Lumia 800: Sync Contacts with WLM via Hotmail (18th May 2012)

Contacts Transfer

This is an app listed in the long list. It used Bluetooth. Seems neat! Let’s try it out:

  1. Both devices must be on.
  2. The old device must have Bluetooth switched on and set to discoverable.
  3. So I turn on Bluetooth from the N900’s control box, right from the Start Screen.
  4. Lumia 800 screen keeps turning off in the middle of stuff. Will look at lengthening the timeout for it later.
  5. I click Continue on the Lumia.
  6. It shows me a slider and asks me to switch on Bluetooth.
  7. I do so and it immediately starts searching, quickly finding my N900.
  8. After a second it also finds my laptop! Was sure I turned off Bluetooth for this, lol.
  9. I click the N900 item and a dialog appears on it asking to confirm a PIN.
  10. The Lumia 800 is also saying to confirm the PIN is the same.
  11. I confirm both.
  12. Lumia 800 says it was unable to complete the connection.
  13. I try again, confirming both faster this time.
  14. It fails again! It seems they just won’t talk to each other. Another let-down!
  15. Turned off Bluetooth on the N900. (Actually did this hours later since I forgot about it at the time.)
  16. Went back to the Start Screen, swiped to the list of apps, scrolled to the bottom and clicked Settings.

Missing Numbers and E-mail Addresses! (22nd May 2012)

  1. Today my number was transferred so I tried texting my closed contacts to let them know all was well.
  2. I added the contacts by name, never seeing their numbers.
  3. When I sent the message all seemed fine. Again I only see the names, not the numbers.
  4. Seconds later, Fiona’s landline rings.
  5. She answers and is listening for several seconds without speaking.
  6. It dawns on me that the Lumia might have texted her landline. But…all numbers were properly categorised in my Nokia.
  7. She then presses a number so I know for sure that all the above has been for nothing!

Imagine my frustration.

  1. Started looking at Fiona’s contact info in the Lumia.
  2. A few details are there but not her mobile number.
  3. I check the N900 and all the information is there.
  4. Now I check Windows Contacts. Ah, it’s not there!
  5. So I fire up Nokia PC Suite at the details are there.
  6. Numbers categorised as Mobile in the N900 did sync to Windows Contacts.
  7. Numbers categorised as Mobile (Home) did not.

Ah! Maybe this sub-category system isn’t compatible? Windows Contacts has tabs for all these sub-categories though. I need do do this transfer or I’m back to square 1, so I test it:

  1. De-categorise every entry in my Contact Card in N900.
  2. This would fail about half the time: I’d click Save but the display would not update. So I had to edit everything twice in most cases.
  3. Connect N900 to the PC with the USB data cable.
  4. Click on Contacts in the toolbar.

So now to fix all my other contacts:

  1. I de-cateorised every entry for all the contacts in my N900. Yawn.
  2. If a contact had multiple entries for the same type of thing, such as Mobile, I de-categorised one of them and left the rest categorised.
  3. And then used sync in Nokia PC Suite to sync this with Windows Contacts.
  4. Opened WLM and clicked Contacts.
  5. Gave it a minute just in case it was gathering changes from my Windows Live ID.
  6. Clicked on Import in the Ribbon and clicked Address book for current Windows user.
  7. This shows the Windows Live Contacts window.
  8. It told me Import successful. 16 contacts imported.
  9. WHAT?! I updated 35 according to Nokia Suite!

So I opened the Windows Contacts folder, Ctrl+A, Delete.

  1. Went back to Nokia Suite and clicked Contacts. Clicked Sync
  2. It asked me if I wanted to delete all my contacts, as I had deleted them from Windows Contacts.
  3. I told it to Keep them.
  4. I watched it re-create all 60 contact files.
  5. Back to WLM.
  6. Contacts
  7. Import > Address book for current Windows user.
  8. Import successful. 60 contacts imported.
  9. Checked a few contacts which had previously failed.
  10. A few of the missing details had now shown up but other details were missing!
  11. Also, these were 60 additional contacts rather than merging into the existing ones.

WHAT?! How can contacts still be so difficult to manage!

