Synching Thunderbird/Lightning or Windows Calendar with Nokia PC Suite in Windows 7

Guest blog post from my buddy Frank Smyth

Nokia only plays nice with Microsoft products.

That didn’t bother me for years because I used Outlook for email and calendar and Nokia PC Suite got along fine. Then one day I decided to migrate my email to IMAP and the problems began. The first problem was that Outlook handles IMAP very poorly. You can’t get rid of your “personal folder” that you don’t use, and everything that you delete has to go into your local deleted items rather than your IMAP one (I could go on). So I moved to Thunderbird which is much more friendly towards IMAP and installed its Lighning calendar plugin. So far so good.

Then I discovered that Nokia PC Suite doesn’t play ball with Thunderbird/Lightning. I was running Vista at the time and found a surprisingly elegant solution to this problem…..Windows calendar. PC Suite recognises and plays nicely with it and because both lightning and windows calendar use the .ics format you can tell lightning to use your Windows Calendar file (stored under Users->AppData->Local->Windows Calendar I think). So Windows Calendar acts as an unwitting middle man between PC Suite and Lightning and you never have to think about it. It works a treat.

So you will understand my dismay when I discovered that Windows Calendar has been removed from Windows 7. This is all part of the shift towards “the cloud”. Microsoft now offers the calendar within their Live suite and everything is stored online. (Incidently, Nokia are also trialling a similar idea with Ovi Calendar which is in Beta at the moment.) So I was back to square one, with no way to sync my Nokia to my Thunderbird calendar.

The solution is a bit of a hack to make PC Suite think it is working with Vista (and hence Windows Calendar) when actually it is working with Lightning and Windows 7.

These are the steps I took. It’s likely that not all steps are required.

1.     Get Windows Calendar working on Windows 7.

This is very straightforward. Follow the link below. Run it once to generate the .ics file (http://www.addictivetips.com/windows-tips/install-windows-calendar-in-windows-7/)

2.     Tell Lightning to use Windows Calendar’s .ics file

In Thunderbird, go to calendar view, right click on calendar listed on the left hand side and select properties….change its default file to point to your Windows Calendar File (C:\Users\name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Calendar\Calendars\Your Calendar.ics)

3.     Uninstall software that may complicate things

If they are installed, uninstall Nokia PC Suite, Nokia Ovi Suite and Microsoft Outlook.

4.     Make the following registry changes (messing with the registry can wreck your operating system. Don’t do it unless you know what you’re doing. I take no responsibility etc etc etc)

Thanks to “Classic” on this german forum (and Google Translate) for this bit

http://www.winfuture-forum.de/index.php?showtopic=174635

Open regedit.exe, navigate to Hkey Local Machine -> Software and add a new key called Windows Calendar. In that key add the following string values:

http://www.winfuture-forum.de/index.php?s=c1afe7229fa2613d26a1b82c604c879a&act=attach&type=post&id=34809

Reboot

5.     Install PC Suite (compatibility mode may help, I tried it a few different ways but in the end I don’t think it matters)

6.     Tell PCSuite that its running on Vista

 Go back into the registry

Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Nokia.PCSync.Windows7PIM.ISynchAppU

Create an exact replica of this key (including its contents) but call it HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\Nokia.PCSync.VISTAPIM.ISynchAppU

(It’s likely that you could just rename Windows7PIM to VISTAPIM but I created the replica key)

That’s it. You should now be able to sync your Nokia phone calendar with Thunderbird/Lightning (or Windows Calendar if you prefer) within Windows 7.

11 years Nokia and you nearly lost me…shape up.

21 Comments

  1. justme
    Posted June 26, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Great,

    this missing registry “Nokia.PCSync.VISTAPIM.ISynchAppU” key also works fine for me.

    Thanks

  2. Frank
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Just a quick update….

    I’ve found that installing Ovi Suite after this process may cause it to stop working.

    Also, it seems the compatibility mode (Windows Vista) is important. Change it on the program itself rather than the installer though.

    You will know if it has worked because in the synchronisation settings, the drop down box will have Windows Vista (Calendar & Contacts) rather than just Windows Vista (Contacts)

    -Frank

  3. Thomas
    Posted July 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    Thanks for the tutorial. Would you know how to adapt it to OVI Suite, which has replaced PC Suite?
    Thanks

  4. Pieterjan
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Just a question. How you can do the compatibility mode?

    Greetings

  5. Attila
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    This tricky solution worked fine for me for a week, when i added a new event into my cellphone, and after that i sync-ed Cellphone calendar with my.ics (Windows Calendar file) From this time, thunderbird Lightning can not see my.ics. It tells me “calendar currently not available”. It seems like PC Suite Sync rename the original ics file, and recreate a new file with the same name, but different contents.
    Any idea how can i use my calendar (my.ics) again?
    Thanks,
    Attila

  6. Attila
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    It’s me again….
    It seems, PC Suite makes non-UTF8 coded file after syncing, and Lightning can not able to read it. :(
    (I shoul’d know this will happen if i use local language characters, it allways happens)

  7. Selim
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    @Thomas:

    This method also works with ovi Suite.
    you don’t need to change the Nokia registry but you have to run it in Vista compatibility mode.

