Random Tips and How-Tos

How to use the History list to go to sites you've visited before

The History list in Internet Explorer Mobile keeps track of the sites you’ve visited in the past. To go back to a site, tap it in the History list.

Spare power adapters for home, work, and travel

In order to enhance your Windows Mobile experience and add convenience, it is a good idea to have spare power adapters for your device. For instance, if you use your device for both work and personal use, it's more convenient to have adapters at work and at home, than to carry one back and forth.

Listen to Sirius or XM satellite radio on your device

With a subscription to Sirius or XM satellite radio, the proper software, and a live Internet connection, you can listen to commercial-free music and other satellite radio programming on your touch screen device. Here’s how you do it.
Sirius subscribers
  1. Download Sirius WM5 at geekstoolbox.com and install it on your device.

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.

Smartphones: Select the number of a menu option

The menus on non-touch screen smartphones have numbers associated with each menu option. Instead of scrolling through the menu to select your preferred option, you can press the number associated with it on the device’s keypad. This can save time, especially if you find that you are continually using the same option from a menu—once you commit that option’s number to memory, simply activate Menu and press the option number on the keypad.
Some menus on newer smartphones are truncated (see image).

How to install ActiveSync

Install ActiveSync (on Windows XP PCs) from the Companion CD that came with your device so that you can set up a partnership between your device and your PC. Insert the CD into your desktop PC’s CD-ROM and follow the on-screen instructions to install ActiveSync. When you are prompted to Get Connected, attach the device’s USB cable or cradle to the PC and connect your device to it.

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.

How to reestablish an ActiveSync partnership

If your Pocket PC has experienced a reset and loses its data, you can use your old ActiveSync partnership by creating a new one and using the same name as the previous one. Go to the Start >Settings >System tab >About >Device ID screen and type in the old name in the field.

Free themes for Windows Mobile devices

You can change the look of the Today or Home screen on any Windows Mobile device (2002 or later) by selecting a different “theme” file. Individual themes include a color scheme for menus and a background image for the Today screen. To change the theme, please see “How to customize the Today or Home screen” in the Learning section.
Windows Mobile devices come with a couple of default themes.

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.

Don’t write small characters when using Transcriber

When using Transcriber, don’t write your characters too small. The larger your text is, the more likely it is that Transcriber will translate it correctly. Don’t go overboard with this advice and fill the screen with a single letter. Just try writing a little bigger if you notice that you are getting a lot of translation mistakes.
Remember that you can write anywhere on the screen.

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

Cingular 3125 tips

Here are some key shortcuts and tips for Cingular 3125 users:

How to find the best software

Smartphone & Pocket PC magazine's Best Software Awards (pocketpcmag.com/awards) is a great place to check if you're looking for good software.

Using ClearType to make text more readable

ClearType is a text font setting that is built into touch screen devices that smoothes the edges of screen fonts to make the text more readable. Opinions vary widely on whether ClearType actually makes text more readable or not. This may be partly due to the various screen sizes and number of pixels that are available on different devices, which can cause the look of ClearType to vary slightly.
To turn ClearType on, go to Start >Settings >System tab, open the Screen configuration utility, and select the ClearType tab.

Access Clocks & Alarms directly from the Today screen

You can open the Clocks & Alarms Settings menu from the Today screen on touch screen devices by tapping on the date, which is located at the top of the screen directly under the Start menu. This lets you set an alarm, adjust date and time, or switch between Home and Visiting cities quickly without having to go through Start >Settings >Systems >Clock.

Encrypt your storage card

Storage card encryption lets you protect files saved to a storage card on your device. Once encrypted, the card can only be accessed from the encrypting device or via ActiveSync Explorer when the encrypting device is connected to a desktop PC.

Get a spare or optional extended battery

If you often find your battery level too low or notice that you're constantly recharging your device, you may want to consider purchasing an extended battery. These batteries are custom made for each Pocket PC or smartphone series and fit onto the back of your device.

Backing up Windows Mobile 5 devices

Read Werner Ruotsalainen’s complete overview and test of WM 5 backup solutions here.

How to customize application launch buttons

You can customize the application launch buttons to quickly access frequently used programs; go to Start >Settings >Buttons.