Missing ActiveSync? How To Sync and Import Contacts Into Windows Phone 7 From Outlook Using Windows Live Hotmail As A Bridge

November 16 2010

I am a long time user of Windows Mobile and I sync all my contacts and calendar appointments using ActiveSync with Outlook on my home PC.  These are all my personal contacts and personal appointments. It is a version of Outlook that is not connected to an Exchange server and is not tied to work.  Over the years this has been a rock solid back up for my contacts and appointments and, as I have moved from phone to phone, ActiveSync has always been perfect for getting all these contacts on to a new device.

So, when I got a Windows Phone 7, I needed to get all my contacts (phone numbers, etc.) and appointments on to the device.  But Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support ActiveSync. So what to do?

[UPDATED 11/18/2010 -- Another way to do this is using the Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector. That doesn't exactly sync your contacts/calendar, but allows you to drag and drop items from one place to the other.]

My initial searches for this on the web were suggesting that Google was the answer. But I didn’t want to use Google to sync my contacts and appointments.

The solution I found was to use Hotmail/Windows Live.  I was able to export my contacts and appointments out of Outlook and put them into Hotmail/Windows Live and then sync them to the device. Here’s how:


Step 1 – Export To .CSV

Getting your contacts out of Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007 and into a .cvs works as follows:

  1. In Outlook, on the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  3. Click Comma Separated Values (Windows), and then click Next.
  4. In the folder list, click the Contacts folder, and then click Next.
  5. Browse to the folder where you want to save the contacts as a .csv file.
  6. Type a name for the exported file, and then click OK.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Finish.

In Outlook 2010, it is a little more buried:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced.

Advanced command in the Outlook Options dialog box

  1. Under Export, click Export.

Export command in the Backstage view

  1. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  2. Under Create a file of type, click the type of export that you want, and then click Next. The most common is Comma Separated Values (Windows), also known as a CSV file.

Step 2 – Import to Windows Live Hotmail

  1. Sign into Windows Live Hotmail.
  2. Click Contacts.
  3. Click Manage/Import
  4. Navigate to the .csv

You’re done!  To force your Windows phone to sync, go to settings, Email and Accounts and then press and hold the Windows Live account. It will display an option to Sync.


Unfortunately, Hotmail doesn’t allow you to do a bulk import of appointments.  Fortunately, I only had a smattering of appointments that I wanted to get copied on to my Windows Phone 7, so it wasn’t too painful to export each one individually and then import it into the Hotmail/Windows Live calendar.

Step 1 Export To .ICS

  1. Open the appointment that you want to export.
  2. Click “Save As” and make sure you are saving in the iCalendar format


Step 2 Import to Windows Live Hotmail

  1. Sign into Window Live Hotmail
  2. Click Calendar
  3. Click Subscribe (which turns out to be Subscribe/Import”)
  4. Change the radio button to Import. Also be sure to change the radio button to import into an existing calendar. One gotcha to watch out for is that, when you import an appointment into the Hotmail/Windows Live calendar, it tries to create a new calendar very annoying. You have to manually change the dropdown to your default calendar:


Unfortunately you’ll have to do this for each appointment you want to get into your Windows Phone.

Again, to force your Windows phone to sync, go to settings, Email and Accounts and then press and hold the Windows Live account. It will display an option to Sync.

Comments (5) -

11/16/2010 9:57:00 AM #

Mark Lease

Did you decide against using Outlook's Hotmail Connector?  It seems to keep Outlook, HotMail, and my phone in 2-way sync.

Mark Lease

11/19/2010 2:58:22 PM #


Nice guide and tips, it save me a lot of time for fixing my Windows 7 phone Smile


11/23/2010 9:58:24 AM #

Karsten Januszewski

Mark -- Well, the Outlook connector you mention (office.microsoft.com/.../...rview-HA010222518.aspx) really only allows you to manage your hotmail acccount through Outlook. It doesn't exactly sync between the two. So you still have to somehow get contacts/calendar appointments from one to the other. Now, you can drag and drop between the two, so that is a little handy, but the Outlook connector is not a panacea.

Karsten Januszewski

4/25/2011 11:59:31 PM #


Customers have been experiencing problems about sync between Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Outlook. Many solutions are out there but our customers are asking for easier to use information.  I wanted to share out this Guided Walkthrough. It has step by step instructions and hopefully customers will find this a more user friendly experience. I hope people find this to be helpful. (Discl: I sit on a Microsoft team)



7/4/2012 5:06:45 PM #

Lee Heidrich

I was an Apple only woman since the first MaC PC. no r/l click on the mouse and my wee trashcan. I recently went back to PC's. This was after myt 3rd iphone[iphone 4S was my last], iMac, 2 MacBook Pro's, and an iPad 2 3G.
Windows and IE are horrid! Now I'm stuck with a Nokia710 Windows phone I've owned for a month, 3 notebooks all decimated by a malicious hacker at bash@bin7.com.comvht, as well as a phone that shows about 20 apps and I'VE YET TO BE ON WIFI AS OF 1 MONTH!!!!!
All of your Security tools wre worth nothing, I run complete scans on machines that are destroyed and your tools say "everything is okey dokey!"
Any software, white hat hackers available?

Lee Heidrich

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