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.

Using the “Today timeout” feature

The Today timeout feature allows you to set the amount of time (1-12 hours) that you want your device to wait before it automatically returns to the Today screen if another program is open. Note that your device must be powered off and remain idle for the allotted time in order for the Today timeout to work.

Using the “USB Charging” option in HP iPAQs

Most HP iPAQs have a built-in feature called “USB Charging,” which enables the ability to charge your device from your PC’s USB port and allows you to set the rate of charge to “Slow” or “Fast.” To activate this feature, go to Start >Settings >System tab, tap on the Power icon, and select the tab labeled “USB Charging.” Check the box labeled “Use USB Charging” if you want your iPAQ to charge while it is connected to a desktop PC via a USB sync cable.

Set X button to close down programs completely

The X button in the upper right corner of a touch screen display does not really shut down the current program. For example, if you are working on a Word Mobile document and open Calendar to check an appointment, when you tap on Calendar’s X button Word Mobile pops back up and you no longer see Calendar. But Calendar is still running in the background, using some of your system RAM to do it.

Adjust the scrolling speed of the D-pad

The D-pad allows you to scroll through menus, lists, and data fields on your Windows Mobile device. You can fine tune the D-pad’s scrolling speed on touch screen devices by adjusting its “Repeat rate” and “Delay before first repeat.” Here’s how you do it:
  1. Go to the Start >Settings >Buttons >Up/Down Control tab.
  2. Adjust the slider on the “Delay before first repeat” field. If you hold the D-pad in the down or up position, it waits a brief period of time before scrolling.

Use the “Hint” option to remember a password

If you want to set a password to access your touch screen device for added security but are afraid you might forget it, you can use the “Hint” option in the Password menu.
  1. Go to Start >Settings >Password (or Lock) and tap the Hint tab.
  2. Enter a hint for yourself in the data field. Remember that the hint that you enter may be visible by others, so be sure it is something that only you will know.
  3. After you have set the desired Hint (as well as a password and options in the Password tab), tap OK.

How to change the 5 minute backlight timeout limit

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s tutorial on making registry changes to get around the 5 minute backlight timeout limit.

Click here for the article.

Set the default settings for new Notes, Voice Notes

You can use the Input configuration utility in the Settings folder to change the default settings for Notes or Voice recordings. Go to Start >Settings >Input, select the Options tab, and do any of the following:

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.

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.

Hide those annoying Wi-Fi/modem connection “bubbles”

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to turn these off in the Settings >Sounds & Notifications menu. Click here for the article.

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.

Pre-WM 5 Pocket PCs: Customize the New menu

You can open a new (empty) document in Word Mobile by tapping on the New button in the lower left corner of the screen. The New button is also found on Excel Mobile, Notes, Contacts, and other applications. The key here is that you have to be in the desired application to open a new document associated with that application.
In addition to the New button, pre-Windows Mobile 5 Pocket PCs have a New menu which is activated by tapping on the small up-arrow icon next to the New button.

Be notified of incoming e-mail on your Pocket PC

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to get your Pocket PC (Phone Editions work the best) to notify you only when there is new incoming mail being received by going into Messaging settings and Sounds & Notifications. Click here for the article.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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.

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).