Lars Aronsson of GeekedOut.se (changed to TechCredo.com Nov. 2010)has put together one of the most comprehensive guides to Windows Mobile available on the web. There is so much information we decided to break it down for our readers in numerous blog post. First up, Part 1: Tweaks, Tips, and Optimization for Windows Mobile. (KEY NOTE: The information provided by this guest editor was not produced by PhoneDog. Take all normal precautions when dealing with downloads and use at your own risk.)
Many of the tweaks require a registry editor. I recommend the one that accompanies Resco Explorer or SKTools. Freeware choices are PHM Registry Editor and Total Commander. Alternatively, you can also change most settings without manually altering the registry by using the tweaking tools, which might be preferable, though I still want to provide instructions for both methods. All the tweaks and software are tested and working on WM 6.1 Professional (SE Xperia X1).
Tweaks, Tips and Optimization
The Best Utilities For Tweaking
- Advanced Configuration Tool. Has tons of advanced settings for you to play with. Highly recommended for tweaking, and like the best things in life - it's free. Requires .NET Framework 3.5 to run.
- SKTools. A superb maintenance toolkit, very extensive. Besides options for tweaking, SKTools also has features for system maintenance.
- XperiaTweak. A free, simple but effective tweaking tool for Xperia owners.
- HD Tweak. This is mainly intended to use with the HTC Touch HD, but many of its settings work just as well for other Windows Mobile devices, like the Xperia (which essentially has the same hardware, besides the Xperia having a QWERTY keyboard and a smaller screen).
- Pocket Mechanic. I haven't actually used this much, but it seems like a good tool for maintenance, such as scanning memory cards for errors and repairing them.
Increasing Input Space in Threaded Messages
Threaded messaging is all good and a welcome addition to mobile messenging - but on most Windows Mobile 6.1 devices you get a tiny (and hence rather impractical) typing space when you reply to a message. This is how you enlarge it:
- Launch Total Commander. If you don't have this file manager installed, you can get it here: http://www.ghisler.com/pocketpc.htm. It's free.
- Browse to the Windows folder
- Find and select the file: thread_sms.htm
- Tap on the little Notebook icon in the bottom toolbar of Total Commander to open it
- Locate this line of code: < Inbox:content id="COMPOSESUBJECT" width="98%" height=35 spell focus count links noclearonbackpresshold limit=0 autocap inserttab scroll />
- Replace the original height parameter "35" with "85", for example.
- Press save and do a softreset (restart your phone). Voilà!Alternatively, you could connect your phone to a PC with ActiveSync, copy the file to your computer and edit it there with Notepad. Just make sure you have Explorer showing hidden/system files. You might have to overwrite the original file with Total Commander (or Resco Explorer, my favorite) since it is part of the ROM and therefore protected by the system.
Disabling Sent Message Confirmation
Windows Mobile has a tendancy to display a "Message Sent" notification each time you send a text message. If you agree that this peculiarity isn't one of the more well thought-out elements of the OS, follow these steps to disable the confirmation:
- First of all, you will need a registry editor. A great editor is the one that comes with Resco Explorer, other choices are the free PHM Registry Editor and Total Commander
- Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Inbox using the registry editor
- Make sure Inbox is selected and create a new key called Settings (if it's not already present)
- Tap on Settings to highlight it and create a New String Value. The name of the value should be SMSNoSentMsg and the Value Data 1
- Restart your phone, and hallelujah - no more SMS Sent confirmation bubbles!
- Via Advanced Config: Messaging/SMS sent notification/Disabled/Done
Increasing Your Touchscreen's Responsiveness
Of course you want your touchscreen to be as responsive as possible, the less resolutely you have to touch it to get a reaction from your phone the better! If you used "firm" taps when calibrating the screen the very first time you started your device, this trick will probably work for you. That's because the less firmly you tap at the screen calibration, the more responsive your screen gets. You have three options:
- Option 1) Copy X1 SoftTouch.cab to your phone, install it, softreset and you're done! Compliments to ring-bearer at XDA who made the CAB and discovered the tweak.
- Option 2) With your registry editor of choice, navigate to HKLM/Drivers/TouchPanel and change the PressureThreshold entry to a ridiculously high value (at least seven figures) and softreset. Do not enter a low value since it can make your screen very ill-mannered!
