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Windows Mobile - Help and Advice

Help and Advice on Microsoft's Windows Mobile Operating System

This page contains information on Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform, with links to useful online web resources, frequently asked questions, reviews, and recommended applications.

Windows Mobile is Microsoft's operating system that powers newer handheld PDAs and mobile phones. Windows Mobile includes a host of features, such as a web browser, email application, media player, diary, address book and a whole load of other useful applications.

There are two key versions of the Windows Mobile Operating System:

  • Windows Mobile , Pocket PC - Designed for PDAs and mobile phones with touchscreen
  • Windows Mobile, Smartphone Edition - Designed for mobile phones. No touchscreen

Here, we take an overview of the Pocket PC version of Windows Mobile, including the built-in programs. We also look at some devices that are powered by Windows Mobile, and answer some of your frequently-asked questions.

We also have a page dedicated to Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition

Windows Mobile Applications:

A selection of screenshots of Windows Mobile in action:

Internet Explorer
Email on the move
MSN instant messanger
Media player video

Buying a Windows Mobile device?

Looking to buy a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone? Try some of these links to make sure you get a good bargain...

  • Buy online: If you're looking to buy online, try the following mainstream stores first: PC World, and Amazon.

  • Price compare: Try an online price comparison at Kelkoo to find a cheaper price.
  • Bargains: Try bidding for a cheap PDA or accessories at or


Some Windows Mobile Devices

o2 XDA Trion - Combined PDA and mobile phone

The XDA Trion from mobile phone operator o2 follows in the line of o2's successful range of mobile phone / PDA devices. As well as being a high-powered Windows Mobile PDA, it's also a high-powered quad-band mobile phone with 3G and GPRS for Internet and Email access, has onboard Wi-fi, a megapixel camera and a nifty little sliding keyboard.

  • Connectivity: Quad Band mobile, 3G, GPRS , Bluetooth & Wi-fi
  • Camera: Built-in camera (stills and video)
  • Screen: Colour touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 112 x 58 x 22mm, Weight 176g
  • Processor: 400MHz

The o2 XDA Trion is available free on contract from

o2 XDA Trion

o2 XDA Orbit - Combined PDA and mobile phone

From the same manufacturer of the o2 XDA Trion, this is a high-spec mobile phone and PDA in one package. As well as being a GPRS-enabled mobile phone, it has the Windows Mobile 5.0 software, has a built-in GPS receiver for satellite navigation, has built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth, and a 2 megapixel camera. Released in November 2006, this is a top PDA/mobile in a tiny package.

  • OS: Windows Mobile 6.0
  • Connectivity: Quad-band mobile, GPRS , Bluetooth , Wi-fi, USB
  • Camera: Built-in 2 Megapixel camera
  • Screen: Colour touchscreen
  • Memory: 64 MB SDRAM, 128 MB ROM

Available from: O2's online store (o2 XDA Orbit) or from T-Mobile (MDA Compact III), free on selected tariffs.

See our o2 XDA Orbit for more details

o2 XDA Orbit

Dell Axim X51 Pocket PC Lowest Price!

  • OS: Windows Mobile 5.0
  • Expansion: SD / CF card slot
  • Display: 3.5" (240x320 pixel) TFT touchscreen
  • Memory: 64MB models available
  • Power: Removable Li-ion battery
  • Connectivity: USB / Bluetooth and Wi-fi

Availability: Now, priced upwards of £220 inc. delivery from Dell consumer site.

Dell Axim X51

Hewlett Packard IPAQ HX 2490

  • OS: Windows Mobile 5.0
  • Expansion: SD Card slot
  • Display: 240x320 pixel touchscreen
  • Memory: 128MB memory
  • Navigation: Touch screen, four-way navigator
  • Battery life: Removable, rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Processor: 520MHz
  • Connectivity:Bluetooth and wireless Wi-fi
IPAQ 4HX2490

T-Mobile MDA Range Combined PDA and mobile phone
T-Mobile offer a range of Windows Mobile devices, with the MDA range. There's a Compact, Vario and Pro

Below is some information on MDA Vario (Pictured)

  • OS: Windows Mobile 2005
  • Connectivity: Quad-band mobile, GPRS , Bluetooth , Wi-fi, USB, IR
  • Camera: Built-in 1 megapixel camera
  • Screen: Colour touchscreen
  • Memory: 64 MB SDRAM, 128 MB ROM

The MDA range is available free on some tariffs. One of the advantages of getting an MDA, is that you can sign to the T-Mobile Web ' n' Walk tariff, which offers some of the best data transfer deals at the moment.

