Learning

Stop the soft keyboard from popping up

Touch screen devices have a built-in soft keyboard that will pop up automatically every time there is an opportunity to enter text. This is a convenient feature on devices that do not have hardware keyboards, but it can quickly become annoying if you have a built-in QWERTY keyboard and prefer to use it for text entry.
If you want the soft keyboard to stop popping up, go to an application or screen that accepts text. When the soft keyboard pops up, ignore it and use your device’s hardware keyboard to enter text.

Turn down volume level to save power

When conserving power to extend battery life, every little bit helps. One way to conserve a little more power is to turn the volume down to the lowest setting that is bearable for you.

Know the Start menu structure

In order to take full advantage of the Start menu on touch screen devices, it can be helpful to know how it is structured and how it functions. The Start menu is divided into three sections:
  1. Top section: Contains links to a maximum of seven applications. By default, it lists Calendar, Contacts, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and others. You can configure this portion of the Start menu to list any built-in or user-installed application by going to Settings >Menus.

Download Windows Mobile 6 Reference Guide

Microsoft released a free, comprehensive Windows Mobile 6 reference guide in Acrobat PDF format (click here). The 61-page document includes detailed descriptions and graphics that cover all the improvements and changes that were made to the operating system.

Using “Normal,” “Silent,” “Outdoor,” and other sound Profiles

Non-touch screen smartphones have a “Profiles” menu that allows you to switch your phone into different sound modes, depending upon how you want your phone to sound when you are receiving a call or another notification. To view or change these sound modes, or "Profiles," go to Start >Settings >Profiles. Note that different smartphones have different Profiles built in, depending on the make and model. The following Profiles are the ones shared by most smartphones:

OK/X button saves changes and closes programs

When you open an application or program on a touch screen device or access one of the configuration utilities, you'll see an "X" or "OK" in the upper right corner of the display. You can tap on this button with your stylus to exit the application/screen. If you have a phone-enabled touch screen device with a physical "OK" button, you can press that button to exit. This saves you the bother of pulling out your stylus, and combined with the D-pad, allows you to perform most common tasks on your device with one hand.

Press Tab key to move between data fields

Just as on desktop PCs, you can use the Tab key on touch screen devices (on either the soft keyboard or an external keyboard) to move between data fields in any menu. For example, you can use Tab to move from a username field to a password field on a Web site open in Internet Explorer Mobile. (Note that you can also move from one hyperlink to the next using the Tab key.)

Use your device as a flashlight

In a pinch, the LED backlight in the screens of Windows Mobile devices (and other mobile phones) can be used as a light in dark environments (such as lighting a darkened hallway, going up or down unfamiliar steps, or using it as a reading lamp if someone else is asleep in the same room). Here are some points to keep in mind:

Powering down phone-enabled devices to conserve power

Most phone-enabled devices can be powered down (completely turned off) to conserve battery power. This is accomplished by pressing and holding the power on/off button (or the red End Call button if your device has no power button). Note that powering down a device is different from leaving the device in suspend mode (which means that the screen is off but the device is still using power and its phone and other core operations are still running). Pressing the power button once on a touch screen device will put it into suspend mode (pressing it once again will turn it back on).

Organize your Programs in folders

If your Programs folder is cluttered with numerous application icons that you have amassed over a long period of time, you can organize it by creating new folders within Programs to arrange different apps by their type. For example, if you have installed a number of system tools, you could create a “Tools” folder and move their icons in that folder. Here’s how you create folders:

Using ClearType to make text more readable

ClearType is a text font setting that is built into touch screen devices that smoothes the edges of screen fonts to make the text more readable. Opinions vary widely on whether ClearType actually makes text more readable or not. This may be partly due to the various screen sizes and number of pixels that are available on different devices, which can cause the look of ClearType to vary slightly.
To turn ClearType on, go to Start >Settings >System tab, open the Screen configuration utility, and select the ClearType tab.

