Migration of Outlook.​com accounts to Outlook Mail

Summary

The Outlook team published material on 5 May 2016 indicating that changes to Outlook.com accounts will require users of Windows Live Mail 2012 to take action. Unfortunately, the material contained a number of misleading statements and some which appear not to be true. This article is intended to amplify and clarify the published information.

Users of older versions of Windows Live Mail (the 2008, 2009 and 2011 versions) will be equally affected by the upgrade to Outlook.com accounts. There are indications that these old versions may not continue to work problem-free much longer.

Details

On 5 May 2016, these four items advised about forthcoming changes to Outlook.com accounts and the implications of those changes to users of Windows Live Mail 2012:

This information was quickly picked up by those who blog about Windows and Outlook.com, guaranteeing its wide dissemination.

Background

21 May 2015: Outlook Mail (Preview) announced
The Outlook team announced the migration of Outlook.com accounts to a new platform based on Office 365 technology. The new version – called Outlook Mail in most English-language locales – was for the first nine months labelled as a preview while testing and customer feedback was evaluated.

Accounts to be migrated were largely randomly selected, but some groups of users were excluded because other changes would be needed before their accounts would work properly. One of these groups consisted of users of Windows Live Mail who used the default DeltaSync protocol to synchronize their email messages and folders with Outlook.com. This is the group targeted by the information published on 5 May 2016.

19 October 2015: Patch KB3093594 released
Because the new version does not support DeltaSync, an update was released to enable users of Windows Live Mail 2012 on Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 to synchronize mail, calendars and contacts with Outlook Mail using the same Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol as many other clients.

The patch released as KB3093594 updated Windows Live Mail 2012 to build 16.4.3563

11 December 2015: Outlook team email
The Outlook team sent an email to users of Windows Live Mail telling them that they ‘need to install the latest update published here’, with a reference to KB3093594.

17 December 2015: Patch KB3093594 updated
This patch proved to be so badly flawed that a new version of it was released to update Windows Live Mail 2012 to build 16.4.3564.

12 January 2016: Patch KB3093594 distributed as Windows Update
KB 3093594 was distributed as a recommended Windows Update. Sadly, though, the new update was not much better than the previous one, although it did solve the stability problems users had experienced on Windows 10.

1 February 2016: Patch KB3093594 withdrawn
KB3093594 was withdrawn, but not before many users had installed it.

17 February 2016: Outlook Mail out of preview
The preview of Outlook Mail ended.

5 May 2016: Information about Outlook Mail published

Late June 2016: Migration of embargoed accounts begins

The Outlook team seem to have given up on making Windows Live Mail 2012 work with Outlook Mail using EAS. When embargoed accounts are migrated to the new platform from late June, users who rely on synchronization of their Outlook.com email and/or contacts and calendar will have to take action. The team’s recommendation is to stop using the program and start using a different one – the Mail, People and Calendar  apps on Windows 8.1 and 10, or Office Outlook. For users still on Windows 7, the advice is to upgrade to Windows 10, but failing that, to accept a free year’s subscription (worth $69.99) to Office 365 Personal, which includes Office Outlook.

No information has been forthcoming about any other changes, so this article assumes that nothing else will change when the embargo is lifted at the end of June 2016.

Action to be taken


ImageMigration to the new platform takes time. How much depends on the number of messages, folders and contacts to be migrated. No action should be taken until the migration is complete, at least 48 hours. Check on progress by visiting mail.live.com and examining mail folders and the People Image page.

The action needed to keep Windows Live Mail 2012 working more or less as before after an account has been migrated depends on the build of the program installed and on the version of Windows:

Find the version of Windows
Press Windows key Image + R, type winver and press Enter.

Find the program build
In Windows Live Mail, press Alt-F B to see the version and build numbers.
The build should be 16.4.3528.xxxx, 16.4.3563.xxxx or 16.4.3564.xxxx (xxxx is a date in MMDD format which may vary with language and region).

ImageAs always before making  changes to the operating system, to the program or to accounts, users should ensure that important data are adequately backed up in case something goes wrong. This means keeping copies of important mail messages and exporting the default contacts list (the one available when the user is not signed in) to a CSV file in a safe place. Sadly, there is no way of backing up the default calendar.

