Windows Phone 7, Day 12: Syncing My Outlook Contacts Is a Pain

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Step 3 of Step 3 simply says, "Install Outlook Hotmail Connector," so I did that. Then, Step 4 directs me to move on to the next section to copy my contacts to Windows Live. That section explains, "Once you have the Connector installed, follow the directions below according to the version of Outlook you're using." The problem is that the "links" under Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 aren't linked. It says, "Click here to show/hide solution", but the solution is elusive because it is just text with no link.

I thought maybe it would "just work" so I waited...and waited...and waited. I kept checking my Windows Live contacts and the contacts on my Windows Phone 7 to see if new info from my Outlook Contacts was getting synced up. Nothing.

I don't really use Hotmail, and I don't want to, but it seems to be the "easiest" way to sync contacts with WP7.
Finally, I started doing some additional Web searches to try and troubleshoot. I rebooted. I did a Repair install of the Outlook Hotmail Connector. I rebooted. I uninstalled the Outlook Hotmail Connector. I rebooted. I re-installed the Outlook Hotmail Connector. I rebooted.

The main problem I have is that there is no indication at all that it is working or not. I don't see any evidence of the Outlook Hotmail Connector being installed anywhere. There are no additional folders or entries in Outlook that I can find. There is nothing in the Systray in Windows. Yet, I am also not getting any error messages or any indication that there is anything wrong.

I tried doing some more online research and troubleshooting. I found an entry on the Outlook Blog titled "New Outlook Hotmail Connector released" and clicked it. There is a step in there describing how to verify what version of the Outlook Hotmail Connector is running. It told me to click File, then click the Additional Information button. One problem. I don't have any button called Additional Information available under File.

Eventually I noticed that many of the examples I was stumbling across on the Web had the Hotmail account set up in Outlook as a separate account. I didn't really want to clutter up my Outlook with additional folders I don't plan to use, but I decided to give it a shot.

Finally, it seemed like I made some progress. My Hotmail email account was now accessible as its own folder. When I click on Contacts in Outlook, I can see a new folder of contacts from my Windows Live account. I even had a little message at the bottom of Outlook letting me know that it is connected to Windows Live Hotmail.

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