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Mastering Windows Mobile 6

This Mastering guide builds upon the lessons in the Getting started, Learning, Using, and Communicating guides. It provides information about finding third-party and other downloadable software and about encrypting your phone and other security insights. Learn to use a range of communication methods, browse the web, discover social networking sites and software, enjoy multimedia, and even learn how to record your own podcast. Note that these procedures may vary depending on your phone and your mobile operator.

Third-party software: Where to find it

One of the strengths of Windows Mobile is its support for third-party developers. A wide variety of software for Windows Mobile phones is available on the Internet, ranging from games, to video players, to navigation software--and even entirely new interfaces. While the developers of the software maintain their own web sites, there are also online stores where you can download the software. A great site to start at is the Windows Mobile Catalog (, which maintains a library of software certified by Microsoft for Windows Mobile phones--both touch screen and non-touch screen. The catalog also provides links to online vendors for the software. Microsoft has a web page dedicated to featured downloads at One of the biggest online vendors for Windows Mobile software is Handango ( Browse the Handango catalog of software based upon your particular model and brand of phone, and choose from the best-selling software for that phone. Handango also has software, called Handango InHand, which allows you to browse and purchase Windows Mobile software from your Windows Mobile phone. If you wish to purchase software from Handango from your Windows Mobile phone, installation of InHand is required. InHand also provides news, weather, stocks, and traffic updates. Another major vendor for Windows Mobile software is MobiHand ( As with Handango, you can browse the MobiHand software catalog based on which Windows Mobile phone you own. Unlike Handango, MobiHand does not require you to install a specialized program on your Windows Mobile phone to purchase and download software. If you want to download free software to your Windows Mobile phone, two of the best sites available are PocketPCFreeware ( and Freeware for Pocket PC ( These sites provide user reviews and forums to discuss the software.

Changing the interface

Third-party software can also be used to add items to the Today screen and to give your Windows Mobile phone an entirely new interface. As originally installed, your Windows Mobile Today screen looks something like this:

Windows Mobile Today screen as originally installed on a Windows Mobile 6 phone It does not include shortcuts to programs, instant weather updates, or detailed information about your battery life. But third-party developers have made plug-in programs for the Today screen that can provide more in-depth information and shortcuts. One example of this is the Spb Pocket Plus (from, which looks like this:

Windows Mobile Today screen with Spb Pocket Plus installed on a Windows Mobile 6 phone Each of the stars is a tab that provides a shortcut to battery life, programs, recently viewed web pages, and more. Another popular Today screen program is the Omega One Battery Pack Pro (from

Windows Mobile Today screen with Battery Pack Pro installed

Users can also download alternative interfaces for Windows Mobile. Two of the best alternative interfaces are the Spb Mobile Shell (from and WisBar Advance Desktop (from

Windows Mobile Today screen, with Spb Mobile Shell installed (left) and with WisBar Advance Desktop installed (right) These customized screens provide the same information as the Today screen plug-ins but with a more streamlined interface. For users who have a touch screen Windows Mobile phone without a separate keyboard, there are alternatives to the default keyboards that come preinstalled with Windows Mobile. Three of the best examples are TenGO (, Phraze-It (, and Spb Keyboard (

Third-party keyboards, from left to right: TenGO, Phraze-It, and Spb Keyboard

Security with Windows Mobile

For those users who are security-conscious about their data on a Windows Mobile phone, both Windows Mobile 6 and Windows Mobile 6.1 allow users to encrypt their microSD card (if their phone has a microSD slot) so that the card can only be read by their phone. To enable this feature: 1. Place a microSD card into the Windows Mobile phone. 2. Go to Start > Settings > Encryption. 3. Select the Encrypt files when placed on a storage card check box.

Note If you do a hard reset or clear storage, you will no longer be able to read the data on the microSD card.

There are third-party programs that give additional data security to your Windows Mobile phone. Examples of these include Spb Wallet (from and Trend Micro Mobile Security (from

Communicating with Windows Mobile

Your Windows Mobile phone isn't just a phone--it's a powerful tool for keeping in touch with your friends and co-workers and for staying up to date with the latest information. Of course, all that rests on being connected to the Internet.

