Exchange ActiveSync: Frequently Asked Questions


Topic Last Modified: 2007-06-21

Exchange ActiveSync in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 lets Windows Mobile powered devices and other Exchange ActiveSync enabled devices to access Exchange mailbox data. Compatible mobile devices can access e-mail, calendar, contact, and task data in addition to documents stored on Windows SharePoint Services sites and Windows file shares. Information synchronized with the mobile devices is retained and can be accessed offline.

  • What types of data can be synchronized by using Exchange ActiveSync?

    Exchange ActiveSync enables you to synchronize your e-mail messages, calendar, contacts, and tasks in your Exchange 2007 mailbox with a Windows Mobile powered device or Exchange ActiveSync compatible device. You cannot synchronize Microsoft Outlook Notes using Exchange ActiveSync.

  • What types of mobile devices can be used together with Exchange ActiveSync?

    You can use the following mobile devices with Exchange ActiveSync:

    • Mobile telephones and Pocket PC devices that are running Windows Mobile 2003, Windows Mobile 5.0, or Windows Mobile 6.0.

    • Other mobile devices that are compatible with Exchange ActiveSync

      The Treo 650 and 680 Smartphones from palmOne uses built-in Exchange ActiveSync to provide wireless synchronization of e-mail and calendar between Exchange 2007 and the Treo 650 and 680.
      For more information about mobile devices that are compatible with Exchange 2007, see the Exchange Server 2007 Support for Mobile Devices Web page.
  • Can I synchronize my e-mail messages, calendar, contact, and task information with my desktop by using Exchange ActiveSync?

    Exchange ActiveSync is a server-side technology that lets Exchange ActiveSync-enabled devices synchronize mailbox items through a cellular connection without using a desktop computer, cradle, and desktop synchronization software.

    You can also synchronize your mobile device with the server that is running Exchange Server by using the desktop pass-through option that is present in all Windows Mobile powered devices. Desktop pass-through lets your cradled device use the desktop computer's Internet connection to connect to Exchange ActiveSync. You can then perform tasks such as surfing the Internet or downloading IMAP4 or Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3) e-mail messages. The Windows Mobile Device Center in Windows Vista can also perform this same function.

    By default, desktop pass-through is enabled after Exchange ActiveSync creates a connection and a partnership between the device and the desktop computer. Desktop pass-through is enabled even if the desktop is locked or has a password to help protect it.

  • Can I synchronize other folders in addition to the Inbox?

    After you synchronize the Inbox for the first time, you can select other folders in your mailbox for synchronization. You can configure synchronization of the Inbox and other folders by using Exchange ActiveSync on your desktop or mobile device. To select other folders for synchronization, navigate to your Outlook e-mail on your mobile device. Select the Menu option, and then the Tools option. Then select Manage Folders to display the following screen.

    Select multiple folders for synchronization

    Check the box next to each folder that you want to synchronize and select OK to save your changes.

  • Can I synchronize one device with multiple Exchange accounts at the same time?

    No. You can synchronize a device with only one Exchange mailbox.

  • Can I synchronize multiple calendar or contacts folders?

    You can only synchronize your default calendar folder, contact folder, and tasks folder.

  • Can I have e-mail messages pushed to my device as they arrive?

    Exchange 2007 offers Direct Push. Direct Push improves the user experience for users who have Windows Mobile 5.0 with the Messaging Security & Feature Pack (MSFP), Windows Mobile 6.0, or other Direct Push compatible device. By default, Direct Push is enabled. Mobile devices that support Direct Push issue an HTTPS request to the Exchange server. The device asks the server to report any new or changed e-mail messages, calendar, contact, and task items. If changes occur within the lifespan of the HTTPS request, the Exchange server issues a response to the device that includes which folders have new or changed items. The device then issues a synchronization request to the server. After synchronization is complete, a new HTTPS request is generated to restart the process. This ensures that the mobile device is always synchronized with the Exchange server.

  • Can I schedule synchronization?