    Thanks Philip this is great! Finally I can sync my phone’s calendar.

  8. nyo
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    I’m getting an error when I try to use the address of the ics file in Lightning. I can’t edit the existing calendar, and when I try to create a new one, I cannot paste anything or type anything into the calendar location field unless I choose a network location. That throws up an error and I can’t go any further.

    Any suggestions?

  9. Frank
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    @nyo

    I presume you have “read only” unchecked in this dialog box??

    Could be the formatting either…mine is as follows:

    file:///C:/Users/Frank/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows%20Calendar/Calendars/Frank%27s%20Calendar.ics

  10. nyo
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    @Frank

    Thanks – yes, ‘read only’ is unchecked. I’ve got a partial success. I was using the wrong formatting, so that’s fixed now. I’ve got the sync working, in a limited way, through PC Suite. However I’m having trouble with OVI Suite, which is the one I really want. OVI Suite tells me to check my WC profile and try again.

    I saw that you mentioned installing OVI Suite again can break something, but all the changes from the previous steps are still in place. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

  11. Frank
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m afraid my experiences of Ovi Suite have been worse than any other software I’ve ever had the misfortune to try.

    Both the Beta, and the first full release rendered my machine useless, so I haven’t tried using it since.

    Although Selim above seems to have gotten it working just by using compatibility mode when running Ovi Suite.

    Sorry I can’t be of any further help.

  12. sistu
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    This was the missing hint – tried with PC Suite and working! THX a lot!

  13. Ben
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    hi!

    it seems to be a vicious circle… ;-(
    - pc suite and lightning for calendar
    - ovi suite and thunderbird for contacts

    has someone found a solution to sync both?

    ben

  14. Graeme
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    I’m in the same position after i dropped and broke my Android phone. Thought I would try a Nokia C3-01 and have run into same problems. You could try using Funambol which is excellent and available in Ovi store. Altho Funambol say it’s compatible, it doesn’t work with the C3-01 though – I think because it needs Symbian S60?

    You are right tho – why can’t Nokia get their act together!

  15. Thorsten
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing, after some testing it works like a charme. Re-installaing PCSuite was not neccessary, Vista compatibilty mode was.

  16. Posted October 10, 2011 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Dear All,

    Can you please Guide again that what should be written in step 4 in regedit at Softwares\Windows Calender as the Screenshot at http://www.winfuture-forum.de/index.php?showtopic=174635 is not very much clear….

  17. Frank
    Posted October 12, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Hi All,

    Yes, for some reason the resolution on that screenshot has reduced:

    These are the required registry entries:

    In HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE you add a key called Windows Calendar

    and within that key you need to add the following 2 string values:
    “Application Name” (no quotes)
    “Path to Application” (no quotes)

    The data for each of these is then:
    Application Name -> Windows Calendar
    Path to Appplication -> C:\Program Files\Windows Calendar\wincal.exe

    Hope this helps,
    -Frank

    P.S. I have since moved to Android and now I use Funambol as a cloud based go-between for Thunderbird and Android. It works but its a much less tidy/graceful solution…mainly because Android doesn’t handle tasks natively. Instead I use Astrid as a task app.

    I can see myself going back to Nokia when their Windows 7 phones emerge.

  18. Peter
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I’m not getting it to work. I did everything step by step as described and also changed the 4 registry entries after it didn’t work before either.

    I wanna use it with the Vista Calendar but the Nokia Suite (7.1.180.46) tells me when I try to sync: “The synchronizer is unable to load the interface (Nokia.PCSync.VISTAPIM.ISynchAppU) required to support synchronisation with Windows Vista (Calendar and Contacts). Please reinstall Nokia PC Suite.”

    Any idea what else I could try (obvioiusly reinstalled it several times with and without reboots).

    Thanks,
    Peter

  19. Peter
    Posted January 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Update. Kind of success after changing another of those entries in the registry…the calendar now receives entries from my phone but doesn’t send it back if I change something there (settings are correct). Hmm.

  20. LVGCN
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Bought my first Nokia because I can’t get a reliable qwerty keyboard on any other platform not running android (data miners) and not having to sync with the cloud (I value my privacy). Disappointed nokia suite doesn’t sync calendar.

    I’d like to jump on the Mobile Master (mobile-master.com) bandwagon. I’ve just paid ~£20 for it, you’d think Nokia would prefer to get that cash!

  21. Posted February 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Alternatively you can sync your phone’s calendar with Google calendar using Mail for Exchange (http://support.google.com/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=147951) and then sync lightning with google using the Provider for Google Calendar addon (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/provider-for-google-calendar/)

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