hack

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Bonus tip of the week: TouchFlo 3D e-mails

Here's a bonus tip of the week for you folks with TouchFlo 3D, courtesy of FuzeMobility [via].

There's no denying that TF3D is a sexy little UI, but it'd be nice if the e-mail preview envelope showed a little more text. And, as with all things HTC, the wizards at XDA Developers have found a hack. Here's what you'll need to do.

  1. In the Windows directory on your phone, back up the following files. 77fb7fad_manila and 21449ae5_manila. We're going to overwrite these. While you're at it, go ahead and back up your phone. (But you already knew to do that, right?)
  2. Head over to the XDA thread. You can either download the replacement files themselves, or a couple of handy on/off cabs.
  3. Go to your today screen settings, and turn TouchFlo 3D off. Repeat: Off. Not on.
  4. Either run the proper cab file, or copy over the new individual files into the Windows directory.
  5. Turn TouchFlo 3D back on. You may need to soft-reset.

That's it. The envelope should now be behind the e-mail preview, allowing you to see more with a quick glance. Let us know in the comments how it worked for you.

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Faithful WMExperts reader Dan (Hi, Dan!) brings word of a little trick he uses to significantly speed up his new AT&T Fuze, which was acting sluggish even with TouchFlo 3D turned off. So without further ado, Dan's tip:

I recently upgraded from the ATT Tilt to the Fuze. From Day 1 the Fuze would frequently slow down and often freeze, requiring a soft reset. Even with TF3D off, it still would slow down and crash.

Long story short, I figured out why. I ran SK Tools [ed note: a handy little tweaker and memory manager] and looked at CPU usage at a time when the device was sluggish. It revealed that Opera was still running in the background and using up a large percentage of CPU, even though the Opera browser was not listed in the running programs.

I then set up a shortcut using SK Tools to "Auto-kill" Opera. My Fuze has been running as smooth as silk ever since.

Well done, Dan! And thanks for the tip.

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Seems as if that popular tweaking app Schaps Advanced Configuration program and perhaps other GSM-based "tweak" apps (e.g. Diamond Tweak) might be causing a nasty side effect on CDMA (Sprint & Verizon) phones.

Problem: Ever had an incoming phone call and when you answered it lagged big time?

Turns out that this occurs when you have an active data connection.  In theory, the phone should immediately shut that connection and you should be able to answer the call instantly.  And it does...unless you inadvertently change some registry settings, specifically ones related to "force data disconnect".

Thanks to ppcgeeker snovvman, you can verify if you have the problem. Simply open up your favorite registry editor (see our great guide here) and look under:

--> HKLM/Comm/ConnMgr/Planner/Settings/SuspendResume

If that value reads ~GPRS, you have a problem;  Its should be set to #777 (a least for Sprint users).  While manually editing the registry is probably the best way, Juggalo_X created a .cab file which may work for some.  Remember to wait about 10 seconds and then soft-reset to take effect.

[Read more here]

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In the immortal words of Lord Ballmer: "Developers! Developers! Developers!" (

Marshall who's been a frequent contributer over at XDA has been working on replacing the default "pie" cursor on Windows Mobile for quite some time now. Up until recently, you had to copy over some system files which made changing your cursor a little bit risky and not something the new user would undertake.

Now with his Marshall WaitCursor2 it could not be easier. Simply install his .cab file to your main memory and launch MWCConfig.

From there you can select from a nice assortment of beautifully rendered wait cursors, including previewing them in action. Then just hit "save" and usually within in a few moments (or after a soft reset) you'll have something nice to gander at while Opera or Skyfire load ;-)

Best of all, this app is free but we here at WMExperts strongly recommend a donation to this fellow as now only does this app works but it is quite aesthetically pleasing (I mean who doesn't want a jumping penguin on their phone?)

Read more and download here!

Comments from the Peanut Gallery about Windows Mobile even needing a wait cursor will be tolerated, but we'll note that at least when WM experiences inexplicable delays and hang-ups it at least has the courtesy to let you know it's working on something.

