Dell Axim x50(v), hx4700, hx2xxx users, attention: WM5+ automatic Filesys.exe patcher released!

I’ve published several articles on the Filesys.exe compaction problems. At first, I had the time to release (manually) custom-patched throttler apps for people requesting them in e-mails. (Sorry for all the folks that I simply didn’t have the time for. I’ve been very-very busy lately – not that I’d complain: given the current economic situation, it’s great to have any kind of a (decent) job.)

Some months ago, XDA-Devs forum member “cook” has written a quick patcher app that does this (semi-)automatically.


The HP iPAQ 210 – an in-depth review

Without doubt, during its almost four-year lifespan, the HP iPAQ hx4700 has turned out to be the best "traditional" (phone-less) high-resolution (640 * 480, also known as VGA) Pocket PC ever released certainly filling in a very important market segment: that of the comparatively (but not too) large VGA screens. The reasons for this are well-known when you compare it to the alternatives:
  1. Compared to the Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 718 / 720, the major advantage of the hx4700 is the sheer existence of a WM5 / WM6 / WM6.1 upgrade. On top of that, the larger screen, the quality magnesium casing and the faster CPU with a graphics co-processor greatly helping in playing back MPEG4 Part 2 (a.k.a. ASP / DivX / XviD) videos, on the long run, made it the winner (while this wasn't certain back in 2004-2005; the author of this article has also chosen, back then, the Loox 720 over the hx4700). Of course, it has had major problems compared to the Loox: the touchpad, initially, the higher price, the very low speaker volume (while the Loox has been one of the loudest ever PDA’s around), the lack of a camera (even if the one in the 720 isn’t anything to write home about, quality-wise) and the lack of USB host support. These problems, however, are easily mitigated by the really excellent WM6.1 upgrades released in the last few months. As the Loox isn’t upgradable to WM5, several current software titles (like Esmertec Jbed to run MIDlets like Opera Mini) just can’t be run on it.
  2. It’s too better than the Dell Axim x50v/x51v. The Dell has vastly inferior battery life, much-much worse screen almost useless in Landscape for many users because of the major polarization issues, the plastic, thick body and the x50v WM5 upgrade having major compaction issues (as was the case with pre-WM6.1 hx4700 upgrades, though). The only real advantage, in addition to the louder buzzer, th emore gaming-friendly D-pad controller and (at least in the U.S.) lower price of the Dell is the Intel 2700G support, offering both excellent 3D hardware acceleration and great help in playing back ASP videos.
Note that I don’t even list for example the Asus 730(w) and the Toshiba e830, which all had major problems (for example, the laughable battery life of the Asus, the washed-out screen of the Toshi and the lack of WM5+ upgrades for both models) compared to the hx4700 and are now completely forgotten. Over the years, because of HTC’s (the major Windows Mobile manufacturer of today) reluctance to produce anything similar to the hx4700, Windows Mobile users preferring a large (and quality) VGA screen had to stick with the hx4700. That is, if you wanted a 4" VGA screen but not significantly bigger (adding serious bulk: see the HTC Advantage / x7500/x7510 or even the even bigger and really expensive, SVGA [800*600] HTC Shift) and nothing less (4" is far better on a VGA device than 3.6", particularly when used in native VGA mode or an app not supporting large characters – for example, Opera Mini run under the MIDlet managers of Esmertec like the Jbed), your only choice has been the hx4700. Fortunately, the (software) bugs of the hx4700 have all been fixed during these years; the author of this having been one of the most widely-known "hackers" having discovered several ways of fixing the issues with the official WM5 upgrades. The major problem of compaction slowdown has also been fixed in the WM 6.1 upgrade released some months ago. Yes, you will no longer see lengthy compactions if you upgrade to WM6.1. The huge advantages and seamless operation of the WM6.1 upgrade(s) clearly make the HP iPAQ hx4700 one of the most recommended handsets for users opting for sufficiently, but not too large (4") VGA screens. Let’s see how its successor, the brand new HP iPAQ 210 compares to it. This comparison is of extreme importance because several ex-hx4700 users consider upgrading to the new device. The - without doubt - tempting price (around $400-$450 but, if you live in Canada or don't mind buying from there, you can get it for as low as $350) of the new model (which is almost half of the, originally, really overpriced hx4700) is also very hard to resist. Thanks to Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine publisher Hal Goldstein, I’ve been given a HP iPAQ 210. I wouldn’t have myself bought it because I already have the hx4700 – also from Hal – and just couldn’t justify the expense for such a not-that-major upgrade (I better save money for the S-E Xperia X1, the Acer/E-TEN v900 or the Gigabyte MS808 with their goodies like WVGA screen (X1) or TV receiver (the latter two models)). I never sell my past PDA’s and phones (because I want to be able to provide first-hand info on even past models), unlike most other people. This means I don’t "upgrade" but pay full price for another toy to play with. That is, you need to thank Hal for this article (and my past articles on the hx4700) :) Of course, immediately after receiving the new iPAQ, I’ve started testing it. In this article, I elaborate on my experiences with my new toy. Note that this article is in no way a full review of all features of the new device. Should you want to have a more gentle introduction to the new iPAQ, read for example Brighthand’s or Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine’s review. This article mostly targets past hx4700 users who would like to know whether it’s worth selling the old iPAQ and upgrading to the new.