Using Wi-Fi on Windows Mobile

Your phone's wireless provider has data plans that use their network for data transmission and Internet access. But these plans can be expensive and often have caps (maximum possible amounts) on the amount of data being used. However, many Windows Mobile phones can connect to wireless, or Wi-Fi, networks. 1. To find out whether your Windows Mobile phone has Wi-Fi capability, go to Start > Settings > Connections. If your phone has Wi-Fi capability, you will see Wi-Fi and Wireless Manager icons in the menu. 2. Click Wireless Manager. 3. In Wireless Manager, click the Wi-Fi button to turn it on (if it is off).

4. Click Done. 5. On the Connections menu, click Wi-Fi. A list of the available wireless networks in the area is displayed. Click the one you want to use.

6. Select where the wireless network connects to (The Internet), and click Next.

7. Select the network's authentication settings and password (if you don't know, ask the person who runs the network for the information). Click Next, and then click Finish. You should now be able to connect to this wireless network.

Note If you have a Windows Mobile 6.1 phone and have a problem accessing the Internet through your wireless network, go to Start > Settings > Connections > Proxy Manager and then select the Do not use a proxy server check box.

Most mobile phone providers use proxy servers to prevent unauthorized users from logging on to their networks. Wi-Fi networks, on the other hand, rarely use proxy servers.

Calling with Skype

After you have set up a Wi-Fi connection, you can use it to make calls using Skype. Skype is a service that uses Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, to make phone calls rather than using traditional phone lines or a mobile service. All you need to do is download the client to your Windows Mobile phone: 1. Connect your Windows Mobile phone to your PC. 2. Go to the Skype Windows Mobile web site ( 3. Click the link to download it directly to your phone. This link automatically downloads Skype and installs it on your Windows Mobile phone. 4. Follow the prompts to set up a Skype account. Skype is free only when you call other Skype users; you will have to pay for calls to people who do not use Skype. Also, Skype works best on Windows Mobile phones with a headset.

Using Direct Push

If your company uses a Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail, your Windows Mobile phone can use Direct Push technology to keep your e-mail up to date while you're on the go. Direct Push, introduced with Windows Mobile 5 and standard with Windows Mobile 6, enables a Windows Mobile phone to maintain a connection with a compatible Exchange Server 2003 SP2 and Exchange Server 2007 rather than sending and receiving messages on a schedule. To enable Direct Push, you must first set up an Exchange account: 1. Go to Start > Messaging. 2. Select Setup E-mail. 3. Enter your e-mail address and your password. Select the Save password check box, and click Next. 4. Clear the Try to get e-mail settings automatically from the Internet check box, and click Next. 5. Under Your e-mail provider, select Exchange server. Click Next twice. 6. On the Enter E-mail Address screen, verify that your e-mail address is correct, and click Next. 7. On the Edit Server Settings screen, enter the address of the Exchange server, select or clear the This server requires an encrypted (SSL) connection check box (your IT department should be able to provide this information), and then click Next. 8. On the User Information screen, enter your user name, password, and the domain. (Again, if you are unsure, check with your IT department.) Click Next. 9. Choose the information that you want to synchronize between your Windows Mobile phone and the Exchange Server, and then click Finish. Your phone will synchronize with the Exchange Server. Depending on the connection speed and the size of your mailbox, this may take some time. To turn on Direct Push: 1. Go to Start > Programs > ActiveSync > Menu > Schedule. 2. In both drop-down lists, select As items arrive. 3. Click OK. Direct Push should now be active on the Windows Mobile phone.

RSS Feeds

Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, is a technology that allows up-to-date information to be streamed to a device with an Internet connection. To take advantage of RSS feeds, Windows Mobile phones require an RSS feed reader. Some phones come with an RSS reader already installed. Some of the better RSS readers include Viigo (, NewsBreak (, and NewsGator Go! ( Viigo is a particularly powerful program because it provides not only RSS feeds but also weather and travel information.

Social networking with Windows Mobile

Your Windows Mobile phone can easily be used to keep in touch with your friends, not only through text messages but also through instant messaging (IM), Facebook, and Twitter. Several instant messaging programs are available for Windows Mobile phones. IM+ All-in-One Mobile Messenger from is a commercial program that provides access to multiple instant messaging clients, including AIM, Windows Messenger, and MySpaceIM. Facebook has its own mobile web site that is compatible with Windows Mobile phones (, and Microsoft has developed an application for use on Windows Mobile 6.0 and later phones, Facebook for Windows Mobile ( A downloadable program called FriendMobilizer ( enables users to access their Facebook accounts without having to use a web browser. Twitter has become one of the most popular ways for people to communicate over the Internet. Like Facebook, Twitter has a mobile web page that is compatible with Windows Mobile phones at Also like Facebook, a downloadable program called PockeTwit ( enables Twitter users to access their Twitter accounts without having to use a web browser.

