When an iOS8 came out this fall, I was anticipating an update to the iCloud Control Panel as well. Sure enough, 4.0 was released out of beta and available for the general public to download and install. Anxiously awaiting to have everything in my Apple world updated, installed, and working seamlessly, I was frustrated to find that iCloud Control Panel 4.0 and Microsoft Outlook 2013 were not playing nice together.

icloud4.0Sure, I still have a Windows PC, running Windows 7 (don’t get me started on Windows 8; Windows Me was better IMO), and I use Microsoft Office, 64-bit. But before running this iCloud Control Panel upgrade, my iPhone, iPad, and Outlook synced flawlessly.  It wasn’t until after I installed this upgrade, that I couldn’t get Outlook to even register as being installed on my machine, according to iCP4. It kept saying I needed to install Outlook 2007 or greater in order for it to work. Obviously something wasn’t right.

I spent what felt like hours searching forums and message boards only to find several others with the same frustrations I had. Nobody really had a fix, at least one that worked for me. Some bloggers, instead of trying to troubleshoot the problem, would simply trash Outlook and encourage their readers to use the “awesome,” open-source email software, eMClient. So, that’s what I resorted to for a period of time.

I will say, eMClient is okay. It’s not all that it’s cracked up to be in my opinion, but it will work if that’s all you have to chose from. I liked Outlook’s UI and functionality better. Perhaps it’s just what you’re used to. Also, I didn’t want to pay $50 for email software when I’ve already paid for Office. eMClient is free for one email account, but if you’re like me and have multiple email accounts in which you manage, you will have to purchase the software after its free 30-day trial runs out.

After I exhausted every resource I could find in my search for iCP4 and Outlook 13 to work harmoniously together, I decided to resort to the last option: Restore my PC to its original factory settings and re-install all of my software and files. Sure, it’s a hassle, but it was the only sure chance that I felt would work. Something in my PC’s registry wasn’t right and was causing this software to conflict and result in an error.  Uninstalls and re-installs of Outlook and iCP4, and even repairs of this software didn’t work. Sigh.

If you’re not already backing up your computer files, you should be. I’m not just talking about an external hard drive. You need an offsite, secure, seamless backup like Carbonite to really do the job. It’s affordable and gives you peace of mind. However, in this case, time was of the essence, so I backed my files up to an external hard drive and began the factory restore process. Once everything was re-installed and Windows ran for the first time, I installed Microsoft Office 2013. Once that was completed, I installed a fresh version of iCloud Control Panel 4.0. Voila! Everything was back to normal!

It was a relief to see that the factory reset worked. Everything was connected and syncing like before. I did notice that after several Windows updates were installed that the Mail, Contacts, Calendars and Tasks option was unchecked again in iCP4, and appeared not to be working. In fact, I saw the same error I did before, prior to restoring my PC. This gave me a small freak-out moment, but a simple “repair” option in Add/Remove Programs of Office 2013 and iCP4 fixed this issue. It only happened this once, and it’s been working flawlessly since. Although the factory restore process is timely, it seemed to be the only way to resolve this conflict.

I’ve noticed that it’s good to do a factory restore and reset your computer–as if you just pulled it out of the box–once every 2 years or so. Over the years, and after several installs/uninstalls, sometimes the registry gets “clogged up” and the only way to clean it up properly is by starting over. I also noticed that my massive iTunes library loaded much quicker after this reset, and that the iTunes Store remembers my login details like it used to do, but hadn’t, in quite some time. So an added benefit for me.

Hopefully those who are still searching for a fix to this issue will come across this article, and will be able to do what’s necessary to get your software playing nice once again.