Windows Mobile Calendar Events That Don’t Stick

What do you consider to be your master calendar? Your PDA or your desktop calendar? For many of us, the answer is clearly our PDA (or phone). It is always with us and the most likely thing to be updated first. But, for many of us this rule more a 95/5 rule rather than a 100/0 rule. If you use a Windows Mobile Smartphone or Pocket PC, watch out for this gotcha

I sometimes create an event using Microsoft Outlook on my desktop. This usually happens for an event with a lot of information that I’m copying and pasting from email or a vCal file. Sounds reasonable, right? But, what do you think happened in the following situation?

  1. I created an appointment for the next day in Outlook on my desktop
  2. I synced my Windows Mobile Smartphone with the desktop
  3. The appointment is now on the Smartphone
  4. Early the next morning I was told that the meeting was postponed until tomorrow
  5. I changed the date for the event to the next day and checked to make sure the change was visible on the Smartphone
  6. The Smartphone was then synced to the same desktop with Outlook again.

What do you think happened? If you guessed that the desktop Outlook appointment setting took precedent over my Smartphone and changed the event on the Smartphone back to the now wrong day, you guessed correctly. Try this yourself. I can reproduce this on various generations of Windows Mobile devices.

The moral is that you might think that your Pocket PC or Smartphone is your master calendar. But, ActiveSync has other ideas. Changes made to a calendar appointment on a Windows Mobile device only sticks after ActiveSync if the event was originally created on the device. It unsticks and reverts to the original date/time if the event was created using Outlook. Yuck.