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Limited Connectivity

    Question

  • The status bar in the bottom of the Outlook 2010 user interface includes a warning icon and the text "Limited Connectivity." What should I do with this information? Should I take action to remove the limits on my connectivity? Should I use this knowledge to make decisions about the next actions I can take in the user interface? What is this warning trying to communicate?

    In this case the Windows 7 Professional x64 system does not report any operating system level connectivity issues. This issue appears to be isolated to Outlook 2010.

    Friday, April 22, 2011 5:59 PM

Answers

  • WARNING: DELETING AND RE-ADDING THE HOTMAIL ACCOUNT FROM OUTLOOK WILL LIKELY RESULT IN LOSS OF USER DATA IN THIS SCENARIO

    Summary: Thank you very much for the reply. I have identified a scenario that I believe triggers the "Limited Connectivity" issue. I would appreciate your opinion on this. If someone is able to reproduce the scenario and confirm the issue please let me know. It seems that large message copy operations fail inelegantly and put the system into an unstable state.

    Establishing a baseline: I have deleted and re-added the Hotmail account. I have also deleted and re-added the "Outlook Hotmail Connector." Note that Windows 7 "Uninstall or change a program" Control Panel lists this program as "Microsoft Office Outlook Connector" in the Control Panel dialog. The term "Hotmail" is not used in the list of programs, making it challenging to identify it for uninstallation. I also deleted "LinkedIn" and "Windows Live Messenger" accounts from the "View -> People Pane -> Account Settings" dialog. I uninstalled the corresponding Outlook Social Connectors for LinkedIn and Windows Live Messenger as well. I do not know if the social accounts or Outlook social connectors were a contributing factor however, a separate thread had identified them as possible variables. Therefore, I removed them to get closer to a baseline installation. The test system thus had "Personal Folders" on a local .pst file, an IMAP connection to a Gmail account, and a Hotmail connection via the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector.

    Observed Behavior: The deletion and re-addition of the Hotmail account cleared the "Limited Connectivity" warning and reduced the number of errors reported in the Synchronization Log from the Outlook Hotmail Connector. After further use however, the errors began to reappear, as did the "Limited Connectivity" warning. I have listed some of the errors from the Synchronization Log in a separate thread.

    Trigger: After a few deletions and re-additions of the Hotmail account to reset the synchronization operations, I believe I have identified the root-case of the errors. My broader use case was to transition my Gmail messages to Hotmail. A primary motive for this was to convert from the flat tag structure used by Gmail to a folder hierarchy and to take fuller advantage of the Outlook client. For this process, I manually performed a select-all on the contents of folders in the Gmail IMAP account and copied them to new folders on the Hotmail account. I used the "Copy to Folder... / Copy Items" dialog for these operations. In all cases, the Outlook user interface (UI) implied that the copy operations completed successfully. No warnings or errors were ever generated. The item count in the source IMAP folder was identical to the item count in the target Hotmail folder as reported by the Outlook UI. My mental model for this operation was that the copy operation was actually populating the Hotmail server with the new messages. I therefore assumed that completion of the copy operation was an indication that the messages were now stored on the Hotmail server in the target folder. This worked as expected as long as the number of messages to be copied was less than approximately 300. After performing this operation on folders containing approximately 500 or more messages subsequent synchronization operations would result in a variety of errors and sometimes the "Limited Connectivity" warning. The 500+ count copy operations did not produce any UI errors or warnings but it seems they did not complete successfully. Checking the Hotmail web interface, I would find that the target folders were only partially populated. The Synchronization Log would then begin to include "out of memory" errors on the server and synchronization would take an excessive time before terminating with errors.

    The most severe aspect of this defect is the lack of UI indication of the failures. Having checked the Outlook folder for the Hotmail account and seen the item count as expected I assumed the server actually contained that item count. Apparently, the full set of items was present in a local cache but not on the server. Therefore, when I deleted the local Outlook Hotmail account and re-added it, the result was to permanently delete and lose the majority of messages that had been copied into the local cache but not into server. Only when going back to review the messages did I realize the scope of the lost data. I had also deleted them from the IMAP account, thinking that the copy operation was complete, and they are now permanently gone.

    Conclusion: Therefore, I suspect that large copy operations are not being handled by the Outlook Hotmail Connector. When they fail, the failure is not being reported by the Outlook UI. The Outlook local cache for the Hotmail folder is then out-of-sync with the server. The prescribed work-around of deleting and re-adding the local Hotmail account in Outlook clears the out-of-sync state but only by permanently deleting the contents of the local cache. Since the error-state is due to unsynchronized data, the work-around results in the loss of user data that was not synchronized. The “Limited Connectivity” warning seems to correspond with out-of-memory errors in the Synchronization Log when the system has entered this failure state.