- Option 3) From Advanced Config, select HTC TouchFLO/Pressure threshold. Tap on the drop-down list at the bottom of the screen, and select either "Extremely High" or a seven figure custom value. Tap "Done" and let the program do a softreset - voilà!
- Further reading: X1 SoftTouch
How to Speed Up Your Memory Card
- To speed up your precious memory card, just get the CAB-file (tnyynt SD TuneUP.cab) to your phone and install it. Apparently, Windows Mobile isn't configured properly by default to take full advantage of memory cards, and the CAB is the remedy for that. It is made by tnyynt, a moderator over at xda-developers. The most accurate thread I could find for it is located here.
Installing .NET 3.5 For Better Performance
The .NET Compact Framework is required in order to run most programs on Windows Mobile. However, even though version 3.5 has been available since early 2008, version 2 of the .NET Compact Framework is the one most commonly (and solely) installed on new devices (as of late 2008). Why manufacturers do not pre-install version 3.5 remains somewhat of a puzzle, because the new release offers a number of improvements and has full backwards compatibility. Furthermore, some WM 6.1 software even require v3.5 of the compact framework to run. So grab your copy below if you don't have it already!
- Download .NET Compact Framework (NETCFv35.wm.armv4i.rar), unRAR the archive and copy the CAB-file to your phone and install.
- While you're at it, get the Compact Framework 3.5 powertoy (NetcfCfg.cab) (.Net Configuration) as well! It gives you full control over .NET CF on your device: it allows you to see installed versions, lets you select which programs uses which version of CF, and you can also change the entire device policy for .NET.
Making the Pop-Up Menus More Finger-Friendly
One of the objections I have against Windows Mobile 6.1 is that for a touchscreen OS, it's surprisingly hard to touch things! Sure, Microsoft has listened to reason and are moving towards a more finger-friendly approach with WM 6.5 that has no need for a silly stylus. Until then, however, you can improve the current situation by enlarging the pop-up menus. You could do this manually via the registry, but I recommend you use one of the tweaking tools:
- From Advanced Config: Tap on User Interface/Popup menu font size and select 'Large' or a custom value. I use 1250 on my WVGA 3" Xperia.
Getting Rid of the Busy Tone Going Through Speakers
On many WM 6.1 devices, the busy tone is blasted out through the speakers. That's one in a series of slightly bizarre Windows Mobile details. Why, oh mighty giant Microsoft, would you want a phone to behave so mischievously? It could hurt your ear since it's right next to the speakers, it's annoying, it's illogical, it's meaningless. I'd say the verdict is that the quirk needs to be removed, for the good of all mankind! This is how to do it.
- Enter HKEY_CURRENT_USER/ControlPanel/Sounds/BusyTone with your favorite registry editor
- To kill the busy tone altogether, remove the text (default is "apr") from the Script entry, but do not delete the entire entry.
- You can also change the Sound value to a less loud and intrusive wav-file. It must be located in the Windows-folder.
- Change the Script value to ap for the tone to only play once.
Tweaks For Optimized Performance
- There are a number of things you could do to increase the overall performance of your phone. But the quickest and easiest way would probably be to take advantage of the utilities: import the Touch-IT .provxml-file in Advanced Config - it contains a set of tweaks. Copy it to your device, then launch Advanced Config, select Menu in the lower right-corner and finally "Import provisioning XML". Locate the file and tap Select. The performance tweaks are compiled by a Norwegian WinMo haxor roxor, itje, who is a prominent figure at xda-developers and "chews memory cards for breakfast".
- Anonther convenient way to improve the speed of your handset is to run SKTools (there's a free, "lite" version available), select Optimize!, tap Action in the lower-left corner, make sure "Performance" is selected then tap Optimize! in the top of the menu. Let the program softreset your phone and you're done!
- For further reading on the topic, check out this thread at XDA.
Personalize Your Phone: Change the Boot Screen
This have nothing to do with the functionality of your handset, but hey: why not change the standard WM boot screen to a personal image that puts a smile on your face? I always like to make my phone unique and my very own, in as many ways possible. So, this is how you replace the boot screen:
- The image file in question is called welcomehead.192.png and it is located in the Windows-folder. It's in the PNG format. One could think that the size of the boot screen image would be the same as the resolution of the device. But on the WVGA (480x800) Xperia, the dimensions are 800x800 pixels.
