Outlook with roaming profile on different computers

  • Hi!

    We are using roaming profiles (on Win 10, Outlook 2016) to switch between different machines.
    This works so far except one thing:

    Outlook seems to store its Sync ID in the roaming registry part.
    So even when using different machines, the ID stays the same resulting in broken sync states and complete resyncs.
    Same behaviour can be seen with the WIn 10 Mail App.

    Ist there a way, how to use more machines with roaming profiles enabled?

  • Kopano

    That either sounds like a bug in Outlook/the Windows 10 mail app, or your roaming profiles configuration. My spontaneous idea would be to include the ost file in the roaming profile, so that the user always has access to his synced data.

  • You are right. I would have expected, that every machine hast its own Device ID.

    But as far as I can see it is stored here:

    Outlook: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Profiles\9375CFF0413111d3B88A00104B2A6676\00000002\EAS Device ID
    Mail App: KHEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ActiveSync\Partners\DeviceID

    I have no idea how I could exclude these keys from syncing.
    Your idea, to include the *.ost files in the profile might work… but than I have quite a huge amount of data to sync everytime.
    And it doesn’t seem to be a fancy solution either, as its just the opposite of what ActiceSync does: just syncing chances.
    And for the MailApp there is no setting for changing where data is sored at all…

    I can’t belive that this is how MS indetened it to work…
    What I thought about: Using different profiles on each machine.
    But even here I haven’t found any setting for selecting the right profile per machine.
    And without that, I would have to choose the right one on start… and making a mistake here would result in the same mess like now.

    If anyone has some good idea… let me know… played arounf with this now for hours.

  • A side deversion on the topic. I have noted the same issue when creating two users on an android phone (at least mine). They end up with the same ID which means that you cannot use the same z-push account otherwise it gets confused.

  • Kopano

    @mcostan two accounts of different users on a single device? That should normally be no problem.

  • Kopano

    @mcostan which android device/application are you using? Two different users should always produce a different state on the same device.

    @Vogi I think the ActiveSync implementation was not really meant for “such complex environments” like roaming profiles.
    The only thing we could think about is to introduce a serverside flag that incorporates the remote-ip into the device id.
    If your machines have fixed IPs this would produce a different deviceid for each roaming profile allowing it to to have different states. I will think about this a bit further but I think this could work.

  • Not sure this would work for Android though? If you have the same accounts in two Android profiles but those have the same ID in the Android app not sure the IP address would help?

    Apologies for confusing the issue though, I do realise my case is a very limited one, the main topic here is Outlook.

  • Kopano

    No, the inclusion of IP address is an idea just for Outlook with roaming profiles as I assume they have static IPs (that would be a requirement for this to work). This would also be disabled by default.

    Let’s talk only about your Android issue for a second: Normally one android phone or app has one “deviceid”. If you have two different accounts (two distinct usernames/stores from your server) on the same phone, they work simultaneously, because z-push looks at the deviceid+username combination to get a unique key.
    Therefore, it shouldn’t be any issue having two accounts (different usernames) on the same phone, as z-push sees them as two.
    What will not work is having two accounts with the same username on one phone. But it doesn’t make sense to have that anyway.

    This is btw the same for any client, Android, iOS or WindowsPhone (or any other).


  • Hi, indeed my issue was to have two android user profiles but with the same z-push account. Indeed that gave errors.

    That said I am not sure it is worth fixing because I am sure I am the very minority in here.

    I solved my particular issue by using IMAP on one of the two.

    As you say with two different usernames the issue wouldn’t happen at all, and that would cover I suppose the entire user population other than me.

  • Kopano

    Why do you need two profiles with the same user on one device? Don’t they just show the same information? Via IMAP is of course a doable workaround, but I don’t understand the why…

  • Call me geek :) As I said I don’t expect many people to need this working.

  • @Sebastian You might be right… maybe it’s just the way, MS want’s it to be… roaming profiles only in combination with an Exchange server.

    Combining the ID with the IP would be sufficient for our PCs, a sthey have static IPs
    Would this be a global feature or something combined e.g. with the “user agent”?
    If it’s global, what would happen with real mobile devices that change their IPs?

    It could be so simple, if the Decice ID would be device depending…

    Thanks you

  • Kopano

    Yeah, I thought about doing this for Outlook only (identified at the device type) and if enabled via a config flag.
    Then still, if you run Outlook on a notebook and your IP changes (because e.g. you are on the road) it will resync your profile on the notebook. It’s also not really what you want. Perhaps this is something we can do via KOE.

  • It sound’s really good - it would solve all my problem.
    And if its only a fix for Outllok - it shouldn’ break anything.

    If KOE coudl replace the Device ID with a unique one, this would solve the problem for Outlook “on the road”…
    But your solution could be used for the Windows Mail App (device = WindowsMail), as well.

    I would be really glad, if you could do that.


  • Kopano

    The problem replacing the ID is that the registry keys are probably then transferred to the next machine on logon and you get the same problem again (.ost file not matching the states on the server).
    The keys are in HKCU and afaik this is saved into the NTUSER.DAT saved in the roaming profile. So next time you switch the computer the changed keys are there.

    I think we could make a “flag/button” in the KOE preferences, saying “ Sync as roaming profile”. This triggers a DeviceID modification adding an identifier for Z-Push to include e.g. the IP locally.

    I will have a chat with the KOE dev to see if we can find a good solution here.

    Do you install KOE manually? Because when deploying via GPO there could perhaps be a flag that marks the profile as roaming on creation.

  • I may be proposing something irrelevant here, but how about getting hold somehow of the hostname of the PC as opposed (or in addition) to the IP address?

    KOE could perhaps adjust the ID according to the hostname (and the username) when it starts?

    (please feel free to say that I am going down the completely wrong track).

  • Kopano

    @mcostan I don’t think this could help in a situation with roaming profiles, where you indeed have changing hostnames and probably even changeing ips, when logging in from a different workstation.

  • Kopano

    @mcostan While in theory this is a good idea, the problem is, that this change will be saved in the roaming profile and cause the same issue on the next machine (the id saved in the registry does match server states, but there is no OST file on the system causing a full resync).

    That said, I don’t see an KOE only solution here, KOE & Z-Push have to do a joint effort identifying the client within the roaming profile. Z-Push has only access to information sent in the headers by Outlook (KOE can’t interfere here), namely remote-ip and user-agent. The user-agent doesn’t help, I expect that to be the same on all machines. Besides that, it can easily change e.g. with an Office update.

  • I see, makese sense, thanks.

  • @Sebastian Sorry for not answering… just didn’t realize, that you asked for the way of installing KOE. Yes, it is done manually and it wouldn’t be a problem to do some setting here.
    It wouldnt even matter if the setting hast to be done with the PluginDebugger.exe - I changed the loaction of the folder to the roaming profile path… so it is something thaqt has to be done once, too.

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