Smartphones to avoid

Jamie Lendino at SmartDeviceCentral.com provides advice on five smartphones to avoid while device hunting. Click here for the article.

Recycling your old cell phone

Recycling your old cell phones, accessories, batteries, and other mobile device objects can help reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Before recycling your device, make sure that you have terminated your service contract and that you have removed all personal data from the device. Here are some recycling options:

Color code your cables when traveling

If you do a lot of traveling and carry a ton of electronic equipment such as a Windows Mobile device, an MP3 player, a laptop, international power converters, DC adaptors for the plane, etc., each of these gadgets unfortunately comes with a number of power and sync cables.
One way to organize the clutter is to use Velcro color-coded cable ties. Each device that you carry can then get its own color tie.

Perform restart immediately after uninstalling a program

In my work as Editor of Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine, I have to install a lot of third-party software on my device so that I can test and review products or edit other authors’ reviews. I usually wait until I’m finished with a series of reviews before I delete these programs from my device, but that can cause a problem.
In some cases, after you delete a program, a message is displayed that instructs you to “restart the device to finish removing the program,” (below).

Learning Call History symbols

Outgoing, incoming, and missed calls are all stored in Call History (press the green Send Call button to view Call History) on Windows Mobile devices. Each type of call has a symbol associated with it to distinguish what type of call it is, which is located along the left edge of the Call History screen next to each number. They are:

Realign screen to improve tap response

If you find that the display on your touch screen device is slow to respond to taps or isn’t responding accurately, try realigning it. To do this, go to Start >Settings >System tab >Screen and tap on the Align Screen button.
Align Screen asks you to tap on a series of five crosshair icons that appear in the center and four corners of the screen. Be sure to press down on the crosshairs as firmly and accurately as possible to ensure that your screen will be aligned correctly.

T9 keypads: Entering punctuation, symbols, and numbers quickly

Cell phone users are familiar with T9 numeric keypads, which assign 3 or 4 letters to each key and allow you to enter letters by holding down a number key until the letter appears. You can also use a T9 keypad to enter punctuation marks, symbols, and numbers. Here’s how you do it:

Save power while playing music: Turn off the screen

If you are listening to music on your device for a long period of time, you can save power by turning the screen off. This can be done by assigning a button to toggle the screen on and off in Windows Media Player. Follow these steps:

Navigate through menus with the D-pad

With the D-pad, it is possible to navigate through any of the built-in menus in Windows Mobile devices (without the need for a stylus on touch screen devices).
For example, in the Settings menu on touch screen devices, you can use the D-pad to scroll through and highlight options, and to access the tabs at the bottom by pressing the down key when the last option at the bottom is highlighted.

Touch screen devices: Use letter keys to access menu options

On touch screen devices that have QWERTY keyboards, you can use the letter keys to access menu options. For example, in the Calendar menu, the different options all have a letter underlined (such as “E” for “Edit”); simply press E on the keyboard to access the option.

Mixing wireless types on a network can cause slow downs

When devices that run different wireless types are running on the same network, slow downs can occur due to the network's attempt to maintain a consitant speed.
For example, a network running on 802.11g (54 Mbps) is designed so that it can be used in a mixed mode environment and is therefore backward compatible with 802.11b (11 Mbps) wireless products. However, this comes at the cost of wireless speed optimization.

Picking the right e-mail strategy for your Windows Mobile device

An overview of the different options available for receiving e-mail on Windows Mobile devices, including POP, IMAP, and Exchange. Click here for the article.

Avoid skyrocketing cell phone bills

John Frederick Moore at CNET.com gives advice on how to keep cell phone bills at a manageable level. Click here for the article.

Smartphones: Select the number of a menu option

The menus on non-touch screen smartphones have numbers associated with each menu option. Instead of scrolling through the menu to select your preferred option, you can press the number associated with it on the device’s keypad. This can save time, especially if you find that you are continually using the same option from a menu—once you commit that option’s number to memory, simply activate Menu and press the option number on the keypad.
Some menus on newer smartphones are truncated (see image).

