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Microsoft: Where did my Contact go?


Last night, I got an email with some bad news that I needed to forward to a couple relatives. As I went to forward the message on my Lumia 1020 I was confused when I didn’t see an email address pop up for my cousin after typing in the first few letters of his name. I went to my People to hub to investigate and to my surprise his contact card was gone! As was another cousin with a last name starting with “S”. As my frustration grew, I did some additional poking around and found several other Hotmail records had been deleted or altered. I checked my Win 8 laptop People tile and The contacts, as expected, were missing from both. Information that I had relied on and treasured for more than 15 years was gone. But at least sync was working, NOT!

Then I remembered that my Nokia 520 had been powered off for several weeks, missing the last two Developer updates. I put it on the charger and after about two minutes was able to boot it up. I immediately turned off WiFi (the phone is a spare without a SIM) and made sure it would not turn back on. I also disabled automatic updates, just in case. When I checked the People hub, my two cousins, and several other altered contacts were still there, with names, addresses, phone numbers, notes, everything. I checked mail and it looks like the phone was last updated on 4/18/14. So, sometime between 4/18 and 6/13, Microsoft deleted several of my contacts. WTF!  FYI, my 520 is running OS: 8.10.12359.845.

I primarily have three accounts syncing contacts on my phone. My Hotmail account, which I have had for at least 15 years. A Live account, which I have had since 2011, that I use for business contacts. And of course, Facebook. Note that the two contacts I immediately noticed were only in my Hotmail address book (they don’t have FB accounts). Further searching revealed several other Hotmail contacts that were joined with Facebook profiles, now only show the FB info. So I can post on a friends or relatives Wall, but I don’t know their address or phone number. Again, on my 520, this info is still thankfully intact. It’s going to take more poking and probing to see exactly what is missing. So far though, it appears to only have affected my Hotmail address book. My most important address book.

I used to have sync problems with Palm Pilots and Pocket PCs decades ago, but I thought all that was behind us. I guess not. Now I know I am running a Developer Preview on my Lumia 1020, but do the folks in Redmond have such a cavalier attitude towards user’s personal data, that if they capture a good amount of it, it’s all good. I hope not. I can not begin to describe how pissed I was last night when I couldn’t find these contacts on my phone or PCs. In my past life, I may have had these contacts stored in Outlook desktop, or in the front of my Franklin Planner. But now everything is in one place, accessible from anywhere. Isn’t that what they say in their marketing hype. Go ahead and lose an occasional email, or change a setting, but DON’T FUCK WITH MY ADDRESS BOOK AND CALENDER! That shit is sacred. What if I needed some of this info in an emergency and it wasn’t where I expected it to be. Who’s responsible for that, me? How am I supposed to know you “deleted” it. Note that I have had no crashes on any of my other devices; desktop, Yoga, tablet, in the past year. Nor have I had any on my phones. But that “migrating data” message during each phone update always made me nervous. Now I know why.

Once I calmed down I decided it was time to apply a little old school. Back in the 40s, my mom started using a metal box with index cards to keep track of everyone she knew; names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, spouses, anniversaries, kids births, etc. It served her well for almost 70 years. I went to Staples this morning to see what they had to offer for my manual system. The address book alternatives were plain silly, costing $20-$30 for some printed sheets of paper. I settled on the box above with good old Oxford heavy duty index cards. I could have opted for the $2.99 cheapo plastic box, but the one in the photo for $12 looked too good to pass up. And after all, the data I will be putting in there is worth it.





While I have about 225 contacts on my phone / PC, only about 100-125 are keepers. I know what I will be doing this weekend, before my 520 loses this data forever. A double whammy, as I will have to write everything down first and then recreate these records in Hotmail. I suggest you take a look to see if any of your stuff is missing. You might be as surprised as I was.

And Microsoft, sorry will not cut it this time. I am really, really disappointed.