The Day My PC Asked - "Is Microsoft ActiveSync having Problems?"

By Kris Kumar on Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Recently while trying to sync my T-Mobile Dash with my laptop, I was greeted with the above screen. I could not believe my eyes, and for a second I thought that someone was playing a prank. The title for some reason sounded really funny. Anyway, I wasn't aware that Microsoft had implemented a troubleshooting wizard to help the users out of those tricky and frustrating sync partnership setup issues. I said - thank you Microsoft, and clicked the next button. If you are wondering what happened next; or if you, like me, were not aware about the presence of this wizard, then read on.
After I plugged in the Dash, the Microsoft ActiveSync icon in the Windows XP traybar kept spinning for what seemed like eternity, and then gave up. I was then greeted with the following message.

I must admit that I didn't pay much attention to the prompt and simply clicked the OK button. That is when the troubleshooting wizard made its appearance. At this point I was surprised that Microsoft had implemented a troubleshooting wizard, and was wondering why I had never heard about it. Also, I was eager to give the wizard a try.

The wizard, as you can see in the following screen, runs a battery of tests to identify the possible problem preventing the partnership connection.

In my case it did not find any problem. The final screen of the wizard was a bit of a disappointment. It repeated the issue that the PC is unable to talk to the device. And it directed me to check out a link, which didn't do a thing to help me resolve the problem. That's helpful; thanks but no thanks Microsoft!

Given the fact that users face a lot of problems while trying to establish a partnership for the first time or during daily sync, this troubleshoot wizard is a step in the right direction. From the looks of it, it seems to be doing the checks in all the right areas but it seems like it is not comprehensive enough. In my case the culprit was that recently I had turned on the firewall, and enabled the "Don't allow exceptions" option as well. I disabled the firewall and re-tried the whole process, and this time the connection worked. Wish the wizard had advised me with the right troubleshooting tips. For me this whole wizard experience was new, I do not ever remember using this wizard. Is this something new in ActiveSync 4.5? Have you folks seen this wizard? Was it helpful for you?

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