Types of infrared

Werner Ruotsalainen discusses the different types of infrared and what devices have the different types. Click here for the article.

Installing the same application on several storage cards

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how you can rerun the installer on each storage card or use a card reader. Click here for the article.

Protect yourself from text spammers

To avoid receiving text message spam, call 888-382-1222 to register with the National Do Not Call List, which will block your number for five years. You must call from the number you wish to block. Or, you can register at donotcall.gov.

Different factors may affect mobile phone call quality

Here is a list of different factors that can affect calls on your mobile phone:
  • Built-in components: The receptivity of the phone’s antenna as well as the quality of the built-in microphone and speaker can affect call quality. Different phones are built with different components, and bad performance may not always be the carrier’s fault. That said, most phone-enabled Windows Mobile devices in the U.S. are sold by carriers, and they test them extensively before offering them.

Smartphones: Use the right and left navigation buttons to see the next and previous screens in Settings

The Settings menu on non-touch screen smartphones has more options than can be displayed in a single screen. To see the second screen of Settings options, you can select “More” at the bottom of the first Settings screen, or press “0” on the numeric keypad. However, the quickest way to switch back and forth between the first and second Setting screens it to press the right or left functions on the D-pad.

Smartphones: View menu options in full screen

When you are selecting options in certain programs on non-touch screen smartphones, there is often a text field that displays one option at a time, and you must scroll through the list by pressing left or right on the navigation pad. One example of this is the Reminder field in a New Appointment screen (below left).

File Store/ Built-in Storage deletion upon WM 5 install

If you upgrade your Pocket PC to Windows Mobile 5.0, you will lose your File Store/ Built-in storage during the install. This is because WM 5 takes up more flash ROM.

How to create links to programs in your Settings menu

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s full tutorial on creating and using .lnk files and downloading them.

Click here for the article.

How to stop your device from trying to connect to the Web

Check your Today plug-ins and your POP3 Inbox accounts. Read the complete Werner Ruotsalainen how-to.

Click here for the article.

Are there “consumer” and “corporate” PDA series?

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s discussion on the perceived differences of different Pocket PC brands here.

Keyboard-related enhancements

Windows Mobile 6 has been improved to make better use of the built-in 30-key QWERTY keyboards or 12-key keypads found on most of these devices. For example, common Messaging functions have been mapped to number keys. To display a list of the keyboard or keypad shortcuts, press “0” in Messaging.

Press “0” in Messaging to display a list of keyboard or keypad shortcuts.

Updating Daylight Savings Time settings

Starting in 2007, a new schedule for Daylight Savings Time (DST) was introduced. Because of this, the automatic settings set up for DST in Windows computers before this year are no longer correct.

Outlook Notes not synchronizing to your Pocket PC

You may receive the following error when you try to synchronize your Outlook Notes with the Pocket PC using Activesync: "Synchronization cannot be started because you are not able to log on to the network and access information. Restart your desktop computer and synchronize again. If the problem persists, contact your network administrator." If this happens, there is a good possibility that your Personal Folders Store (.pst) file is damaged. Microsoft's support Web site has a fix for this problem.

General tips on saving memory

Here are some memory-saving tips from some of our experts’ posts in the Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine blogs from 5/1-5/2/07 (smartphonemag.com/blogs):

Don’t worry about airport x-rays

When you are going through security screening at airports, don’t worry about your device going through the x-ray scanners. Neither the device nor any storage cards will be affected by the x-rays.

Battery life expectancy

The normal life expectancy of a lithium-ion battery in a Windows Mobile device is between two to three years, or 300 to 500 discharge/charge cycles. After that, the battery will start to degrade (regardless of usage intensity) and will hold less power after a charge. Here are a few tips about using lithium-ion batteries:

Stop using paper notes

Whenever someone gives you a phone number or some other important bit of information, resist the urge to write it on a piece of paper that you'll stuff in your pocket or briefcase. Paper notes are hard to organize and are easily lost. Take the extra 45 seconds to enter the information into Calendar, Contacts, or Tasks. If you're really in a hurry, hold down the voice record button and make a brief recording of the information. Then, when you get some time, transcribe the voice recording and enter the information into the appropriate application.

