Monday, April 14, 2008

SharePoint Alerts—Activesync Synchronization Issues?

I got a new toy about three weeks AT&T Tilt. A.K.A. the HTC 8925, the Tilt runs Windows Mobile 6 and is my first portable device on which I will receive email. Okay, so I'm a bit late jumping into the whole mobile email thing. I've never thought of email (or me) as being important enough to have to have in front of me 24x7. So now I have it. I'll let you know later if that's good…or bad.

Learning curve engaged. I had to figure out this Activesync thing. You know, like Active X and Active desktop and Active Directory and Active bladder…but I digress (too many of those commercials on TV). Back to Activesync. Got the Activesync thing figured out pretty easily. My biggest problem was entering my "secure" password on the keyboard to set up my OWA Exchange account correctly. Things were rockin' and rollin' and mail was downloadin' until…

…about a week into it. Suddenly, my device stopped syncing. Well, partially, anyway. Seemed like it developed a distaste for my email. However, it was still syncing my contacts, calendar and tasks without a problem. Kinda' like Powerpoint, it started sucking the life right out of me as I began my troubleshooting journey. I did all the standard Windows Mobile things…delete the account and start over, soft reset, hard reset and finally, upgrading the ROM (I originally thought the upgrade had fixed the problem).

I found several articles that talked about a problem with corrupt emails causing Activesync to stop synchronizing emails. The question for me was how to determine which of my gazillion emails might be causing the problem. I removed all my emails from my Inbox (it needed a good housecleaning, anyway). I even tried moving entire folders into my PST to no avail. Still, no sync. It was all very interesting, as the error I had originally received suddenly went away and I was left with an errorless, non-syncing mailbox.

Well, someone else in the company (thanks, Eric) started having problems and determined quickly that it might be caused by a SharePoint alert! Must be a better Googler than I. Okay, now THAT makes sense. I've seen those SharePoint alerts in the past that won't open correctly in Outlook, so I thought it sounded plausible. Sure enough, I deleted my daily alerts from my Inbox and volia, I was syncing again.

I went back and tested the scenario by forcing a SharePoint immediate alert. Sure enough, as soon as I got the alert in my Inbox, my email stopped syncing with Activesync. Follow-up provided me with article 937788 from Microsoft which seems to shed more light on the issue. I've requested the hotfix to see if it really fixes the issue.

We all love SharePoint alerts, but they appear to have some undesirable side effects. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has had (or is having) this issue. I've seen other posts with similar issues. I found out quickly that losing your portable email can lead to withdrawl!


Ben Minehart said...

Thanks for this post. I'm pretty sure this will address exactly what I have some users experiencing. It seems like it's resolved with Mobile 6.0 to a certain exten, but Mobile 5.0 is definitely problematic. We'll be applying the ActiveSync/Exchange hotfix next weekend.

Anonymous said...

Same problem here.. Exchange 03 with Sharepoint 2007

Weightloss said...

Have you applied the hotfix and if so which server did you apply it too? Front end or back end?


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