- If you have a WVGA device, you have the option to download my boot screen template (welcomhead.192.png) and customize it in an image editor on your PC. Please note that you can only use the first 480 horizontal pixels, but all 800 vertical. Cut and paste, or draw something new. Make sure you save the image in the original PNG format. You can also locate welcomehead.192.png in the Windows-folder, copy it to your computer and edit the image to your liking (remember to remove the read-only attribute).
- Now it's time to overwrite the original boot screen with your modified version. You will have to use a third-party file manager like Total Commander or Resco Explorer, since the image is part of the Windows ROM and protected by the system. Just transfer the changed image to your phone, locate it with the file manager and then copy it to the Windows-folder. Select Yes if asked to overwrite. The next time you start your phone, you'll see your new boot screen.
How to Add an ALT+TAB Feature (Improved Task Management)
Something I really missed from my Symbian S60 device when I got the Xperia, was a quick and simple way to switch between running applications. Of course, WinMo has a task manager - but I prefer the Symbian way where you can get a list of active programs (and switch between them) with the simple press of a hardware button. To me, that's faster and more convenient. Unfortunately, Microsoft in their infinite wisdom didn't provide a way to do the same thing on Windows Mobile. Third-party software to the rescue! A requirement for this to work is naturally that your device has a hardware button free to assign. In my opinion, two of the best tools for improving task management on Windows Mobile is SPB Pocket Plus and Wisbar Advance.
There's also a free version of Wisbar (Lite), but SPB Pocket Plus costs a few bucks. Among other things, Wisbar allows you to see all running applications in the taskbar (like on XP), switch between them with a quick tap and skin many elements of the UI. Getting the most out of Wisbar Advance is somewhat of a science (I guess it would fall under the category bloatware), though the massive amount of settings provide great possibilities. I suggest you learn by playing around with it. This tool is mainly for power users and not suited for everyone, I guess. I have also encountered quite a few bugs when using it, and there's some compability conflicts between Wisbar and the HTC system applications. So if unsure, I recommend that you use SPB Pocket Plus which is described here:
- Download Pocket Plus and install the tool with all the options checked.
- Enter Settings/Personal/Buttons and tap < Add buttons... >
- Press the button you want to assign to the task switcher. You may also long hold a button, so that two separate actions can be assigned to a single button - depending on if you press and hold down the button or just press it. For the ALT+TAB feature, I use a long press on the OK-button.
- The button you pressed will now appear in the list of buttons. For the OK-button, it will look like this: OK Button < Default >, OK Button (Hold) < Default >. From the list, select the button you want to use and choose ALT-TAB in the "Assign a program" drop-down list at the bottom of the screen.
- Tap ok and you're done!
- You may also experiment with AE Button Plus
Making the OK-Button Actually Shut Down Programs
- I will try to make this brief for a change: If you don't have SPB Pocket Plus in your software arsenal, download and install the tool with all the options checked. Trust me, it's worth the dough.
- Enter Settings/Personal/Buttons, tap < Add buttons... > and press the OK button - then press and hold it. Tap Done (Left Softkey).
- It will now look something like this. Under "Assign a program", select the command [Close]. All finished! Now the OK-button will shut down the active program and not keep it running in the background.
Turning off SMS Pop-ups/Connection Bubbles
- If you don't want to get notified of new text messages with the little pop-up box in the bottom of the screen, you can disable it from Settings/Sounds & Notifications/Notifications. Select "Messaging: New text message" from the Event drop-down list and uncheck "Display message on screen"
- To turn off the Connection Bubble (which appears each time you connect to the Internet), select "Connection established" in the list mentioned above and uncheck "Display message on screen"
Making Call Vibrations Rhythmic
The first time someone called me on my SE Xperia, it made me laugh and wonder what that little fiery plastic bastard was up to. Because it never stopped vibrating! While all my other cell-phones have had a rhythmic vibration pattern, this one just desperately kept going like its life depended on it. Luckily, I'm not the only one who found this a bit unusual and I found a solution:
- Download VAlert (by ochakov at xda-developers) and install the CAB. Here is the thread for the utility and further instructions.
Enable/Disable Threaded Text Messages
To Disable/Enable threaded messages in WM 6.1:
- Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Inbox/Settings/OEM and edit the value SMSInboxThreadingDisabled to 1 (disabled) or 0 (enabled)
- Via Advanced Config: Messaging/Threaded SMS (select Enable or Disable)
Changing the Font Size of Java Applications (JBed)
The registry entries that control the font size for applications running in JBed are located at:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Apps\Esmertec Java\Device Info\Java Font. There you should find the following entries:
Increase or decrease the values of these entries to change the font size in Java applications.
