Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Exchange Server

The depth of integration between Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Exchange Server provides some really cool capabilities. Much of this integration is achieved through the Exchange ActiveSync® (EAS) protocol—version 14.0 is what ships with Windows Phone 7.


EAS emerged in the days of Exchange Server 2003, and has undergone many changes and improvements since then—and the number of EAS features has steadily increased. One noteworthy feature in EAS version 14.0 is syncing of message reply state, which makes sure that the device and the server know if any message has been forwarded or replied to from any source—Microsoft Outlook® on the desktop, Outlook Anywhere (browser), or Windows Phone 7.


Although it’s been around since the first release of EAS, Direct Push is a great example of Exchange Server integration. Direct Push keeps Windows Phone 7 devices current by communicating with the Exchange Server, protecting communications using Secure Socket Layer (SSL). If a change is made to a user’s mailbox, Exchange issues a notification to the phone to initiate synchronization. In this way, Windows Phone 7 devices are updated almost immediately—users are notified of new email messages or changes in their calendar and contacts, which means they can respond quickly when necessary. More information about Direct Push, including firewall configuration considerations, is available in the Understanding Direct Push topic on Microsoft TechNet.


Another cool feature of EAS and Exchange Server on Windows Phone 7 is Autodiscover, which makes it simple for users to set up their accounts, connect, and start being productive as quickly as possible. There’s no need to figure out cryptic server names ahead of time—connectivity is a breeze. More information about Autodiscover is available in the TechNet topic Understanding Exchange ActiveSync Autodiscover.


“Windows Phone 7 security and management” and “Windows Phone 7 and Microsoft Exchange Server,” two new technical articles for IT pros, explain security features and EAS security–related policies that are supported on Windows Phone 7. These articles are now available on the Windows Phone 7 Guides for IT Professionals page on the Microsoft Download Center.

Comments (14)

  1. Alan Meeus says:

    We’ve had some questions from people about email security and support for encrypted email on Windows Phone 7.

    Security for Exchange-based email on Windows Phone 7 is accomplished through the phone’s design and how it connects to Exchange servers. With regard to the Windows Phone 7 design, all processes are isolated from each other; each process runs in its own sandbox. Also, there is no tethered file system access from a PC, and removable drives are not supported. With regard to Exchange server connectivity, all such communications are via SSL connections, which are encrypted by definition, and Exchange Active Sync policy settings provide considerable flexibility for custom security configurations.

    S/MIME, which uses public key encryption to “sign” MIME data, and Microsoft Rights Management Services are not supported on Windows Phone 7 at this time.

  2. Alan Meeus says:

    Nothing but work shaimerc. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. Alan Meeus says:

    Shaishav, as you may have read in the press, copy and paste is coming soon to your Windows Phone.  The Developers are constantly working on other capabilities, so stay tuned.

  4. Alan Meeus says:

    MobileFlo, Thanks for sharing this info. We do not support S/MIME at this time; however you can read S/MIME signed email on the phone if you have the correct private certificates installed. You should be aware that you can forward a received S/MIME signed email or reply to an S/Mime signed email.  The reply will however not be correctly signed. We hope you benefit from the reading capability.

  5. Paul Garm says:

    Any timeframe possible on when s/mime will be supported? Since it's not only encrypted e-mail, but also signed email – and that's used extensively in some organizations to provide non-repudiation and spoof protection when communicating across partners…

  6. Alan Meeus says:

    Sorry, Paul, but we don’t have a specific time-frame.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Can you provide a litle more information about Secure email as I think this crosses several articles (for example, Exchange support, certificate support, etc.).



  8. Alan Meeus says:


    We always appreciate feedback on what users want. Windows Phone 7 was a fresh start on a new journey, and we certainly have not reached the destination yet. Some of the capabilities we developed for Windows Mobile 6.5 are missing in Windows Phone 7. Integration of text messaging with Exchange server email is one such capability, as is Exchange-based task management.

    We will pass along your feedback to the product team.

  9. shaimerc says:

    with all the cool new features and intuitive interface, I still miss;

    1. win mobile 6.5 sms integration

    2. task list (To Do).

    Hope these features will be introduced in coming updates!!


  10. MobileFlo says:

    I just learned by experiment, that reading S/MIME encrypted email is indeed working on WIndows Phone 7 – even though, it's said not to work. But: you have to install the private key along with the certificate of the issuing authorities certificate

  11. Shaishav Merchant says:

    I missing sorely features like cut, copy, paste, ToDo and SMS integration with Exchange.

    Cut, Copy & paste, I understand included in next update. Hope rest will follow soon.

  12. Andy says:

    After many years of using Lotus Notes, we are finally moving to an environment that supports ActiveSync.  Unfortunately, the current security model of Windows Phone means that it will not be supported.  We are talking about 12,000 employees.  The only devices they will support are iOS 4.1 and > (and BlackBerry).

    Windows Phone only supports numberic PINs.  They are requiring alphanumberic.  Will this be supported in the NoDo release in early March?  The migration will take place in April.  I just replaced an iPhone 4 with a Samsung Focus.

    I sure hope the answer is yes.


  13. Hoang Nguyen says:

    I's a shame that I always have problem with WIndows phone connecting to Exchange.

    I always encourage users to get windows phone because, naturally, it works better with our Exchange 2007 (previously) and now 2010. However that stupid problem about Certificate with always comes up.

    This is the most ridiculous thing: it takes less than 1 minute for me to connect either Andrioid or iOS phone to my exchange. I don't even have to do any crap with the certificate. Boom and it works. For Windows mobile phone: forever. There are many guides every where online that point out things to do to get it done but nothing consistence. If you are lucky enough you will get your exchange email. The cerificate thing is so confuse with little or none instruction on how to get that install. On my Win 7 phone, I couldn't even get to the place where I can see my certificates which I installed.

    Hey Microsoft, can you fix this? when was the last time you check with your Exchange user feedback?

    I just want to slam my windows phone into the wall.

  14. AnnieIOLabs says:

    Check out Notelook for Windows Phone. This is a great new app for reading and editing Exchange Notes on your Windows Phone. It is fast and secure, and available for WP8 and WP7. Hope you like it!

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