I have a Outlook.com mail account with my contacts in the "all contacts" folder, which can be found on the "People" tab in outlook.live.com (online via a web browser). Some of my contacts have a birthday set.

I use the birthday calendar feature of outlook.com, which automatically generates a read-only "Birthdays" calendar and recurring all-day birthday events for my contacts that have a birthday set. The recurring birthday events have a default reminder time of 18 hours before the event.

I'm using my outlook.com mail account together with the Outlook desktop application. I get the birthday reminders at the specified time, 18 hours before the event. I would like to change the reminders on a per-contact basis. I.e.: for some contacts, I don't want reminders at all, while for others, I would like to configure a different reminder time.

When I try to change the reminder time in my Outlook desktop application, I get the error message "You cannot make changes to contents of this read-only folder."

When I open the birthday item in outlook.live.com (online via a web browser) by navigating to the Calendar | Birthdays, clicking on a birthday to show the popup box and then clicking on Edit, I get a form to edit the contact - which doesn't have an option to edit the reminder time.

How can I change the reminder time of a birthday event?

Note that this issue is specific for contacts in outlook.com mail accounts together with the read-only birthdays calendar and events that are generated automatically by outlook.com. The issue does not occur for contacts & birthdays in Office 365 work- or school accounts or for manually created birthday events in outlook.com. Many solutions that I find online apply to these other cases and don't work in my case.

1 Answer 1


Birthday events that are automatically generated by Outlook.com can't be edited via the Outlook desktop application because the Birthdays calendar folder is read-only.

These events also can't be edited by clicking on the Edit button of the event in outlook.live.com because this edits the underlying contact, not the birthday event.

In order to change the birthday reminder, do the following:

  1. Open outlook.live.com.
  2. Press the Calendar icon to navigate to calendar view.
  3. Make sure the Birthdays calender is shown. If not: select it.
  4. Double-click on the Birthday event. This will show the event form where you can edit the reminder date. Alternatively, single-click on the Birthday event, then press the enlarge button (double arrow in the right top of the popup box). This will also show the event form where you can edit the reminder date. NOTE: DO NOT single-click on the birthday event and then on the "Edit" button in the popup box as this shows the contact form (where you can't edit the reminder time) instead of the event form.

Note that the instructions at the following link are correct if followed exactly in order to avoid accidentally opening the contact form instead of the birthday event form:


  • Good sharing! I have tried the method you mentioned, which is really effective. And It is suggested that you could mark your reply as an answer so that people with similar questions can get reference.
    – Christy
    Commented Aug 31, 2021 at 7:38
  • Did they change this. This behavior is really bugging me, because you wake up, see that reminder (i'm usually not waking up before 6am) and think that persons birthday is today. When I try your instructions it automatically changes back to 6am the day before...
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 20, 2023 at 11:20

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