How to stop Office/Outlook 2003 from synchronizing

By ebecca ·
This seems to be a common and frustrating problem, and I haven't been able to find an answer anywhere. My computer periodically tells me that Microsoft Office 2003 is synchronizing folders. While it's doing that - and it takes awhile - not much else can happen. I use only one computer, and I have nothing to synchronize. Can anyone tell me how to turn off synchronization?
Thanks so much!

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Is this fix for Vista only?

by CorporateLackie In reply to This worked for me

Microsoft "implies" that this is fix will work only for Vista -- has anybody tried it on XP?



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Synchronization of FoldersTurned Off

by Cambria777 In reply to How to stop Office/Outloo ...

I've read all previous posts and have been experimenting with Outlook 2003 at my work, where we use Exchange. I do understand that your problem involves using a POP3 account, so I don't know if you'll have the very same menu items available on your Outlook menus, but hopefully you'll have the ones I used to turn OFF synchronization.

Here is how I turned OFF the automatic Synchronization of Outlook Folders in Outlook 2003:


Before making this simple change, I had confirmed that the WHITE SQUARE was most definitely appearing on my SYSTEM TRAY with the words "Microsoft Office Outlook is synchronizing folders," -- and it was happening every 1 minute. (I used my CLOCK in the system tray to confirm the exact time between synchronizations.) One minute is the frequency I had manually set in the window where you DEFINE SEND/RECEIVE GROUPS. I have a box checked to SCHEDULE AN AUTOMATIC SEND/RECEIVE every 1 minute. But even though I DISABLED that feature using the steps above, that box is STILL CHECKED. The DISABLE feature is simply OVERRIDING it. You can turn that DISABLE feature on and off at will, so automatic synchronization will only occur when you want it to.

Another way you can stop a synchronization, if one is already in progress, is to right click on the WHITE SQUARE and choose CANCEL SERVER REQUEST. I'm pretty sure that will stop a single synchronization, although it won't DISABLE that feature.

You can watch the progress of synchronizations by turning ON the "SHOW PROGRESS...." window found on the very same sub-menu as the DISABLE SEND/RECEIVE feature. If you display the "SHOW PROGRESS" window, you can UNCHECK the box that hides that window, plus you can PUSH THE THUMBTACK in the lower right corner of that window so you can keep the window visible. I used that window to watch the automatic synchronizations taking place before disabling the synchronizations. As soon as I disabled it, nothing further happened in the SHOW PROGRESS window unless and until I pressed F9 to force a manual synchronization, -- which is nothing more than simply triggering a SEND/RECEIVE procedure.

Please let me know if this works on a POP3 setup. I have not yet upgraded Outlook on my home PC, where I'm still using Outlook 2000, and would very much like to know if this solves the problem for YOU before upgrading at home.

Again, I don't know if you'll have the exact same menus available with a POP3 account that we have with an Exchange account, but I suspect that the synchronization feature is the same regardless of the type of account.

I'll be anxious to know if this works and will subscribe to this thread hoping for replies from anyone who tries this who uses a POP3 account.

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Will do

by JPK_ In reply to Synchronization of Folder ...

I'm not at this office until Tuesday, but i will try then and let you know. Outlook on POP3 has a Send/Receive options page that I know is pretty lengthy.

The strange thing is that it only happens on this one machine, and I know LOTS of people running outlook in POP3, so the chances of you getting this might be small. That said, I don't know of too many differences between Outlook 2000 and 2003. One is... yellower?

Or if you're popping from home, maybe Thunderbird instead?

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Is Microsoft Office synchronizing with Instant Search folders?

by steven.shafer In reply to Will do

I have this problem as well. I've been using Office 2007 for several weeks, and the problem just started recently. At the same time, I've started getting a notice that my outlook files aren't indexed as they used to be. My guess is that the problem is caused by the indexing required by Instant Search function. I don't care to disable Instant Search, because it works well. However, that may be the explanation.

Steve Shafer

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Disabling Instant Search

by ebecca In reply to Is Microsoft Office synch ...

This is not a function I'm familiar with. Can you tell me how to access it?



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Disabling Instant Search

by steven.shafer In reply to Disabling Instant Search

Microsoft has a new product, Instant Search, intended to compete with Google Desktop Search. Outlook has deleted the old search function, and virtually requires you to install this. It indexes all of your e-mail, so you can find anything quickly.

It works quite well, but I thought perhaps that was the problem. I uninstalled it, but it didn't fix the problem, so that wasn't it. See my post further down to what's happened.


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No luck - disabling scheduled send/receive

by ebecca In reply to Synchronization of Folder ...

Thanks so much for suggesting this. Unfortunately, I've tried it and it didn't work. I am still merrily synchronizing away.

And - My "Show Progress" window never says anything about synchronization, just my send/receive progress.


There ought to be a prize for solving this problem. It certainly is widespread and frustrating.


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Do you use an IMAP server

by 110plmnj In reply to No luck - disabling sched ...

Our IMAP mail is held in a non-Microsoft Exchange Server and when it is downloaded to a mirror folder on the local machine "microsoft outlook is synchronizing folders" icon appears in the system tray. Exactly when the outlook status line shows that all email has been downloaded the "microsoft outlook is synchronizing folders" icon disappears. If it hangs I close Outlook and reopen Outlook and generally that clears the problem. Sometimes I have to repair the .pst file by using scanpst.exe (It is on every XP machine), just use your file search to find it.

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IMAP server?

by ebecca In reply to Do you use an IMAP server

To be honest, I don't know what an IMAP server is, so I don't know if I use it or not.

We have 2 other computers on our network. One user uses Outlook on a laptop, as I do, and does not have this problem. I recently switched from a desktop to a laptop, and I've had the problem on both my machines.

I think that sometimes I have aborted the synchronization process by closing and then re-opening Outlook, but then I have to wait for the .pst file to be repaired, as you state, and that hangs up my computer, too. And at other times, when I re-open Outlook, the synchronization just starts up again.

Thanks for trying!


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In my situation... this is what I think it is

by techrepublic In reply to How to stop Office/Outloo ...

Pop3, no Exchange.

My current email provider has moved the Merak service I use onto a really old crappy box. This causes issues when I send emails described below (from Merak)...

Sometimes these high-load servers can take too long to complete their AS and AV processing and the sending server will give up and disconnect. The mail gets delivered normally but the sending server will try again at a later time, causing multiple copies of the same message to be delivered.

The point is, while Outlook is trying to send the email the system tray icon with the hover message discussed is displayed.

My gut feeling is this is outlook trying to tell me it is 'synchronizing' with the mail server. i.e it has sent an email and is waiting for the reply from the server to say it is sent.

I am no expert but this is what's going on for me... I think. Hope that provides another perspective.

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