WM 6.1 upgrade & SDHC-compliance report: x51v, hx4700, Universal, Wizard

As promised in my previous article, I’ve taken a deep look at the latest Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrades for the Dell Axim x51v, HP iPAQ hx4700, HTC Universal and HTC Wizard. All the reviewed ROM versions are based on Windows Mobile 5.2.19209 (Build 19209.1.0.2). I run some VERY thorough SDHC conformance tests because, unfortunately, most (as far as the reviewed models are concerned, all – note that, in this regard, I haven’t tested the Universal) plain WM5 / WM6 devices can NOT be easily made SDHC-compliant. This means you MUST upgrade these devices to some of the newer ROMs (including the ones I’ve reviewed) in order to gain SDHC support. Note that I’ve devoted a separate section (at the end) to my test results showing the results of my trying to “hack†the non-WM6.1 ROM-based devices to accept SDHC cards with the latest hacks available.


HP iPAQ hx4700 users, here’s something you will LOVE – YES, a REAL, GREAT WM5 AKU 3.5 (!!!) upgrade!!!!

It seems Russia can’t be beaten when it comes to hobbyist programmers & hackers (in the good meaning of the word, of course). It was just a few days ago that I’ve reviewed the best Sinclair Spectrum emulator ever written, UnrealSpeccyPPC, of Russian origin, and, now, a brand new ROM version has been released for the HP iPAQ hx4700, with all the additional goodies WM5 AKU 3.5 has (much faster IEM, Messaging no longer having IMAP outbox storage issues etc.) - and, of course, GREATLY enhanced performance.

The previous, official hx4700 WM5 upgrades are both slow (because of REALLY lengthy compaction sessions), unreliable (in many occasions, they require a lengthy soft reset to resume) and outdated (being the heavily outdated AKU1.1 only). Fortunately, some Russian coders / hackers have saved us and given us a REALLY good, fast and up-to-date (AKU3.5) upgrade.

Indeed this ROM version is a BIG step ahead of the original AKU 1.1 coming with the last (and, unfortunately, final), 2.01 (2.03) ROM upgrade officially released by HP.

I’ve dedicated SEVERAL, well-known articles to the WM5 upgrade of the HP iPAQ hx4700 (see for example THIS) and I know pretty much everything about WM5 running on the model. Therefore, I was anxious to flash my hx4700 (for which I’d like to thank Hal Goldstein of Smartphone & PPC Mag again) to start testing.

First, let me elaborate on the (dis)advantages of the new version compared to the official (2.01/03) one. Note that the current, tested upgrade version is dated at 24-06-2007. If you have an older version, you WILL want to upgrade.


