QUICK TIP: Changing the bar system color (the base hue) under WM5+

I’ve just been asked in the Smartphone & PPC Mag VIP section (where I’m the lead helper) of how you can easily change your upper / lower / scrollbar colors on WM5+ (WM5, WM6, WM6.1 etc.) Windows Mobile devices with touchscreens (NOT models without them!), also often referred to as the “base hue”.


What happened to the famous "ignore_my_docs" in WM5?

(Note that if you’ve never heard of ignore_my_docs, you can safely skip this article. It’s only meant for users of previous Windows Mobile operating systems that would like to know whether ignore_my_docs is still in effect.)

There is still a lot of confusion caused by ignore_my_docs explained for example in THIS (this is the most important article!), THIS and THIS threads / articles.


One of the BEST hacks of the year: Dial-up Networking Through Bluetooth Under WM5 AKU3 / WM6: at last, it’s WORKING, thanks to X

UPDATE (11/02/2007): There's a version specifically meant for the T-Mo Dash is at http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=340762 . Also, if you have a MS Smartphone (as opposed to a Pocket PC), it MUST be application unlocked for the hack to work. See for example See for example http://www.smartphonemag.com/blogs/index.php?blog=3&p=2004&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 for more links on application unlocking. Note that app unlocking is absolutely legal.

UPDATE (10/02/2007): there is an even better, easier-to-install and, what is more, even MS Smartphone (Windows Mobile Standard)-compatible hack. Just download the CAB file linked from THIS post (I’ve also mirrored it HERE, just to be on the safe side, should you not want to register at XDA-Dev to access the download), install it (by simply clicking it on your handheld), power down your device (if it’s a Pocket PC – in order to make sure the Registry changes are all flushed) and restart it.

This hack will add full BT DUN to both platforms. I’ve thoroughly tested it on both my WM6 HTC Universal (a Pocket PC) and WM6 HTC s710 / Vox (a Smartphone) and found it excellent. Note that the traditional, BT PAN-based Internet Sharing will still work alongside with the added BT DUN (tested on both devices).

Note that it has a minor annoyance. After you terminate the connection, you will still be unable to access the Net on the Pocket PC or Smartphone that you used as a modem (also see THIS and THIS for similar bug reports). The solution to this is pretty simple: instead of (lengthy and/or awkward) soft resetting your handheld, just make sure you tap either the data connection icon in Comm Manager (this seem to be sufficient with Smartphones) or, as with, it seems, with Pocket PC’s (like the Universal), just dis- and, then, re-enable the phone connection itself (or, alternatively, en-, and, then, re-disable Flight mode). This all makes this small bug easy to live with.

Finally, Smartphone users: remember NOT to long-press the Red dial button to lock your device – it’ll also terminate the call. Instead, use the standard lock menu accessible via the Power button.

There is also a tutorial on making USB connection work with Modem Link HERE, should it be messed up. Also, the entire thread might be worth giving a read, should you still have problems.

Thanks for FX Belloir for pointing out this hack!

(end of update, the now-outdated original article follows. This means you’ll want to prefer the new hack explained above, NOT the old one I still keep for historical purposes only. It's only the first sections, which explain what this is all about, are worth reading for casual users.)

Anyone having read my article New dial-up networking model of the WM5 AKU3 – a must if you use your WM phones as modems knows WM5 AKU3 (and, of course, WM6) has dramatically changed the way dial-up networking is handled – not necessarily in the good direction. (Please DO read the article if you don’t have a clue what I’m referring to and you have ever wanted to use your Windows Mobile handheld as a cellular modem!)

Microsoft, so far, haven’t really done anything to the problem, except for publishing an article (also discussed for example HERE). Therefore, hackers needed to concentrate their forces on solving the problem. After the first failed attempts (for example mine, as is explained in the first-linked article), at last, some excellent XDA-Developers folks have managed to enable this feature with a comparatively easy-to-do hack. I’ve developed the hack further, making it compatible with several handheld models and ROM versions (the previous version available at XDA-Developers doesn’t support the Universal, Wizard and, probably, several other models because it doesn’t do any forced Registry import – it might only be compatible with the P3600.)

