If we follow Paretto's 80/20 rule, 80% of problems are caused by 20% of problems. In my experience with WIndows Mobile the rule is more like 95/5. After helping a few people solve their email syncing problems I found three steps that will either solve most problems, or at least help identify the source of the problem.

  1. Ensure you have a working data connection. This can be easily done by opening Pocket IE and navigating to any web site (i.e. http://mobile.live.com/ ). If the page loads then you have confirmed a working data connection exists. Otherwise, a number of reasons could be preventing the connection:
    • You may have incorrect connection settings, especially if you have a GSM phone. This are set under Start ->Settings ->Connections.
      • If you have T-Mobile the access point is wap.voicestream.com
      • For AT&T the access point is wap.cingular (without the  ".com" )
        • username is WAP@CINGULARGPRS.COM and
        • password is CINGULAR1
      • For additional settings or operators do an online search - using Live.com, of course :-)

  2. Ensure your Exchange Server is up and running. You can check by going to your Outlook Web Access login page using a browser on a PC. The URL could be something like https://mail.yourcompany.com/ - then you can log-in to ensure you have the right credentials. This information will be provided by your IT department or your Hosted Exchange provider.

  3. Check your ActiveSync settings. Make sure you have the right server address, that you are using your username and not entering your full email address and that you have the right domain, if applicable. Then try to sync again.
    • This asumes that your IT department has enabled mobile access in your Exchange Server.
    • I have seen rare instances where a device would not sync that are solved by deleting and re-creating the ActiveSync partnership. This is done by going to Menu->ActiveSync then doing Menu->Options and selecting the "delete" box in the lower part of the screen. Doing this will delete all email, tasks and calendar items from your device. You then set up the partnership again and sync.

If this does not work, here are more resources:

  1. If your failure is in step 1 you should contact your operator and tell them your data connection is not working
  2. If step 2 fails then you need to chat with your IT department
  3. For other problems I would start with http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/help/default.mspx

Hope this helps!