Out and about with Windows Mobile

Your Windows Mobile phone can be a handy tool for when you're on the go, whether it's a night on the town, heading over to a friend's house for a get-together, or going on vacation. Downloadable software can give you restaurant reviews, directions, movie times, and even traffic updates. One of the most useful pieces of software for Windows Mobile devices is Bing for mobile ( Not only is it free, but it also provides traffic updates, allows you to search for local restaurants, find movie showtimes, and get weather updates. It even has speech-to-text functionality, allowing you to search for keywords by speaking into the phone. A highly useful piece of software for those of a more culinary bent is ZAGAT TO GO from, the mobile software version of the famous Zagat City Guide. Like Bing, it provides information about local restaurants, hotels, and attractions. However, unlike Bing, ZAGAT TO GO requires a paid subscription. With a web connection, you can get up-to-date weather information, as well. Web sites, such as Weather Underground Mobile (, the National Weather Service (, and (, can provide weather information about anywhere you're traveling. For travelers, Windows Mobile can help keep track of your reservations and flight information. If you make a Microsoft Office Word document out of your itinerary, you can use Word Mobile to read it. If

you want something with a little more flexibility, EZGo for Pocket PC (, Fizz Traveller (, and WorldMate ( are third-party programs that allow you to plan your itinerary. They provide weather information and currency exchange rates, as well. In addition, many airlines, such as Southwest, American, and Delta, have web sites that are compatible with Windows Mobile phones and that allow you to view your itinerary, check in, and reserve flights.


Many Windows Mobile phones are equipped with internal GPS devices, which let programs use the GPS navigation system to give you directions. Bing ( and Google Maps for mobile ( are free downloadable programs that can use GPS to give you directions. TomTom, Pharos, and TeleType all sell GPS software for Windows Mobile phones, as well. Wireless providers may also have their own GPS software that you can buy. If your Windows Mobile phone doesn't have GPS, you can purchase an external GPS unit for it. These external GPS devices typically communicate with your Windows Mobile phone through Bluetooth (wireless) connections. They also may require a microSD card for the mapping software. Two makers of external GPS devices for Windows Mobile phones are Garmin and TomTom. After you have GPS on your phone, you can take part in Geocaching. Geocaching is a treasure-hunting game played worldwide using GPS devices. Using a GPS device and coordinates downloaded from a geocaching web site, players track down the locations of various geocaches. With a GPS-enabled Windows Mobile phone, you can take part in finding these geocaches. However, you may need specialized software for your phone before you can take part because most GPS software is designed for road use rather than for hiking. GPS Tuner is one of these specialized programs for Windows Mobile phones.

Making multimedia work with Windows Mobile

With Windows Media Player Mobile built in, Windows Mobile can play movies and music. However, Windows Media Player Mobile can only read ASF (Advanced Streaming Format), WMV (Windows Media Video), WMA (Windows Media Audio), and MP3 formats. If you wish to play other formats, you will have to install an additional media player. CorePlayer Mobile ( is an alternative to Windows Media Player Mobile and supports a wide variety of formats; however, it is not free. PocketTV, from, is another alternative media player, but it supports fewer formats than CorePlayer.

Watching streaming video

You can also use the Internet to stream video to your Windows Mobile phone. The Slingbox, from, can transmit video over the Internet from your home computer, cable or satellite connection, or DVR to your Windows Mobile device. HandiTV, from, provides streaming video to your Windows Mobile phone. Orb

( can create a secure connection between your home computer's media files and your Windows Mobile phone. Your wireless provider may also offer streaming video software.

Converting video files

You can always play media files directly from your Windows Mobile phone. But if you need to convert the video files into a format that can be read by your Windows Mobile phone, Prism Video Converter ( is a free application that can convert a variety of video formats to WMV. You can achieve the best results for Windows Mobile playback from Prism by using the following settings: 1. Under Encoder Options, set the playback bit rate to either 256 or 512. This setting reduces quality, but it also reduces file size. 2. Under Edit Output, select the Change Resolution check box and set the resolution to 320 x 240. This is the standard resolution for Windows Mobile phones. It also helps make the output file smaller.

Note Files converted with Prism are best played by CorePlayer.