The new version just can’t be compared to the old, 2.01 (2.03) ROM version. It’s far superior in EVERY respect:


Having problems with your WM5-upgraded hx4700 and HT820? + other A2DP news & links

Based on the hacks I've published in my tutorial You have skipping or other problems with your stereo Bluetooth headphones? Read this!, FirstLoox forum member "colocomp" has managed to fix the issues with his WM5-upgraded HP iPAQ hx4700 and Motorola HT820.


First impressions of the Plantronics Pulsar 590A Bluetooth stereo headphone

Bought my shiny, new Plantronics Pulsar 590A some hours ago, and, apart from finishing my latest Web browser-related article, I've jumped at it right away.

My initial impressions (after some hours of playing with the device):


Are WM5 devices indeed slow to boot in?

When the first WM5 devices hit the shelves, people found them very slow to boot in compared to even the (compared to PPC2k/ PPC2k2 devices, which booted in after a reset almost instantenously) already "slow" WM2003/WM2003SE devices.

Fortunately, the situation has, in cases, dramatically changed with the later released ROM upgrades, which is best seen on the example of the HTC Wizard. All the measurements have been made on freshly hard reset devices without installing anything and just measuring the time it takes from resetting the device to opening the Start menu.


Some new power consumption measurements (Dell Axim x51v, HP iPAQ hx4700, Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 720, HTC Universal, HTC Wiz

I’ve constantly been receiving requests (see for example this thread) to publish more and more power consumption measurements of current Pocket PC devices. Here you are :)

First, please read at least this article (if you haven’t already done so) to understand what this article is all about. I also highly recommend the other articles I’ve linked in from the Recommended links section.


A brand new, 2.01-compliant set of iPAQ hx4700 filesys.exe throttlers released!

Now that I had some time to collect all the PI’s of the filesys.exe-related processes on HP iPAQ hx4700 devices with the 2.01 ROM version (please see this article for more info on this specific ROM version), I’ve recompiled the filesys throttler.

They are available HERE.


The new HP iPAQ hx4700 WM5 upgrade: Questions & Answers

UPDATE (07/14/2007): this article is no longer up-to-date. Check out THIS instead.
(end of update.)

Due to popular demand (particularly here in the blog, at Pocket PC Thoughts, MobilitySite and BrightHand), I summarize what needs to be known about the new upgrade.

Note that by "new" and "2.01" I refer to the new patch available here; by "old" and "2.0" I refer to the upgrade CD orderable here.


OK iPAQ hx4700 WM5 folks, here are the promised results of the second test

Here's a continuation of my earlier test results published earlier today showing how the new, 2.0.1 HP iPAQ hx4700 WM5 upgrade behaves when the storage memory is actively and continuously written to. In the previous test, I've tested how an upgraded device with a clean main storage memory behaves; in the current one, I test how it behaves when the main storage memory is about 50% full.

A long story cut short: you should avoid filling in the main storage memory of the device, just like with the previous WM5 version.

More verbosely, the benchmark / test results:


The first real filesys.exe benchmark results of the new WM5 upgrade for the HP iPAQ hx4700

As I’ve been promising here, over at Pocket PC Thoughts and MobilitySite, I’ve made some extensive benchmarks on the new, 2.0.1 WM5 upgrade of the HP iPAQ hx4700. The first results are here; more to come.

DockWare heavy writing / deletion test, almost clean storage

(Please read this essential article to see how I’ve measured all this and how the chart should be interpreted!)

Almost entirely clean inner memory (about 2.5 Mbytes of user files – including the default DockWare pictures in \My Documents and the two executables \Program Files\ DockWare\ DockWare.exe and \Program Files \ WebIS\ PocketInformant\ PocketInformant.exe, which are all in user storage and can be deleted; Resco File and Registry Explorer/Editor installed into a storage card and Pocket Controller Professional 5.06 build 866 installed into the main storage) case with the DockWare (active writing and deletion) test, the new, 2.0.1 ROM version, the first 3.2 hours:


A quick question to hx4700 WM5 users

If you still haven't upgraded your hx4700 to the brand new, 2.0.1 WM5 version but you're still using the old, 2.0 one, could you please mail me / upload the \Program Files\Dockware\DockWare.exe present on the original, 2.0 WM5 HP iPAQ hx4700 version?