How to Get Support For Phone Profiles
This is not an actual tweak but more of a tip. One of the main surprises when I got my first WinMo device, was the lack of a basic functionality like Phone Profiles. I couldn't do without them, so I found a couple of third-party applications that add this feature. If you have HTC's Touchflo 3D running on your device, you probably already have something called Profiles (Settings/Sound). But there's only four, rather ascetic options available: Normal, Vibrate, Silent and lastly Automatic, which automatically sets the phone to vibrate during appointments. But since I'm used from Symbian to have complete control over the phone profiles, I need more (greedy bastard). These are the best options I have come across for WM:
- PhoneWeaver is an excellent choice for phone profiles, and in my opinion the top of the three. If you assign a hardware button to the PhWeaver Menu command (from Settings/Personal/Buttons), you'll have a very convenient way of accessing the utility. Profiles may be activated automatically based on time, appointments or phone state, and they can control your handset's radio, Wi-Fi, push mail, Bluetooth, sounds and vibrator.
- SPB Phone Suite, a tool that among other things in fact handles profiles very well. You can customize each profile with many different settings and create all new ones. The only problem is, it seems as if the single way to change between the various profiles is to have Phone Suite active as a Today Plug-in. Which is a bit restricting at times, especially if you like Touchflo 3D. On the plus side, this utility of course integrates really well with SPB Mobile Shell.
- And then there's the (dreaded) Wisbar Advance. When you install this task management, system and WinMo customization tool, you will also get a set of commands in the form of shortcuts, which you can either assign a hardware button to (Settings/Personal/Buttons), or just launch as a regular shortcut. One of the commands are [Profiles] and that's what we're after in this case. Wisbar's Profiles feature isn't as fancy as the one in Phone Suite, but it has the advantage of being available as a command which can be easily launched.
How to Hard-Reset the Xperia X1
Please note: a hard-reset will restore your phone to its original state, and all information you have added to the internal memory (including files and software) will be erased. The procedure to hard-reset the Xperia X1 is easy:
- Turn off your Xperia
- Hold down the left and right hardware buttons at the same time (located under the screen)
- Press the power button, while still holding down the other two
- Once the phone makes a slight vibration, indicating that it's starting, let go off the power button
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the hard-reset
- For other phones, please visit Hard-reset.eu
Signing Opera Mini 4.2 to Get Rid of Confirmations
You enjoy the speed and smoothness of Opera Mini, and applaud the way it reduces your data fees by compressing websites before sending them to your phone? But you get annoyed by the confirmation pop-ups that are displayed since Opera Mini is a Java MIDlet? Here's how to get rid of them by signing the software as a trusted application. Tested and working with Opera Mini 4.2 on the Xperia!
- Copy the file Windows\appdb\selector.utf from your phone to your PC. If you want to feel extra safe, make a backup just in case.
- Remove the read-only attribute of the file to render the alteration possible
- Place sign_operamini.exe (by shiranmotha at XDA) in the same folder as selector.utf and run the utility. It will patch the .utf-file and create a backup
- Now replace the original Windows\appdb\selector.utf with the newly modified version
- That's it! No more Internet access confirmation pop-ups
- Further reading at xda-developers
How to Set Opera Mini 4.2 as the Default Browser
If Opera Mini is your favorite way to access the web, you probably want to set it as the default browser. That way when you click on a bookmark for example, Opera Mini will be launched. You could probably achieve this by manually changing various registry settings, but I prefer the automated method described below. I will try to add other methods later on.
- The way to set Opera Mini as your system's main browser is with a little utility called JZ SmartMort, by a developer at XDA. It takes use of the ever so popular MortScript, a versatile batch language for WinMo. Download the JZSmartMort_v1.5 CAB and install it on your device - if you don't have MortScript already it will be installed as well.
