If you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, then be aware that major changes in Windows Desktop Outlook are arriving in an update rolling out soon to your Windows computer.
And if you are an MYN System user with tasks stored in Outlook, you should hold off accepting that update. That’s because there have been some significant issues reported to us from a few of our MYN users.
What Are the Issues?
The primary issue is that the advanced preview mode of the update does not include access to the Tasks module (the Tasks module is what MYN Outlook users must use to use the MYN System). So that omission cuts off your ability to use MYN—MYN users in Outlook will be dead in the water.
Now, normally, simply accepting the default Outlook update will not take you to that preview mode, and there should be no issue with installing it—Tasks and MYN should work fine.
It’s only a problem if, after the software update, you then purposely enter the advanced preview mode. That’s primarily when the issues arise. But there is one more related issue that might arise even if you don’t purposely enter the advanced preview mode.
Advanced Preview Mode
First, what do I mean by the advanced preview mode? Well, after you upgrade, you will immediately see the “New Outlook” switch in the upper-right corner (see image below). If you toggle that on, you will reach a new version of Outlook. That’s the advanced preview mode, and since it has no Tasks module it’s that mode that generates MYN problems.
So, you might think, “Hey, if don’t activate that toggle, or if I only take a peek and switch back immediately, I will be fine, right?”
Unfortunately, some people still run into issues.
Two Main Issues
The main issue is that some users, when they activate the preview mode (again, by toggling the “New Outlook” switch in the upper-right corner), lose the ability to switch back to the non-preview mode. So, they lose access to Tasks and cannot get them back.
In fact, we witnessed that right in our office; after we updated, we entered the preview mode to peek at the New Outlook. But we then found we could not switch back, and we seemingly, permanently, lost access to Tasks. Luckily, after a half day, we were able to reverse it. But we have no idea what we did to get it back and why it happened in the first place. Others are saying it never came back for them.
The other issue reported to us is this: One user said that when they finished the standard update, even though they did not toggle that switch, the upgrade process took them directly to the preview mode anyway—they had no choice about it—and then they got stuck there, like above. So, they lost access to Tasks. We have no idea why that happened.
Be Cautious: Don’t Update Yet
Most users will have neither of these issues, but the issues do seem to happen for some. So, just to be cautious, if you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber who uses MYN, try to hold off updating your copy of Windows Outlook.
And if it’s too late—if you’ve already updated—then you should hold off viewing the New Outlook preview. In other words, don’t toggle the “New Outlook” switch in the upper-right corner.
What’s in the Preview Mode?
You might be wondering what’s in that preview mode you reach when you toggle the “New Outlook” switch—what are you seeing?
Well, it’s a preview of the next version of Windows Desktop Outlook, and it’s significantly different. It looks like what’s in the image above.
It’s the culmination of a long effort by Microsoft to merge the code and appearance of the Outlook Online version with the Windows Desktop Outlook version. And by the way, the online version is what “won” in that journey; the desktop version’s features have now been mostly replaced with the online version’s features—not the other way around.
Lots of Features Missing in Preview Mode
The problem with that preview mode is that a lot of features are now missing. What things are missing?
We already mentioned the lack of the Tasks module—it’s gone in the preview mode. Only the To Do module is present, and the To Do app does not support MYN (it does support 1MTD though).
We don’t know whether the Tasks module omission is just the result of a rollout delay or if Microsoft is fully sunsetting the Tasks module. So, perhaps Microsoft is simply awaiting completion of the final version and it will come back soon. Or maybe not. We’ll keep an eye on that and let you know what we hear and see.
But a lot of other features are missing, too. A few missing features are simply the result of the preview still being under development. For example, there is no Offline mode available, so you must remain connected to the internet to use the software, which is a problem if you are working on an airplane, for example. But Microsoft says that capability is coming.
Another feature missing is your ability to connect to PST files. Again, Microsoft says that it is coming too.
Some Features Permanently Gone
But many features missing in this preview mode are missing because Microsoft has permanently removed them—they will not be present even after the new final version rolls out.
For example, the To Do Bar has been replaced with a My Day view, and that My Day view is much different from the To Do Bar.
Also, support for 3rd party email accounts like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. is reportedly less robust than it is in the current desktop version of Outlook (we have no details on what’s missing).
Next, COM Add-ins will no longer work in the new Outlook. So, some of your add-in packages will not be available.
Elsewhere on the internet, it’s been reported that integration with OneNote is no longer working. Other complaints abound.
The reason for all these permanent omissions is that the new version isn’t simply the result of a cosmetic change to match the appearance of the online version. Rather, the new version has adopted the same online code architecture. And apparently, many features just cannot be supported by that online architecture.
Is the Missing Tasks Module just a Delay or Permanent?
Again, we do not know yet whether the Tasks module (that MYN requires) is just delayed, or if it will be fully removed in the final Windows Outlook version update.
