I have been looking for a good personal information management (PIM) program with good online synchronisation support for a long time. Does anyone know of one that meets my needs?


The following are essential for an acceptable solution.

  • Windows 8 64-bit support
  • Calendars and task lists
    • Multiple calendars/task lists
    • Repeating events/tasks
  • Bidirectional online synchronisation with a free service or services
    • This can be one service provider (such as Google) or multiple (such as Google for calendar and something else for tasks).
  • Multiple accounts
  • Stability (crashes and glitches should be occasional or less frequent)
  • Reliable (no data loss)
  • Reminders

Optional Preferences

The following are desired, but optional. They may be subjective and are not required for an accepted solution. However, a solution that meets the requirements and has these is preferred.

  • Free or cheap
  • E-mail capabilities
  • Contact (people) capabilities
  • Reasonable licence agreement (not unrealistically strict)
  • Convenient to use (no frequent user frustration)
  • Intuitive (not difficult to use, no obvious or significant design flaws)
  • Responsive to open and use
  • Native Windows UI (not using Java Swing, for example)
  • No Windows 8-style UI
  • Active development (not abandoned, discontinued or orphaned)
  • Tasks can be split into subtasks
  • Instant-messaging capabilities
  • Single application (rather than multiple separate applications)

Excluded Software

I have already tried or investigated the following applications and found them to be lacking in some of the above areas:

Mozilla Thunderbird 17 + Lightning 1.9

  • No support for multiple calendar accounts from the same provider
  • No task synchronisation
  • Development limited to bug-fixes and other minor maintenance work

Mozilla Thunderbird 17 + Lightning 1.9 + Provider for Google Calendar 0.18

  • Calendar synchronisation glitches
  • Lost calendar appointments
  • No task synchronisation

Microsoft Outlook 2007 + Google Calendar Sync

  • Google Calendar Sync appears to be discontinued
  • No support for multiple accounts (from memory)
  • Google Calendar Sync is a separate program

Microsoft Outlook 2007 + Hotmail Connector

  • No task synchronisation support

Windows Live Mail

  • No task support

Windows 8 Calendar

  • No task support
  • Reminders only show once
  • Reminders only show momentarily (user might not even be looking at the screen)
  • Low-productivity Windows 8-style UI

eM Client 5

  • Frequent crashes and errors
  • Disappearing events and tasks (data loss)
  • Data corruption
  • Poor repeating tasks support (reminders not working, occurrences not being created, basically a hack)
  • Unrealistic licence agreement



  • No active development
  • Unreliable reminders
  • Poor performance
  • Poor UI


Zimbra Desktop

  • No repeating tasks
  • Non-native UI
  • Slow UI


  • Extremely poor UI performance
  • UI contrast issues


  • Requires the use of a server to synchronise with online services.
  • Appears to be intended for businesses and workgroups.
  • Why was this closed, specifically? Is it considered asking for a shopping or product recommendation?
    – Sam
    May 31, 2013 at 23:34
  • For anyone who's interested, I ended up settling with Outlook.com and Windows Live Mail. Windows Live Mail doesn't provide task support, but I personally felt that it was the best compromise for me. As an added bonus, Outlook.com supports ActiveSync, so I can sync the contacts, mail, tasks and calendars with my phone. Using the new Microsoft Outlook 2013 with Outlook.com should work fine for all of the requirements, but I felt that it was very expensive.
    – Sam
    Aug 18, 2013 at 7:18
  • Just an update to the above comment: it looks like Windows 8 Mail is gradually making Windows Live Mail obsolete. It's usable at this stage, but still prerelease quality.
    – Sam
    Nov 7, 2013 at 7:57

2 Answers 2


Have a look at EssentialPIM. I've stumbled over this some time ago when looking for something else. I haven't tried it but it seems to live up to your requirements. It's up to you to decide if USD 40 is too expensive.

  • Thanks; it does appear to meet all of the requirements. I intend to use the trial version for a while to see how reliable it is and determine if it has any flaws that could get in my way.
    – Sam
    Jan 8, 2013 at 22:47
  • I've found the following flaws with it already. -Can't control which calendars are subscribed to (within a single online service account). -Doesn't display all contacts' details from online service. -No "Agenda" view. -Doesn't seem to subscribe to 'push' IMAP functionality. -Unintelligent mail account set-up wizard. Of course, I'll still consider it. Hopefully there's something better out there.
    – Sam
    Jan 9, 2013 at 2:02

The Absolute BEST of all time was Ecco PRO. No sync though. I want a PIM that can sync with Google tasks....I am using GTO in a SG2. I need something better than the standard Google Windows front....

  • Have you run across a PIM that has synchronization support or meets some of the other needs identified in the question?
    – chuff
    Jan 18, 2013 at 2:07
  • 1
    @chuff, keep in mind that as a new user, Gino isn't allowed to post comments, so this is one of the only ways to contribute to the site. The answer doesn't address the criteria, but I see this as a symptom of a design flaw in the StackExchange network.
    – Sam
    Jan 18, 2013 at 7:18
  • Good point, @Sam. As a fairly new user to the site myself, I appreciate helpful suggestions.
    – chuff
    Jan 18, 2013 at 7:29
  • Gino, what are "GTO" and "SG2"? Also, you can mark this question as a "Favourite" to keep track of its answers.
    – Sam
    Jan 18, 2013 at 8:10

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