(If you mail it, rename it to, say, TXT or JPG before attaching it to your mail so that it gets through more reliably.


New WM5 upgrade out for the WM5-upgraded HP iPAQ hx4700!


It’s available here. The MobilitySite hx4700 community has reported a really good performance increase. I’ll test it and report on it as soon as possible.


This is how you can store your ActiveSync-synchronized Outlook mail on your storage card! Dell Axim x50, HP iPAQ hx4700 and hx2x

For a long time, I’ve thought there is no way of relocating ActiveSync-synchronized Outlook mail (that is, mail that ActiveSync synchronizes from/with your desktop Outlook; not to be confused with mail you download straight from your POP3/IMAP mailboxes on your PDA without any ActiveSync synchronization!) to memory cards.

Now, the situation has changed – you can store all your mail bodies (not just the attachments) on storage cards! This is handy for everyone (to lessen the load on the main storage) and particularly for people that have upgraded their ‘legacy’ WM2003SE Dell or HP devices to WM5.

Importance for WM5-upgraded Dells and HP devices

This hack is of extreme importance to Dell Axim x50(v), HP iPAQ hx4700, hx2x1x and hx275x users that have upgraded to WM5. As I’ve pointed out several times (for example here), you MUST reduce writing/deletion to/from the Flash ROM for these devices to be usable (that is, to avoid the filesys.exe compaction ‘kicking in’). This also means avoiding synchronizing Outlook mail with WM5-upgraded devices because, by default, they are all stored in the main storage. Now, with this hack, you can freely and safely synchronize your mail on these devices without lengthy filesys.exe compactions!

And, of course, the hack is very important for anyone wanting to store more than a handful of his or her mails on his or her PDA to keep the built-in free memory as large as possible, independent of the Pocket PC model.

The solution


The never-ending story of the hx4700 WM5 upgrade – a lot of new tests, tips and myth-busting!

UPDATE (08/01/2006): now that the WM5 2.0.1 ROM upgrade for the hx4700 AND a usable RAM disk are out, you may want to check out the following articles first:

The WM5 RAMDisk, compatible with (almost) every WM5 device, is here!

Test reports - Part I

Test reports - Part II

Nevertheless, the original article is worth reading. However, keep in mind that it refers to version 2.0, NOT the latest, 2.0.1 ROM version!

The original article:

Avid readers of my blog may have noticed the additional patches and tweaks posted by readers to the inherent WM5 problems of the HP iPAQ hx4700 Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) upgrade. As there’s a big need for reports on them, and non-English forums has also proved to be worth checking out for fixes never posted to international, English sites (sometimes – for example, with Chinese forums - with a lot of guesswork :) – much as I understand spoken Japanese, Kanjis are an unknown area for me), I haven’t abandoned the question of the hx4700 WM5 upgrade. Two weeks ago, I’ve started testing all these tweaks to see whether they are of any good. Hereby I present the results.

Executive Summary

I have pretty good news for you all. With the (proper) hacks and clever usage of the PDA, you’ll be able to heavily reduce the load and greatly speed up your device. You will only need to make sure:

  1. don’t install anything in the main memory and make sure you delete (for example, help files in \Windows) or relocate (for example, resource files) everything possible from there
  2. use programs that don’t (mass-)write to the main memory (for example, don’t use Messaging and make sure you disable or upgrade DockWare)
  3. as there is, contrary to what some people say, no RAMDisk or anything similar, you have to live with the system slowdowns, particularly after heavy storage writes like installing programs; this, as has already been pointed out, can be made pretty tolerable
  4. you can definitely speed up the system with additional registry hacks


Some quick tips: HP iPAQ hx4700, bright, front LEDs and the Stowaway BT keyboard

I’ve run into a small problem today while working on my new, big article on the hx4700 WM5 tips and tricks. I’ve installed the new, 4.5 version of the ThinkOutside Stowaway BT keyboard (original link here; I’ve also made the CAB only accessible here (245k, as opposed to 1.6Mbytes) to save bandwidth) on my WM5 hx4700.


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