I am suspecting it is permanently gone. Why? The fact that the To Do Bar is gone is one reason. The two go hand in hand. But my main reason is this: The Tasks module was permanently removed from Outlook Mac about two years ago–it never came back. So, both those make us think Microsoft is probably sunsetting that older Tasks module and leaving only To Do.
Sadly, I admit that in some ways it makes sense for Microsoft to sunset the old Tasks module. That’s because Microsoft’s strategy is to make all their products compatible with Teams and the corresponding online app ecosystem. And because the Tasks module is not online, it would not surprise me to see Tasks fully sunsetted from Window Desktop Outlook, too, just like it was from the Mac a year or two ago.
Affects All Versions?
I want to emphasize, again, that this set of changes currently only affects Microsoft 365 subscribers—such subscribers always see the newest versions first, and they always see them relatively early. These are the users who need to be careful with updates.
In contrast, if you have a shrink-wrap version of Outlook, or if your company has on-premises Exchange and so controls its own Outlook updates, it may be years before you are upgraded, if ever. You might want to discuss this with your IT department and identify their new-Outlook rollout schedules.
What Is My Strategy? What Should You Do?
Because I developed MYN, you might wonder what my strategy will be if Tasks is fully sunsetted and if To Do remains the only tasks module Microsoft supports forward. And you might wonder what I recommend you do.
Well, first, note that my related but simpler tasks system called 1MTD does in fact work well with Microsoft To Do. So 1MTD users are fully supported going forward. Note, I have a video course about using 1MTD with Microsoft To Do at this link.
But as to my more advanced MYN system, my strategy is this. First, I am going to wait and fully confirm whether Tasks is, in fact, being sunsetted. Maybe it will show up in a month or two when they take this latest version out of preview mode and make it your only choice. For example, maybe they are developing an online version of it, which would enable keeping it.
If so, then it’s business as usual. We’ll, of course, confirm that our usual set-up steps for MYN still work in the new version. And we’ll provide instructions for any changes users need to make to get it set up.
But if I confirm in a few months that the Tasks module is truly gone, then next, I will take another look at Microsoft To Do and see if there is a way to better pigeonhole MYN into To Do. Perhaps there are some ways to make MYN fully work in To Do. I don’t see how to do that now, but maybe new features will be released in To Do that enable it.
That said, in my 1MTD video course on To Do, note that I currently show some ways to get very close to MYN using To Do—those methods might be good enough for you now. If you have not studied that course, you might want to do so now and confirm that. Don’t forget, all my video courses have a free 30-day trial and you get access to the full video course during that trial.
Moving to Other Task Apps Now?
But I have a confession to make. I, personally, moved my own MYN tasks off Windows Desktop Outlook well over a year ago. I moved them first to Todoist, and then to Things.
Why did I do that? Well, I don’t work in a big company with a fixed infrastructure, so I am not wed to Windows Outlook tasks—I can use other software and hardware. And I started using the Mac more. And finally, I wanted to experiment with other software to develop solutions for other MYN users who can’t or won’t use Windows Outlook for tasks. Thus I released the Todoist and Things video courses, showing how to use these great to-do list products with MYN.
The other reason I moved away from Outlook’s older Tasks module was this: Microsoft never released smartphone apps for the Tasks module. But I wanted to use MYN both on my desktop and on my phone. So, I needed to use software whose MYN solutions worked equally well on both on my desktop and on my phone, without kludgy (or poorly supported) third-party solutions.
Todoist and Things both have great MYN-compatible smartphone apps. And note this: both can be used for MYN tasks while still using Outlook for email, calendar, and contacts—they interact well. That’s what I do.
A Pitch for Moving On, Now
With all that in mind, I want to make this pitch to you: If you are still using MYN on Windows Outlook and are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, you might want to consider moving your tasks onto other products, today. In other words, you might want to get ahead of this coming big change. Don’t wait till you have no choice in a few months.
Of course, if you are not a Microsoft 365 subscriber, it might not matter; you can probably stick with your current version of Windows Desktop Outlook for many years, and so keep using the old Tasks module.
But again, if you are a Microsoft 365 subscriber, I’d say there is a good chance that, within six months or less, you will no longer have an option to host your MYN tasks on the Windows Desktop Outlook Tasks module—you will likely be forced onto a non-MYN-compliant Outlook release.
So, take a look at my Todoist and Things video courses that I recently released. Or study other app solutions like Task Angel. For a full list of to-do list software compatible with 1MTD and MYN, see this article. And see my full list of video courses at this link.
And finally, if you don’t need the full power of MYN, but can get by with my simpler 1MTD system, again, 1MTD does work with the new Outlook and To Do. See this link to learn how. The training at that link can get you pretty close to the full MYN system, right on Microsoft To Do. No migration to other apps is needed, and you can take full advantage of Microsoft’s emerging ecosystem direction.
Articles About the New Outlook
Here are two articles about the new Outlook that is shown in the preview mode of the new Windows Desktop Outlook—the one that Microsoft 365 subscribers are getting now.