Troubleshooting Retriever for the Desktop

Because there are so many variables involved with syncing contact, calendar and task data between Redtail and Outlook, there are opportunities for sync errors to arise.  Here, we'll take a look at the types of errors we commonly or occasionally see and offer suggestions for resolving those errors.  The information will be presented in the following manner:

  1. Brief description of the cause or nature of the error (this will be the title)
  2. Sample error message (when applicable), with relevant portion of error highlighted to aid you in spotting these types of errors.  The excerpts from these error logs do not contain the messages in their entirety, but instead just a portion that contains the information you'd be looking for in order to troubleshoot.  Note: an Error Log is accessible by going to Retriever's File menu and selecting Preferences and then clicking "View Error Log" from any of the Preference tabs:



    Note: Because the Error Logs can be lengthy, the easiest method for searching for a specific bit of error message within the Log after opening it is to hit Ctrl-F on your keyboard and then type in the text you're looking for.  For instance, to search for the error that displays in the situation referenced later in this document with the title "Bad Install of Outlook," if you were to open up Retriever's Error Log, you could hit Ctrl-F on your keyboard and then search for "CLSID."  If you didn't get a result, then you can rule that out as the problem.

    If you cannot log into Retriever to access the Error Log, it is accessible on your machine under C:\Program Files\Redtail Technology\Retriever for the Desktop - the file is called ErrLog.
  3. More detailed information on the cause of the error and recommended troubleshooting steps.
Before diving into any of the specific error messages you may encounter, let's first take a look at some general recommendations that can resolve a lot of the potential issues you might possibly face.

UAC Issues

If you are a Vista or Windows 7 user, you will need to turn off your User Account Controls (UAC) in order to use Retriever.  Below are instructions for turning off UAC on both platforms:
To turn off UAC on Vista
Open up your Control Panel and type in “UAC” into the search box. You’ll see a link for “Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off”:
On the next screen you should uncheck the box for “Use User Account Control (UAC)”, and then click on the OK button:
You'll then need to restart your computer for your change to take effect.
To turn off UAC on Windows 7
Open up your Control Panel and type in “UAC” into the search box. You’ll see a link for “Change User Account Control Settings”:
On the next screen you can drag the Notification slider to "Never notify," and then click on the OK button:
You'll then need to restart your computer for your change to take effect.

Steps to Run as Admin

You'll also want to make sure you're running Retriever as an Admin user, if you are a Vista or Windows 7 user.  To do so:
  • Right Click on the Retriever for the Desktop desktop icon and select Properties
  • Select the Compatibility Tab
  • Check the Run as Administrator box
  • Click Apply then OK.


  • Click on the Windows Start button.
  • Click on Computer.
  • Double click on C: Drive.
  • Double click on Program files (x86). If this is not available just double click on Program Files
  • Double click on the Redtail Technology folder.
  • Double click on the Retriever for the Desktop folder.
  • Right click on the file that should be called RetrieverUnder the Type column, this program should say Application
  • Click on properties.
  • Click on the compatibility tab.
  •   Near the bottom under privilege level there should be a box in front of ‘run this program as administrator’.  Make sure this box is checked.
  • Click apply then ok.
  • Restart your computer.
Now let's take a look at some of those common causes for errors, the relevant bit of the error log and suggested solutions.

Sync didn't complete — Your internet connection or network failed at some point during sync process


Most of the time this is a temporary glitch and when you try to sync again you will be able to do so with no problems.  It's not likely to happen again or to happen often, unless you have some larger connectivity or network issues.

Sync didn't complete — Windows was shut down in the middle of a sync


This occurs when Retriever or Outlook is forcibly closed during a sync.  In most cases you should be aware when you've purposefully closed Outlook or Retriever, but, if you do see this string in an Error Log, that is the cause of the error.  You should never experience this error outside of one of those two events.

