Spring Cleaning for the Windows Mobile User

Due to some unfortunate circumstances, I was unable to post any new blogs in May and June. I really missed out on some great topics, so I thought I might play as though I am being fashionably late and contribute anyway. Better late than never.

Although I try to keep my Pocket PCs or Smartphones “clean,” I sometimes find that I let old files and system junk build up. In the business world they say that around 85% of all paperwork is not needed. The same is true with our computer storage. Most of us tend to keep many files that no longer serve any purpose.

In order to ensure that I keep my mobile device running smoothly, I usually do some "Spring Cleaning" although it is not always just done in the spring or only once a year. My own practice is to do a complete clean up about 4 times annually.

Storage Cards

I usually begin with whatever storage card my particular mobile device uses. On my AT&T 8525 it is a single 4gb MicroSDHC card, but my iPaq hx2795 I have a CF card and several SD cards to clean. I go through each card looking for files, folders or other "junk" that I do not need. As my article, "Can a Smartphone Replace a Laptop?" indicates, I am a pretty heavy Smartphone user. I tend to carry everything I need with me so I collect a lot of files that I need to eventually purge.

If you are VERY short on space you may find that you have to be a bit ruthless when it comes to deleting files. When trying to decide if a particular file is needed, as yourself, "When was the last time I accessed this file?" Many of us have numerous files and folders that have not seen the light of day for many months. If it has been a great deal of time since a file was used, you may want to delete it or at least move it to a desktop PC or external storage medium. I have a 250gb external hard drive for my laptop that I use for files I am afraid to delete.

Smartphone Files

Once I have cleaned up my cards I move to the Smartphone or Pocket PC itself. I try to store as much as possible on external cards, but there are inevitably going to be files or application that have to be stored on the device itself. I tend to be more careful when cleaning the device itself as I have found myself with applications that no longer work properly because I had deleted a seemingly harmless or useless file. I stick to those files and folders that I am sure I do not need and try to avoid those of which I may be uncertain. If I am unsure whether I can delete a file or not, I simply move it to the storage card first so that I can replace it if it is critical to an application.

Some applications which store files will allow the user to change settings so that the files will be automatically stored to the external card. Check your application's setting to see if it has this option. Other applications may require you to move the files yourself or you may have to manually choose the location when saving the document or file.

Pocket Mechanic

My biggest secret (Shhh..don't tell anyone) when it comes to finishing a cleaning of my mobile device is the use of an application called Pocket Mechanic Professional. Available from Handango for $29.95 USD, this is truly some of the best money a Windows Mobile user can spend. The application allows the device owner to free RAM, benchmark storage cards, check and defragment storage cards, conduct a slack analysis, format cards, recover bad sectors, check for databases, find and delete duplicate files and duplicate notices, general file system cleanup, registry cleanup, uninstall applications, relocate applications and set automatic storage cache. Whew, it seems to do it all.

Typically I use Pocket Mechanic when I have manually removed my junk files because it helps me locate and eliminate those files I may not be completely sure I can remove. The most helpful items are the ability to free RAM, finding and deleting duplicate files and duplicates within the notification queue (which can sometimes cause problems in various applications as well as taking up space), file system cleanup, registry cleanup and for removing any unneeded applications. It is often amazing to me how many duplicate files, temporary files and other needless space wasters accumulate in my device over time. When every kilobyte counts, one needs all the help he/she can get.

Not every Windows Mobile user is what I would call a power-user and most simply want a device that does the few things they need from it. Relatively few want to spend a great deal of time going through folders and applications looking for stuff they no longer need. However, just a few minutes here and there can make a big difference in the performance of your device. There are many applications out there that can help device owners keep their Windows Mobile Smartphone or Pocket PC in top shape and peak performance. For more information I strongly recommend looking onto the applications available that have been assessed during the annual software awards. You may just find what you need.

Spring Cleaning

this is good in theory, but i'm thinking i'm like most users and have the harderst time getting rid of anything.

i tend to clean up and put all my old files on a removible drive someplace with the thought i might someday need that stuff.

i haven't yet, but you never know.

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