More on the MDA range at

T-Mobile MDA Vario

Can't find the above products?


Windows Mobile Software to check out:

There's a huge range of Windows Mobile software available from third-parties, to cater for all interests. Check out for a huge range of Windows Mobile software.

Here are a couple of our favourites:

Navigating with TomTom

TomTom Navigator. Excellent route planning software from mobile navigation experts, TomTom.

In-car navigation is big business with satellite navigation systems running into thousands of pounds. If you happen to have a Pocket PC, you can achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost, thanks to TomTom Navigator.

You can use this software to replace your in-car map books, and as a searchable street directory, but it comes into its own when coupled with a GPS receiver. You can plan a route to your chosen destination, and when your journey starts, see a moving representation of your car as you travel - best of all, you'll get spoken turn-by-turn directions, so you can't make a wrong turn. Works great on the o2 XDA Orbit phone, which has a built-in GPS receiver.

TomTom Navigator also runs on Windows Mobile Smartphone, Symbian OS devices and Palm OS PDAs.

For more on TomTom Navigator, see our Navigator page.

DigiGuide, via Avantgo - Forget buying TV listings magazines, or struggling with the TV section of the daily newspaper, by getting daily TV and radio listings synched to your Pocket PC or Palm PDA. There are two offerings, the Radio Times handheld, or DigiGuide. Our favourite is the Digiguide offering. Firstly, it's cheaper than the BBC's offering, but it offers up to a month's worth of programme listings, allows you to mark your favourite shows (and get an email reminder if you like), and it has a companion online service, so you can search listings from your web browser. Best still, if you have a complex channel line-up (such as a Sky package), you can type in names of favourite series (past and present), and see if and when they get repeated on any channel - occasionally that old classic sitcom will get repeated somewhere - and you'll be in the know.
For details, see the Radio & Telly Guide page

Windows Mobile FAQs

How can I transfer data from another PDA? Moving data from one PDA to another, or trying to convert a non-standard file into Pocket PC format can be troublesome. As it's such a common question, we've created a dedicated conversion page. If the information on this page isn't useful, or we're missing a format, please let us know.
Looking for software? Check out www.handango.comfor a huge range of Windows Mobile software. If they don't have what you need, try
Installing software Looking for help with software installation, or ActiveSync? See our dedicated ActiveSync page
Copying files to/from a Windows Mobile

If you have files on your computer that you'd like to copy to your Pocket PC, there are several ways to achieve this:

  • PPC Mobile DeviceActiveSync - Certainly the easiest option, you make use of the Pocket PC's ActiveSync software supplied with your Pocket PC. When your Pocket PC is docked with the desktop, you'll find you can use the connection to copy files using drag-and-drop. Go to Windows "My Computer", and you should see a "Mobile Device" icon. Double-click on this icon, and it should open up the files and folders on the Pocket PC.
  • Infrared - If your Pocket PC and desktop computer (or other PDA, phone, etc) both have infrared, you can beam files to and from your Pocket PC. It's a case of lining up the infrared windows and using the appropriate software the beam files
  • Bluetooth - If your desktop computer and Pocket PC have Bluetooth, you can beam files in either direction. For more on Bluetooth, see our Bluetooth Pocket PC section
  • Memory card - If your Pocket PC takes memory cards (such as MMC or SD), you could get a card reader for your PC, and use that to transfer files
  • Email - A last resort, but you could email files to an email account, and then configure the Pocket PC to download emails from that account. Not ideal, but may help if you're trying to get a small file and away from your normal desktop. More on using Email on our connectivity page.
Looking for accessories?

For a good range of spares and accessories, we recommend you try Partmaster - Spare styli, cases, Memory cards, leads and batteries can all be found on the Partmaster site for to-the-door delivery.

