Click the Advanced Options button.
  5. Click the COM Add-Ins button.
  6. Determine if any third-party (non-Apple) add-ins are present in this list. The add-in "iTunes Outlook add-in" is made by Apple and can be left alone.
  7. Deselect the checkbox for each third-party add-in in this list.
  8. Click OK.

For Outlook 2007, follow these steps to disable third-party add-ins:

  1. Open Outlook 2007
  2. From the Tools menu, choose Trust Center.
  3. Select Add-ins from the left column.
  4. Look at the list of add-ins beneath "Active Application Add-Ins" and determine if anything is listed other than the "iTunes Outlook add-in." If so, continue on to disable those add-ins.
  5. In the Manage box, click COM Add-Ins, and then click Go.
  6. In the COM Add-Ins dialog, deselect the checkbox for each third-party add-in in this list.
  7. Click OK.

For Outlook 2010, follow these steps to disable third-party add-ins:

  1. Open Outlook 2010 and click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. In the Outlook Options dialog box, click Add-Ins.
  4. If it is not already selected in the Manage list, click COM Add-ins.
  5. Click Go.
  6. In the COM Add-Ins dialog, deselect the checkbox for each third-party add-in in this list.
  7. Click OK.

Attempt to sync content in a new Windows user

It can be useful to determine if the issue affects a specific Windows user account or all accounts. Follow the steps below to create a new user account in Windows XP:
    1.    From the Start menu, choose Control Panel.
    2.    Open User Accounts.
    3.    Select Create a new account and follow the instructions to complete the account setup process.
    4.    Once the new account is created, choose Log Off from the Start menu.
    5.    Log into the newly created user account.


In Windows Vista, follow these steps instead:
    1.    From the Start menu, choose Control Panel.
    2.    Open User Accounts.
    3.    Select Manager another account.
    4.    Select Create a new account and follow the instructions to complete the account setup process.
    5.    Once the new account is created, log off.
    6.    Log into the newly created user account.

After you are logged into the new user account, create a few test contacts and/or calendar events in your compatible application of choice and attempt to sync that data to your iPhone or iPod touch. Does this newly created data sync properly? If so, you likely have an issue with your content in the original user which you will need to isolate.

If you can sync while logged in with a different Windows user account

If you followed the steps in HT1692 and could sync with Outlook after creating a new Windows user on your computer, these steps may allow you to sync in your original user account. Important: Try to sync after completing each step.

  1. Make sure all synced fields contain valid information. For example, events without a subject or with other incomplete information may not sync.
    • To check for events with no subject in Microsoft Outlook 2010:
      • Open the Calendar.
      • Click View Ribbon Header.
      • Click Change View (in the Current View Box in the top left). Choose List View.
      • Click the Subject header to sort by subject.
      • Look for events with no subject
    • To check for events with no subject in Microsoft Outlook 2007:
      • Choose View > Current View > By Category.
      • Click the Subject header to sort by subject.
      • Look for events with no subject.
    • To check for events with no subject in Microsoft Outlook 2003:
      • Choose View > Arrange By > Current View > By Category.
      • Click the Subject header to sort by subject.
      • Look for events with no subject.
    • To check for an incomplete Reminder, you will need to search the events individually. A Reminder should include what time to be reminded; for example, 15 minutes before an event.
  2. Verify that you have an Outlook profile set as the default. If you have never set a default profile, you will not be able to sync. As long as a default profile is specified, you can still have Outlook set to prompt for which profile to use when opening Outlook. This Microsoft article gives additional information on switching between profiles and setting a profile as your default profile.
  3. Verify that you are using a Unicode PST file.
  4. Rename the SyncServices folder.
    • Disconnect any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
    • Restart the computer.
    • To rename the SyncServices folder:
      • Windows XP: SyncServices is stored in a hidden folder named Application Data. The location is \Documents and Settings\(username)\Application Data\Apple Computer\SyncServices
        Note: To quickly access the Application Data folder, click Start, and then choose Run. Type %appdata% and click OK.
      • Windows Vista and Windows 7: SyncServices is stored in a hidden folder named AppData. The location is \Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\
        Note: To quickly access the AppData folder, click Start, and then in the search bar type %appdata% and press the Return key.
  5. Make sure your security software is up to date and run a security check or scan of your system (check with your antivirus or security software maker for steps). Refer to this article for suggestions on troubleshooting security software related issues.
  6. Check your Firewall and security software settings.
  7. Check your PST file for issues with the Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe). Microsoft includes the Inbox Repair Tool with Microsoft Office for diagnosing and repairing some PST-related issues. For more information, refer to this Microsoft Help and Support article. For issues with data contained in an OST file, contact your Exchange Administrator about the OST Integrity Check Tool. This Microsoft Office article has more information on both the Inbox Repair Tool and the OST Integrity Check Tool.
  8. If your PST file is larger than 2 GB, you may have issues opening Outlook or syncing with Outlook. This Microsoft Help and Support article has additional information on resolving issues with large PST and OST Files with the Oversized PST and OST Crop Tool.
  9. The tools for checking your PST or OST file may not resolve all data-related issues. To isolate the issue to possibly being the data in your OST or PST file, use the following steps:
    • Create a new PST file in Outlook.
    • Set the new PST file as the default. This Microsoft Help article discusses setting and changing which profile is the default profile.
    • Restart your computer.
    • Attempt to sync with the new PST file.
  10. If you can sync with the new PST file, follow the steps in this Microsoft Help and Support article to import your data to a new PST file. If the issue returns after importing to the new PST file, the issue is with some of your data. To resolve data issues, the following steps may be helpful.