 

  1. Build 16.4.3528 and earlier on all versions of Windows
    Users will after migration see errors like this:Unable to send or receive messages for the ~~~ account.

    Server Error: 3219

    Server: https://mail.services.live.com/DeltaSync_v2.0.0/Sync.aspx
    Windows Live Mail Error ID: 0x8DE00005

    and/or

    There was an error when attempting to connect to the Windows Live Calendar service …

    To continue to synchronize mail messages and folders, users should follow the instructions in this article: Windows Live Mail and Outlook Mail
    For the second error message, see this article:  Error when attempting to connect to the Windows Live Calendar service

     

  2. Build 16.4.3563 or 16.4.3564 on Windows 7
    A migrated mail account will probably stop synchronizing and the user may see a variety of error messages. When this happens, the account should be removed and then added back again to refresh the sync relationship with the server. See Remove and re-add the account below.
    .
  3. Build 16.4.3563 on Windows 8.1 or 10
    This build wasn’t intended for Windows 10, and those who installed it may have found that it crashes the program on calendar update. Some users also found that it crashed the program on Windows 8.1. Users in this situation have two choices:

    1. Stop signing in See below for instructions
      This will:
      (a)   prevent the program from trying to update the calendar;
      (b)   cause the default calendar to load on start-up instead of the account calendar;
      (c)   cause the default contacts list to load on start-up instead of the account contacts list.
      Account contacts can be added to the default contacts list; see Transfer contacts to the default list below.
      It will still be possible to synchronize email messages and folders for this account both before and after it is upgraded to Outlook Mail, but it may be necessary to remove the account and then add it back again after the upgrade. See Remove and re-add the account below
      .
    2. Uninstall the update See below for instructions
      This will allow continued synchronization of the calendar, contacts and email until the account is upgraded.After the upgrade,
      (a)   Email will no longer work for the upgraded account. Other email accounts are not affected.
      (b)   Calendar sync may be unreliable, and some actions may cause calendars to be duplicated. Calendar colours may be lost.
      (c)   Contacts sync will work, but categories won’t make it to contacts.live.com. Categories will synchronize to other instances of Windows Live Mail.

      See Windows Live Mail and Outlook Mail to learn how to continue to synchronize email messages and folders.

  4. Build 16.4.3564 on Windows 8.1 or 10
    This build was acquired by installing update KB3093594, either manually or by Windows Update between 12 January and 1 February 2016. It adds support for Exchange ActiveSync, the protocol that enables mail, contacts and calendar to synchronize between clients and Outlook Mail.When the Outlook.com account is migrated, it may be necessary to remove the mail account and then add it back again to refresh the sync relationship with the server. See Remove and re-add the account below.

 


Exchange ActiveSync

(only implemented on builds 16.4.3563 and 16.4.3564)

This implementation of EAS is not perfect, so users will note some irritating faults:

Email
For accounts with many folders and messages, the initial sync process may stall. This is probably because the download is constrained to a certain quantity of data in each session. If this happens, Stop the download using the button in the send/receive progress window, then close down the program and wait half an hour before re-launching it and resuming the sync.

Messages are sent from the Outlook Mail server. This means that they will not appear in the Sent items folder until after the next sync.

Sent messages may be displayed with the sender as addressee (the To column in one-line view shows who the message is From). This display fault can be corrected batch-wise by dragging messages out of the Sent items folder into a Drafts folder, then back again after a minute or two.

Drafts will not synchronize, because the version of EAS in use doesn’t allow for it. Drafts created in Windows Live Mail will be saved in the Drafts folder under Storage folders.

Calendar
The calendar may appear to synchronize as before, but it is not reliable. Users may notice that calendar colours are lost – they all become pink – and attempting to change the colour may cause the calendar concerned to be duplicated. Closing down the program, waiting a few minutes and then re-launching it may clear the duplicate calendars, but all things considered, the calendar is more-or-less useless except as a standalone.

Users on Windows 8.1 or 10 may find that the simplest solution is to use the built-in Calendar app instead of the one in Windows Live Mail.