Also recommended for accessories is, or you can try bidding for a bargain on

Activesync problems

For problems with ActiveSync, see our page dedicated to Microsoft's PC synchronisation solution, Activesync

I need help connecting

We offer some pages of help on this, as follows:

Help with Bluetooth PPC screenBluetooth allows you to connect to mobile phones, PCs and other compatible devices without wires. Some Pocket PC devices come with Bluetooth built-in, and some can use attachable, CF or SD card Bluetooth modules.
For help with Bluetooth connectivity for your Pocket PC, see our Bluetooth page.
Help with MMS If you're looking for help setting up your Windows mobile device for picture messaging (MMS), take a look at the entry on our MMS Useful Info page
Help with wi-fi If you're looking to set your Pocket PC up to connect to the Internet or to your desktop PC using 802.11 wireless networking, see our dedicated WiFi page.
Bluetooth headset

Plantronics 640We've been asked for help showing how to connect a Windows Mobile PPC to a Bluetooth headset, for hands-free voice calls. Here, we'll walk through how to connect - we're connecting an o2 XDA Orbit PPC with a Plantronics Discovery 640 (pictured - excellent value from Amazon or Misco.)

  • Switch on the phone's Bluetooth - 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'Connections' > 'Bluetooth', then set 'Bluetooth' to 'On'
  • Turn on the Bluetooth headset and set it to "discoverable" , so it can be 'paired' to the phone. On the Plantronics headset, 'pairing' is enabled by holding down the Call button until it goes Blue, then flashes red/blue. Refer to your headset manual if in doubt.
  • On the PPC, scan for the headset - From within 'Bluetooth', got to the 'Devices' tab and select 'Add new device...', then wait while it scans. When found, select it and press 'Next'
  • On the next screen, you're asked for the headset's four digit passcode. On our Plantronics, this is '0000' but check your headset manual if in doubt. Then press Next.
  • There an option top set a name for the headset, and make it hands-free.
  • Select Finish when completed

You should now be paired, and ready for action.

Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or Flickr?

Looking to use a social networking site such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or Flickr? It should be possible to access the major social networking sites from your Windows Mobile device.

If you're looking for information on social networking on your mobile, or for some screenshots of these applications, check out our Mobile Social Networking page.

Where are my backups stored on the PC Try: c:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\ActiveSync\Profiles
ARM, MIPS or Sh3 ?

If you come across Pocket PC software asking you to pick one of these three options, the one to go for is almost certainly ARM. These options represent earlier days of Pocket PC development, where an application had to be compiled for a specific processor. Just about all of the Pocket PC 2002 / 2003 devices are 'ARM' (including IPAQ and Loox). Early Casio Cassiopeia were MIPS and the early HP Jornadas were Sh3.
If you see software making this distinction, it indicates the software may have been complied a few years ago, and therefore may not run on the latest machines. If in doubt, check with the software author

Remote control your PC!

Want to be able to access your desktop PC from your Windows Mobile device while you're out and about? You'll find that you can use your mobile device to access a larger PC, using the GoToMyPC. service.

More on our dedicated GoToMyPC page, or go to for a free trial.

Connecting to a Mac

Windows Mobile and Pocket PC devices are designed to sync with a desktop PC. Microsoft hasn't released a program that supports sync with a Mac, which make connection tricky. Luckily, a few companies have brought out software that supports connection between Pocket PC / Windows Mobile devices and a Mac. Here are a couple worth taking a look at:

  • The Missing Sync - Supports Pocket PCs and Smartphones from 2002, right up to Windows Mobile 5
  • PocketMac - Also offering a Pocket PC to Mac solution, although at the time of writing, not for Windows Mobile 5

It's important to check that the Mac Sync solution you go for supports your make and model of device

Free up some memory If you're finding your Pocket PC is grinding to a halt or running low on memory, it's worth noting that when you close an application with the button in the top right of the display, you're not actually closing the application, just minimising it, so it's easy to fill up your memory with open applications.
To solve this, there are several Task Manager applications out there (including the excellent Battery Pack Pro), but our favourite is Magic Button, which replaces the Close (minimise) button with a Close (and exit) button. Magic Button is available for free from

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