    • Marked as answer by Sally Tang Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:21 AM
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:04 PM

All replies

  • What are you connecting Outlook to: Exchange, ISP, etc?  If Exchange, are you internal or external to the network?  If ISP, how are you connecting?  Has it ever worked?  Have you tried to repair or recreate your Outlook profile?
    Tim Harrington | MVP: Exchange | MCITP: EMA 2007/2010, MCITP: Lync 2010, MCITP: Server 2008, MCTS: OCS | Blog: http://HowDoUC.blogspot.com | Twitter: @twharrington
    Friday, April 22, 2011 9:32 PM
  • Sorry, it was a bit sloppy of me to not provide the connectivity details in my original post. I have added a Test System section to this reply with the full version numbers. I am connecting Outlook 2010 to Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail via the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector. The connection has been reliable for a long time. The "Limited Connectivity" text appears in the status bar in the place of the "Connected to Windows Live Hotmail" text. Presumably the "Limited Connectivity" is referring to the Hotmail connection. I also have an IMAP account and connection open, so it may be referring to that connection. I don't find anything to make a definitive determination.

    It is notable that Hotmail synchronizations are plagued with periodic "Send/Receive error" warnings. That is not a typo, a warning icon is displayed together with a text label with the word "error." This inconsistency violates Microsoft design guidelines. Anyway, after a series of failed synchronizations in combination with the appearance and disappearance of the "Limited Connectivity" status, I deleted and recreated the Hotmail account in Outlook. Although the work-around has cleared the "Limited Connectivity" status I continue to have periodic "Send/Receive errors" warnings.

    The challenge here is that I do not feel informed by the "Limited Connectivity" status. More technical details on how this status is generated and what it indicates would make it more useful.

    Test System: Microsoft Outlook 2010 (14.0.5128.5000), Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector (14.0.5117.5000).

    Friday, April 22, 2011 10:05 PM
  • Hi,

     

     

    Delete and re-add the Hotmail account from Outlook.  Make sure you're using the latest version of the Hotmail connector.

     

    Try to download the latest Hoemail connector:

     

    32 bit:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=39db2b89-af2e-41f9-a175-f93e1377959f&displayLang=en

     

    64 bit

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=8a31fbf4-f4bf-4751-954b-5b36d80ec375&displayLang=en

     

    Best Regards,

     

    Sally Tang

     

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 7:19 AM
  • WARNING: DELETING AND RE-ADDING THE HOTMAIL ACCOUNT FROM OUTLOOK WILL LIKELY RESULT IN LOSS OF USER DATA IN THIS SCENARIO

    Summary: Thank you very much for the reply. I have identified a scenario that I believe triggers the "Limited Connectivity" issue. I would appreciate your opinion on this. If someone is able to reproduce the scenario and confirm the issue please let me know. It seems that large message copy operations fail inelegantly and put the system into an unstable state.

    Establishing a baseline: I have deleted and re-added the Hotmail account. I have also deleted and re-added the "Outlook Hotmail Connector." Note that Windows 7 "Uninstall or change a program" Control Panel lists this program as "Microsoft Office Outlook Connector" in the Control Panel dialog. The term "Hotmail" is not used in the list of programs, making it challenging to identify it for uninstallation. I also deleted "LinkedIn" and "Windows Live Messenger" accounts from the "View -> People Pane -> Account Settings" dialog. I uninstalled the corresponding Outlook Social Connectors for LinkedIn and Windows Live Messenger as well. I do not know if the social accounts or Outlook social connectors were a contributing factor however, a separate thread had identified them as possible variables. Therefore, I removed them to get closer to a baseline installation. The test system thus had "Personal Folders" on a local .pst file, an IMAP connection to a Gmail account, and a Hotmail connection via the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector.

    Observed Behavior: The deletion and re-addition of the Hotmail account cleared the "Limited Connectivity" warning and reduced the number of errors reported in the Synchronization Log from the Outlook Hotmail Connector. After further use however, the errors began to reappear, as did the "Limited Connectivity" warning. I have listed some of the errors from the Synchronization Log in a separate thread.

