Last reviewed on May 8, 2014   —  16 Comments

This is fixed in Description of the Outlook 2013 update: March 12, 2013

Note: Exchange servers also have a device limit, which the Exchange admin controls. Exchange server users who are receiving this error should see Allow More ActiveSync Devices for more information.

With the introduction of Outlook 2013 and support for EAS (Exchange ActiveSync), users are discovering that Hotmail has limits to the number of devices they can connect using ActiveSync.

I am having an issue with too many devices with my Hotmail mail account when using Outlook 2013 to access Hotmail. I have 4 devices in total which generally all sync to the Hotmail account. It was working with Outlook 2010 and the Hotmail connector with these devices, don't know why it doesn't work now. Is there a limitation with the ActiveSync method?

You can't compare what worked in Outlook 2010 with the Outlook Connector and what works in Outlook 2013 using EAS. It's like comparing apples and oranges. The connector uses DeltaSync, EAS is Exchange ActiveSync.

Back to the problem at hand. This error should go away on it's own if you wait about a day. Outlook.com servers prune accounts that have reached the max limit a couple of times a day and clears the oldest relationships so it will eventually go away on it's own. You might need to keep Outlook closed or set the Outlook.com account to manual send and receives.

If you can't wait a day and a half for the error to go away, use POP3 to connect to the Hotmail/Outlook.com account.

To check the devices you have associated with your Hotmail account, visit https://devices.live.com/. Note that this may not list all of the computers that are configured with an Outlook 2013 EAS account.

This error is related to the number of folders you have in combination with the number of devices you're syncing with. If you have a large number of folders (more than 50) and you're syncing three or more devices, the Windows Live servers will generate this error.

You need to either remove folders from your Hotmail account or to stop syncing your Hotmail account with another device.

Also note that if you've reached the maximum number of folders for the Hotmail account online, you won't be able to add more in Outlook. You'll need to merge or delete some folders.

Comments

  1. jimmyfal says

    Hi I came across this when searching for this error. The intricacies of the differences between exchange and mapi are not understood by the average user.

    I am just trying to use Hotmail on 2 computers with outlook 2013, and now I can't.

    You said:
    "To check the devices you have associated with your Hotmail account, visit https://devices.live.com/. Note that this may not list all of the computers that are configured with an Outlook 2013 EAS account."

    There is a old phone that I would like to remove from the devices on that link, however the "manage" option does not give me an opportunity to delete my old htc titan. Would eliminating this unused device possibly help me in getting rid of this error? I see no way to do that, do you have a suggestion?

    I am currently syncing outlook 2013 with my desktop, laptop, and I have an lumia 900. I no longer use the htc titan that is listed.

    thanks, I still don't' get why this is such a big deal to have 3 devices, but maybe you can help.

    jf

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I'm trying to find out how to do that. Did you have the phone configured to sync with mesh? Those are the only devices I have listed. The ones using only EAS for email are not listed. (That was my first clue that the devices list is inaccurate when it comes to EAS email, even though MS says it should list EAS devices.)

  2. Steve says

    Outlook 2013 and EAS is a disaster. The error message isn;t correct - it's nothing to do with "devices" and no amount of "ba k end" fixes (whatever they are, will fix this.

    There are hundreds of people unable to use the program, maybe thousands. No one knows what is happening for no one that who knows will tell the truth. This is surely becoming a PR disaster - it won't stay quiet forever. The media are always hungry for news.

    Steve

    • Diane Poremsky says

      There is setting on the server that limits the number of devices that can connect using EAS to reduce server load - this is a feature of Exchange and has been enforced on the Hotmail servers for years. It's never been a problem before because most people don't have a lot of devices syncing until now - with the release of surface and outlook 2013. Outlook is more "talkative" than phones... and this kicks in the lockout. They are working on fixing it and should have it addressed before the public release of Office 2013. It didn't come up during private testing because they had fewer people hitting the servers.

