Having problems with a Calendar with lots of recurring meetings?

I've had a few customers recently experiencing problems where they have Calendar synchronisation issues normally resulting in errors 85010014.

In talking with our support teams and some of my colleagues it seems these symptoms and scenarios all seem to have one thing in common.  Users who have lots of recurring meetings in their diary.

Typically these take the form of weekly conference calls or status reviews. 

So why do these cause issues...?

Well on investigation with some of our support teams the recurring meetings have no end date set.  When you setup a recurring meeting with no end date - Outlook creates recurrences 400 hundred years into the future...

So in the example above of a weekly conference call Outlook would create 52x400 appointments = 20,800 appointments.

Now I'm pretty sure that your weekly conference call isn't going to be happening in 400 years time (even with the advances in modern science) so there is a simple way of avoiding this and that is to set an end date for all recurring meetings that you create.

The customers that I've had experience this have all resolved their issues by doing this so I thought I'd share it. 

Comments (5)
  1. Alex Kac says:

    Jason – this is wrong. A recurring appointment does *not* create 400 years of appointments. It creates 1. Then the software (Pocket Outlook, Pocket Informant, Outlook) extrapolates that to what’s being displayed. At no time ever does a new appointment record actually get created.

    So for example, Pocket Informant sees the appt record that say starts in 2000 and never ends. A weekly appt. We extrapolate internally for only the days being shown on the calendar. We internally create a record in our in memory list for a few tens of appointments. And I know Pocket Outlook works similarly. As does Outlook.

    So this sounds like a very poor implementation on the sync side if its doing anything like what you’ve described and its something that can be fixed easily.

  2. Paul says:

    Jason, you are not just any blogger. You are Microsoft. You should make your software work, and your software should support the things that users want to do. You should not ask users to change their practices in order to adapt to something that isn’t working as it should. I’m sorry, but that’s just lame.

  3. Tracy says:

    I agreed. This is the Microsoft design problem, one question, why Microsoft design Outlook in such a way that creating a recurring meeting will create recurrences 400 hundred years into the future ??

    This is something not write and Microsoft should consider this together with other product such as windows mobile design.

  4. MSDNArchive says:

    Paul, Tracy, appreciate your comments on this but I’m sharing this in the spirit that you understand the issues and are able to resolve them easily.  Absolutely we are working to resolve this within our products.  

    It’s a situation that doesn’t many people but it can certainly be difficult to troubleshoot and resolve hence my reason for sharing this.

  5. Jason: Do you know if this recurrence issue is related to the problem of "multiplying birtdays and anniversaries" in the Windows Mobile/Outlook Calendar? And, is not having an end date in a recurring series related to the issue of changing a single event in a series on a Windows Mobile device reverting back to the original series after syncing with a PC using ActiveSync (or WMDC)?

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