Exchange ActiveSync and Windows Phone 7 "phantom data" issue

Some of you may have seen stories about higher than expected data usage for a very small percentage of Windows Phone 7 users being caused by an inefficiency between Windows Phone 7 client and Yahoo! Mail. You may have also seen that these stories mention that there is a separate Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) issue that is impacting a small percentage of users.

Unfortunately, like a game of telephone, many of the stories I’ve seen are combining these two issues into one, or mentioning both of these issues as if they have equal impact on users. For the record, Yahoo! Mail is not connected to Windows Phone 7 using EAS, and the Windows Phone 7 EAS implementation issue is much smaller. In some of the most egregious cases, some have called this a protocol level bug in EAS. This is untrue — this is a client issue.

We on the Exchange team know that you all work very hard to make sure your Exchange servers are running well, so we wanted to get you some good information (straight from us here at Microsoft) about these issues.

First off; for administrators, there’s no need for any changes to your Exchange servers — the issues here are client-side and thus do not impact your servers nor increase the load on your servers.

That said, we know that many of you work closely with your users and always try to help them out with good support information. If you have users who are contacting you about this issue or may be impacted, there are mitigations available for each of these issues while the Windows Phone 7 team continues to work with Yahoo! on a full software fix that is expected in the near term.

For Windows Phone 7 EAS issue, users might see increased data usage when a message is “stuck” in their outbox. A user might encounter this state if they send email to an invalid email address or if they send a message that’s larger than the allowed message size (server side policy) from their phone. In these cases, users can go to their Outbox folder and delete the stuck message and the phone’s data use will return to normal. Below are the steps a user can take to see if there is a message stuck in their outbox and how to delete it.

Note: This impacts only a very small percentage of Windows Phone 7 users and does not impact EAS users on other phone platforms.

  1. Click the folder icon at the bottom of the EAS-enabled inbox
  2. Select the Show all folders option
  3. Select the folder called Outbox (if you have a lot of folders, you may have to scroll down to see this folder)
  4. Delete any messages in this folder

The Yahoo! Mail issue is not connected to EAS, but users can lessen the impact by changing the frequency that the Yahoo! Mail account is checked for new messages. Below are the steps to make this change:

  1. On the Start screen of Windows Phone 7, click on the arrow at the top right
  2. Choose Settings from the app list
  3. Choose email & accounts
  4. Choose Yahoo! Mail
  5. Click on the setting under Download new content
  6. Select a less frequent setting. If you are using the default setting (every 2 hours), change this setting to manually
  7. Click on the setting under Download email from
  8. Select a shorter time range. If you are using the default setting (the last 2 weeks), change this setting to the last 7 days

Adam Glick
Sr Technical Product Manager – Exchange

Comments (13)
  1. pesospesos says:

    Thanks Adam, good info!

  2. Matt says:

    Small but growing Windows Phone 7 population, haven’t seen the issue yet. Thanks for the heads up and setting the record straight Adam.

  3. JDAnderson says:

    I don’t know if you have any connection with the team developing the WP7 Outlook client, but do you have any idea if they plan to reintroduce all the missing features from EAS, especially SMS sync etc. it’s really a shame that the WP7 outlook is so basic compare to the 6.5 platform :(

  4. BK says:

    We had high expectation of using Windows 7 with EAS, but can’t use it since devices do not support Device Encryption.  Windows 6.1 and Windows 6.5 support device encryption, but Windows 7 don’t.  I understand this is not an Exchange EAS issue, but I just can’t believe it…

  5. Kevin says:

    I second that, with the EAS settings on windows 7. It seams a shame that we have all these nice (and in cse of legal controls) in exchange, and the only phone device now were we can be sure that they all apply is a mobile 6.x platform. Which limits what our comapny can use, as they need to enforce encryption on the device.

  6. JDAnderson says:

    Let’s just face the fact that actually the WP7 EAS support is oriented to hotmail/live/gmail way more than to exchange corporate server. I just hope this is temporary and I’ll get fixed in an update this year (not the first one, not a single change about it there)

    Even the task’s and notes are not supported… it’s truly unbelievable! On a phone that is suppose to “notify” you easily about everything ;)

    This plus the lack of VPN/encryption make it very poor candidate for enterprise… even the iPhone is way better at it, even if it’s suppose to be a “end user” product.

  7. We expected Windows Phone 7 to raise the bar significantly for enterprise email, and it does many things right. But lack of device encryption and a limited subset of Exchange ActiveSync policies… No support for IRM. A very half-hearted effort on the enterprise-side Microsoft!! Please fix via updates ASAP. The data consumption issue isn’t that big a deal comparatively.

  8. Bharat Suneja [MSFT] says:

    Thanks for your comments and feedback. We talk to the Windows Phone team frequently and they hear what our blog readers are saying; but we can’t commit to any work on their part or provide a timeline for the features you’re asking for – that has to come from the WP7 team.

  9. smb says:

    Don’t forget that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t support hidden SSID’s.  That’s a big deal breaker for many enterprise environments which hide their SSID by default.  Without support for VPN, employees that want to use WIFI with a hidden SSID are out of luck until MS adds support in.

  10. HotFix says:

    It’s really sad that WP7 has fallen down in regards to the level of EAS support that WP6.X had. It’s tough to sell people on EAS as an alternative to services like BlackBerry and GoodLink when it appears the Windows Mobile team isn’t commited to EAS anymore.

    My only answer to people who point these things out to me is that the Windows Mobile team rushed WP7 to market to compete with the iPhone and Android devices. At least that is the conclusion I have to draw with the very limited EAS support (someone mention iPhone 4 has better EAS support which is just sad if it’s true) and missing basic features like cut and paste.

    Please pass along to the Windows Mobile team that they are hurting the street cred of Exchange admins with their user base when they roll out products in this type of fashion…

  11. bkanaas says:

    Don’t know where and how they can make the difference, but the new MDM app of Notify Technology ( pretends to manage user policies and security on an enterprise level for all devices, including WP7. I did request for a trial, so still no experience for myself.

  12. Some admin says:

    Being part of a 36000 user company and responsible for some of its Exchange environment, I have had to tell users not to buy Windows mobile and instead continue with BES and iPhones. What a shame.

    MS – either commit to fully supporting ActiveSync policies or build a device and OS to compete in the corporate environment.

    People are laughing quite loudly in RIM and Apple at you!

  13. ECA Kombi says:

    EAS, especially SMS sync etc. it’s really a shame that the WP7 outlook is so basic compare to the 6.5

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