Fixing Windows Phone 8 CalDAV, CardDAV and Thunderbird Lightning


Microsoft Outlook/Exchange has integrated email, calendar and contacts. To have such functionality in other email and calendar programs you use the IMAP/SMTP (email), CalDAV (Calendar) and CardDAV (Contacts) protocols. Usually configuring email is pretty straightforward on different devices and with different email clients. However, contacts and calendar can give some challenges especially when timezones and Daylight Saving Time is involved.


This is the setup that is to be discussed here:

  • Mailserver: hMailserver
  • CardDAV & CalDAV server: ownCloud
  • Windows Email and Calendar client: Thunderbird Lightning
  • Thunderbird Lightning CardDAV connector: SOGo
  • Smartphone Email and Calendar client: Windows Phone 8

Problem 1: Windows Phone 8 CalDAV and CardDAV support

There is no direct support for adding a CalDAV and CardDAV based calender to your Windows Phone 8. The workaround is to (mis-)use the Google profile for this. Read here the detailed description on how to configure WP8 with your own CalDAV and CardDAV server.

UPDATE 14-Sep-2014 Windows Phone 8.1 (Lumia Cyan)
Using the Google profile for CalDAV and CardDAV is broken in WP8.1. Now add an iCloud profile.
1. Add an iCloud account using fake credentials. This will get you an authentication error but the account is added anyway.
2. Configure the server URL to point to your CalDAV/DardDav server.


Problem 2: Calendar items created on WP8 are shown with UTC times in Thunderbird Lightning's day or week view

This where things get muddy. When you open a WP8 created appointment in Thunderbird Lightning, the times are shown correct! It seems that Thunderbird Lightning has some time interpretation problem. To make a long story short, WP8 is using a certain string for a timezone, in my case:"W. European Standard Time".

Thunderbird uses "Europe/Amsterdam" for the same timezone and was not able to map the WP8 timezone to something sensible. The ownCloud server was able to make that mapping and presented the appointment correct so the problem was somewhere in Thunderbird.

Thunderbird is using this database with timezone information:


Browsing the timezone database with SQLite Browser showed the "Europe/Amsterdam" record. To solve the display problem we added a record to the timezone database with the "W. European Standard Time" as the key and the properties of "Europe/Amsterdam".

Now Thunderbird Lighting day or week view shows the appointment at the correct time. The underlying problem was the way the Microsoft was dealing with timezone names. Reading more shows that timezones naming and translating is a mess. For more information about timezones read here and here.

15-Dec-2013 update:
#1: Use Thunderbird Lightning 2.6.4 or higher. Older versions do not sync well.
#2: Modify the geo codes to be different to "Europe/Amsterdam", e.g. by adding 1. Else Thunderbird is not showing "Europe/Amsterdam" in the timezone configuration anymore.

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