Use a screen protector to prevent wear and tear

The display on a Windows Mobile touch screen device is designed to withstand the rigors of daily use. However, continued tapping on the screen can, over time, leave small scratches, which decrease the value of the device and make it less enjoyable to use. A relatively inexpensive way to avoid scratches is to apply screen protectors (a.k.a., “screen overlays”) to the display.

Hard objects scratch the screen

Don’t carry your Windows Mobile device in a pocket, briefcase, or handbag along with hard objects that can scratch the screen. If you carry your device in a coat pocket, keep change and keys in one pocket and the device in the other, and keep the screen facing your body.

Protect your device: Get a case

Although designed for the rigors of every-day use, Windows Mobile devices are electronic gadgets with breakable displays. Some attention needs to be paid toward protecting them from damage, and the best way to do that is by carrying the device in a case. Most ship with a leather or vinyl slip-cover.

How to turn off your phone so you can use your Windows Mobile device on a plane

To turn off the phone function on your device, open the Wireless Manager (the name of this menu will vary on some devices) screen and turn on “Flight Mode” or turn the phone function off. The method for opening Wireless Manager or accessing Flight Mode will vary from device to device, so consult your owner’s manual.

See more about appointments and Tasks on the Today screen

Appointments
If you find yourself constantly opening the Calendar application to check your upcoming appointments for the day, you can change the settings so that they will appear on the Today screen for quick viewing.
  1. Tap Start >Settings >Today.
  2. Tap on the Items tab and select Calendar.
  3. Tap the Options button and select “Upcoming appointments.” (Note: You can also check the "Display all day events" check box so that any event you entered in Calendar for that

Copy, don't sync files on storage cards

ActiveSync has a feature that lets you sync documents and files placed in the device's My Documents folder with those in a similar folder on your PC. However, this only works with the My Documents folder in internal memory. If you have a My Documents folder on your storage card, its content cannot be synchronized using ActiveSync. You must use File Explorer to copy it to your PC.

Free themes for Windows Mobile devices

You can change the look of the Today or Home screen on any Windows Mobile device (2002 or later) by selecting a different “theme” file. Individual themes include a color scheme for menus and a background image for the Today screen. To change the theme, please see “How to customize the Today or Home screen” in the Learning section.
Windows Mobile devices come with a couple of default themes.

Get a storage card and a backup utility

Some Windows Mobile devices come with a built-in backup utility, which allows you to back up all or part of your data as well as any of the programs you have installed on a storage card.

Be careful about removing items from the Startup Folder

The Startup folder on a Windows Mobile device is used to launch programs automatically at startup. Many programs automatically install themselves or a part of themselves in this folder and thus start running each time you reset your device. Be careful about attempting to delete these items. Some are necessary for programs to run correctly. However, if you determine that one is not necessary, you may delete it to free up system resources.

Visiting option can throw off Calendar appointment times

The Clock & Alarms screen on touch screen devices lets you set a Home and Visiting city (not available on non-touch screen smartphones). Use Home to set the time zone, time, and date for where you live and work. Use Visiting to set the time zone, etc. for a city or location you visit. When you travel to this location, open Clock & Alarms and select Visiting and your clock will automatically be adjusted to the different time zone.

Keyboard shortcuts using CTRL on the built-in soft keyboard

Many of the standard keyboard shortcuts found on the desktop PC work with the soft keyboard built into touch screen devices (Pocket PCs, Smartphone Professionals). To use them, display the built-in soft keyboard (or a similar third-party alternative), tap on the CTRL key, and tap again on the appropriate letter. The shortcut keys listed below can be used as an alternative to menu commands in most programs.