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Some people in our forums aren't too happy with the seemingly extra step to launch an Email in WM6 i.e. where that "Delete" left key is now, there used to reside the "New" key.

While I'm not sure how to actually change that key to something different, there is another alternate solution (actually dozens! but we'll just do one): create a shortcut link to a New Email/Sms.

Read on to find out how!

To do this, you just create a link to "tmail.exe" found in \Windows. I use Resco Explorer.

  • Find the "tmail.exe"
  • Select "Properties" (Menu --> File --> Properties)
  • Shortcut Tab
  • Edit Target
  • Add "mailto:" (no quotes) to the command line

It should look like this: "Windows\tmail.exe" mailto:

Creating such a link will bring you to an Account selector, where you can choose your new message.

Want to get more sophisticated, like creating a new email from your Outlook account with the subject "Hey there" automatically addressed to Bob? Here are those parameters which should work:

Other optional parameters that can be added (leave out the "mailto:" part though and go in this order):

  • -to "personx@theiremail.com"
  • -subject "Insert subject here"
  • -service "Name of Account" (

Then throw the link to your Start Menu or use your favorite launcher. I've attached a pre-made link in this post here, for those less inclined.

Not sure if this works on every WM device out there, so post some feedback or your solutions!

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Ah...the Tip of the Week, that little column that fell down that busy hole of life. Hopefully we'll be able to bring back this gem on a semi-regular basis. To make up for it, here is a nice little tip that is easy and free.

What we're gonna do is give you a way to turn off the screen (not just dim the back light) during your phone calls.

Why you ask? Simple: one of the top killers of your precious phone battery is the powering the LCD screen.

Click the link to read for the deets!....

When on a 40 minute phone call, the LCD screen is on the entire time, even if the back light isn't. That's wasted power! Your cheek doesn't need to read your email, so let's turn it off, eh?

(BTW, you should have your screen auto-dim to 30 seconds or less under your Settings).

To do this, first download the freeware app "BlackMe" (click here for mobi download). Install as usual.

Next you can just leave it under your "Programs" area and navigate there when on a phone call (boo) or just assign it to a spare key (assuming you have one; if not try AE Button Plus).

For myself, I've assigned it to my "Option + Calendar" button combo on my Treo 800w. Now when a call comes in and I know it may take awhile, I'll quickly hit that key combo and kill my screen. This will not only save some battery life, but will slightly reduce some of that device hotness as well.

But how to turn it back on? Simple. Just hit the "Action key" on your dpad and the screen comes back on and you're facing "BlackMe's" dialogue which allows you to re-enable or Exit. This app is also great for all sorts of intesive activities that you do on your WM device but don't need the screen on (GPS caching, music, remote hacking of Pentagon compu

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Well, if you recall from out double-team review of Mobile Shell 2, one of the "lacking" features was the ability to customize every single aspect of the new UI e.g. replacing icons, rearranging things, etc.

Swoop in the nerdy saints of XDA who have managed to figure out those pesky and encrypted .dat files. Needless to say, they have added some custom icons sets, moved things over and since this whole enterprise is just starting who knows where it'll go.

So far the majority of the config layouts are for those abundant 320x240 devices but there are a few 240x240 ones popping up.

jakkrith (with the assist) came out with a simple .cab file for portrait devices to simplify the job and bcchristian made one for square screens (seen above). Hop on over to follow the magic...

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Okay, this one is for all you folks out there who own a Windows Mobile Pro device that doesn't have the word "Treo" on the front (since those lucky ducks have it built in). I doubt it works for Standard :-( -- but would love it somebody could prove me wrong in the comments.

Basically, this little trick from no2chem and stroths at PPCgeeks (stroths is also a huge contributor here at 'Experts) will change your default and lumpy 10% battery increments to the much more accurate and cool 1%.