The hack makes it possible to use most WM5 AKU3 / WM6 devices in the traditional (pre-WM5 AKU3) DUN dial-up method, in addition to the new, in WM5 AKU3 introduced Internet Sharing.

This means you can use BOTH technologies and can have the advantages of BOTH approaches. With the “traditional†DUN dial-up, you still have the freedom of NOT having to manually start / reconnect Internet Sharing AND the ability to use clients not supporting the BT Personal Area Network (PAN) profile required by the new Internet Sharing. And, as Internet Sharing is still supported, you can still have a real internet sharing approach, making it possible to use the Internet on both the Windows Mobile device acting as a modem and the client that connects to it (and can still have the other goodies Internet Sharing also offers: for example, the accessibility of the phone even with an ongoing Internet session.)

Again, it’s almost impossible to emphasize how important, how revolutional this hack is! If you’ve EVER tried to use your WM5 AKU3 / WM6 Windows Mobile phone as a modem you know Internet Sharing can be a REAL pain in the back, particularly if the client you’d like to use it from doesn’t support BT PAN.


New PhoneDaily article on forthcoming WM5 AKU3 upgrade



Now that Microsoft has, finally, officially released the forthcoming, by Windows Mobile 5 users, highly anticipated AKU3 (please read this article on what different AKU's are different in) for device manufacturers and rebranders, a lot of new articles have been published on it. The latest one worth checking out is that of Hong Kong-based website Phone Daily. The original article is here, the English "translation" of it here. (Note that BabelFish wasn't able to translate the original page; this is why I had to edit the original page and remove the implicit REFRESH tag to avoid BabelFish promptly switching to the main (Chinese) homepage of the site. The modified and, now, BabelFish-compliant page is here. Remembering this trick can be pretty useful when you plan to translate any page from Phone Daily - or, for that matter, any web site that is incompatible with BabelFish because of the quiuck redirection.)


Everything you need to know about USB networking in WM5 - UPDATED!

I’ve just updated my article on the USB networking model of WM5 originally published here with the latest AKU2.2+-related information.

To summarize the changes for people that aren’t interested in the technical details: in the latest, AKU 2.2 (or later) WM5 upgrades available for many HTC (i-mate, Qtek, T-Mobile, Cingular etc.) Pocket PC phones and some unconnected PDA’s like the Dell Axim x51v, it may be preferable to deactivate the, by default, enabled "Enable advanced network f


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.


Native (high-resolution) VGA on WM5 VGA devices – the long-awaited roundup and tutorial!


It has been a year since I’ve published VGA demystified - the definitive guide to OzVGA, SE_VGA and everything VGA-related (alternatives:MobilitySite, AximSite (the x50/x51 forum; the Tips and Tricks forum), PPC Magazine, FirstLoox, BrightHand), the definite guide to the native VGA mode. As the in the meantime released Windows Mobile 5 requires so-called ‘code signing’ for these kinds of things to work, there has been a lot of confusion about how WM5 devices should be run in native VGA mode. The situation was made even worse by the fact that AKU2 ROMs and ROM upgrades, released earlier this year, also added some new icons to repertoire of Windows Mobile, which resulted in old hacks’ not working flawlessly.

Because of the tremendous (and because I’m one of the guys that know the most about the secrets of the native VGA mode) demand for a new, updated version of the above-linked VGA demystified guide, I’ve allocated some time to elaborate on this subject a bit and to test all the currently available solutions and hacks. This means I’ve tested all the available hacks on all my three VGA WM5 Pocket PC’s (HP iPAQ hx4700 (2.01), HTC Universal and Dell Axim x51v (A12)), taking a LOT of time and effort (because I’ve kept hard resetting these devices between installing other hacks).

First and foremost, now that there are some really nice packages (I'll also refer to them as "OzVGA builds" or "versions" as they're all contain the OzVGA front-end to switch between the two VGA modes and for configuration) to make the installation easy, using the hack on WM5 devices is in no way more complicated than on the previous operating system version WM2003SE.


Any Compact Flash / SDIO radio cards to support WM5?

Upon a blog reader's question, I've investigated whether there are WM5-compliant Compact Flash / SDIO radio cards.

Fortunately, there are. Please see this (the Comments section) for more information.


