Fix Synchronization Errors in Outlook 2010

Actually, I’m not going to tell you how to fix them because that’s usually not necessary. I’m just going to tell you how to hide them.

Frequently when an Outlook user has been upgraded from Office 2007 to Office 2010, he will begin to see messages similar to this one in his Unread Mail search folder:

From: John Smith
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2014 11:21 AM
To: John Smith
Subject: Synchronization Log:
Importance: High11:20:03 Synchronizer Version 14.0.7108
11:20:03 Synchronizing Mailbox ‘John Smith’
11:20:03 Synchronizing local changes in folder ‘Some folder’
11:21:08 Error synchronizing folder
11:21:08 blah…blah…blah…

Most of the time, these synchronization errors are the result of momentary network connection problems or who knows what, but they rarely tell you anything useful unless there is an actual problem that you are trying to solve. Unfortunately, telling that to the end user doesn’t provide them with much in the way of comfort or closure.

Here’s how to fix it.

  1. -In Outlook 2010 right-click on the “Unread Mail” search folder and select “Customize This Search Folder…”
  2. -In the Custom Search Folder window, make sure that the Name field says “Unread Mail” and click on the Browse button.
  3. -In the Select Folder(s) window, uncheck all folders except for the Inbox. If the end user has created rules that move new emails into any other folder, you might want to include those also. Whatever you do, make sure you uncheck the Sync Issues folder. There is no reason anyone who isn’t clinically masochistic would want that included in a search folder.

Click OK, and OK, and, like magic, all the synchronization errors are gone.

Well, not gone. Just no longer giving the end user that uneasy feeling that he might not be getting all his email.


FYI, if you use Microsoft Outlook every day, you should check out this book from Michael Linenberger:

5 responses to “Fix Synchronization Errors in Outlook 2010”

  1. stevie says:

    Its like the default RSS feeds in 2007. Thanks, MSFT. So helpful.

  2. jo says:

    That might be a band aid but still an issue. If someone goes to check the mailbox properties, the sync folder is there with large amounts of KB in them. This is a necessary tool that typically everyone knows about. I personally enforce everyone to look at the size of each folder and clean them accordingly. When they do, the sync folder always comes up.

  3. jay c says:

    Thanks, jo. I agree that the sync errors can be a useful tool when troubleshooting connectivity issues. I’ve found that in some corporate cultures, end users are more savvy like that and more willing to look at log files without getting too panic stricken. Unfortunately, in some other environments, an end user will see any kind of error message and think the sky is falling without ever actually trying to understand what it means. And it’s not always possible for a desktop technician or systems administrator to make any significant changes to the prevailing culture. If you can make a positive difference and educate your end users, I encourage it! Do what you can.

  4. helpful says:

    FOUND SOLUTION!
    After mucking around the internet without finding a solution, it hit me … I just autoarchive the folder to delete every day. Easy!

    1. Go to Folder View
    2. Right click the sync folder, select properties, then Autoarchive
    3. Archive this folder using these settings, 1 day, permanently delete old items

    That’s it. I hope it helps others.

    careerinter.com, share information, land a job.

    • jay c says:

      Interesting. That would probably work to keep the sync issues folders from building up too much detritus over time, but there are a few problems with it.

      First, as I already pointed out, it won’t stop the sync errors from showing up in the Unread Mail search folder. As long as you don’t get a lot of them, that’s probably ok.

      Second, it won’t work for organizations that use online archive mailboxes since that disables the local archiving features of Outlook. You could set up a retention policy in Exchange to accomplish the same thing, though.

      Third, if someday you actually need those sync errors to troubleshoot a problem, they won’t be there. I haven’t had to use them yet, so that might not be a big deal either, but you never know.

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