Outlook 2016 defaults to an end date on recurring appointments now - need "no end date" fix

Brass Contributor

I have just found out - the hard way - that the update from 25th June has changed the way recurring appointments work in Outlook 2016.


They all used to default to "No end date" which suited me just fine.  I use Outlook standalone (I'm self-employed) and I use it for 2 things, mostly:


Reminders for periodical things like ordering prescriptions every 2 months

Client appointments - weekly and indefinitely (I'm a psychotherapist).


So today I realised that it had been limiting the duration of recurrences and I hadn't noticed.  Clients might come for years (certainly over 1 year quite often) and it could have caused me serious scheduling issues in a few months time when I appeared to be "free" when I was "booked".  This has caused me hours of work going back through every appointment since June and fixing them, by hand.


Way more serious was the limitation of the appointment I added for "Every 8 weeks" (and how I noticed it at all).  This would have expired shortly and I wouldn't have noticed, leaving me in a potentially *life threatening* situation because I would not have ordered medication when I needed to.


If MS wants to change these to default to an end date then fine BUT some of us liked / needed it the other way around.  I appreciate I can just push the button on each appointment as I create it but I'm a human and will eventually muck this up to possibly huge detriment.


How can I revert this behaviour so all recurring appointments default to "no end date" once again, be it daily, weekly or monthly?  Registry hack, group policy change, whatever.  I can't find any option anywhere to change it, or even to change the default date range it gives (I could just change it to 100 years if so, and get the same result).


I really hope there's a fix for this.  I've been an Outlook evangelist since it was first released, and this is the first time I've ever wondered if I need to use a different diary system.  Ever.

16 Replies

You should never have it set to "no end date". People wonder why outlook is slow at times, or when they click Calendar, it takes a while to load, well, has anyone ever thought it has to load 20 years of an appointment? This puts a big strain on the server and I am guessing this is why the default behavior has changed. Because people don't understand that if it says no end date, then it will keep going and going and going and going, and its putting a load on a server and in a shared environment, its not a good thing.

This is a dumb excuse. There are ways to make appointments dynamic, so it only shows you a 5+ year entry if you go that far into calendar. I don't believe it is even programmed the way you describe in Outlook now. I have plenty of no end date reminders and my Outlook is fine. I also leave only a few letters in my Inbox. I have nktice Outllook is usually horribly slow for those users who leave every email and have ten thousands of them in the inbox.. 

Indeed, it is my belief that a brand-new created recurring appointment is not "real" on every calendar occasion, but that it is generated when you view it from the "rule" you made.


If you mess with one of them (add a note, delete it etc.) then that one particular one becomes an exception and a "stand-alone" appointment, but all the others in the series are still just "virtual". 


This is borne out by the fact that if you later go and set an end date, any before that date but which you have deleted magically reappear - implying that the rule puts them in but any exceptions have been cleared.


So there being no reason at all for this change, or at least not for it to be mandatory.

Understand, but that is not how it is, specially on the server side. The server has to be able to render those appointments all the way up to the end date, so, its there, on the server side ,rendering forever.


When the client (outlook desktop app) opens up, you can see on the bottom right how its "updating folders", and at that time, the client will connect to the server and the server has to have all those appointments ready to go so when you click on it, it can render it. Even when you go and you edit the first one, when it says "Edit just this one, or entire series", it has the "Entire Series" in memory, ready to be edited, in case that is the option you pick.


So, its just best to always have an end date, and your outlook will run faster and all of that.



You speak like you know the internal workings of Exchange/Outlook. What you describe is very inefficient from a programming standpoint.


Personally i don't remember what the default setting was. Currently it defaults to some date indeed. There is probably a reason for this change, but i can't think of one realistic. Other than some users complaining that they didn't want their events to go forever. 

At the very least, there must be a registry key to change the default end period.  They're much too short as it stands.

I'm new to this forum, is there somewhere else / better I should direct this to try to get some answers, please?

This is community forums, where mostly users of Microsoft products participate. MS employees can jump in from time to time, but i wouldn't hope to get an answer here about why the default has changed or even about how to change it. There is also Uservoice, you can post this there and hope enough users will upvote it and it won't sink quickly below posts with thousands of votes. https://outlook.uservoice.com/

Hi!  Did you ever find a solution to your issue?  I have the same exact observation & complaint.  It's a stupid default that they did & it's messed some things up for me, so I'd love to know if you found a workaround!