  1. Returned to WLM, Contacts and clicked Clean up contacts in the Ribbon.
  2. This opens a new tab in Firefox.
  3. I wearily trudge through it, merging contacts.
  4. Right at the start it says to merge my Dad’s entry with 3 of my own. My contact card has been triplicated!

This really ruins the pleasure of buying the 2nd most expensive device I own. (My laptop cost £530 while this Lumia on Vodafone will cost £492.)

A minute later I noticed new content was turning up on the People tile on the Start Screen. So I opened it and a bunch of contacts from early in my use of the N900 were now on my Lumia 800! How that happened, I simply don’t know. But after a few minutes I figured it out:

  1. Nokia N900 comes with Nokia PC Suite.
  2. This syncs contacts and everything else from the phone to a proprietary store on the PC.
  3. Contacts in this Nokia software can be passed on to some kind of central Windows Contacts feature.
  4. Somewhen in everything I was doing today I used Import in the WLM contacts while Signed In and it pulled in 47 new contacts.
  5. These must have come via Windows Contacts, originally from my N900!

So now I had a new idea to move the contacts from my phone into WLM while signed in:

  1. Started WLM.
  2. Went to Contacts.
  3. Let it pull in the new data and confirmed the new ones were there. (271 in total, now.)
  4. Clicked the Clean up contacts button in the Ribbon.
  5. This opens a new tab in my web browser with only 3 contacts.
  6. Unticked the 1st item, which was trying to merge my Dad’s entry with my Mum’s since they had the same home phone number.
  7. Edited the merging of the 3rd contact.
  8. Clicked Save and continue.
  9. A new set of 3 merges appeared. Ah-ha! Trying to make a bit task look smaller.
  10. I continued through a few more screens. All were true duplicates but I had to refine the exact merging behaviour for about half of them.
  11. Clicked the final Save button and it was all done.

Now I closed WLM and reconnected my N900 to the laptop:

  1. Selected PC Suite mode on the N900.
  2. Started Nokia Suite on the laptop and waited for it to recognise my phone.
  3. HDD was thrashing a lot so waited for that.
  4. Clicked Sync All.
  5. When it finished, I clicked Contacts to confirm the new names are there, not the old ones when I first started using the N900.
  6. Clicked the Sync menu and selected Sync options.
  7. This opened an Options window.
  8. In that I selected Contacts.
  9. Under the Sync with contacts application I changed it from Do not sync to Windows Contacts.
  10. Clicked OK which closed the Options window.
  11. Clicked on Sync contacts and the progress text confirmed this now includes Windows Contacts.
  12. When it finished it opened a Contacts sync done! window, with these details:
    • 2 contacts deleted from Windows Contacts.
    • 20 contacts were updated to Windows Contacts.
    • 3 contacts were updated to Nokia Suite
    (Missing full stop after the 3rd item is as it was shown, btw.)
  13. Used File > Exit to close Nokia Suite.
  14. Started WLM, signed in and went to Contacts.
  15. Clicked Import in the Ribbon and selected Address book for current Windows user.
  16. This opened a progress window which ended by saying:

    Import successful. 51 contacts imported.

Time to take stock. 307 contacts in total when signed in with WLM. Still not all of them and not all up to date. Hmm.

  1. Used the Start menu of the laptop to search for contacts and opened the Windows Contacts folder.
  2. Deleted the handful of entries whose names were not updating. (The filenames were staying the same, even though the Name field within them was changing.)
  3. Used the Sync Contacts feature in Nokia Suite again.
  4. It noticed a few had been deleted. I told it to Keep them.
  5. This filled in the missing Windows Contacts entries.
  6. Went back to WLM, Contacts, Import > Address book for current Windows user.
  7. Now it imported them the way I wanted.
  8. Went to the Windows Live Contacts website and they weren’t there right away.
  9. Returned to WLM and clicked Clean up contacts.
  10. It opened the website and it found triplicates of most contacts which had been in Windows Contacts.
  11. Once I ironed those out I refreshed the list and the new names were showing for all contacts.

Phew! But not done yet, as I still want my offline WLM contacts to be in the online list so I can synchronise them to my phone.