- Now locate the icon JZ Settings in your Programs folder and run it
- Select JZ Browser Options and tap OK in the bottom left corner of the screen
- Double-tap Choose a Default Browser. If you don't see Opera Mini in the list of available browsers, double-tap Scan/Detect Installed Browsers at the top, otherwise select Opera Mini and tap OK
- Now it's time to alter the Change Default Browser Timeout setting. This is the time you have to select another browser than the default when a bookmark is launched. To bypass the selection dialog, set this option to 0
- JZ SmartMort also offers other options for Opera Mini, such as creating a Start Menu shortcut to the application and making the pasting of text possible
WVGA Fix (solution for VGA software problems on WVGA devices)
Some software designed for VGA devices act strangely on WVGA resolution screens. This nifty little tool (WVGAFix3) by Cotulla emulates VGA and takes care of VGA --> WVGA compability problems. Just download and install and you're all set.
Changing the Hardware Keyboard Layout
If you have flashed a ROM that's in a different language than the original Windows Mobile on your phone, it might mess up the hardware QWERTY keyboard layout. Luckily, the layout can be changed in the registry. Make sure you edit the value in hex.
- In the registry, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\HARDWARE\DEVICEMAP\KEYBD
- Change the CurLan g value to match your language:
Here is the complete set of locale IDs in case your language isn't listed above.
How to Enable/Disable the Backlight During Calls
Some people prefer the backlight to be turned on during calls, so they can easily activate the speakerphone and access the keypad for example, and some like the display to be turned off to save power. Here's how you switch between the two:
- Enter HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Drivers\BuiltIn\RIL with your favorite registry editor. Edit the EnableFastDormantDisplayDuringCall value: 0 will keep the backlight on during calls and 1 will turn it off after a couple of seconds. Softreset your device to activate the tweak.
- This setting can also be changed with HD Tweak: At the very top of the screen, there's an option called Fast Sleep - select Enable or Disable at the bottom, press OK, do a softreset and that's it!
Boosting the Xperia Speaker Volume
The speakers on the Xperia X1 is relatively weak, but the volume may be increased by installing the optxperiabeta02.cab by Davide Gialli. Please note that if the volume is set too high, the sound may appear a bit cracked and distorted. Will likely work on other WinMo devices as well.
How to Turn Off Security Warnings
By default, Windows Mobile displays a security warning before running an application that hasn't been digitally signed. This can get a bit annoying after a while, especially if you install a lot of programs, but the warnings are easy to switch off:
- Launch Advanced Config.
- Enter the Miscellaneous category at the very end of the list
- Tap Security Warning and select Disabled from the list-box at the bottom
- Tap Done and no more warnings!
Getting an Improved Battery Meter
Windows Mobile's standard battery meter isn't that accurate, since it displays the remaining energy in 10 % steps. But thanks to Ethermind at XDA, you can now get a battery meter which has a one percent accuracy. For VGA and WVGA devices.
- Download battery.rar Ethermind's improved battery driver, UnRAR the archive and copy battery.dll to your phone.
- Now you must place battery.dll in the Windows-folder and overwrite the existing file. Since the original battery.dll is protected, you need a file manager like Resco Explorer to achieve this.
- In order to even see battery.dll, you need to make sure the following settings are enabled: in Resco Explorer, tap Menu/Options/General/Browser, then uncheck all the "Hide"-options
- After you have copied the improved battery driver to the Windows-folder on your phone, you need a new set of battery icons that are able to show one percent steps. You now have two options: you may either keep the original look of the battery, by copying phcanOverbmp.dll to the Windows-folder. Or change the design of the meter by installing Ahen6a.cab by sunnyin86 at xda-developers. The battery will then look like this.
- Finally, the new driver is signed with SDK Certificate, so you need to install sdkcerts.cab for it to work.
- Softreset your device and you're done!
- The original XDA-threads: Xperia 1% battery.dll and AHEN 6 TaskBar.
How to Always Show Both the Clock & the Battery
When I got the Xperia X1, it was probably my first device that didn't display the time in the status bar at the top. However, there is a way to enable this, but not without losing the battery meter - unless you use Spb Pocket Plus.
- To display the time in the taskbar at all times, enter Settings/System/Clock and Alarm, tap the More tab and select the option at the top. Unfortunately, this will remove the battery icon (even though there's plenty of room left for both). But if you install Spb Pocket Plus, you have the possibility to see both the clock and the battery meter: from Settings/System/Spb Pocket Plus, check the Taskbar Battery Indicator option. A downside is that you'll get Spb's own battery if use this option, even though you might have improved the battery meter.
- For complete control over the taskbar, experiment with Wisbar Advance.