Retriever closes when you click Sync - Firewall or Security Suite is blocking access to the internet


This is most likely caused by your firewall or security suite blocking Retriever from accessing Outlook.  Some security suites have a feature that prevents unknown applications from accessing Outlook.  Generally you should be able to poke around in your security suite or firewall application and determine where to grant specific applications access or where to uncheck the box that indicates unknown programs cannot access Outlook.  If you don't have access to make these types of changes, you will need to consult with your IT professional.  We can assist with troubleshooting what we have access to via a remote session, but in many cases any changes or determinations of what is allowed will have to be made by your in-house tech team.

Sync won't run - You have a non-Calendar item located on your Outlook Calendar


The above message will appear somewhere in the error message and it almost always indicates that a non-Calendar item is on your Outlook Calendar.  You can change your Outlook Calendar view to Category (List in 2010) and sort to look for an item that is not a calendar item. The general culprit is an email that was accidentally dropped in the calendar at some point.  After you've located the non-Calendar item here, you can delete it or move it off of the Calendar and it should resolve your sync issue.  Until the item has been handled, it will cause the sync to fail.

Sync won't run - Bad Install of Outlook


First, note that inside the brackets following "CLSID," there will most likely be a long range of numbers (represented by ... in the example above).  There are two possible causes.

1.  Outlook is not installed properly.  A component of Outlook that is needed for Retriever to sync to Outlook is not being found by Retriever.  This could be because the component was never installed (this happens sometimes when one purchases just Outlook, rather than Microsoft Office, and downloads it online rather than installing from a disc).  This means it will be necessary to find the component and download it, which usually means reinstalling Outlook.  If you did not save your documentation of the original purchase, this can mean you would need to repurchase Outlook in order to correct the situation.  Unfortunately, there is no fix for this on our end.  In these circumstances, Retriever searches your registry for this component, and unfortunately it's just not there.  You can take the string of numbers in the brackets following the CLSID message and paste it into a Google search — this should return results that will tell you what component is not being found.  In some situations you'll then be able to download the component that is not found, but in other cases you will not be able to download the component.

One thing you can try prior to reinstalling Outlook is creating a new profile in Outlook - if the sync works with the newly created profile, this means the missing component in the other profile is present but is being blocked in some way.  This could be because of a corrupt data file in Outlook.  In that case you would most likely be resolving a lot of other Outlook problems by creating a new profile.

2.  It could be related to the Specified Cast error mentioned earlier in this document - it's common when you receive a Specified Cast error that you also receive this CLSID error.  In some cases resolving the Specified Cast error will resolve both of these issues, so if you note a CLSID error you should first see if you also see a reference to Specified Cast in the same error log.

Sync fails or does not complete - Something required is missing


Check for Calendar items that are missing a title (Subject).  You can change your Outlook Calendar view to Category (List in 2010) and sort using Subject to group those together that have no title (Subject).  Delete the items that are missing titles (or give them titles).  Special characters (percent signs, dollar signs, etc) in the titles can also sometimes produce this error, so you can look for calendar items that contain special characters in their titles and remove those characters to see if that resolves the issue.  This can also be caused by Calendar items that are missing a Start or End Date.

Sync won't run - Outlook on a Terminal Server

If your Outlook is located on a Terminal Server, Retriever will not sync fully or will time out during the sync process.  You will need to be working with a locally stored version of both Retriever and Outlook in order to sync successfully.

Contacts not syncing (or certain contacts not syncing)


This is one of the most common errors we see, in regards to syncing contact data from Redtail to Outlook.  The cause is that no Quicklist has been selected to sync to Outlook (or that the contacts you are looking for are not a part of the Quicklist you are using to sync).  To resolve, select a Quicklist for syncing.  There is an entire section on Quicklists towards the end of this post that explains how to select a Quicklist for syncing.

Outlook created activity not syncing to Redtail - an activity has been created in Outlook as reoccurring or with an incorrect date (like a date in the past):


Note the highlighted portion of this sync error message.  It might possibly begin with "syncCalendar" rather than "syncTasks."  That will let you know whether it is an Outlook Calendar or Outlook Task item that is causing the problem.

