If you use Microsoft's Outlook Connector software to synchronise Microsoft Outlook on your PC with your Hotmail or GMail account, then you might want to read this. It's become apparent that the latest update to the software, part of Microsoft's Live Essentials Suite, has broken the calendar synchronisation with Hotmail, and may also be causing additional problems on other computers and with other email accounts.
The latest Update for the Outlook Connector (version 14.0.6106.5001) is being widely complained about online for constantly causing folder synchronisation errors. Users of the software are getting the message...
Task '[email protected]' reported error (0x80004005) : 'Network operation failed'
Task '[email protected]' reported error (0x8004102A) : 'Error with Send/Receive. There was an error synchronizing your folder hierarchy.The network connection is unavailable or interrupted. Please try again later.'
Task '[email protected]' reported error (0x8004103A) : 'Synchronization error.'
The official Microsoft Answers support website has a thread about the problem that people are subscribing to in ever greater numbers as the weekend goes on. Many people are reporting that the problem is affecting their calendar, and that there's no way to fix it.
If you have this problem already then, alas, it looks as if you'll have to wait for Microsoft to provide a fix. If you have upgraded your Outlook Connector recently however, rolling back your system using System Restore, might rectify the problem. For new installations of Outlook however it's not good news as the system will not allow you to set up a Hotmail or other account unless you are using the very latest version of the connector software.
People who have been hit by this problem have tried everything from completely uninstalling both the Connector and Office, deleting the store folders for both and cleaning out the registry. They've done this though only to find when they reinstall everything the problem still remains.
Microsoft have not yet made any comment about the problem, but ought to be aware of it by now because it's causing people such significant inconvenience. Until the problem is resolved my personal recommendation would be to switch temporarily to Windows Live Mail which still syncs with your Hotmail or Gmail account without any problems.
The latest version of the connector was released on the 7th July and should be avoided if you see it in Windows Update. You should right-click on this update and select "Hide" from the context menu that appears. With this update hidden Outlook should continue to work for you as normal. When a replacement update for the connector software is released by Microsoft this should then appear as normal in Windows Update so that you can install it.
It's not very often that Microsoft release a product update that breaks the product, though as they go this one can be seen in two ways. Outlook will continue to work, though it will report errors, and if you're happy to keep your calendar temporarily updated in your web browser then you should be fine. However, it is very inconvenient for many people and the number joining the complaint thread on the Microsoft support website is growing constantly. Clearly people are annoyed and these are just the people who know how and where to look for product support online.
There will be a great many more users of the Outlook and Outlook Connector software that will not know where to get help and will currently be thinking there is something wrong with their computer. This could cost some people money if they ask for an expert to look at it for them. Clearly then Microsoft need to fix this problem as a matter of priority.
If you are experiencing this problem, the main thread for information on the Microsoft Answers website can be found here.
UPDATED : The problem has now been confirmed to have also affected the x64 version of the latest Outlook Connector update.
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