ActiveSync Encountered an Error on the Desktop

OK, after reviewing two inspirational books, it’s time to get back to talking technology. I like to use my Windows Mobile phone to help me keep track of what I’m doing, but lately that’s not been possible. For some reason, no matter which computer I try to sync my Epix with, I keep getting “ActiveSuck encountered an error on the desktop”. Yes, I meant to say ActiveSuck instead of ActiveSync. Tasks that I have marked as complete keep popping back up as incomplete, and entries keep duplicating themselves. I’m about getting sick of the whole thing.

I’ve tried everything I can find, which in Windows land honestly isn’t much. When I go searching for fixes to the problem, this is what I get:

  • Hard reset the Windows Mobile phone.
  • Uninstall Windows Mobile Device Center
  • Uninstall Outlook
  • Reinstall Outlook
  • Reinstall WMDC

If that doesn’t work, then do the following:

  • Hard reset the Windows Mobile device
  • Uninstall Windows Mobile Device Center
  • Uninstall Outlook
  • Reinstall Outlook
  • Reinstall WMDC

The only other thing I have found is to use a file in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office 12 directory called scanpst.exe. It worked once. Ever since then, it’s stopped working. I’ve tried to sync with 3 different computers recently, and neither is able to sync without this problem popping up.

I have the option to go strictly Google Calendar, which has sync clients for Outlook, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry. The drawbacks are that I can’t assign appointments to categories, but I can access my calendar and sync across a variety of platforms. For tasks, I could switch to My Life Organized, as I do have licenses for the 1.9.1 desktop version and the 1.9.2 Windows Mobile version.

I figured I would appeal to my readers. Do you have any advice? Has anything worked for you? Please note, I have already tried and will not accept as answers any of the following:

  • Hard reset the Windows Mobile device
  • Uninstall Windows Mobile Device Center
  • Uninstall Outlook
  • Reinstall Outlook
  • Reinstall WMDC

I have also considered and likewise won’t accept:

  • Ditch Windows Mobile
  • Ditch Windows

OK I will accept those answers only from a person or company willing to send me an alternative platform to use. If you have an alternative AT&T capable GSM phone with productivity platform that you’d like a tester for, please contact me. You can review my credentials on this blog. I have written several book reviews and commented extensively on technology. I’m working as an engineer and have an IT degree from the University of Phoenix. I am more than qualified to evaluate such a platform, and my life and work will definitely put it through it’s paces.

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6 Responses

  1. In Outlook on the desktop, create a spare Tasks folder called Tasks Backup. Move all your tasks to there. There should be no tasks in your Outlook tasks folder.
    Now, in ActiveSync, uncheck the option to synchronize tasks. This will wipe all the tasks on your device. That’s why you made the backup above.
    Now, in ActiveSync, check the option to synchronize tasks. ActiveSync should sync, without errors, giving you an empty task folder on both the device and the desktop.
    Now, move the tasks back from the Tasks Backup folder to the Tasks folder. Do it in several chunks, and wait for the sync to complete successfully each time. Usually, you can do this until all the tasks are copied.
    Occasionally, I discover a corrupted task.
    Usually, I don’t.
    CAVEAT: I inevitably end up in the same situation a week later. It is incredibly frustrating, and I don’t know the reason. I just know how to get back to normal. Question for you: do you sync to just one desktop, or also to Exchange?

  2. Thanks for commenting. I currently sync with only one laptop, which is from work. My problem usually pops up when I get a little ambitious and try to sync with two computers, then for some reason one needs a reformat or I get a new one and try to sync with it.
    I recently rebuilt my work laptop. I took the Vista Home Premium disk and drivers that came with it and installed those on one partition, then I installed the Vista Ultimate disk that my organization had to buy me onto another partition so I can access the domain. I do most of my work on the Home Premium partition then reboot into Ultimate when I need something on the domain, like DOORS.
    When I setup Office 2007 on the Home Premium partition, I synced my data back from my phone fresh to the laptop. I came up with several appointments that wouldn’t sync, and had to delete them from the phone one by one. Once I got past that, I got a reliable sync that seems to be holding up.
    I don’t have an Exchange server to sync to, so I’ve always synced to whichever desktop or laptop I’m using as my primary. I’m slowly moving some of my data to “the cloud”. I have several devices syncing with Google Calendar, but so far there really isn’t a good way to get Outlook tasks online.
    I definitely feel your pain because this problem has kept coming back to me over and over again for years. Any time I try to sync with two computers, I end up getting duplicate tasks, appointments, and contacts. I also get dupe notes, but for some reason I can’t get notes to sync to my Samsung Epix like they did to every Windows Mobile devices I’ve had previously. I wish the Windows Mobile team could learn comparative logic.

  3. BTW, I have a little utility I wrote for WinMo that (as well as other things) can de-dupe tasks.
    It can:
    a) de-dupe tasks;
    b) set all overdue tasks to have today’s due date;
    c) semi-intelligently re-schedule tasks based on categories – I’m going to get rid of this feature probably.
    d) semi-intelligently ‘end a review’ of tasks in a certain category. This involves the ‘Team Task’ flag being used as a ‘Defer’ flag. Unfortunately, ActiveSync doesn’t sync this flag, even though it’s present on both desktop and handheld.
    e) based on categories of the task, and a (currently in-built) map of what I would like my week to look like, it will apply a “!Now” category to tasks that should be done now.
    I also use Oxios To Do list – way the best task manager I’ve come across.
    Also, I’m using a Q9H, so screen size of this app is landscape.
    If you’re interested in playing with it, let me know.

  4. Thanks. I’m going to experiment with TypePad’s capability to reply to the comment notification email, so if anything is off I’ll repost.
    Your utility would be interesting to play with. What would be the best way
    to get it to me? I’m using a Samsung Epix, which is a 320×320 square screen.
    I use Pocket Informant, and I have Franklin Covey’s Plan Plus on Outlook
    with the sync conduits to Pocket Informant. I’ve used MyLifeOrganized in the
    past, and I just tried to use it again a few weeks ago, but having tasks in
    Outlook is somewhat important to me for now. That’s one of the main reasons
    why I didn’t get an iPhone. At one point where I was close to getting an
    iPhone, I tried a few solutions on my iPod Touch but nothing was close
    enough to how I want it to work. I don’t know if I’m just brainwashed by
    years of productivity books and blogs that I need Outlook tasks to function,
    or if I really do better that way.

  5. Presumably you can see my email address offline from the blog? If so, email me, and I can get it to you that way.
    I have tried PlanPlus, Pocket Informant, MLO but in the end settled on Oxios To Do which is just a WinMo replacement for the standard task list BUT USES THE SAME DATABASE, so it all syncs with Outlook.
    But it’s a Smartphone WinMo app – and the Epix is a WinMo Pro machine I believe. Which is a shame, because I think you’d like it.

  6. OK – so to clarify – my app runs on both WinMo Smartphone and WinMo Pro.
    Oxios installs only on WinMo Smartphone, but if installed to a storage card, can then be run from a WinMo pro device. Just tested it.

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