Make text entry easier: Get an external keyboard or a device with a QWERTY keyboard

The soft keyboard and other input panels found on touch screen devices can be a pain to work with, and it can take an inordinate amount of time to enter text. Additionally, the “T9” text entry method built into some non-touchscreen smartphones requires multiple presses of numbers to enter text. Fortunately, most of the newer phone-enabled devices come with QWERTY thumb keyboards, which make it easier to enter text.

Installing third-party software on locked Smartphones and Phone Edition devices

A few carriers "lock" their Smartphones and Phone Edition devices, preventing you from installing third-party software that they have not certified. If you want to install uncertified software, you will have to contact the carrier's tech support for instructions on how to unlock the phone. If they will not provide them, you may not be able to install uncertified software on your device.

Don’t copy EXE installer files to your device

Most of the Windows Mobile third-party software programs you download from the Web come in the form of an executable installer file. You download this file to your desktop PC, connect your Windows Mobile device to the PC via the sync cable, use the PC’s File Explorer to find the file, and double-click on the file with your mouse to start the installation process.
Warning: Do not download or copy the installer file to your Windows Mobile device. The installation (EXE) program will only work when you run it from your PC.

If your device is running slowly, do a soft reset

If your device is running slowly or becomes inoperable, the first thing you should do to remedy the situation is do a soft reset. This clears your devices memory. It is non-destructive—you do not lose data or programs you’ve installed on your device.

The difference between program and storage memory

Your device has two kinds of main (internal) memory: program memory and storage memory.
Main Memory
Main memory is the internal memory of the device, and it is divided into two types: Program memory and Storage memory.
Program memory
Program memory is temporary memory that programs use when they are running.

You can't uninstall the built-in applications

Even if you never use Word, Excel , or PowerPoint Mobile, you can’t uninstall any of the Microsoft programs to free up file storage space. Microsoft considers the built-in software an integral part of your device and pre-installs it into a portion of flash ROM that cannot be accessed by the end user.

Windows Mobile is different from Windows XP and Vista

The Windows Mobile operating system (OS) is different from Windows XP, Vista, and other Windows OSs found on desktop PCs. Programs designed to run on the desktop PC cannot be installed on Windows Mobile devices, and vice versa. Note, however, that some software developers offer separate versions of their program, one for Windows XP or Vista computers and another for Windows Mobile devices.

Using CAB files to install programs

Some online vendors offer third-party programs as “CAB files.” These can be downloaded directly to your Windows Mobile device via a direct Internet connection or copied over using an ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center connection.

Unzip ZIP files before installing

Note that some of the third-party programs you download will be in a ZIP format. A ZIP file is a compressed file that contains one or more related files. It reduces the size of the program to make it quicker and easier to download.
After you download this file to your PC, use the PC's File Explorer to find it and then double-click on it.

Touch screen and non-touch screen devices run different software

Touch screen and non-touch screen devices have the same operating system, but the user interfaces on these devices are different. For example, you can tap on a touch screen to access menus and other features, but all this is controlled by buttons on non-touch screen devices. Because of this, third-party software designed for a touch screen device will not run on a non-touch screen device, and vice versa.

Phone Edition devices are Pocket PCs

Pocket PCs with integrated phone capability are referred to as "Phone Edition devices" in this publication. These devices have touch screens, the same user interface, and all of the built-in applications that are found on the Pocket PC. With almost no exceptions, programs that work on the Pocket PC also work on the Phone Edition device, and vice versa.

Owner's name needed to install software

Some software vendors require that you tell them the owners name exactly as you entered it in your Pocket PC or Smartphone. In order to find it, go to Start >Settings >Owner Information. The owner's name is listed under "Name."

Perform a hard reset to restore your device to its original state

A hard reset restores your Windows Mobile device to the condition it was in when you removed it from the box. Any data you’ve saved on the device and any programs you’ve installed are gone. You’ll want to perform a hard reset if you sell your device or give it to someone else to make sure you’ve delete sensitive information. It might also be necessary if your device locks up and stops running. In this case, you should try a soft reset first.