Contacts
Contacts continue to synchronize, but contact categories will not propagate to People. Categories will propagate to other instances of Windows Live Mail where the user signs in with the same Microsoft Account.

 


Remove and re-add the account

ImageA mail account currently synchronizing with Outlook.com should have the same folders and messages as the online account at mail.live.com. Before removing the account, it would be wise to check that all messages are present and correct online, because removing the account will permanently delete the account folders and their contents in Windows Live Mail.

  1. Right-click on the account name in the folder pane and select Remove account.
  2. When it’s gone, close down Windows Live Mail and wait for five minutes while the program adjusts to the change, then re-launch the program.
  3. Press Ctrl-Shift-T to start the Add your email accounts wizard, then follow the prompts to set up the account again. Only the email address, password and display name for outgoing messages have to be entered – the program will do the rest.

 


Stop signing in

Disconnect from the Internet, e.g. by disabling Wi-Fi or unplugging the Ethernet cable, then try to launch the program. This should prevent the calendar sync that causes the crash.

  • If the program starts without crashing, press Ctrl-Shift-O for Options. On the Connection tab, click Stop signing in.
  • If the program still crashes,
  1. Copy the text in the box:
REG ADD “HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail” /v “Default User” /t REG_BINARY /d 0 /f

2.  Right-click on the start button and select Command prompt, right-click inside the window and select Paste, then press Enter. When The operation completed successfully appears, close the command window.

3.  Launch the program.

 


Uninstall the update

ImageThis only applies to users with build 16.4.3563

1.  Close down all running programs.

2.  Copy the text in the box:

msiexec /package {B775C26B-EAA8-4A11-ACBF-76E52DF6B805} /uninstall {342DCD5D-5946-453B-97AC-D53B7662EDF5}

3.  Open an elevated command window [right-click on the start button and select Command prompt (Admin)], right-click inside the window and select Paste, then press Enter.
If the option to Repair … or Uninstall … appears, select Repair.

4.  Close the command window and restart the computer.

5.  Launch Windows Live Mail and check the program version (press Alt-F B). It should be 16.4.3528.xxxx

 


Transfer contacts to the default list

  1. Sign in to the account at people.live.com, then use the Export for Outlook.com and other services option on the Manage menu to save a CSV file containing contacts data.
  2. In Windows Live Mail, switch to the contacts window (press Ctrl-3 or click the address book icon at the foot of the folder pane)
  3. Ensure that the right-most button on the ribbon reads Sign in. If it doesn’t, click it and select Sign out of Windows Live Mail. The default contacts list will load.
  4. Click Import  > Comma Separated Values (.csv) and navigate to the file saved earlier.Note that the imported contacts will be added to the list regardless of whether any of them are already present. To prevent duplicates, delete the ones already there that are known to be in the list being imported.

The contacts list will now be the same as the account list seen when signed in.

 


Concluding remarks

The announcements made by the Outlook team about the future of Windows Live Mail have generated a great deal of disappointment and anguish. This article is intended to guide the program’s faithful users to make the changes necessary for them to continue to use the program more-or-less as before. It is after all only a small part of the program’s functionality that is affected by the changes at Outlook.com. The greater part will continue as before:

  • POP3 mail accounts (including Outlook.com accounts) – no change
  • IMAP mail accounts (including Outlook.com accounts) – no change
  • NNTP news accounts – no change
  • LDAP contacts directory accounts – no change
  • Account contacts – no change, except that
    • Categories no longer synchronize to People
    • Categories do synchronize between instances of Windows Live Mail
  • Default contacts – no change
  • Default calendar – no change
  • RSS feeds – no change
  • Photo email – no change (requires sign-in to a Microsoft Account)
  • Storage folders – no change
  • Search for a message and Find – no change
  • etc. etc.

If the changes prove to be overwhelming, affected users will have to start using a different program. Two which successfully synchronize email, contacts and calendar with Outlook Mail are Microsoft’s Office Outlook 2016 and the third-party application eM Client. But there is no other program that emulates the wide range of features of Windows Live Mail.

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