Utilities

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.

Turn off the screen during calls

A tip from WMExperts.com describes how to use a freeware program to turn off the LCD screen on your smartphone during calls to save battery power. Click here for the article.

How to get rid of auto-synchronization in Messaging

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to use a registry editor to disable Messaging from being automatically synchronized when you sync your device to your desktop PC.

Click here for the article.

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.

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).

The Today screen “New” menu

On pre-WM 5 touch screen devices, there was a convenient built-in feature on the Today screen: a New menu in the lower left corner that allowed you to quickly open a new Word document, Contact, Appointment, or other item without having to navigate to it through the Start menu.
This feature was left off of Windows Mobile starting with version 5, but a third-party freeware program called WM5NewMenu (saman-cz.com/ppc/index.html) is available that adds this feature back to Windows Mobile

Stop the soft input panel from automatically popping up

Werner Ruotsalainen reviews three different "null-SIPs," third-party programs that automatically hide the built-in software input panel when they are activated. Click here for the article.

Transferring PIM information (Contacts, etc.) and messages to other Windows Mobile devices without Outlook/Exchange

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to transfer PIM files like Contacts and Calendar appointments from one Windows Mobile device to another (without using Outlook and ActiveSync) by using third-party programs such as SK Tools and PIM Backup. Click here for the article.

Synching Contacts between a Pocket PC and a smartphone

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s recommendation on how to directly sync Contacts between a Pocket PC and a Smartphone using the third-party program Indovisi SMS here.

Install .CAB files from your desktop

Read Ben Stanley's description of how to use a third-party program called CABviaActiveSync to install CAB files to your device using ActiveSync on your desktop computer here

Roundup of registry editors

If you are interested in making changes to your registry, make sure and read Werner Ruotsalainen’s “Ultimate Roundup of Registry Editors for the Pocket PC.”

Boot into Safe Mode

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to use third-party software to re-boot your Pocket PC into Safe Mode if you are having trouble re-booting correctly, particularly after installing a third-party program. Click here for the article.

Stop the Internet disconnect when it’s not actively in use

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s recommendation on how to disallow the automatic Internet disconnect using the third-party program vxUtil. Click here for the article.

How and why you can kill the ActiveSync process

Werner Ruotsalainen discusses why you may want to kill the ActiveSync process and the third-party programs that can be used to do so, incuding KillSync and Resync. Click here for the article.

Displaying a Pocket PC on a projector

Werner Ruotsalainen discusses the different methods of displaying the screen of a Pocket PC through a projector, including the use of an external CF/SD VGA output card. Click here for the article.

How to set an arbitrary suspend timeout in Windows Mobile

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to set an arbitrary suspend timeout in Windows Mobile by using a third-party registry editor to make registry changes.

Click here for the article.

How to change your Messaging account names

The built-in Messaging application doesn’t allow you to change an account name after it has been created. Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s explanation of how to get around this using the third-party program Pocket dbExplorer.

Click here for the article.

How to extract Contacts from backup files

Werner Ruotsalainen explains how to use his own third-party program to extract Contacts from ActiveSync and backup files.

Click here for the article.

Changing the text font color on the Today screen

Werner Ruotsalainen discusses the third-party programs (including Tweaks2K2 and CETuner) that can change the Today screen’s text font color. Click here for the full article.

Turn your device into a remote control

Using third-party software, you can use your Windows Mobile device's IR (infrared) port as a remote for almost any electronic device, including TVs, VCRs, and DVD players. To find software that supports remote control capabilities, visit our Software Store (smartphonemag.com/swstore) and type “remote control” into the search field.

Turning the sound off at set times

There may be times when you want to schedule the sound on your device to be off (such as during regular lectures or meetings) so that you don’t have to manually turn the sound off and back on again.

Use screensavers on your device

Just as with desktop PCs, you can install third-party screen savers on Windows Mobile devices. For some quick results, visit our Software Store (smartphonemag.com/swstore) and do a search on “screen savers.” Note that some Today screen plug-ins such as Spb Time (spbsoftwarehouse.com) have a screen saver function included as a feature.

Viewing, modifying, and synchronizing Pocket Access databases

When you transfer a Microsoft Access (.mdb) database from a desktop PC to a Pocket PC, the database is converted to a Pocket Access (.cdb) database. When you copy the Microsoft Access database from your desktop PC to your Pocket PC using the Explore feature of ActiveSync, a dialog box pops up. This dialog box has a text box where you can enter the location of the folder where you want to copy the database, by default, it is the My Documents folder.

Viewing file extensions on a Windows Mobile device

The File Explorer program built into the Pocket PC and Smartphone does not display file extensions. Instead, it displays an icon indicating the type of file you are dealing with. This is fine for most file types, but you may occasionally run into a file type that File Explorer does not recognize.

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.

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.

Syncing with a Mac OS computer

ActiveSync doesn’t work with Mac OS computers, but alternatives are available. Check out Missing Sync (markspace.com) and PocketMac Pro (pocketmac.net). They’ll help your Windows Mobile device talk with your Macintosh computer.

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.

Use software utilities to reset your device

If you perform numerous soft resets over time, you can damage the delicate switch inside the reset hole on the back of your device, especially if you press down on it with too much force. Fortunately, there are a number of third-party utilities that perform these functions without having to insert the stylus into a hole.

How to convert embedded voice recordings in Notes files to .wav files

If you want to convert a voice note that is embedded in a note (.msg file) to a .wav file, you can use the third-party program Gold Wave.

Transfer Outlook subfolders to Outlook Mobile

Synching Contacts subfolders is not natively supported in ActiveSync. However, PocketMirror Professional (chapura.com) does support synchronization of multiple Outlook Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks folders with the corresponding Outlook Mobile applications. In addition, Microsoft offers an add-on to the desktop PC version of Outlook that enables one-way synchronization of Contacts folders. For more on this, check out pocketpcfaq.com/raj/OutlookPCS.html.

Synchronize your device with Outlook Express

You cannot use ActiveSync to synchronize your device with Outlook Express, but there are third-party solutions that let you do this. Check out IntelliSync (intellisync.com) and SyncExpress (syncdata.it).

Synchronize data with non-Microsoft PIMs

ActiveSync does a good job of synchronizing Outlook data, but doesn’t support some Outlook features or other desktop PC Personal Information Managers. Fortunately, a number of third-party applications are available to help you with that. Check out the following:

Print documents from your Windows Mobile device

The ability to send documents to a printer is not built into Windows Mobile devices. The easiest way to print out a document or Outlook information is to transfer it to your desktop PC and print it out from there. If you must print from a Windows Mobile device, check out these third-party solutions:

No need for antivirus/firewall software on Windows Mobile devices

It is unlikely that you will need any Antivirus/Firewall Software for your device. Also, this software can take up a lot of valuable system resources.

Close down applications fast with "task switchers"

You can use task switching programs to completely close down one or all open applications. A task switcher is a utility program that lets you either switch between open applications or close them down completely.
Most devices have a third-party "task switcher" built in. For example, Dell Axim Pocket PCs have a program called Switcher Bar.