My company recently moved to Windows 7 / Office 2010 from Windows XP / Office 2003.

Previously, we were able to create a task with a category, e.g. v12.3, assign it, and expect the category to stay put. Now, as soon as the assignee accepts the task, the category is dropped.

Here, it says:

By default, categories cannot be sent in e-mail messages. In earlier versions of Outlook, categories could arrive in incoming e-mail messages and automatically be applied on replies and forwards of the categorized messages.

We tried disabling the "Clear categories on mail" rule on both ends, even restarting Outlook, with no success:

Disabling "Clear categories on mail"

Even the built-in color categories are not preserved once assigned and accepted.

We're aware that we can create custom fields for tasks, but does anyone know a way to stop Outlook from clearing categories on tasks?

Thanks in advance!


I did try setting HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Preferences\SendPersonalCategories to 1, restarted Outlook, restarted my computer even, but to no avail. Out of desperation, I even tried putting the key in ...\outlook\options and ...\outlook\options\mail, one by one.

Furthermore, I tried, as suggested by yet another source, downloading outlk14.adm, loading it in gpedit.msc (under User Configuration\Administrative Templates), and enabling "Managing Categories during e-mail exchanges", again restarting my computer, and doing the same on the other end:

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Alas, nothing.

Curiously, I do see categories on my sent mail. For example, when I send an email to myself, I see the category on my sent copy, but not on my received copy. Is it possible that the Exchange Server itself is stripping categories? (Do I need to involve IT?)

  • "Do I need to involve IT?" - If you are not in control of the Exchange Server then yeah, I'd say you'll probably want to involve them. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jul 12 '12 at 0:55
  • @techie007 - I guess the problem is that I don't know if the cause is the endpoints, or the Exchange server. – Andrew Cheong Jul 12 '12 at 14:46
  • Read this topic, hope it helps. social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/outlook/thread/… – user173898 Nov 16 '12 at 14:15

From 2007+ Outlook (Color) Categories are Per User, and work differently than previous versions of Oultook.

Because of this, and possible personal information leaks in sending them, they are now stripped from all items sent from Outlook by default.

That's why disabling the 'clear on arrival' rule didn't do anything (I believe that rule primarily exists to strip categories from email coming in from older Outlook versions).

To change the Sending of Categories from default, back to the way they were sent in 2003, you have to edit the registry:

Outlook 2007:

Outlook 2010:

If it doesn't exist in the above key already, create the following registry value via Edit->New->DWORD Value:

Value Name: SendPersonalCategories
Value Type: REG_DWORD
Value Data: 1

Use data of 1 to keep categories on sent mail (like OL2003-), or 0 to not include categories (like OL2007+).

More info: Here and here

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you for your suggestions. I had tried this however and there was no change. Your explanation does illuminate some things, however. I will now update my question. – Andrew Cheong Jul 11 '12 at 20:53

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