      Outlook 2013 can't connect to Exchange using EAS by default, so it's not causing problems for Exchange servers.

  3. Steve Campsall says

    Thanks! The issue is a bad one though and I think has been harmful to MS reputation. I look forward to the "fix" for sure.

  4. Steve Campsall says

    Just a thought - your comment in the box above is quite wrong - the error simply never goes away. I daren't change anything now on any machine for fear of it worsening. Switching to Office 365 is confusing as when I try to download, it tells me I have already downloaded four of my five available licenses/versions, even though I am using only 2013 not 365. Messy and confusing all round - even some of the English is poor and even inaccurate, as if no one cared too much even at that level: "back end fixes", etc - indeed!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      If the error doesn't go away, then something keeps hitting it to keep the devices count high. It should be fixed within a few weeks, but will require the Office RTM build, not the preview.

      Are you trying to switch to hosted Email on Office 365? The 4 of 5 downloads applies to the Office applications - if you don't have Office installed on 4 machines you can delete some installs from the list.

  5. Steve Campsall says

    Thanks for the reply but I remain confused - and, well, I would say I'm bright with IT... (-; I thought I was using Office 2013 Preview, but when I look in Device Manager, I see "Office 365 Home Premium Preview" listed. Following your advice above, I have searched in vain for a way to upgrade to Office RTM build, whatever that is (the jargon on all MS sites shocks me - we are all potential customers and yet MS themselves use terms that lose me - and, as I say, I would call myself computer literate). Is there something other than what I have that will allow me to use EAS on this laptop safely - without the device limit being incurred (and people are having that happen with just a single laptop or phone connected after all).

    Thanks for you kind patience!

    Steve

    • Diane Poremsky says

      RTM is "released to manufacturing" - or another way of saying 'the build we're going to package and sell'. Preview is a beta or 'release candidate' version. Office365 Home Premium is the name of the subscription service they are selling Office 2013 under.

      There isn't an "upgrade" scenario - you need to uninstall it (your profile and other personal settings won't be lost) and AFAIK, you need to sign up for a new trial, the account you have with preview won't offer RTM build. You can sign up for the trial here - http://slipstick.me/tryoffice365.

      The RTM trial is 60 days - keep this in mind if your Preview trial expires later than late March and you want to keep a "free" copy as long as possible.

      There are two ways to get Hotmail into Outlook 2013: POP3 and EAS. POP3 is inbox only and does not sync changes up to the server. EAS is buggy in Preview. Not good choices...

  6. Jonathan says

    I ran into this thread while searching for answers. I hope that you may be of some assistance. I just started having this problem a couple of days ago. I was using my Hotmail/Windows Live Mail/ now Outlook.com account with Windows 8 on a desktop and a laptop. I also connect to the account with my iPhone and iPad using the native apple email clients and sync all contacts, email, calendars between all 4 devices this way. After I installed Office 2013 preview, all my devices started getting sync errors and stopped syncing. In windows 8 in the mail client I get the error "You can't connect this account to any more devices. Remove another device first with help from your system admin or Internet service provider. Well there are no settings in my microsoft/outlook.com account that can facilitate the "removal" of any such devices. I am now stuck with 4 devices that won't sync. The only way to get to my data is to log in to outlook.com. How can this be resolved?

    Thanks,
    Jonathan

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I'd remove the account from outlook for now - turn off the apples over night and the error *should* clear itself. I don't know if the Win8 mail app is a problem, but I try just the apples for a few days before thinking about adding outlook back.

      It should be fixed in the March update - which is about 30 days off.

  7. Jonathan says

    I have every possible device I have logged out of my Microsoft account. I will report back with the results. Thanks for the quick response!

    -Jonathan

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It may take up to 24 - 36 hours - the system automatically drops connections as they age. But I think with Outlook not checking and the apple's off for a few hours, it will clear up overnight, at least enough for the apple's to work. Outlook is the major culprit.

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