How to recover lost space on a storage card

Use your PC’s disk tools and a card reader to restore lost space on a file storage card. Insert the card into a card reader attached to your desktop PC. Right click on the icon in Windows Explorer and select Properties. Then select the Tools tab and click on Check Now. Check the box labeled “Automatically fix file system errors” and “Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors.” You may have to rename some of the reconstructed files’ extensions before moving them back to the storage card.

How to install software on storage cards

During the process of installing third-party software on your device, you are given the option of selecting where you install the program. On WM 5 and WM 6 devices, a screen pops up on the device itself, prompting you to “Choose a location…” Select the storage card option and tap on “Install.” On pre-WM 5 devices, the installation wizard running on your PC will asks if you want to install the program in the “default application install directory.” Tap “No” and select a storage card as the installation location.

How to set an image as your Today or Home screen background

On most Windows Mobile devices, you can use the Pictures & Videos application (known as “Pictures” in pre-WM 5 Pocket PCs) to select a JPEG image file as your Today or Home screen background image. Open the full-screen view of the desired image and select Menu >Set as Today Background (or Menu >Use as Home Screen).

How to conserve battery power by changing settings

You can extend the life the battery by changing the screen brightness, time to power-down, and processor speed settings. On touch screen devices these settings are accessed in the Start >Settings >Systems screen. On non-touch screen smartphones there are accessed from Start >Settings >Power Management. You cannot adjust brightness and processor speed on non-touch screen smartphones.

How to add file storage space with storage cards

To add file storage space on your Windows Mobile device, purchase a compatible storage card and slip it into the card slot on your device.

How to adjust storage/program memory on a Pre-WM5 Pocket PC

On Pre-WM5 Pocket PCs, the memory slider found in Start >Settings >System >Memory lets you change the amount of RAM to used for file storage and the operation of programs.

How to free up memory

Free up storage memory by deleting unnecessary files, moving files to a storage card, deleting temporary Internet files, removing third-party programs you don’t use, and configuring your Inbox to save e-mail attachments to a storage card. You can also stop any currently running programs in the Start >Settings >System >Memory >Running Programs tab (smartphones: Start >Task Manager).

How to add fonts

To add TrueType fonts to your device, sync it to your PC via ActiveSync and copy the fonts from the Fonts folder on your PC to the Windows\Fonts folder on your Windows Mobile device.

How to change Time to display a 12 or 24 hour clock

You can change the style of the time display to show a 12-hour or a 24-hour clock in Start >Settings >System tab >Regional Settings >Time tab (non-touch screen smartphones: Start >Settings >Regional Settings >Time format).

Enable Beam option to receive all incoming beams

In order to receive all infrared and Bluetooth beams on your Windows Mobile device, the Beam option must be enabled. Go to Start >Settings >Connections >Beam and check the "Receive all incoming beams" check box.

Today screen with no background image

If you want a Today screen with no background image, you can create an image file with your preferred color (such as white) and add it as your background.

How to use hand drawn "gestures" in Transcriber to cut, copy, paste, and more

Use hand drawn gestures to enter spaces, edit text, and more; more info is found in Transcriber’s Help screen.

Don’t write small characters when using Transcriber

When using Transcriber, don’t write your characters too small. The larger your text is, the more likely it is that Transcriber will translate it correctly. Don’t go overboard with this advice and fill the screen with a single letter. Just try writing a little bigger if you notice that you are getting a lot of translation mistakes.
Remember that you can write anywhere on the screen.

Change screen orientation if "May Not Display Properly" warning appears during software install

ChangeWarning.jpg
You may receive the warning shown above when you try to install a program on your device.
If you receive a "May Not Display Properly" warning when you install a program, the program may have been written for a previous version of the OS and may not display properly in Landscape viewing mode.

