Random Tips and How-Tos

How to record and play back a Voice Note

You can create and play back an audio recording on your device using the Voice Recording feature. To record one on a touch screen device, select Start >Programs >Notes and tap on the button with a red circle (or press and hold down the button assigned to this function). On non-touch screen devices, select Start >Voice Notes >Record. To play it back, open the Notes (or Voice Notes) application and select the recording from the list.

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.

Create your own ringtone

The surest way to have a unique ringtone on your smartphone is to create your own by recording one! The process is simple on Windows Mobile devices. Follow these steps.

Touch screen devices:

How to use your alarm to wake up to music

Many bedside alarms these days include a setting that allows you to wake up to music first thing in the morning. Touch screen devices are no different. You can use the third-party program The Core Pocket Media Player (TCPMP) (see Web site below) and the built-in Alarms program to wake up to music.

Use SmartSearch to find and play a song in Media Player

  1. Open Media Player, select Menu >Library, and open the desired media folder. For example, select My Music and then All Music to display a list of all the songs in your library.
  2. Start keying in the name of the song you want and you will jump to it in the list.
  3. Finally, hit the Play soft key to play the song.

The SmartSearch feature lets you find and play songs quickly.

How to make, answer, and end a phone call

On a smartphone (Pocket PC Phone Edition, Smartphone Professional, or Smartphone Standard), press the external Call/Answer button, which usually has a green phone icon on it and is located to the left of the center navigational pad. Then, enter the desired number and press the Call/Answer button a second time to make the call.

How to use the Find/Search feature

If you are having trouble finding information on your Windows Mobile device, use the Search feature (called “Find” on some non-touch screen smartphones and pre-WM 5 Pocket PCs).

How to connect to a Wi-Fi network

To connect to a Wi-Fi network, activate Wi-Fi on your device. In most cases, it will “sniff out” the available networks in your immediate area and present a list of them. Select the one you want and it will connect in a few seconds.

Free download: Microsoft Money for Pocket PCs

Microsoft offers a Pocket PC version of its popular desktop PC personal finance software, Microsoft Money. Once installed on your Windows Mobile device, the program lets you synchronize data with the PC version of the program, and access it when you're away from the office. You can also get up-to-date stock quotes when you synchronize your device, or through a live Internet connection.

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 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:

Download free “Cool Stuff” from Microsoft

Microsoft has created a new site that offers free Windows Mobile downloads (windowsmobile.com/coolstuff). The site includes Ringtones, Wallpapers, Themes, Games, and Maps, Directions, Traffic.

Internet Relay Chat clients

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s report on the testing of the compliance of Internet Relay Chat clients with Windows Mobile 5 devices here.

Seamless playback of songs

There are a number of third-party MP3 players for Windows Mobile devices that offer seamless playback (without noiseless gaps between songs). These include iPlay (40th.com) and Pocket Music (pocketmind.com).

Finding the hardware accessories you need

The first place to look for hardware accessories is the Web site of the manufacturer of your Windows Mobile device or the wireless carrier that sold you the device.

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.

Create your own ringtones

If you aren't satisfied with the built-in ringtones or can't find one you like, read Kevin Ebi's article (microsoft.com/windowsmobile/articles/ringtones.mspx) on how to create your own.

Use your Pocket PC as a Web camera

Werner Ruotsalainen discusses the third-party application CoolCamera which uses the built-in camera as a Web camera. Click here for the article.

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.

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.