A bit more searching and I find a suggestion to Import contacts as CSV file into the Windows Live website. They’ll be pushed from there out to WLM when signed in and also to my phone when signed in. Let’s try:

  1. Went to WLM and looked at the Contacts area.
  2. Clicked the down-arrow by my name in the Ribbon and clicked Sign out of Windows Live Mail.
  3. My 307 contacts from Windows Live ID go away and my 293 offline contacts are shown.
  4. I click Export from the Ribbon and selected Comma separated values (.CSV).
  5. Set the file to save into my Windows Contacts folder, just for easier location if needed in the distant future.
  6. Selected all the fields when it asked which I wanted to export.
  7. The progress took a few seconds to get started, then only took about 1 second to complete.
  8. Opened my Windows Contacts folder. The new file was just 25.4kB!
  9. Visit the Windows Live Contacts site.
  10. Click on Manage > Import.
  11. There was no CSV option at the next stage, so I selected Outlook
  12. This gave me the option to select Microsoft Outlook (using CSV).
  13. Used the Browse field to drag-and-drop the newly exported CSV file from my Windows Contacts folder.
  14. Clicked Import Contacts and waited a few seconds.
  15. Success!

    You’ve successfully imported your contacts!

    • 287 new contacts have been added.
    • You’ve updated 2 contact(s)
    • There were 3 duplicate contact(s)
  16. Hmm, surely more duplicates than that?! I clicked the Look for duplicate contacts just below this message.
  17. Sure enough, it found the first batch of 3 and all had early names, going alphabetically. Well, it’s gotta be rationalised sometime and I know this GUI is actually effective and works right.
  18. Plodded through a total of 136 duplicates.
  19. The only ones that needed manual adjustment had different values for the same kind of information, such as multiple phone numbers or multiple e-mail addresses.

Total of 407 entries now in the Windows Live Contacts website. That should be all of them!

  1. Returned to WLM and clicked Sign In.
  2. Switched to the Contacts area.
  3. After barely a couple of seconds, it had updated. 409 contacts in WLM now!

Now I can clear out all the offline entries of my contacts, since they all exist online now:

  1. In WLM I signed out.
  2. Selected the first contact.
  3. Pressed Ctrl+A.
  4. Right-clicked and clicked Delete Contact.
  5. Clicked Yes to the confirmation message box.
  6. Switched to the Calendar area.
  7. It only shows my old offline calendar, now.
  8. Left-clicked Calendar in the left-hand sidebar and clicked Delete.
  9. It wouldn’t let me do that!

    Your primary calendar can’t be deleted

    To delete this calendar, first add a new calendar and set it as your primary calendar. Then delete the old calendar.

  10. So that’s what I did.
  11. From the Ribbon, in the New area, I clicked Calendar.
  12. This displays the Add a Calendar window.
  13. I set the Calendar name to Primary Calendar.
  14. I tick the box to Make this my primary calendar.
  15. I click Save.
  16. Now, again, I left-clicked Calendar in the left-hand sidebar and clicked Delete.
  17. This time it gives me a confirmation message, which I confirm by clicking Delete.
  18. All those events go and I am left with a blank primary calendar called Primary Calendar. Yay!

Now that’s all done I can let WLM sign me in automatically. So I sign in with it again but this time tick the box called Remember me and sign me in automatically.

Syncing Offline WLM Contacts with Online Windows Live ID

The above technique worked so well that I started hunting for a contacts database. Found one in a folder alongside it, rather than inside it. Then some more. After a bit of searching online I found a detailed message for the locations of WLM contacts.edb databases, both for offline and signed-in.

But…how to merge them without data loss? That is the question.

My old pair of calendars remained in the web version when I overwrote the file on my laptop for that online ID. So if I overwrite the file on my laptop for the contacts, the online ones should still exist. If so, then next time it all synchronises:

As the target contacts file was 6MB in size, I copied it from here to my Desktop as a backup:

C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\\15.5\DBStore\contacts.edb

Now I copy the offline contacts file:

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.5\DBStore\contacts.edb

I exit WLM and and paste the copied file over the target file, the one I had backed up:

C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\\15.5\DBStore\contacts.edb

Restarted WLM and…disaster! Clicking the Contacts button just gave me a black view without changing the Ribbon! I used the Ribbon to Sign Out and now I could see my offline Contacts, at least. Hmm. Maybe this won’t be so easy.