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


UPDATE (03/27/2007): under WM6 (at least on the HTC Universal), Ramdisks are permanent in that they don't need to be recreated. However,

  1. they DO forget their content through resets
  2. they can NOT be disabled; for example, the Unload link didn't work; neither did trying to remove / rename the two related files in \Windows. It seems a hard (clean) reset is the only way to get rid of it. Beware when installing it on a WM6 device!

UPDATE (08/03/2006): make sure you don't miss http://www.smartphonemag.com/blogs/index.php?blog=3&p=1096&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 !

Anyone having read my articles (see for example this one) on the (dis)advantages of the new Windows Mobile 5 operating system know the memory/storage model of the operating system doesn’t at all let for (even temporary) storage kept in the very fast, albeit scarce and volatile dynamic RAM.

RAM disks can help this situation. They allow for allocating some (with current 64 MByte Pocket PC’s) 2…10 Mbytes of RAM (with 128M RAM Pocket PC’s, figures can be entirely different and there can even be 96 Mbyte-big RAM disks) and map it as a stand-alone drive in the file system as if it were a real storage card.

Being a “real†drive letter means it will not only be represented by a subdirectory in the file system (as can be seen in this screenshot) but also the standard, built-in CAB (program) installer will offer the ability to install your new apps there as can be seen in this Dell Axim x51v (note that the lack of the “available disk space†is not a bug caused by the RAM disk but the A12 ROM version of x51v itself; without the RAMdisk, it behaves exactly the same way as can be seen in here), HP iPAQ hx4700 and HTC Wizard screenshots.

What do RAM disks offer? For example extracting CAB files or other archives, transferring files from the desktop to the PDA or relocating your Web browser’s cache there. In the next chapter, I elaborate on these questions more thoroughly.


WM5 “ROM Kitchen” is out with support to Himalaya, Wizard and Blue Angel devices, thanks to the excellent buzzdev.net folks!

Anyone that have had a pre-WM5 HTC Phone Edition device and have ever tried to hack it (or have read through XDA-Developers / BuzzDev) have hear about “ROM Kitchenâ€s.

They give complete freedom to (supported) Pocket PC Phone Edition users to build up their own ROM image. This way, you can store (and leave out) any add-on application you like.


Everything you need to know about flushing the Registry and WindowsCE databases under Windows Mobile 5

I’m constantly asked about why I keep telling users to power off (suspend; “full†power off is an overkill and is not needed!) their Pocket PC’s after making some registry changes and before resetting their Pocket PC’s. As the answer also contains some really interesting stuff highly useful particularly to WM5 users that have a non-natively WM5 Pocket PC (the Dell Axim x50(v), the hx4700 or the WM2003SE-based HP iPAQ hx2xxx series), I devote an entire article to it.

(Executive) Summary

If you have a non-native WM5 device with WM5, you will really want to read at least the second part of this article so that you can make the “filesys†burden (the worst thing on all non-native WM5 Pocket PC’s) lesser.

If you’re a Pocket PC guru/hacker and (also) interested in how WM5 works, the first part of the article will be of definite interest to you too. Note that understanding it is not needed for casual WM5 users to implement the changes in the second part!


Ever wanted to play the great, free multiplayer game Wyvern on your Pocket PC? I have great news for you!

It was only some days ago that I reported about the new version of free Java Virtual Machine (JVM), Mysaifu, being able to run Wyvern, the great multiplayer game. Now, I have even better news for people that have pre-Windows Mobile 5 (WM5) devices – CrEme, another JVM, also runs the game. What is more, as one would expect, it runs the game as if it were a native Pocket PC application; that is, much faster than Mysaifu.


Web site won't let your Windows Mobile 5 device in? Here's a fix

Windows Mobile 5 and Internet Explorer Mobile Identification in the Registry

In my previous article on how Pocket Internet Explorer (of which the new name is Internet Explorer Mobile (IEM for short) under Windows Mobile 5 (WM5)) computes the request headers (of which you can also seen some examples of in this article - with alternative browsers too), I've elaborated on this under pre-WM5 operating systems.

In this article, I do the same - now with WM5. The affected registry keys are slightly modified here (a 5.0 has been added in the name) - and also a new Templates subkey has been added.


New Versions of Fastest, WM5-compliant, Pocket Internet Explorer applet plugin-enabled Java Virtual Machine, CrEme, out!