Use caution when changing the battery on a Pre-WM5 device

Removing the battery on a Pre-WM5 device can cause problems. Some data and user-installed programs may be stored in RAM on these devices, and RAM must have a small amount of electrical power running through it to remain active. If RAM loses its power source for more than a short period of time, it shuts down completely. Anything stored there is lost. Swap batteries quickly and plug it into an AC power source when possible.

How to uninstall CAB-installed programs

Go to Start >Settings >System tab >Add/Remove Programs to remove programs installed with a downloaded CAB file. (Smartphones: Select Start >Settings >Remove Programs.)

How to remove programs

To delete third-party programs from your device without using ActiveSync, first close them down completely. The easiest way to do this is with a soft reset. Then go to Start >Settings >System tab >Remove Programs, select the desired program from the list, and tap the Remove button. (Non-touch screen smartphones: Go to Start >Settings >Remove Programs, highlight the program, and select Menu >Remove.)

How to uninstall and reinstall programs using ActiveSync

ActiveSync’s Tools >Add/Remove Programs screen lists all the programs that have been installed on your device. To uninstall a program, uncheck the box next to it and click on OK. To reinstall a program, click on the empty box next to it and click on OK. Do not click on the Remove button.

How to save documents to storage cards by default

Configure your touch screen device to automatically save documents to a storage card using the Menu >Options screen in Notes, Word, or Excel (pre-WM 5: Tools >Options). In non-touch screen WM 6 smartphones, you must save documents to a storage card individually using Menu >File >Save As.

How to install software using ActiveSync

Once you’ve acquired the program you want to install and established a connection between your PC and your Windows Mobile device via ActiveSync, run the program’s installation file on your PC and follow the on-screen instructions.

How to check your device's available battery power

Check your device’s battery power by going to Start >Settings >System tab and tapping the Power icon (non-touch screen smartphones: Start >Settings >Power Management). Many devices also display the remaining power somewhere on the Today or Home screen. Finally, check out pocketpcmag.com/_enc/encyclopedia.asp for third-party “battery status” solutions.

How to customize the Word Completion feature

Customize the Word Completion feature in Start >Settings >Input to make text entry easier.

How to adjust the microphone level

You can adjust the microphone level from the Start >Settings >System folder in touch screen devices.

How to change screen orientation

On touch screen devices running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition or later, go to Start >Settings >System tab >Screen and choose the preferred orientation (Portrait or Landscape). You can assign a hardware button to switch orientations by going to Start >Settings >Buttons and choosing the “” option from the “Assign a program” field after you select a button above.

How to customize application launch buttons

You can customize the application launch buttons to quickly access frequently used programs; go to Start >Settings >Buttons.

How to customize text entry

Go to Start >Settings >Input, select the Input method you want to customize from the drop-down menu, and then tap the Options button.

How to change synchronization options in ActiveSync

ActiveSync's Tools >Options screen lets you set and change the type of information you sync between your PC and Windows Mobile device.

How to sync documents and other files

Check the File option in ActiveSync's Tools >Options screen to sync documents and other files between your desktop PC and your Windows Mobile device.

How to back up and restore your Windows Mobile device

Pre-WM 5 devices: In the ActiveSync window on your desktop PC, click Tools >Backup/Restore. WM 5 and 6 devices: Use the built-in backup program or get a third-party backup/restore program.

How to copy and move files using ActiveSync’s Explore function

Once you’ve established an ActiveSync connection, you can manipulate files located on the Windows Mobile device from your PC using ActiveSync’s Explore tool in the ActiveSync window.

How to beam information between two devices using infrared

You can wirelessly transfer (a.k.a., “beam”) documents, contacts, appointments, tasks, and other files from one Windows Mobile device to another using the infrared capabilities built into most devices. The easiest way to beam one of these items from a touch screen device is to find it in the list view of the application, hold your stylus down on the file name until the edit menu pops up, and select the “Beam ...” option. On non-touch screen smartphones, highlight the item in a list and press Menu >Send >Beam.