    • Back up your PST file. For more information, refer to this Microsoft Help and Support article.
    • For Calendar content:
      • In iTunes, select the option "Do not sync events older than 30 days."
        • Select the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch in the left-hand column in iTunes.
        • Click the Info tab.
        • Scroll down to Calendars and select the option.
      • If the sync is successful, the issue is with an event older than 30 days.
      • Try reducing the number of days to see if the issue is resolved. If you reduce the time frame to 1 day and the issue persists, the issue is with an event in the future.
    • For Contacts:
      • Create a group of contacts in Outlook.
      • Open iTunes.
      • Select the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on the left-hand side of iTunes.
      • Click the Info tab.
      • Choose "Selected group."
      • Click the box next to the group you created in Outlook.
      • Add a few contacts at a time to the group and then sync.
      • If syncing is successful, continue adding contacts until syncing no longer completes.
      • Remove the contacts you added most recently and add them back individually until you have isolated the contact that is causing the issue.

If you cannot sync in any Windows user account

If after following the steps in HT1692 and you could not sync in your existing Windows user or in the new user you created, these steps may resolve your syncing issue. Important: Try to sync after completing each step.

  1. Restart your computer by shutting it down completely, leaving it powered off for 30 seconds, and then powering it back on. If you are using a USB hub, unplug it from any power source while the computer is powered off, and plug it back in after your computer has started up.
  2. If you are using Outlook 2010, verify that you are not using a Click-to-run installation.
  3. Make sure the date and time are correct on your computer and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
    • To adjust the date and time on your Windows computer, right-click the current date and time in the task bar and choose Adjust Date/Time.
    • To adjust the date and time on your iPod touch, be sure it is unplugged and then go to Settings > General > Date/Time > Set Date & Time.
    • On some computers, you may need to update your date and time in the BIOS (for example, if your time resets each time you start up). Contact your computer or motherboard manufacturer for assistance.
  4. Make sure your security software is up to date and run a security check or scan of your system. This article provides suggestions on troubleshooting security software related issues. In addition to updating any virus definitions or firewall rules, update the security applications as well—check with your antivirus or security software maker for steps if you are unsure how to do this.
  5. Make sure your computer is up to date. If you have recently installed an update to your Windows OS or have installed a new version of Windows, you may need updates recommended by the computer and/or hardware manufacturer. They should be able to provide you with the latest drivers, firmware, or other updates necessary for your system to continue to run smoothly.
  6. Make sure your firewall allows all related Apple software.
  7. Use the "msconfig utility" to isolate programs loading on startup that could be interfering. Refer to the steps for Windows XP or Windows Vista.
  8. Microsoft Outlook provides information to other programs, such as iTunes, through a Windows OS component called MAPI. Some applications, and even malware, can make changes to the files used by MAPI. Microsoft Office includes a tool called FixMAPI.exe that you can use to diagnose and resolve some MAPI-related issues.
  9. Verify the issue is not with the data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
    • Try replacing the data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. In iTunes, scroll down to the Advanced section in the Info tab. Choose the option to replace the data on the device during the next sync.
    • Rarely, the data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch may not be replaced. If the issue persists, try testing on a different computer and with a test user account on that computer. If using a computer with Outlook, be sure to open Outlook at least once before syncing. If you cannot sync with the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on a different computer, you will need to restore the data on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
    • If you do not have access to a different computer, copy the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch backup to a different location on your computer. For information on where the backup is stored, refer to this article. After you have copied your backup, restore the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and choose to set up the device as new when prompted. After this, test syncing. If you cannot sync after the restore, you can restore the data from the backup to the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  10. Reinstall Outlook with default installation options. This includes installing the program in Program Files on the same drive that Windows is starting up from.
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Last Modified: Nov 14, 2013
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