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Windows Mobile 5 Activesync messages not marked as read

I have Activesync to an SBS 2003 server up and running fine.  There is just one annoying flaw in the email synchronisation.  Messages on the phone inbox appear as 'unread' even though they have been read and flagged as read in Outlook on the PC.  This is all the more annoying because Outlook in Windows Mobile 5 appears to lack the facility to mark an entire folder as read (as you can do in Outlook on the PC).

The only way I seem to be able to flag emails as read on the phone is to go into the inbox and read them (even though I have read them once on my PC).  But this is becoming unfeasible because of the large number of emails I have to handle.

Am I doing something wrong, or missing something?  Does anyone know a way of flagging large numbers of emails as unread in Windows Mobile 5?

Chris
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chris_shaw
Asked:
chris_shaw
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1 Solution
 
SembeeCommented:
That doesn't seem to happen with me. The only thing I have noticed is that the prompt doesn't change - so you get the notification that says you have x unread messages, but go in to the inbox and find that they have been read.
I would have to suspect that your sync isn't working 100% correctly.

If you mark a message as read on the device, does it mark it as read in Outlook?

Simon.

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If your question has been answered, please remember to accept the answer and close the question.

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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Hi Sembee,
Yes if you read an email on the phone and then sync it is marked as read in Outlook.

I should say that it is not 100% of emails that remain marked as unread on the phone, just most of them unfortunately.  The only thing I can think of is that I scan through a lot of emails in Outlook by moving the cursor over them in the Inbox column. This marks them as read in Outlook without having to actually open the emails. I think I will test this a bit further to see if I get a full correlation on this i.e. emails marked as read in Outlook without actually opening them remain as unread on the phone.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
You just need to force a sync.  That should sync the "read" status as well.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff, thanks for your reply.

Synching is not the problem.  Syncs occur automatically or I can force them, and I get the mail appearing in the Inbox.  The issue is that I have 70+ emails marked as unread on the phone.  But they have all been read (not on the phone but on my PC).  The PC shows all emails as read.  The only way I can get these emails flagged as read on the phone is to open each one up and read it on the phone.  I dont want to do that because I have already read them.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
If the emails are read on your PC then the "read status" should change on the phone when you sync.  Something is not right with your setup if that's not happening.

Are the messages being stored in your Exchange Mailbox?  (As opposed to being stored in a .pst file?).

You might want to try doing a hard reset on the device to wipe it out and re-establishing the relationship.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

Thank you for  your feedback that the situation I am experiencing is not the normal state of affairs.  Yes Messages are stored in the Exchange server mailbox, not a Personal folder file.  The synching can occur directly over the USB connection to the PC, or remotely via GPRS when I am out.  It is strange because all other aspects of synchronisation appear to be OK.  I will have to play around with the setup to see if I can see a cause or, as you say, perform a more drastic reset.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
There are no settings to be played around with... a "Hard Reset" on a mobile device wipes out the messaging database file which is required when you have problems such as you are describing.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

I performed a hard reset on the phone, set it up with all the defaults with the minimum of tweaking.  At first I thought it had fixed it, all messages marked as read.  But this morning, after having read my email on the PC, the phone was showing just 2 emails (out of 20 or so) that were not read.  I synched several times, but it failed to mark them as read - I had to read the emails on the phone to clear it.  So I believe there IS an issue with the Windows Mobile 5 software here.  I will keep looking to see if I can determine any common theme in the few mails that it refuses to see as read.  Many thanks for your help.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
I don't believe that it's an issue with the Windows Mobile 5 software.  I've never seen this problem on ANY device that is using ActiveSync.

Which version of ActiveSync are you using?  

Perhaps you should run through the Synchronization Troubleshooting steps outlined here:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/activesync/default.mspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
The PC is running Windows Vista Business and Windows Mobile Device Centre.  The phone is running Activesynce supplied with Windows Mobile 5 with Messaging and Security Pack V.5.1.461 (Build 15671.3.3.0). I can't see any specific info about Activesync itself.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Ahh... then Vista doesn't run ActiveSync... but is the WMDC updated to 6.1?
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/devicecenter.mspx

Also, has the Daylight Savings Time Update been applied to your Mobile Device?
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/daylightsaving/default.mspx

And have DST updates been applied to the Exchange Server?
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/dst_smmb

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff,,
Thanks for your help on this, although I do not seems to have found a solution.  WMDC I am using is currently on V.6.1.  I am still trying to find a common thread for those emails which remain marked unread, and I have a possible theory.  It seems to be the emails from the previous day which remain unread - that certainly seemed to be the case this morning - I read all my emails on the PC, but the six that came in yesterday after I had closed Outlook for the day were the ones that remained unread on the phone.
Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
So, you're saying you didn't read those six in Outlook yesterday.  And you didn't read them on the phone either.

But today, you open Outlook and read them, but the ones on the phone don't update as being read?

Do I have that right?

What if you delete one of those messages in Outlook, does it get deleted on the phone?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff

Yes that's right as you describe it, and it doesnt matter how many times you sync, once an email has got into this flagged as unread state, the only way to rectify it is to open the email on the phone.

If you delete an email in Outlook this change IS synched to the phone.  In fact I would say that all aspects of synching work OK, with the exception of the flagging of read emails, and this only occurs with a certain proportion of them - most of them DO get flagged as read.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
But the portion is not based on where the email is sent from, but rather that it's received AFTER Outlook is closed?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

Yes it happened again this morning.  I read all emails on my PC, but two emails remained marked as unread on the phone, which were the two that came in yesterday, after Outlook had been closed down for the day.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Are there any rules within Outlook that are designated as "this machine only"?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Not as far as I can see Jeff, although I cannot readily see any designation for rules.  The only rules I have move messages with certain text in the subject line into other folders, so any mail in the Inbox will by defintion not have been affected by a rule.  I hope this answers your question?