I've reported today of the new Mysaifu version. After having published the article, I've noticed that NSICom has released two, brand new versions of their CrEme JVM – now, with WM5 compliance. CrEme is the fastest Java Virtual Machine (JVM) out with moderate system requirements and is, therefore, really worth checking out, particularly if you want to use the great bandwidth reduction tool Toonel or Java applets in Internet Explorer Mobile. The previous versions of CrEme didn't work at all under WM5; they complained about not being able to load gfw/gfwconf and immediately exit. Fortunately, that's no longer the case – the new versions are WM5-compliant and work just great! No article from me without thorough compliance testing. Let's see right away how the new version behaves in the most important usage areas of Pocket PC JVM's!


iPAQ hx4700 WM5 upgrade delayed (again)


It was today that HP announced some weeks ago to release the WM5 upgrade on. Unfortunately, some days ago HP has (silently) changed the date to 'Due March 2006' from '1-3-2006' at their WM5 upgrade page. That is, hx4700 users: you'll need to wait further for the upgrade.


Fundamental ActiveSync networking differences between WM5 and previous WM versions

In my previous article on the secrets of ActiveSync-based Pocket PC networking, I've elaborated on the pre-Windows Mobile 5 Internet pass-through capabilities of ActiveSync.

As has been stated there, the ActiveSync Internet pass-through is in no way a full-fledged Internet connection. In no way can you access a Pocket PC through a simple, plain ActiveSync connection as a TCP/IP device.

With Windows Mobile 5 (WM5 for short) devices, the situation has changed a lot. Now, they're recognized as an entirely different, fully-fledged network card by Windows, as can be seen in this screenshot.

Also, if you, with, say, the great, (for individuals) free networking utility, vxUtil, check the IP it got from ActiveSync of your Pocket PC, you will see that it's no longer (the IP ActiveSync gives to pre-WM5 devices) but a "true" local network IP; in this case, The services of this PDA will, therefore, be fully accessible to your desktop computer (in this screenshot, you can see I can directly ping my WM5 PDA from my desktop computer) and, if you configure your desktop computer to forward ports (please read my previous article on the meaning of this!) to the PDA, to the entire outside world.

This means Windows Mobile 5 devices connected to desktop Windows PC's via ActiveSync are, now, fully accessible by TCP/IP-based applications. You don't need to build a(n additional) Bluetooth PAN or ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection between the two devices any more for the Pocket PC to become accessible.

The importance of this can't be stressed enough: a lot of - with pre-WM5 devices totally impossible - tasks become really easy:


Internet Explorer Mobile Plug-Ins and WM5 Compliance

You may have heard about MultiIE, PIEPlus, Spb Pocket Plus and/or ftxPBrowser. These excellent applications add a lot of really-needed functionality to the built-in Pocket Internet Explorer (it's called Internet Explorer Mobile, IEM for short, in Windows Mobile 5) browser; most importantly, the ability to use several windows (tabs) at the same time, meaning to be able to browse/download/fetch several Web pages parallelly.

You may want to check out the Pocket PC Web Browser Bible linked from the Recommended Reading section to find out what these four plug-ins are capable of.

Under Windows Mobile 5 (WM5 for short) the plug-in situation is quite different from that of the previous operating systems. This is why I've decided to elaborate on the WM5 compliance a little bit.


Windows Mobile 5: How do I modify the default scrolling behaviour of Web browsers?

Windows Mobile 5 (WM5 for short) users may have noticed that the default scrolling behaviour of Internet Explorer Mobile (IEM for short) has been modified to make it possible for touchscreen-less (say, Microsoft Smartphone) users to navigate over links. That is, if you press up or down on the D-pad (direction pad) of your Pocket PC, only the next link will be highlighted, not the entire page scrolled. This is diametrically opposed to the approach of earlier operating system versions and can be really frustating for people that would like to scroll one page at a time, without needing to keep track where they were.

In addition to IEM, two of the four (not counting in Opera Mini) alternative Web browsers also suffer from this problem.

It's for them that I've written this step-by-step tutorial discussing all the available Pocket PC Web browsers and the ways of making them scroll one page at a time via the D-pad. Hope they'll find the tutorial useful.


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