    Synchronization can be scheduled. Windows Mobile devices provide many scheduling options. You can configure different synchronization schedules whether you are connected to your computer. If you use Exchange ActiveSync, you can schedule synchronization of your device on two separate schedules—peak or off-peak times. Custom scheduled synchronization gives you control of when and how frequently you update your data. You can use the peak times schedule to synchronize during working hours or other times that you experience high mail volumes. Use the off-peak schedule to synchronize during times when you experience low mail volumes. To schedule synchronization, select ActiveSync on your Windows Mobile device. From the Menu option, select Schedule to display the following figure.

    Examples of custom scheduling synchronization

    Examples of custom synchronization schedule
  • Can Exchange ActiveSync download POP3 or IMAP4 messages?

    The Exchange ActiveSync protocol is used only for Exchange Server mailbox data. However, all Windows Mobile powered devices and many other Exchange ActiveSync compatible devices can download messages from a POP3 or IMAP4 server or a Hotmail account. These messages will not be combined with the Exchange ActiveSync messages on the device or on the server. You can configure multiple POP3, IMAP4, or Hotmail accounts on all Window Mobile powered devices.

  • In ActiveSync, if I clear the check box for a folder that has been synchronized to the mobile device, does that action delete the items from the Exchange server?

    No. When you disable synchronization for any folder on your mobile device, only the data that is stored on the device is deleted. Data that is stored on the Exchange server remains intact.

    If you disable the synchronization of a folder on your mobile device, ActiveSync on the device prompts you with the following message:

    All e-mail synchronized to your device using ActiveSync must be removed to proceed. Select OK to continue.

    You can then confirm that you want to disable synchronization of the folder.

  • When I synchronize my e-mail, can I synchronize only the e-mail header information?

    If you want to conserve storage space on your device, you can synchronize only a small part of the message information. Within the device's ActiveSync program, select Options. Select the e-mail option, and select Settings. By default, the download size limit is set to 2KB. You can change this to a variety of size options or select Headers only. Other options include 2KB, 5KB, 20KB, 50KB, All text no pictures, and Entire message. You can also choose whether to download attachments.

  • If I configure header synchronization, how do I later obtain a full message?

    Within a partially downloaded message, there will be a link. This link prompts you to retrieve the rest of this message and also indicate the size of rest of the message. Select this link to download the rest of the message. If you are using Windows Mobile 6.0, the download will begin immediately. If you are using Windows Mobile 5.0, the download will occur during the next scheduled synchronization.

  • How can I control which users have access to Exchange ActiveSync?

    By default, all users are enabled for Exchange ActiveSync. An Exchange Server administrator can globally disable Exchange ActiveSync for all users by using the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell. The Exchange Administrator can also disable Exchange ActiveSync for individual users by using the Exchange Management Console or the Exchange Management Shell.

  • Does Exchange ActiveSync require SSL authentication?

    No. However, by default, SSL is enabled and required for devices to synchronize with Exchange 2007 using Exchange ActiveSync. We recommend that you do not change this setting.

  • How do I configure Exchange ActiveSync for certificate-based authentication?

    An administrator can configure Exchange ActiveSync to use certificate-based authentication by using a client certificate for authentication. In versions of Windows Mobile software earlier than Windows Mobile 6.0, users could not always install a client certificate for authentication. Users were restricted from installing certificates in the System Root and System Certification Authority certificate stores. In Windows Mobile 6.0, the certificate store includes separate User Root and Certification Authority stores to allow device users who have authenticated user permissions to add or enroll for trusted digital certificates. To use certificate based authentication with a Windows Mobile powered device, the mobile device must contain the root certificate for the Exchange Client Access server and its own client user certificate with the associated private key. The user certificate enrollment process can only occur when the device is connected to a desktop in the same domain as the enrollment Web site. For more information, see Managing Exchange ActiveSync Security.

  • Does Remote Wipe also wipe the device's storage card?

    Yes. When a remote wipe command is issued from Outlook Web Access, the Exchange Management Console, or the Exchange Management Shell, any storage card present in the device is also wiped.

  • How can I troubleshoot problems with Exchange ActiveSync?

    Microsoft has several resources available for troubleshooting problems with Exchange ActiveSync. These resources include the following: