IMPORTANT - Exchange ActiveSync Support Removed from Outlook
Question asked by Robb Washeck - September 29, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Unanswered
Hi- we have just learned from Smatertools and that Microsoft has removed EAS support in Outlook with the most recent security patches. Yes. Totally serious.  ActiveSync Exchange connections in Outlook is being removed.
 
What I'd like to know from the community is what alternative mail clients you are using that support EAS or EWS for full email/contacts/calendar syncing.
 
emClient seems to be an option, but I don't have first-hand experience with the EWS integration.
 
Yes, IMAP will work fine for mail sync, but we simply can't recommend a third-party Outlook plugin to sync calendars. Not only is there support issues for that solution, its not something that is supported by Microsoft or Smatertools.

Any advice you have would be appreciated.

 
Thank you,CyteWorks, Inc.816-272-5246

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Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
As a side note, eM Client also has IMAP and WebDAV functionality. Combining the two gives you a full stack with Email, Contacts, and Calendars.
There have been times where we have worked directly with their developers on problems and they have been very helpful. Certainly worth a try if you are looking for a client.
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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echoDreamz Replied
Just to add to your side note, eM Client also supports Exchange Web Services :) It has worked very well for me as well as several customers in the past who didnt want to pay for EAS support.

Christopher

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echoDreamz Replied
Is there any documentation on this? I just setup a machine yesterday with Outlook 2016, all updates etc. were installed and EAS is still working without issues.

Christopher

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Is this for all version of Outloook?
 
 
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From SmarterMail support:

I have just learned that Microsoft has removed support for EAS accounts in Outlook 2016 starting with the KB4011091 update. It looks like users no longer have the ability to even add EAS accounts. Our developers have had similar reports of this same behavior with items not moving over, the web interface mismatching Outlook, etc and they actually have an ongoing case with Microsoft.
Thank you,CyteWorks, Inc.816-272-5246
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Also, the support agent did say SmaterTools will be posting on their blog about the issue and what they are planning to do about it.
Thank you,CyteWorks, Inc.816-272-5246
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Right now, I believe only the latest, updated/patched version of 2016 is impacted; that said, I've found other articles online that say any EAS connection in Outlook 13/16 will soon no longer work.
Thank you,CyteWorks, Inc.816-272-5246
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echoDreamz Replied
The only articles I can find state that ActiveSync connections to Exchange do not work, I cannot find anything stating that Microsoft is removing ActiveSync.

Christopher

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echoDreamz Replied
I have KB4011091 installed and have no issues with ActiveSync (outside from silly issues of messages being out of sync).

Christopher

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echoDreamz Replied
This security update contains improvements and fixes:
 
Improve the following translation in the Brazilian version of Outlook 2016.

The CTRL + B shortcut can't save an email message in Inline Reply mode when you use the Brazilian keyboard.

Add an option to prevent Outlook 2016 from connecting to an Exchange account unless the connection uses Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL). To enable this option, see KB4011124 for more information.
When you try to add data to a profile through the Mail Applet in Control Panel, you receive the following error message:

An unknown error occurred, error code: 0x8000ffff.
After you mark an item as read in an IMAP folder in Outlook 2016, the item is changed to unread.
Custom MAPI applications sometimes can't be shut down.
Add-ins don't load due to the "Operation Failed" failure that occurs when the Microsoft Installer (.msi)-based edition of Outlook 2016 is connected to Microsoft Exchange Server 2013.
Assume that you use the Send to Mail Recipient function for a document in Word 2016. When you copy the recipients from an email message to the new email message for the document in Outlook, Word 2016 may crash.
In certain configurations, Office Add-ins Store URL may point to an incorrect server.
I am not seeing anything in KB4011091 that states anything about ActiveSync. I have 6 ActiveSync enabled accounts in my Outlook running. Would be great if ST would chime in here...

Christopher

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The messages/cals/contacts being out of sync between devices is sort of a pretty big deal for folks, and rightfully so. That issue alone is a deal-breaker for some and the main reason I inquired to ST support. Support were very forthright and explained what is going on and how Microsoft gave them zero heads-up. They also said they are going to expedite their efforts to move to a MAPI solution, but don't expect it before SmarterMail 18 is released next year.

That said, if a user sets up an account on a unpatched version of Outlook, it will work... somewhat. If the users want messages, cals and contacts synced (kinda the whole point of EAS), then they will have probs.

I'm currently testing emClient to see if that is a legit alternative for folks. I think it will for some. Those who need tight Office integration, run special add-in or plugins, or rely on Outlook-specific features might be hosed.
Thank you,CyteWorks, Inc.816-272-5246
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echoDreamz Replied
Strange though. I am on a fully patched Outlook 2016 and EAS is working. Though I do have the message being out of sync issue, but that is not exclusive to Outlook, also happens on my iPhone and iPad using Apple Mail.

eM Client is not bad, I used it for about 6 months. It is a decent email client. I am not a big fan of the interface though. It worked well with EWS as well as syncing contacts, calendar and even chat.

Christopher

1
Anxiously awaiting an official Smarter Tools update.
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bump
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
All,
 
If you have accounts already set up in Outlook 2016 and have upgraded, then they will continue to work. It's only if you remove/re-add an account or try connecting to a new account that you'll see the issues. For now, the best course of action in these latter situations is to roll back the upgrade to the one prior to 9/12 (16.0.8326.2096)...which is, of course, somewhat of an ordeal...
 
And yes, there's no mention of it in the release notes for the latest update, and no real mention of the removal of EAS support that we can find. We're looking at options moving forward..trying what we can to get things to continue to work. 
 
In addition, EAS still works perfectly well for mobile devices, which is where Microsoft is focusing efforts, it appears, at least in terms of using EAS.
 
As for options:
  • Windows Mail -- which ships with Windows 10 -- continues to work with EAS. 
  • eM Client and EWS works well. 
  • If you want to continue using Outlook, downgrade...or move to IMAP and a webDAV option for calendars and contacts...something like CalDAVSyncronizer. 
We're putting the finishing touches on a blog post that covers all of the above and that includes instructions on how to downgrade Outlook 2016. We'll post a link once it's available. 
 
 
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
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echoDreamz Replied
Microsoft did this on purpose :) - They want all Outlook users on Office365. Seems like it time for ST to implement MAPI support, if that is even legally possible.

This is now twice Microsoft has screwed over Outlook users. I remember a few releases back they were doing EWS support, which was then pulled and replaced with EAS, which is now I guess being pulled.

Outlook's IMAP support is less than useless. Many complain about it being slow and clunky or stalling on large mailboxes.

Christopher

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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
MAPI is in progress ;)
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
echoDreamz Replied
Love you.

Christopher

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echoDreamz Replied
SM 16.5? Or is this is a long way off like SM18?

Christopher

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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
MAPI is a BEAST, so it won't be in a minor. However, it won't be a year of development either.
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
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echoDreamz Replied
Sounds good Derek.

Christopher

0
Amen and thank you.
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Merle Wait Replied
so from a Marketing standpoint .... Would it be safe to say that"   if you had emClient AND were on SM email servers.. one could provide ALL features and more(?)  vs. what Outlook 365 provides???   I am really tired of taking it in the shorts .. from Microsoft.. and this seems to be yet another direct event to ensure that only Outlook works with Microsoft.
 
 
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Derek can you say more about MAPI. Why it's needed and what SM will look like after implementation.
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echoDreamz Replied
Not Derek, but MAPI is what Exchange and Outlook use to communicate and sync. Zimbra has this through their Collaboration Server / Connector.

Honestly I hope ST goes this direction. Zimbra's solution allow you to even manage filters / rules, signatures, out-of-office responses, contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, mail etc.

Christopher

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Yes, Derek, can you please expand more on the implementation of MAPI? Is there a time-frame for this? Even if it`s estimative, any information would be very helpful..
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
We'll have more info available later. MAPI isn't a simple thing.There's a lot of moving pieces and a lot of available functionality to consider and review.
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
I think we are all aware of the complexity, but many of us are already scrambling for alternatives and need to communicate options and recommendations to our managers. We need information in order to do that. For example, our upgrade protection expires in 30 days - is there any point in buying EAS again for 12 months if in a few months it will be nearly useless (I know it will be fine for mobile, but the main reason we buy it is for Outlook)?.

We went with SmarterMail simply due to the "Exchange replacement" tag-line and the only way we`ve come close to that was though the EAS protocol. As much as I personally would like to move everyone off of Outlook (and the whole MS Office package for that matter), there is always a quarter of the users which cannot be pacified unless that is what they use. Syncing via IMAP + CalDAV simply does not cut it - even EAS with SmarterMail was problematic enough.

Microsoft now has realised their position and is now forcing everyone to make a decision and if there is no other working "Exchange alternative" for a decent price, the only solution is to move to Office365 or get MS Exchange and run it in-house again.

Again, I understand this is complex task, but the situation is as it is. We need the information to make a decision on how to move on forward. This is actually the first time we are seriously considering moving to Office365.

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Gary Pacitti Replied
Just ran into this problem, can't add accounts to outlook. This is huge issue, as clients love outlook whether we like it or not. We have a major client who we just persuaded to stay with us (who was threatening to leave to office 365) as we said we can sync calendar etc, then ran into issue today of being unable to add accounts.

i really hope this can be fixed VERY quickly , but doubt it. We also have upgrade protection due for renewal , so looks like we have 30 days to decide what to do or SM have a fix?

What a blow !
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
All,
 
Here's a blog post regarding the issue. It lays out some options as well as talks about our intentions with MAPI:
 
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
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echoDreamz Replied
Same here - Over the years we've lost TONS of customers to Office 365 and other mail server products. IMO - SmarterMail should have started adding MAPI support long ago. Another mail server product, (starts with a Z) has a GREAT MAPI plugin, even does filters... Contacted them a week ago and got a live demo, incredible.

After we sent out the announcement yesterday to our customer base just to give a heads up, many called, submitted tickets and were extremely upset. We just had a very large customer move from Office 365 to us after months of talking, now this... We cannot ask them to change their email client for multiple thousands of email users they have. Especially since they would have to purchase additional licenses for eM Client since the free version is not allowed for commercial use. At that point, easier for them to just stick with Office 365. Thunderbird too supports EWS, but again, 3rd party paid plugin that is hit and miss and best (and TBird being a garbagish email client too).

Microsoft is clever, they know what they are doing :) - Piss off the 3rd party mail server customers and get them all to move to Office. IMAP + some 3rd party component from Sourceforge is not the answer. We all know that Outlook's IMAP implementation is garbage as well.

IMO SmarterTools missed this one, MAPI support should have been on the drawling board as much more useful additional to the SM product than some fancy new interface. Dev resources should have been put forward into a Z* like Outlook MAPI plugin to more tightly integrate it with SmarterMail and to give a protocol that supports the most popular email client on earth. It seems that ST really believes that everyone on earth should ditch email clients and use their web interface (which also has issues now) and most of our clients either hate it now (thus the ones we've lost to Office 365) or just flat out will not use any web-based email client regardless.

We love SmarterTools and the work they do, just wish we would start getting more useful features and additions to the SM product. For SM 16 we basically paid renewal for a new interface and a new fancy undocumented API we cant use. Just fluff and shinny things :).

Christopher

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Von-Austin See Replied
Employee Post
One of our blog readers Robert Mathias left an important comment that contains a workaround that is recommended over our short term solution of rolling back. 
 
Below is the text from the comment on our blog post:
 

Microsoft Support published an article "How to disable Simplified Account Creation in Outlook 2016" on 9th September 2017 which provides the registry entry to enable the traditional account dialog box to configure new accounts in Outlook 2016. What confused me was the the subkey in the registey (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\setup) does not exist. However copy the following 4 lines into notepad:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\setup]
"DisableOffice365SimplifiedAccountCreation"=dword:00000001

then save/rename it to "disableoutlook16simplifiedaccountscreation.reg". right click the entry and select [Merge].
The usual warnings apply to altering the registry - back it up before doing this.

Von See
Technical Support Supervisor
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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Gary Pacitti Replied
Hmmm Smartertools, you state in your blog post that Active Sync support has been removed , how does disabling 'simplified account creation' change this.?

Have you tested the above solution ? If so then your post would look to be misinformed?
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Von-Austin See Replied
Employee Post
Gary, we have amended our blog post to reflect the most recent findings.
Von See
Technical Support Supervisor
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
1
Chris Le Replied
Hey Guys,
 
 
Let me know if that works for you all. We will have our users try it and give us feedback.
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
Gary, Simplified Account Creation is a way for Office 365 users to quickly and easily tie their accounts into Outlook 2016. It supplants the previous account creation found in earlier Outlook 2016 versions, not to mention previous versions of Outlook. There's no way around it, therefore eliminating the ability to set up external Exchange accounts. Removing that "feature" via the registry edit brings the "older" style of account creation back.
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
Gary Pacitti Replied
Thanks Von , hopefully this 'shock' will encourage you guys to move to MAPI ASAP. I know you say that this will be announced shortly ( a realistic time frame would be extremely helpful), but I agree with Christopher's comments .

Editing the registry is never going to be a viable solution going forward, as Im sure you will agree.

Robert Mathias - great work , thanks.
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Hi Chris,

This is the fist thing that we`ve tried after Microsoft changed the Add Account wizard for Outlook and we`ve been using this method until recently when Microsoft removed the old Add Account wizard from the "Mail" app in Control Panel too, at which point the only solution was to down-grade Outlook.

However, we`ve updated right now to the latest Outlook version and it appears that the old Add Account wizard from the "Mail" app in Control Panel was added back, so no more need to use the registry or down-grade work-arounds to add a new EAS account to an updated version of Outlook.
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We`ve updated right now to the latest Outlook version and it appears that the old Add Account wizard from the "Mail" app in Control Panel was added back, so no more need to use the registry or down-grade work-arounds to add a new EAS account to an updated version of Outlook. Hopefully this was not a "glitch" on Microsoft`s side and they will continue to allow us to add EAS accounts via that wizard.

However, the concern is that now that Microsoft has finished moving all of their Outlook.com mailboxes to the Office365 servers and they announced that EAS will no longer supported in the Outlook mail client, we have no way of knowing when EAS accounts will stop working for users that use Outlook as their daily drivers. Even if it will not suddenly just stop working in a future Outlook update, most likely EAS bugs and quirks will never be resolved, making their lives a living hell.

Thus, we desperately need the MAPI alternative way of syncing email between SM and Outlook, and ideally this should come before EAS stops working in Outlook. The mention in the linked blog post that "we currently have MAPI in development" is very encouraging and we cannot wait to see the next update.
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Chris Le Replied
Cool. It appears they either intentionally removed it or royally screwed up the update. Either way I'm sure they have been dealing with an uproar of users.
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Any more Smarter Tools insight into the MAPI integration timeline?
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Sérgio Rocha Replied
I remember that I made a bridge a few years ago between ST an eM Client, and both company's have working together the resolve issues between products. I saw a few times fixs in the release notes of smarter mail, so should work very well together.
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Sérgio Rocha Replied
Great! MAPI or and outlook add-in, dont need to be standard, i think da most client accept to install an add-ons to get a full features. Maybe having a "agent" its best path that follow Microsoft technology.
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echoDreamz Replied
Yeah, Zimbra has a fully-featured Outlook MAPI connector. (ZCO). Syncs email, folders, calendar, contacts and tasks. Also does out-of-office replies, signatures, rules etc. You can damn near do everything from Outlook without even needing the Zimbra interface. Though this goes against SmarterTools Dark Side force attempt of "You will use our interface! You will love our interface! You will not use any other product!" attempts.

Christopher

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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
I'm not sure that's a fair characterization. Had we forced people to the web interface we wouldn't have spent time and money on EAS, EWS, working with eM Client to make the interplay between eM and SmarterMail so much better, working with the guys at CalDaySynchronizer to do the same and make it easier for people using clients to use webDAV...changing how SmarterMail handles IMAP to accommodate the changes Microsoft made awhile ago in Outlook....and much more. The web client is better because it's native, no doubt. But to say we force people to it is a bit heavy handed.
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
0
echoDreamz Replied
It feels that way though when ST dumps so much to rewrite a web interface that had nothing wrong with it to begin with. I understand though, I've seen numerous threads on here were the overall feel of the answers is to basically just use the web interface. And of course, ST would love to have everyone using the web interface, just like Microsoft would love everyone to ditch ST and go to Office 365. You dumped time into those because you really had to, EAS is a must for the synchronizations of items without having to install 12 different products etc. Especially for mobile devices. EWS is a great addon, eM Client works great with it, Apple Mail and that is about it as far as I know. I believe though you guys added EWS since Microsoft was adding it into Outlook 2013, then backpedaled on it, which I am sure pissed you guys off (us too).

IMO, resources should have been (a long time ago) put into a really good Outlook connector, EWS is great, but clients dont want to switch from Outlook to eM Client (even though it is a really good client). Most of our clients turn their nose up and spending more money on activesync, which nulls Outlook even more. And then the broken "add new" activesync issue was further annoyances, emails not being marked as read / differences between clients is also annoying. ST blames Outlook, Microsoft blames SM (we've opened tickets with them), which we lean more towards believing Microsoft.

We demoed the Zimbra connector and it was life changing. We had a few of our large customers come in the demo with us and they were also wow'd. I really cannot wait to see what SmarterTools does with a good connector / mapi plugin. I am really hoping it is a fully featured connector. I am hoping it is an EWS type addon for SM, we pay $xxx and walla rather than a per user license like ActiveSync. This will further help us market SmarterMail to our major customers and potential customers that live in Outlook.

And no, the web interface is not better. I cringe every time I have to open the web interface to check the spool etc. I understand that as well, it is like going to the Ford dealership and asking them if the Corvette is better than the Mustang, you will always get the company line. SmarterMail v15, I would agree, the interface was top-notch. SM16, It has aspects I do like, dont get me wrong, but overall, it is a step back, a view shared by a lot of users here. SM 16s only + is the new meetings system, our customers that use it love it, with a few new ideas that they have came at us with that would make it absolutely perfect. SmarterMail's interface before v16 was light years better than anything we'd used, even today...

Dont take what I am saying as hate speech, just a customer giving his thoughts about the product that we rely on to keep our lights on and our families fed, the same as you :)

Christopher

0
Any more Smarter Tools official insight into the MAPI integration timeline? End of year perhaps?
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Derek Curtis Replied
Employee Post
MAPI is a big, BIG undertaking. We're hoping to have an implementation in house by end of year, but it won't make it into SmarterMail until 17.x.
Derek Curtis
COO
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278

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