    Trigger: After a few deletions and re-additions of the Hotmail account to reset the synchronization operations, I believe I have identified the root-case of the errors. My broader use case was to transition my Gmail messages to Hotmail. A primary motive for this was to convert from the flat tag structure used by Gmail to a folder hierarchy and to take fuller advantage of the Outlook client. For this process, I manually performed a select-all on the contents of folders in the Gmail IMAP account and copied them to new folders on the Hotmail account. I used the "Copy to Folder... / Copy Items" dialog for these operations. In all cases, the Outlook user interface (UI) implied that the copy operations completed successfully. No warnings or errors were ever generated. The item count in the source IMAP folder was identical to the item count in the target Hotmail folder as reported by the Outlook UI. My mental model for this operation was that the copy operation was actually populating the Hotmail server with the new messages. I therefore assumed that completion of the copy operation was an indication that the messages were now stored on the Hotmail server in the target folder. This worked as expected as long as the number of messages to be copied was less than approximately 300. After performing this operation on folders containing approximately 500 or more messages subsequent synchronization operations would result in a variety of errors and sometimes the "Limited Connectivity" warning. The 500+ count copy operations did not produce any UI errors or warnings but it seems they did not complete successfully. Checking the Hotmail web interface, I would find that the target folders were only partially populated. The Synchronization Log would then begin to include "out of memory" errors on the server and synchronization would take an excessive time before terminating with errors.

    The most severe aspect of this defect is the lack of UI indication of the failures. Having checked the Outlook folder for the Hotmail account and seen the item count as expected I assumed the server actually contained that item count. Apparently, the full set of items was present in a local cache but not on the server. Therefore, when I deleted the local Outlook Hotmail account and re-added it, the result was to permanently delete and lose the majority of messages that had been copied into the local cache but not into server. Only when going back to review the messages did I realize the scope of the lost data. I had also deleted them from the IMAP account, thinking that the copy operation was complete, and they are now permanently gone.

    Conclusion: Therefore, I suspect that large copy operations are not being handled by the Outlook Hotmail Connector. When they fail, the failure is not being reported by the Outlook UI. The Outlook local cache for the Hotmail folder is then out-of-sync with the server. The prescribed work-around of deleting and re-adding the local Hotmail account in Outlook clears the out-of-sync state but only by permanently deleting the contents of the local cache. Since the error-state is due to unsynchronized data, the work-around results in the loss of user data that was not synchronized. The “Limited Connectivity” warning seems to correspond with out-of-memory errors in the Synchronization Log when the system has entered this failure state.

    • Marked as answer by Sally Tang Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:21 AM
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011 2:04 PM
  • that does not work no matter how many times I delete remove repair --whatever and frankly I am fed up with Microsoft and then they want to charge me for getting tech support for a problem they created--I have office 2010, windows 7 home premium 64 bit and the most recent outlook connector--maybe somebody from Microsoft will actually post a fix instead of guessing
    Saturday, July 09, 2011 8:25 PM
  • I found the Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector does not have sufficient quality to be usable. Using it will eventually lead to the loss and/or corruption of data. I have since uninstalled Microsoft Outlook Hotmail Connector.
    Monday, July 11, 2011 4:33 PM
  • I have tried this so many times, but also happened like before.
    Wednesday, April 04, 2012 8:32 AM
  • Agreed 
    Wednesday, April 04, 2012 8:33 AM
  • I'm having this same problem and here it is years later than the original post.  I, too, made a lot of large copies from my old work microsoft exchange account into my new outlook.com accounts and got no error messages and they appeared to work well.  I've deleted the outlook hotmail connector and reinstalled, deleted all of my accounts and reinstalled, but am still getting the limited connectivity error.  I was also getting a failure to synchronize at startup previously, and that one at least seems to be gone.  I would really like to use Outlook 2010 with outlook.com!  Can someone take a look at this in micorsoft, please?

    Buena Vista

    Monday, September 10, 2012 1:54 PM
  • I just acquired this problem as well.  Mine came after I tried sending an e-mail that contained multiple photos.  It exceeded the limit of data.   I have 3 accounts connected.  The one used to send the e-mail is now unable to receive messages.  It appears that after two years there still isn't a fix.  Microsoft, help please.
    Monday, December 17, 2012 1:30 AM
  • I have been working with Microsoft for 3 weeks on this issue with no solution.  Today I was told that there is a problem with the MSN "server" so that Outlook can not connect. However, they cant tell me if there will be a solution in 5 minutes or 5 months.  I don't know if its a language barrier with their help center in India or if this is real. However, I still cant sync my email nor my calendar with my desktop or my laptop.  My Apple devices (Iphone and Ipdad) will share information, but for some reason my Microsoft devices will not sync that same information through Hotmail.
    Saturday, August 17, 2013 1:47 AM
  • I am having the same problem. Getting very frustrated with outlook.com not working correctly with outlook 2010.
    Monday, August 19, 2013 10:46 PM
  • I'm having this same issue...guessing there's still no answer?
    Friday, September 06, 2013 4:17 PM