I closed WLM and copied the backup from my desktop over the target file, restoring it back to how it was before.

Started WLM again and waited for the HDD to stop thrashing. (It usually does that so I wasn’t worried.)

Still Missing Data! (22nd May 2012)

The e-mail addresses were still not showing up for dozens of colleagues from where I used to work. WHAT?!

  1. Rummaged around the App Data folder and found some folders called Backup.
  2. Found a contacts.edb which was 2.02MB while the Default was 2.01MB.
  3. Opened the backup in Notepad, which lagged horribly, then scrolled down to see what it contained.
  4. Found some of the missing e-mail addresses!
  5. Checked and the Modified date was 3 days earlier than the Default, before I deleted them all!
  6. Returned to WLM and signed out.
  7. Closed WLM.
  8. Now I could see the offline contacts list, which was complete empty since I had trusted this stuff to work.
  9. Copied the file from here:
    C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.5\DBStore\Backup\new
  10. Copied the file from here:
    C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\15.5\DBStore
  11. Started WLM, with bated breath.
  12. Switched to Contacts.
  13. It’s a blank list. WHAT?!
  14. Closed WLM.
  15. Tried pasting the file here, as well:
    C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Contacts\Default\DBStore
  16. That file was much older, Modified date was November last year.
  17. Waited for HDD to stop thrashing.
  18. Contacts tells me You have no contacts. WHAT?!

So the information is simply lost. I can’t contact these people to ask what their contact details are, since I don’t have a way to contact them at all! That was it!!

Forensic Science to the Rescue

A web search turned up a result on an answers site: How to restore Windows Live Mail Contacts? At the bottom is a message which says:

To anyone finding this in the future, THIS CAN BE DONE! Use this program - EseDbViewer - to export the file to a CSV file, and then you can import that where ever you want.

Note that you pretty much need the whole file structure containing the edb, not just the edb file.

Hat-tip to @MicrosoftHelps on twitter.

Cool, a free program which will let me grab the data and export a CSV. I can import that into Windows Live Contacts, or directly into WLM.

  1. Downloaded the program to the folder I intend to install it in: C:\Program Files (x86)\EDB File Viewer
  2. Extracted the .zip and all it contained was the .exe.
  3. Double-clicked the .exe and it gave me a setup wizard.
  4. Went through the installer and let it install the Start menu shortcuts directly into the Programs area of the start menu. (Hopefully I’ll remember to uninstall it this way – and that might remind me to clean up some other free tools.)
  5. Clicked Next but it said I had to enter a folder. WHAT?! Don’t you want your program to be super visible? LOL!
  6. Oh, the stupid thing has a naming conflict amongst its own files! The installer is named the same as the program, so it can’t install itself!
  7. I click Abort (surely we’ve moved away from that word in user interfaces by now) and rename the installer.
  8. Try again and it works. Phew.
  9. I double-click the new EseDbViewer.exe and get another error!! WHAT?!

    EseDbViewer.exe – .NET Framework Initialiszation Error

    To run this application, you must first install one of the following versions of the .NET Framework:


    Would you like to download and install .NETFramework,Version=v4.0 now?

  10. I click Yes, just to try and get through the pain.
  11. Instead of downloading the file, it opens a new tab in my web browser with a download page for Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (Web Installer). Urgh. So clunky.
  12. I click DOWNLOAD and get yet another message! What a gauntlet! In essence, it says this:

    May we also suggest

    Here are some additional downloads to enhance your experience with Microsoft products

    • Windows Internet Explorer 9 Enhanced with Bing & MSN
    • Microsoft© Windows© Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830)
  13. To its credit both were unticked by default.
  14. I click NEXT.
  15. Firefox asks me where to download it, so I just put it next to the program.
  16. I double-click it and click Run at the security prompt.
  17. This opens the installer.
  18. It provides the licence agreement in formatted text in a box barely 2 lines high. LOL.
  19. I click Install.
  20. It starts downloading the files it needs, then installs them.
  21. I close WLM.
  22. The installer finishes! So I click Finish.
  23. I delete that installer.
  24. I try running EseDbViewer.exe again.
  25. After a few seconds it appears. Crazy inefficient code, to take that long on a modern PC to display an empty user interface with a handful of controls.
  26. From it’s weirdly styled menu I click File > Open.
  27. Copy and Paste the folder path from the Location in Windows Explorer into the File name of the Select ESE file window. (It’s actually looking for *.edb files.)
  28. Click contacts.edb and click Open.
  29. This shows an Open ESE Database window with some options.
  30. I just assume the defaults are OK and press OK.
  31. It gives me an error! WHAT?!