The most common cause of this error is an Outlook-created Task that does not have a due date.  What happens is that when Retriever for the Desktop attempts to sync the item(s) with this issue, it cannot determine where to place them within Redtail, and will sometimes produce this error.  To try to isolate the offending Task item, you can go to your Tasks in Outlook and then, under the View —> Arrange By menu, select Date.  Those Tasks with no Due Date should appear at the top of the list (or possibly at the bottom of the list).  You can then edit them to resolve the issue.

Another possible cause for this error is an Outlook-created Calendar item that has no name (Subject) – it might have a Start and End Time, a Location and notes, but sometimes if the Subject is empty, an error can arise when syncing.  To try to isolate the offending Calendar item, you can go to your Calendar in Outlook and then, under the View —> Arrange By menu, select Subject.  Those Calendar items with no Subject should appear at the top of the list (or possibly at the bottom of the list).  You can then edit them to resolve the issue.

Can download Retriever but cannot get it to open after download

This may mean nothing happens when you double-click the Retriever icon on your desktop or it may mean that you briefly see what looks like an attempt on the part of Retriever to open.  Before running through the troubleshooting steps, first make sure that Retriever has not opened up minimized in your system tray at the bottom right of your screen — if you set your Preferences for Retriever to open minimized in system tray, you may find it there after clicking to open.

If that's not the case and you receive an error message when trying to open, that may indicate that you need to log out and log back in with a valid username/password combo.  Your username and password for Retriever is always the same as your most up-to-date username/password combo for Redtail CRM itself.  

If there is no error message and it just keeps opening and closing or exhibiting other strange behaviors, this could indicate an invalid server connection or certificate.  To resolve you may need to install windows updates on your machine.  Specifically, you may need to download Microsoft Root Certificates (the most up-to-date version).  You can just Google "Microsoft Root Certificate" and go the the result from Microsoft's downloads site to download the most current version.  You cannot hurt your machine by downloading this update.  These updates are generally applied with other Windows updates at the time that Root Certificate updates are made (every four months or so), but it is common for these to fail during the update and so sometimes a manual download is required.

Another thing you might look at if Retriever crashes with no error message:  if you have, or previously have used, Norton Antivirus software, Norton does sometimes leave something in your machine's registry that might block Retriever from accessing Outlook on your machine.  You will need to have your IT person go to your computer's registry and remove the value SCRBLOCK.DLL.  Redtail representatives will not make edits to your registry but your IT person should be able to access and edit your registry to remove this value.  NOTE: it is very dangerous to change anything in your registry if you don't absolutely know what you are doing, so please do not attempt this yourself if it's not something you know how to do.

If none of these resolve the issue, it indicates that there is something on your machine preventing Retriever from accessing Outlook.  If Retriever was previously working for you and this is a new issue, your best bet might be to look at recently installed applications on your machine, as something added to your machine during their installation could be the culprit.

Non-admin user of computer trying to download Retriever

If you are part-time staff or there are other users of your computer, you may not have admin rights on your machine.  If you are trying to download Retriever and you don't have administrative rights for your computer, you may have to enlist the aid of the administrator for your computer.  They will need to login to your machine under their profile and then download and install Retriever for everyone.  During the installation process, on the "Select Installation Folder," they will need to select "Everyone," as in the example below:



This will make Retriever for the Desktop accessible to all profiles (users) of your machine, once the administrator has completed the installation.

Contact record updates made in Outlook or Redtail are being overwritten by older data

It's possible you'll experience this situation if you also sync your smartphone with Outlook, as with most smartphones you do not receive an option to choose between Outlook and the mobile device as the controlling device for the sync.  Older contact information from your mobile device can overwrite what's in Outlook, then, upon the next sync with Redtail, that information will be perceived as newer by Retriever and thus overwrite what is in Redtail.  Retriever and Outlook can sync back and forth without experiencing this issue as they are both set up with a stored history of changes for each field involved in the sync process, with the newer data in any of those fields in either application always taking precedent.  When you include a smartphone in the equation, these types of issues can arise.

