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May 01, 2008

How to create a lean, mean, and clean Windows Mobile machine

Spring is here, and it’s time for a little housekeeping on your Windows Mobile device to clean out the cobwebs that have accumulated over the winter. I have some helpful suggestions on how to keep your machine lean, clean, and mean.

Unavoidably, Windows Mobile devices can get bogged down with open programs running in the background, installation files, duplicate contacts, Internet history, invalid registry entries, broken links, temporary and cache files, duplicate files, old email and attachments. These things and more can begin to pile up and affect the performance of your machine.

First things first: scrub the system

You need a practical method of purging the system with a thorough housekeeping regimen. This can be a tedious task, some of which you can do yourself, but it’s better to have an application dedicated to this purpose. I believe I’ve tried all of the system scrubbers out there and by process of elimination discovered the best. This one so far outshines the others that there is virtually no competition, no contest whatsoever. It’s a nifty little Swiss Army knife for system tweak, repair, and maintenance that is not just a tool kit but a whole repair shop . It’s called SKTools and is available at http://www.handango.com for $14.99. Trust me. This is the single most important investment you can make in your little pocket pal.

There really isn’t room in this article to review fully all the features of this incredible application, but let me list a few so you will get the idea. It will clean old files, duplicates, bad registry keys, optimize and tune up settings to improve performance, purge temporary and cache folders, delete junk files, eliminate bad shortcuts, manage storage cards, and free up RAM. It will also let you view and manage running processes and check out CPU usage and services. It can run benchmark performance tests and optimize the registry.

One of the useful functions I appreciate is in the PIM arena where my system gets messed up with duplicate appointments, contacts, and tasks from syncing multiple machines. I don’t know what I’d do without SKTools’ ability to purge duplicates that just keep growing. Sometimes I have had as many as a dozen dupes. You can even get it to wipe out the whole PIM database if you want to start fresh.

Your first spring cleaning task is to get a copy of SKTools and run it often.

Next thing to do

Take a look at all the applications you have installed on your device. A quick way to do this is to go to Start>Settings>System>Remove Programs. Here you will see a list of all the applications installed on your machine. Use this list to go to the download location where you got the program to see if it comes in a CAB file version.

Copy the CAB file for all your applications onto your storage card. That way, if you ever have to restore your system or buy a new device, all you have to do is tap the CAB file, and it will reinstall. You’ll save yourself immeasurable time.

Backup, Backup

Once you have cleaned out the cobwebs and copied the CAB files, you must back up your system so that you can restore it should disaster strike. But you will restore a nice clean system without a bunch of garbage. To perform the backup, you need a backup application. Yes, you can backup files with ActiveSync and SyncCenter, but that does not include programs and system configuration that can take many hours of work to recreate.

I repeat, you need to invest in a system backup program. There are many good ones out there such as SPB Backup, Resco Backup, Sprite Backup, Mobile Backup, and WebIS Toolbox. Your device may even come with one already onboard. However, if you have followed my advice and purchased SKTools, you will be glad to know that backup is just another one of its manifold features.

Perform the backup. Do a complete backup of everything, not just selected pieces of the pie. You’ll be glad you did. Back it up to the storage card on your device.


When you’re done with the backup, copy it to another storage card as a double safety precaution. Now you are able to withstand a disaster and can restore your full system just the way it was that took you so much time to custom-configure. If the worst happens, and your device is lost or destroyed, you will even have a back up to append to the new machine, and you will not have lost everything.

Get organized

As long as we’re tidying things up, it doesn’t hurt to get a little more organized while we’re at it. Most people, and I was always one of them, have good intensions about getting all their personal, private information together so that it easily accessible and secure. That’s one of the things a PDA can do for you with the help from some secure wallet software. I happen to use eWallet, but there are several available, and they are all good and do the same thing. Some of the more popular ones include SPB Wallet, CodeWallet, and eWallet. Get one.

Now you will be able to consolidate all of your important private formation such as credit cards, bank accounts, insurance, vehicle vins, passwords, IRS stuff, software registration codes, online accounts, and more. You can access it all with a tap or two and secure it with encryption and password protect it. Another nice feature is that you can sync the data with your desktop and laptop for quick access and easy inputting. Plus, it’s a kind of backup.

If you ever have to restore a system, you will still need to enter the user names and passwords to activate the programs. Your eWallet records will save the day for this purpose.

You’ll be glad you have a secure wallet. I once had all of my credit cards stolen. No problem, I pulled out my WM Pro looked up the numbers in eWallet and called all the credit card companies before the thief had a chance to use them. That would have been impossible without eWallet.

May I offer one more little organizational hint as part of turning over a new leaf for spring? It is axiomatic that those who keep to-do lists accomplish more than those who don’t. Accordingly, I’d like to recommend that you consider acquiring a list-making program. My favorite is ListPro, but there are other good ones available. The important thing is to get one and use it religiously to keep you on the straight and narrow. It’s such a pleasure to check off those items as you accomplish them. I think you will be impressed with yourself and how much more you accomplish.

Maybe a list application should be the first thing on this spring cleaning list, and then you could enter the other tasks and check them off as you knock ‘em off.

Optional treats for your pocket pal

As long as you’re spoiling your little pocket pal, why not get him a new suit of protective armor? There are so many choices for cases, I don’t even want to get into it here. While you are in the protective mode, I’d suggest investing in a screen protector so that you don’t wear out your screen or scratch it.

Two other accessories I think go along with maintenance include a spare battery and an extra stylus. I know I’m always losing or misplacing my little poker, and a battery to extend its life on a busy day or long trip can save your bacon. Without them, it’s kinda like driving without a spare tire.

Hope you enjoy your spring cleaning and having a lean, mean, and clean machine.

Keep connected!

Posted by conradb212 at May 1, 2008 05:31 PM