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Well, those could cause a problem... but actually I'm just thinking that the message database which contains the information of whether or not a message has been read is corrupt.

You can clear that up by taking Outlook out of Exchange Cached Mode, close Outlook and make sure that the .ost file has been deleted.  Leave cached mode off for a day to see if that resolved your problem.  If it did, you should be able to put it back into cached mode without a problem.

Jeff
TechSoEasy



 
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

I turned off cached mode, disabled offline files and actually removed the .ost file.  I ran for about a week in direct Exchange access mode and had no problems with synchronising of read emails (although this is not ideal because it is slower, and I like to have a cached copy of the emails). After a week or so I turned my Outlook 2007 client back to cached mode and recreated a new .ost file.  The next morning the problem was back - the emails which had arrived the previous evening after Outlook had been shut down, although read the following morning on my PC, failed to show as read on the phone regardless of syncs.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Ok... how about giving this a try...

From your PC on the LAN, go to http://<servername>/oma

Enter your DOMAIN\username and password to log on and when the menu comes up click "Preferences"

If "Mark Read:" is "OFF", click that and it will switch to "ON".

Close that out and see if it fixes the problem.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,

Thanks again for your reply. I have tried what you suggest above.  Mark Read was already set to ON, but I set it OFF then back ON again.  It doesn's seem to have made any difference.

To make things worse any theory I may have had about which emails remain unread was blown this morning.  I had 16 emails remain unread, of which two were from the previous day, but the rest were today's emails, some of which were marked read on the phone, but 14 remained marked as unread, despite the fact they had all been read on the PC.  So the situation appears to remain exactly as it always has been unfortunately.

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Okay, then as a last resort... delete your Outlook Profile on the PC and do a hard reset on the phone.  Because what's happening is the databases which keep track of what's read and what's not read are corrupt and aren't talking to eachother.  That's actually how this works anyhow... it's not a per-message comparison... but rather tags in a database which sync.

Rebuilding those is the only way to get it back in sync.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Jeff,

The thing I can't understand is why it should be related to what happens in Outlook.  Since both the phone and Outlook are set to sync with Exchange server, they should both be looking at the same database i.e. what's on the Exchange server.  If you log onto a different PC from your normal PC. and run Outlook for the first time, it will created a cached copy of your Exchange folders and it will know which are read or not simply by looking at the Exchange database.

Also of course, I have already done a hard reset on the phone AND deleted and recreated outlook.ost on the PC.  Maybe I should create a new Outlook profile on the PC and try using that instead?

Chris
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
It's related to what happens in Outlook because both Outlook and your phone are email clients that have separate, cached, "read/unread" databases.  Those cached databases are kept on the client because you can read your email "off-line", and when the client connects to Exchange it updates the read/unread database in your Exchange mailbox.  

Now there is a chance that your mailbox is actually the place with the corrupt database, in which case you may have to rebuild that.  But I'd try the clients first and if required, use EXMerge to back up your mailbox and then create yourself a new one (http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/ExMerge-Recover-Mailbox.html).

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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spiesinorbitCommented:
I was able to get rid of the missing unread email by simply removing the email account from the phone and then adding it back. A little painful, but it worked. I was using an IMAP connection instead of POP3. Removal of the account should not remove any emails from the server. It gave a warning message regarding that on deletion. I guess unless you were downloading and erasing the emails using POP3.
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
HUH?  With Windows Mobile 5 you shouldn't be usint EITHER IMAP or POP3.  You should just have the account synchronized using ActiveSync.

Perhaps you need to review how all of this works?

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Yes, as Jeff says, the phone synchronises either with the Exchange database on the server and/or the PC when connected via USB.  POP3 or IMAP protocols are not used - it is a function of Activesync.  Unfortunately I have not managed to resolve this problem despite having reset the phone and the other things that Jeff suggested - EXCEPT by turning off cached mode for Outlook on the PC - then it seems to work OK.  But I would rather have cached mode turned on, so I have decided to live with the problem, which I still believe is a bug.

Chris
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Hi Jeff,
I never did manage to find a solution to this, and still think it is a 'bug' in the synching process, but I very much appreciate your help and have awarded the points.  Sorry it took so long - Chris
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately the problem has not been resolved - I think it is a bug in the synching process.  Many thanks to Jeff for the time spent helping
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AxlinCommented:
I was looking for a solution to this as well and I believe I've figured out the BEHAVIOUR of activesync and how it works...it's very simple:

Marking an email as read on either the Inbox on the PC OR the Windows Mobile phone does not invoke an ActiveSync. If you mark an email as read on either the PC OR Windows Mobile phone and then manually perform an activesync on the phone, the read/unread will be synchronized. There must be a registry setting or something either on the Server or the Phone or maybe Outlook that performs a Sync upon email reading INSTEAD OF just when new emails come in...

Does this make sense? Give the manual ActiveSync a try after reading an email on your PC and watch it get marked on your phone...
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chris_shawAuthor Commented:
Dear Axlin,

I think what you say is right - but unfortunately it does not provide a solution.  The problem I have is that my phone is switched off overnight, so syncs cannot be performed either automatically or manually during this time.

What normally happens then is that emails that came in AFTER the phone was switched off, but have been read in Outlook on the PC the following morning, remain marked as unread on the phone, regardless of any amount of synching.  Emails that come in during the morning are fine - no problem there.  The ONLY way to mark these few emails that came in the previous night as read is to open them on the phone, despite the fact they have already been opened and read on the PC.

Chris
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scottmiddletonCommented:
Please check out this question if you have had any advances in the solution.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/OS/Microsoft_Operating_Systems/Windows/Windows_Mobile-_PocketPC-_WinCE/Q_24071209.html
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