Duplication of activities in Outlook

There are a few primary causes for duplications in Outlook after a sync:

1.  Instances of the activity were already on your Outlook Calendar via an iCal sync or manual entry.  If an item is already in Outlook, Retriever doesn't recognize it as being the same - so, particularly on your first sync, the possibility for duplication of activities is possible.  The only real solutions in this case are to clean up your data prior to syncing (remove activities from Outlook that you know are in Redtail as well) or create a new Calendar in Outlook for purposes of your sync from Redtail.  

If you decide you want to go with the first approach (after you've already run a sync), you can go to Retriever's File menu, hover over Admin options and then click Clear Calendar (you may want or need to do this with Tasks as well).  This will remove any Calendar and/or Task items from Outlook that are there as a result of a sync from Redtail.  You'll then be left with only those items that were placed in Outlook via another route.  At that point you can remove the items that you know will be syncing over from Outlook.

The second approach is a cleaner and quicker approach - instructions for selecting what Calendar to use in Outlook to sync to, including the option to create a new Calendar folder in Outlook, can be found at this link at the end of the Calendar Tab section (Advanced).

2.  The second possible cause of duplications is that you utilize an Exchange Server and you are not running in Cache mode.  Retriever syncs items to a local version of Outlook.  So, you have to have a local copy stored of all of your data.  All of your data is stored on your Exchange Server if you are not running Exchange in Cache mode.  Every time Retriever syncs to Outlook, it checks Outlook for item ID numbers and, if running an Exchange Server not in cache mode, Retriever won't find any item ID numbers.  Duplications will mount up each time you sync under this scenario.

To resolve you can go to Outlook's Tools and then Account Settings (or File and then Account Settings in Outlook 2010).  Double-click on the account in question (should read "Exchange" in the Type column).  The first screen you'll see will display a server name — right below that is a box that says "Cache mode" — check this box off.  If the box is greyed out so that you can't check it off, you would need to contact your Exchange administrator to enable this option for you.  If your administrator has any questions about why you need to run Outlook in Cache mode, you can explain to them that your sync utility for syncing contact, calendar and task items between Redtail and Outlook only looks at local versions of Outlook, and that unless you run in Cache mode duplications will continue.  If they have any questions, of course, they can always speak with one of our support representatives.

Contact Duplication Issues

One possible cause you might look at can arise due to what we call phantom records.  To check if this is the cause, you can go to one of the contact records within your CRM that is showing up more than once in Outlook.  Look at the record's Contact Card and see if you have any duplicate Types for Phone, Physical Address or Internet Address.  As an example, if a record has two physical addresses listed with a Type of "Home," this could produce duplicate records for the contact in Outlook.  You can edit one of the addresses to give it another type and this should prevent it from duplicating in Outlook in the future.

Smartphone Duplication Issues

We are aware of some duplication issues that can arise when including a smartphone in the sync process.  Of particular note are some duplication issues when including an iPhone in the sync process.  Retriever uses an ID field to label both contacts and calendar items and, unfortunately, iPhones sometimes remove this ID field, which, when the item is synced back to Outlook, will cause Retriever and Outlook to see the item as a new one, creating duplicates.  We're currently exploring fixes for this issue, but don't have a resolution or ETA for resolution at this time.

Duplications across multiple devices / Exchange Server or MAPI user

If you access your data across multiple computers or devices and use an Exchange Server or the MAPI Connector, you'll want to pick only one of those computers for use with Retriever and let the Exchange or MAPI connection handle sending your data across the devices.  If you're using Retriever on multiple devices in an Exchange environment, you will almost certainly run into duplication issues.

Activity you've assigned to someone else remains on your Outlook Calendar after sync

 If you have an activity for yourself that was synced over from Outlook, and it is then assigned to another database user within Redtail, that item will not currently be removed from your Outlook Calendar upon subsequent syncs from Redtail.  You would need to manually delete the item from Outlook to remove it from your Outlook Calendar.  The same general scenario applies to Activities in Redtail that are changed from an Activity Type of Task to any of your other Activity Types.  This is something we will be addressing in the next update to Retriever.  