How to change Settings

The Settings folder contains a variety of utilities that give you information about your device and let you configure it. To change the settings, go to the Start >Settings folder and select the item you want to change.

How to enter, change, and display owner information

You can enter and change your name, address, phone number, etc. from the Start >Settings >Owner Information screen. On touch screen devices, you can set this information to display every time the device is turned on in the Options tab.

How to customize the Today or Home screen

Customize the Today screen (Home screen in non-touch screen smartphones) by going into Start >Settings >Today (smartphones: Start >Settings >Display or Home Screen) and choosing the options you want. Touch screen devices have an “Items” tab where specific programs can be chosen to appear on the Home screen.

How to customize the Start menu

Customize the Start menu in Start >Settings >Menus on touch screen devices to quickly access programs or folders you frequently use. On non-touch screen smartphones, you can use File Explorer (or File Manager) to copy programs or folders to the Windows\Start Menu folder.

How to password-protect a Windows Mobile device

Password-protect your device by going to Start >Settings >Password (or Lock). On non-touch screen smartphones, go to Start >Settings >Security >Device Lock.

How to change the system text size

You can change the size of the text displayed on Pocket PCs, but not Smartphones. For example, you can set it smaller to display more information on your Today screen, or larger to make the info displayed easier to read. The changes in text size will appear in the Today screen and some other built-in applications.

Restore individual files from ActiveSync's backup

ActiveSync has an "all-or-nothing" function that lets you back up all the databases and other files into a single backup file on your desktop PC.

Back up your data regularly

You can always replace a lost or damaged Windows Mobile device, but you may not be able to replace the data on it. Keep your device synchronized with your desktop PC and back it up regularly. At the very least, use ActiveSync or Windows Vista’s Mobile Device Center on a daily basis to synchronize Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks information with your desktop PC.
Do a full system backup at least once a week. Also, it’s a good idea to have multiple backups.

Avoid DLL headaches

"DLL" is an acronym for Dynamic Link Library. A DLL is a chunk—a library—of executable functions and/or data that can be used by many different programs. Much as a school library reduces education costs by making the same book available to many students, DLLs reduce the size of software packages by putting commonly used functions in a library that can be accessed by different programs.

Disable Error Reporting to get better performance (WM5 only)

Error Reporting is a program that automatically sends Microsoft an error report if the device experiences an error. Many users have reported that they get a huge performance increase and a more stable device if they turn off this feature.

You don't need to buy storage cards from device manufacturers

If you want to buy a storage card and you call up any Windows Mobile device manufacturer, they will most likely tell you that you need to buy your storage card from them to "insure compatibility" or because they only support the cards they sell. The reality is that storage cards don't need very much support, and one purchased from another source should work fine.

How to select sounds and create custom ones

Clicks, beeps, and other sounds remind you when an “event” has occurred on your device (incoming messages, Start menu activated, etc.). You can associate different sounds with the events. Go to Start >Settings >Sounds & Notifications (non-touch screen smartphones: Start >Settings >Sounds) to customize your sounds. You can also download and use sounds from the Internet or create custom sounds using Voice Recorder.

Keep storage card with backup safe!

Most Windows Mobile devices come with a built-in utility that allows you to back up your personal data and any software you’ve installed on your device to a storage card. You should back up your device regularly so you have a copy of your data. You should also take some precautions to keep this backup card safe!

How to set an alarm

You can use your device as an alarm clock with different sounds using the Alarms tab found on the Start >Settings >System tab >Clock & Alarms screen (Smartphones: Start >Settings >Clock & Alarm >Alarm). Also, you can choose to have the clock displayed in all programs.

How to set up or change the time and date

Set up the time and date by going to Start >Settings >System tab >Clocks & Alarms (non-touch screen smartphones: Start >Settings >Clock & Alarm or Date and Time).

How to hard reset your Windows Mobile device

Performing a hard reset restores your device to its factory default settings, and all data and installed programs are lost. Most devices have a unique way of being hard reset. Here is a list of devices with hard reset instructions for each.