Recording podcasts

Podcasts are a multimedia feature that is perfectly suited to Windows Mobile phones. An excellent program for recording your own podcast is Resco Audio Recorder for Pocket PC ( 1. Download and install Audio Recorder on your Windows Mobile phone. 2. Start the program, and select either your phone's internal storage or, for better results, your microSD card (if you have one installed) as your storage directory/location. It's easier if you create a folder called Audio to quickly locate the resulting audio files. 3. Plug an external microphone into your phone's microphone jack, and check the audio levels using the program's peak meter.

Tip An earbud microphone works best for one-person recordings, and the built-in microphone is optimized for group discussions. You can also use a Bluetooth headset (see the "Bluetooth" section of this guide for details on how to use Bluetooth devices).

4. Click the Record button to test recording levels and quality, and set the Recording Options level to Music (High Quality). This produces a higher-quality, uncompressed recording that can be transferred to and edited on your PC.

Note Every time you decompress and recompress an audio file, the quality degrades a little. Saving the recording as an uncompressed file eliminates this problem.

5. When you're satisfied with the recording quality, create your audio recording and save it as an MP3 file. 6. If your Windows Mobile phone is connected to the web with Wi-Fi or a broadband connection, you can immediately publish, or post, the audio file. Otherwise, copy it to your Internetconnected PC and publish it from there. You can use a PC-based audio editing program, like Audacity (, to improve the quality of the MP3 before you publish it. To learn more about podcasting, see a "How to Podcast" tutorial at

Downloading and reading e-books

Electronic books, or e-books, are a handy and compact way to take your favorite reading material with you on vacation or on your morning commute. By installing specialized software, you can read a wide variety of e-books on your Windows Mobile phone. One of the most common e-book formats is the Adobe Portable Document Format file (PDF). Many Windows Mobile phones have PDF-compatible software preinstalled. If your phone does not have this software, Foxit Software ( makes a program called Foxit Reader that lets you view PDF files on your Windows Mobile phone. Another common e-book format is Mobipocket ( Mobipocket makes a free reader for Windows Mobile phones. Mobipocket also has an online store from which you can purchase e-books from your PC or your Windows Mobile phone. One of the biggest commercial e-book web sites is It sells e-books in several formats. You can also download free e-books from sites such as and Project Gutenberg (

Bluetooth and Windows Mobile

A variety of external hardware is available for Windows Mobile phones. The best sites to find such hardware include, and Much of the external hardware still uses wired connections, but Windows Mobile phones are increasingly using Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a technology that uses short-range wireless signals instead of wires to connect hardware. Most Windows Mobile 6 and Windows Mobile 6.1 phones have built-in Bluetooth capability. To check whether or not your device has Bluetooth: 1. Go to Start > Settings > Connections. If your device has Bluetooth, there should be a Bluetooth icon. 2. Click the Bluetooth icon.

3. Go to Mode. Select the Turn on Bluetooth and Make this device visible to other devices check boxes. Bluetooth should now be working on your Windows Mobile phone. To set up a Bluetooth connection (also called a partnership) with external hardware: 1. Make sure that the external hardware is on and close to your Windows Mobile phone. Also ensure that Bluetooth has been activated on your Windows Mobile phone. 2. On your Windows Mobile phone, go to Start > Settings > Connections > Bluetooth. 3. Select Add new device. 4. Windows Mobile will begin searching the area for active Bluetooth devices. 5. After the Bluetooth device is detected, follow the instructions in the Connection Wizard to set up the Bluetooth connection. You can also use either a Bluetooth or a USB connection to turn your Windows Mobile phone into a modem for your PC. Most wireless providers provide either step-by-step directions on their web sites or proprietary software for the modem connection.

Troubleshooting and basic tips

You cannot sync Windows Mobile 6 or Windows Mobile 6.1 with Microsoft Outlook Express (Windows XP), Windows Mail (Windows Vista), or Mac OS X. If a piece of third-party software locks up your Windows Mobile phone, you can reset the phone to remedy the problem. To reset a Windows Mobile 6 phone, you can hold down the power button until the phone turns off and then turn it back on. Use the stylus or a paper clip to press the reset button, usually found on the bottom of the phone, or remove and replace the battery. If all else fails, you can perform a hard reset of the phone. A hard reset clears all the data from internal memory and places the phone into the default factory settings. To hard reset your Windows Mobile phone: 1. Go to Start > Settings. 2. If you have Windows Mobile 6.0, go to Clear Storage. If you have Windows Mobile 6.1, go to Hard Reset. 3. To proceed with the hard reset, enter the code 1234 and press Yes. 4. When the memory has been cleared, your phone will restart.


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