    Error SoftRecoveryOnBackupDatabase

    (JET_errSoftRecoveryonBackupDatabase, Soft recovery is intended on a backup database. Restore should be used instead)

  32. Erm, what’s that supposed to mean?
  33. I try opening some other contacts.edb files and they all fail with the same message. WHAT?!


Rummaging Through The Trash

At this point I remembered the .csv file I exported some days ago.

  1. That will have been deleted when I cleared the Windows Contacts folder.
  2. Of course it’s still in the Recycle Bin. Phew!
  3. So I Restore them and see if they have the missing information.
  4. Yes! The most recent one has the missing e-mail addresses for my colleagues!
  5. Start WLM again and go to Contacts.
  6. Click on Sign in in the Ribbon.
  7. The dropdown list in the login popup remembered my details.
  8. Click on Import in the Ribbon and click Comma separated values (.CSV).
  9. It gives a prompt asking for a file path with a Browse button next to it. Spoilt by web browsers, I dragging and dropping the file to add the file path but that doesn’t work.
  10. I choose the file the old-fashioned way.
  11. All of the fields to import are ticked, so I leave them that way.
  12. I click Finish.
  13. This duplicates pretty much all of my contacts. There are now 746 entries in WLM!
  14. The new ones have the missing e-mail addresses! Phew.
  15. So yet another round of Clean up contacts.
  16. I drink some water and then make a milky coffee to ease the boredom.
  17. I’ve also got my favourite laid-back tunes running to try and balance my music during this whole saga.
  18. It only finds a few duplicates. I check the main Windows Live Contacts page and it only has 394 entries. WHAT?!
  19. I search for one of the colleagues and sure enough, the newly imported contacts haven’t been pushed to the website. Even though I’ve clicked the button specifically to make that happen, so they can all be harmonised.

FAIL. Guess I’ll play some games for an hour or two for the systems (and myself!) to calm down. However, by this time they had left the game lobby so there was nobody to play! ARGH!

Just out of interest I changed a Calendar entry in WLM then check the Hotmail Calendar. The website updated within the time it took me to navigate to it!

Why is the contacts system so messed up?

(I take a moment to uninstall EseDbViewer later that evening, followed by both entries for .NET Framework 4. That required a system restart to finish.)

Looks Better in the Morning (23rd May 2012)

Windows Live Contacts now has 365 and so does WLM! Yay!

Sorting contacts by Company is super handy in WLM. I added the column for that by right-clicking the Name header and clicking Company in the context menu.

After rummaging around trying to turn off Calendar reminders, I found a way to sort my Windows Live Contacts by Company as well:

  1. Visit the Windows Live website.
  2. Click the down arrow next to my name, far top-right of the page.
  3. Click Options
  4. Click Mail from the list on the left.
  5. Under the Customizing your contacts section, click Sorting your contact list.
  6. Click the option called Company (Last, First)
  7. Click Save.

While I was there I filled in some more of the generic information for the Windows Live Profile. Stuff that’s already widespread on the Internet, such as from the Project Cerbera contact page.

Also happened upon the List of all Windows Live Services. Handy!

  1. Received my Nokia Lumia 800 Cyan!
  2. Sync WLM Calendar via Hotmail
  3. Sync Contacts with WLM via Hotmail
  4. Foreca Weather App by Microsoft
  5. gMaps App?
  6. Google Maps?
  7. Photos & Sharing
  8. Timer
  9. Vodafone
  10. Received my Monster Headphones
  11. Software Update via Zune
  12. Windows Phone 7.8!
  13. New Screen Protector