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

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30 Days With Windows Phone 7: Day 12

When I first set up the Windows Phone 7 device, I added my Facebook and Windows Live account credentials. The information from those two services has populated my People Hub with a variety of contacts, but it is not as current, accurate, or comprehensive as the information I maintain in my Outlook Contacts on my local PC. So, today's 30 Days With Windows Phone 7 post is dedicated to getting my Outlook Contact data synced up with Windows Phone 7.

If you rely primarily on Windows Live for maintaining your contacts, or you use Exchange or Office365 for your Outlook mail, then you are all set to just start using Windows Phone 7 right out of the box. However, if you maintain your contact data somewhere else--including locally on your PC in Microsoft Outlook--you're going to have to figure out how to sync it up with Windows Live in order to pull that information into the People Hub.

I just want my contact data from Outlook on my local PC to sync up with Windows Phone 7.
For Outlook, the simplest solution seemed to be to use the Outlook Hotmail Connector to get my local Outlook data in sync with my Windows Live account. Or...not so much. You might notice that this is Day 12 being posted on the morning of Day 13. Yeah, that's how simple it was, at least for me.

I did a Web search and found a Microsoft Support page titled Sync Your Outlook Contact to Windows Phone. That sounds about right, so I decided to follow along.

Step 1 is to check what kind of email account you are using if you don't already know. Basically, this step determines if you are using Exchange or not. My accounts are set up in Outlook as POP/SMTP, so I moved on to Step 2. The next step just walks through adding the email account to the Windows Phone 7 smartphone, and I have already done that, so I skipped on to Step 3.

Step 3 is called "Sync Your Contacts", so now I feel like I am finally getting somewhere. There are two solutions available: use the Outlook Hotmail Connector, or sync manually. The support page recommends using the Outlook Hotmail Connector. I know that when I first used a Windows Phone 7 device last year I used the Outlook Hotmail Connector and it seemed to work just fine, so I decide to go with that.

The step includes a link to the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector overview page which includes links to download either the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the Outlook Hotmail Connector. There are also some instructions to figure out which version of Outlook you are running. I am using the 32-bit, so I download the appropriate client.

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