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Outlook 2013 Is Disconnected on Startup

I’ve been fighting with Outlook 2013 and sync issues since I got the program several months ago.  I use an Android smartphone and because Google removed support for Exchange Activesync, Outlook stopped syncing the calendar with my phone.  That’s pretty much the biggest thing I use my cell phone for, because I’m fairly unorganized and will forget things like picking up the kids from school if it’s not on my calendar.

I want to be able to enter calendar events on my phone and have them show up on my computer and vice versa.  I’ve been using Outlook this way for 2 smartphones now, so it was really frustrating when it stopped working.  I tried all sorts of ways to fix it, and even contemplated an iPhone (Apple still supports Activesync, as far as I know).  The easiest solution (aside from ditching Outlook 2013 altogether) seemed to be getting an outlook.com account and using that instead of gmail.  Gmail forwards easily enough, so that wasn’t a problem, but outlook 2013 and outlook.com were not playing nice together.  Every time I booted Outlook 2013, it would connect to Gmail but not to Outlook.com. Down at the bottom in the status bar it would say “Disconnected” and the only thing that made it connect was clicking the “Work Offline” button twice.

I used the Outlook.com account for about 2 weeks before I got tired of having to remember to connect manually and switched back to Gmail.  That left me with the calendar sync issue, though. I created a Microsoft account using my gmail address and tried to sync calendar events that way (which worked), but it still wouldn’t connect in Outlook 2013.  And then I finally just gave up and decided to use the Gmail interface and skip Outlook  (.com and 2013) altogether.

The only downside is that I really dislike the Gmail GUI.  I want to be able to sort messages by date without having to do a search (how hard would it be to add a sort header?).  And I want it to look pretty.  Silly, I know, but there it is.  I’ve tried the themes and none of them do it for me.  I tried creating my own but I honestly don’t want to work that hard to get it to look nice.  I want it to look like Outlook.  So I started poking around again and finally, finally found something that I think may fix my problem.  On page 3 of this thread, Brett Mc makes a suggestion that works for me.  I’m going to repost it here because I had so much trouble finding it in the first place, so maybe having it in more places will help people like me.  (Brett Mc, I would like to give you a hug.)

OK, I’ve found a way to avoid the disconnected on startup problem, at least on my computer. To fix the problem I had to:
1) in “Send/Receive Groups” settings window your Hotmail (Outlook, Exchange Activesync) account MUST be enabled in the “All Accounts” group.
2) the “Schedule an automatic send/receive every X minutes” checkbox MUST be ticked for the “All Accounts” group.
If you put your Hotmail account in any other group it looks like a “Scheduled Send Receive” is doing a Send only, not a Receive, for that account. This setting is used on startup too, so on startup on doesn’t do a Receive and thus stays disconnected.
n.b. if you have a Group OTHER than “All Accounts”, double click on it to view the details, then select your Hotmail account. Notice that “Receive mail items” is greyed out and is disabled, you can’t enable it. Dang!

To find what he’s talking about, click on the SEND/RECEIVE tab, and then click on Send/Receive Groups. In the flyout menu, click “Define Send/Receive Groups” near the bottom.  Here I had an All Accounts group, a Gmail group, an Outlook.com group, and a completely random group from an account I stopped using before I upgraded to Outlook 2013 from 2007. I removed all of the groups other than All Accounts.  Double click on All Accounts to see which accounts are included.  You should see your Outlook.com group there.  Click on it and make sure “Include the selected account in this group” is checked.  Click Okay.  For good measure, you might want to change the time for the automatic send/receive interval to less than 30 minutes.  When I was searching for answers, one of the suggestions was that server timeouts (or something, I’m not a server person) was causing disconnects.  So I changed that to 19 minutes just to cover my bases.

I’ve rebooted Outlook a couple times since following Brett’s advice and it’s started with the “disconnected” notice but immediately connected without me having to click anything.  I’m so happy!!!!  Now I just have to decide if I want to use Outlook.com or Gmail….except that Outlook.com doesn’t offer IMAP at the moment.  Ah well, there’s always something…

2 comments to Outlook 2013 Is Disconnected on Startup

  • Hoots

    Did you try removing the other groups besides All Account? I think that’s what I had to do to get it working.

  • Liz

    I was in the exact same scenario, from the beginning – with the calendar issue and all, and did the same thing – i went to outlook.com.

    I’ve tried your fix and it doesn’t work for me. I have the greyed out “receive mail items’ on my hotmail account preferences. Any advice on what to do now?

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