Retriever causes Outlook to freeze / prevents Send/Receive of emails

The most likely culprit in this situation is that you have a large database with lots of contacts and lots of calendar items and you have your sync frequency set to intervals following closely upon one another.  Outlook is devoted largely to the sync process while it is occurring and typically will not allow you to send or receive email during the actual sync.  If you're looking at syncing thousands of contacts and thousands of calendar items and you're doing so every ten minutes, you're likely to run into this issue.  Additionally, trying to force a Send/Receive while syncing can produce errors.  Our best advice here is not to sync any more frequently that you reasonably need to — if your database is large, the sync process can take some time and you are making a trade-off between email and syncing while the process is in action.

Retriever Preferences Issues

We pointed out how to access Retriever's preferences at the very beginning of this post and you can get a detailed walkthrough of setting these up in this post.  Here, we'll take a quick look at a couple of items you'll want to be aware of in regard to your preference settings.  Let's take a look at Retriever's General tab Preferences:


Note the first highlighted item above about auto-syncing.  We detailed above why setting your auto-sync frequency too close together can cause problems, in the section above dealing with Retriever causing Outlook to freeze up.  Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, our general recommendation is that you don't sync more than every hour or so.

The other option we want to look at here is the second option highlighted above.  "Notify about upcoming activities" is a reminder program from Retriever itself, that will provide popup reminders of upcoming activities as long as you leave Retriever running throughout the day.  You could use these reminder in lieu of utilizing those built into Outlook.  One thing you do want to be aware of, however — if you sync Outlook with a mobile device through an Exchange Server or through our Zimbra Connector, and only use Retriever reminders, you will not receive reminder notifications on your smartphone.  In short, if you want reminders on your phone, you will want to leave this option unchecked.  Additionally, you'll want to deselect "Remove Reminder Alerts" on both the Calendar and Tasks tabs in your Retriever Preferences:


Syncing Tasks to Smartphone

If you are a long time Retriever user and would like to sync your Tasks to your smartphone, we recommend that you go under Retriever's File —> Admin menu and select Clear Tasks.  Note: this will only remove Tasks from Outlook that are there as a result of a sync from Redtail via Retriever.  The reason you would need to do this, particularly if you are an iPhone user, is that Tasks used to not sync at all.  iPhone now has this capability through Exchange Server or our Zimbra MAPI Connector.  Outlook reminders would need to be enabled and you would also need to select "Remove Reminder Alerts" on the Tasks tab in Retriever Preferences.  After clearing previously synced Tasks from Outlook, making sure Outlook reminders are enabled and electing the "Remove Reminder Alerts" option for Tasks in Retriever Preferences, a fresh sync of Tasks to Outlook should then allow you to sync your Tasks to your Smartphone via Exchange Server or the Zimbra Connector.

Retriever is only syncing my Calendar/Task items 

Retriever syncs calendar and task data based upon the username/password combination used to log into it.  In other words, if your Redtail username is johndoe10, when you log into Retriever using that username, the only calendar or task items that will sync to Outlook are those associated with the Redtail username johndoe10.  If you wanted to sync other database users' Calendar or Task items to your Outlook, you would need to log into Retriever using their Redtail username/password combination.

Constant message that you're running an old version of Retriever


If for some reason your version of Retriever does not automatically update when we release a new version, you may encounter this error.  The solution is to uninstall the version you have on your machine and download the new version, which will always be available via the download link at the top of this post.

Error when trying to uninstall Retriever

Sometimes when trying to uninstall Retriever, you might receive a message that the installation file cannot be found.  The error message will typically diplay a file path, ending in .msi.  In those instances, you will not be able to uninstall the Retriever until you put a new installation file on the computer.

To do so, pretend like you are going to download Retriever, i.e. click the Download link from Helpdesk.  Instead of running it, however, select Save option.  Save it to the desktop, but rename the download file so that it is the exact same name as what was being looked for in the error message being received.  Then, after saving you can go back to the error message and should be able to successfully uninstall Retriever.

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