Intel, Apple, Microsoft probe iPhone-Windows sync bug

Intel today announced it is investigating reports from iPhone owners that they're unable to sync their devices to new PCs, although Microsoft said it had received no calls from customers about the glitch.

Apple, meanwhile, has asked users on its support forum to submit the make of their computer, the version of its BIOS, their iPhone or iPod model and other information to help it troubleshoot.

"Our leading theory is a BIOS or system configuration issue, but we are still investigating," an Intel spokesman said Tuesday, referring to reports on Apple's support forum that users have been unable get their iPhones to synchronize after upgrading to Windows 7, in particular the 64-bit edition of Microsoft's operating system.

Users first reported iPhone sync problems with Windows-based PCs in mid-September, but the traffic on the thread dedicated to the issue picked up when Microsoft released Windows 7 on Oct. 22. "I can plug [my iPhone] in again and iTunes will recognize it, but it says: 'iTunes could not connect to this iPhone because of an unknown error occurred (0xE8000065)'," said "MrBahr" in the kick-off message.

Most people adding to the thread said that their PCs were equipped with Intel's P55 Express chipset, which is included on motherboards intended for machines powered by Intel's quad-core i7 and i5 processors. Desktop and notebook PCs running those CPUs are available now from the likes of Hewlett-Packard; Apple plans to ship iMacs with those processors later this month .

"I've got the same problem running Windows 7 Professional on a EVGA P55 SLI [mother]board, Core i7 860 processor," said a user identified as "e8link" on the Apple support thread.

"Got the same stupid issue, already wasted 4 hours on this," complained "scamsel" on the same thread. "I have the new ASUS P55 EVO board using Windows 7 x64 Ultimate & just got a new rig this week, already this big issue, should have gotten a new iMac!"

Although many pinned blame on Windows 7, some said that the new operating system was not at fault. "I have NO ISSUES with both Windows 7 32- and 64-bit on non-P55 [mother]boards," reported "scribbydagreat" in a Monday message. "Coincidence? Maybe. [But] installing the iTunes update on my P55 system bricked my iPhone forcing a restore and now it will not sync (or connect) on that computer."

Microsoft said that as far as it knew, Windows 7 was not responsible, but said it's looking into the problem nonetheless. " Microsoft has not seen this particular question posed in the Microsoft Answers for Windows 7 community forum, nor in any of our call centers," a company spokeswoman said today via instant message. "We reviewed the issue raised on the Apple Discussion Board and are currently investigating. If we determine this to be a problem specific to Windows 7, we will post an update on the Microsoft Answers site."

Although there are iPhone-related questions on Microsoft's Answers support forum, none directly pertain to the synchronization problem being discussed on the Apple support site.

For it's part, Apple is also investigating the problem.

Someone tagged as "Roy B" asked users on Sunday to send system details to an e-mail address. "We would like to get some more details about systems that are experiencing this issue. If you are having issues connecting your iPhone or iPod to a Windows 7 computer with the Intel P55 chipset, please compose an e-mail with this information," Roy B said, then followed that with a list that included the computer maker and model, the motherboard maker and model, the BIOS version, and the iPhone or iPod model being used.

Users are frustrated. "Can't sync. Inconsistent and random failures ranging from inability to sync only pictures to completely making the iPhone unrecognizable to any iTunes computer requiring a Restore," said "WildWill" yesterday.

"Having tried everything I have read on the posts and forums on my P55, I am GIVING UP!" shouted scribbydagreat. "Nothing has worked and now am cynical that anything will until Apple issues an update."

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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