Unfortunately, I can see both sides of this argument equally strongly.  When a reminder is created with an end date, then I, for one, would also have to remember to manually create a reminder for close to when that end date is, just to re-extend that end date when the time comes, for each recurring appointment.....what chaotic situation that sounds like!  Perhaps, when that setting was (silently) changed from "no end date," Microsoft also should have progromatically and automatically created such individual reminders of recurring appointments' end dates nearing.....that would have solved this problem, and could still!  True, it would be easier for us that need to, to try to remember to change the end date to none when creating a new recurring appointment, but even that is easier said than done (after decades of habit forming, creating recurring appointments in Outlook).


Is there no way to change the default back to "no end date?"  I just had another scary thought:  is it possible that the removal of "no end date" on June 25th applied retroactively to pre-existing recurring appointments??  How can I see what the end dates of recurring appointments currently are?  I ask that last question because, even if end dates were *not* retroactively modified, there may have been some recurring appointments I created *since* I was (just now) aware of this (June 25th) change....if so, I would need to go and adjust those back to "no end date," of course.


Lastly, for others in this thread who were asking if the "short default end date" could be modified, it looks like this article has the instructions to do that:  https://www.slipstick.com/outlook/calendar/encourage-users-to-set-end-date-on-recurring-appointments...


Unfortunately, that article won't help me, and my horribly bad (ADHD level/type bad) memory (as well as others like me). I had been relying on Outlook for decades for this purpose, and this change has definitely "pulled the rug out from me."  At the same time, if no end date recurring appointments truly clog Exchange servers with multiple, infinite appointments, I understand how that is not a good thing either, but I then wonder how those Exchange servers survived for the past few decades, with the default for recurring appointments being set to "no end date?"

You can double click on an event with recurring and got to Recurrance window and check the setting. It hasn't been applied to old events with no date. This is only a new default for new events.

You're right. Really, in cached mode, as a user scrolls through their outlook calendar it fetches that info from the exchange server only when they keep scrolling past the point that their client is set to cache (30 days, 60 days, 1 year, ect). This would be rare and still, not a big deal at all. Exchange Server can handle this easily. It's actually nothing to even talk about. I suspect Microsoft introduced this due to many large organizations migrating to O365. I wouldn't doubt that Microsoft has found that many custom internally programmed apps at various orgs are fetching the calendar data inefficiently and this is creating a burden on the O365 exchange servers. (that "could" be the cause. Various apps endlessly pulling this info via EWS calls). But yeah, under normal scenarios, this is NOT a problem. I'd put my money on O365 and various orgs taxing Microsoft's Exchange servers with inefficient programming. That's my guess.

Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (Exchange 2010 and 2013)
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (O365)
Having your meeting disappear when you expect it to happen is the much worse/dissatisfying case.
Yes, server performance is absolutely not a reasonable explanation for making a change that is almost guaranteed to result in major inconveniences for many users--especially the most loyal ones. I personally have been using Outlook for over 2 decades now, and it has NEVER been this way. The whole point of the Outlook recurring events/appointments is to eliminate the need to juggle multiple future appointments/commitments in your head--it's supposed to be "set it and forget it". Having calendar events all of a sudden disappear from your calendar when you don't intend them to is completely counter to that premise. Even if this WERE a performance concern (which several people have mentioned, it's NOT), then the performance problem would be the appropriate thing to fix--not the functionality. The idea that it makes sense to hamper or remove critical, decades-old functionality users have come to depend on to improve performance is one I have a hard time understanding, at any level.

@MaximillianC I'd love to see a class action lawsuit on this one.  I promise you, someone, somewhere lost their job (or worse) because of this change.  They, like many of us, had no idea this change was implemented.  They set a critically important calendar event, made it recur, and without realizing this new configuration, they stopped doing the critically important detail they were supposed to perform.  It's been 8 years now and I STILL forget to set this to 'No end date' on some of my reminders.

Microsoft's biggest problem is they let their engineers have the final say.  A really intelligent engineer figured out how to save the company a few dollars in storage cost and they never considered the life-altering ramifications to their user-base.  MS has never been customer-first...and this is just one of thousands (millions?) of examples.