So basically instead of going from 80% battery down to 70%, you can see your precious battery trickle away at 77%, 76%, etc. w00t?

It works on the Touch and Mogul definitely and probably other WM devices. Since it's a .cab installer, if there are any problems you should be able to just un-install under your Remove Programs area. Post any feedback below and 'no' it does not consume more battery power, though you may be much more aware of your levels now!

Personally, this was one of my favorite features on the WM 7xx series as I really dig exact battery measurements (relatively)--now if we can do something about those pitiful 25% increments on Standard, eh?

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21

How To: Edit the Registry

Registry Edits (or as some call them hacks or tweaks) are often times one of the great mysteries of the WM world that can either totally baffle or flat out scare the bejeezus out of first time WM phone owners, or even sometimes veteran users for that matter. But with a little direction and a few proactive and preventive steps, these fears are more often than not largely exaggerated. Registry edits are cool, useful, helpful, can fine tune / optimize / personalize your phone, or sometimes might simply be important to know how to do in order to fix your phone. Editing the Registry is easy, can be safe, and fun to explore and that is what this article is geared to do.

A lot of registry editing tutorials are really short, expecting the reader to have some experience or knowledge with it already, and assume you already know basically what they are talking about. This article is assuming you have never heard of the registry, let alone what you can do with it. I will show you how to safely backup, explore, and edit your phone's registry. The goal here is to clear up all the urban legends about physically and literally blowing up your phone in a ball of flame, resulting in burning down your house and loosing all of your worldly possessions just by tweaking the wrong thing in your WM phone's Registry... and then to open up a whole new world for you with your WM phone.

First thing's first: What the Heck is the Registry??

First of all, please note that due to how complex the registry is under the hood, that I have taken some liberties in simplifying some of the terms and definitions. In other words, from a programmer's point of view, I am not going to be completely accurate or comprehensive. But from a user's point of view who simply wants to edit their WM phone's registry to stop their Bluetooth LED light from blinking and annoying the heck out of them, it is perfectly accurate info.

WikiPedia has a pretty good definition of what the Registry is:

The Windows registry is a directory which stores settings and options for the operating system for Microsoft ....Windows Mobile. It contains information and settings for all the hardware, operating system software, most non-operating system software, users, preferences of the (Mobile Phone), etc. Whenever a user makes changes to Control Panel settings, file associations, system policies, or most installed software, the changes are reflected and stored in the registry.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry

For a real geeky detail explanation of what the registry is go here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/256986

Now that you still don't have a clue what the registry is, let me try to explain it. Think of the registry as a single file that holds nearly every possible setting for your phone, the WM OS, any software or game installed on the phone, etc. Think of it as a single file that basically tells the phone who it is, what it has on it, and how to do everything you want it to do. Think of it as just one big file with all the settings for your phone (the hardware), the Operating System, and the software installed. So for example, if you wanted to keep the keyboard backlight to stay lit for 60 seconds instead of only the highest option available of 30 seconds in the settings, you can go into the registry and change it to 60 seconds yourself.

So no matter what you call it, registry edit, tweak, or a hack, you are simply just changing a setting on your phone. That's it. Nothing more.

Editing the registry is officially and traditionally considered a task saved for power users only. But with the instructions and tools in this article this wonderful tool can be opened up to anyone with a WM device.

Safely editing your registry

Not to scare you off from having fun with the cool suggestions in this article, but now before we get started is the perfect time to address the fears of blowing up your phone with editing your registry... look at the reality of any possible risks, and how to restore your phone to its previous state no matter what you do. The two main fears that new users have when starting to look into the registry is:

1) Fatally killing your phone forever
2) Losing all of your personal information without ever being able to get it all back

Both of these are valid... but only to a point. As you will see below, you can stop your phone from working by editing the registry, but this can usually and easily be fixed by a doing a hard reset. The second is not a major concern either, as long as you have a current backup, which is easy to do.

The Reality of your possible risks

It is important to know that if you are editing the registry and it is done carelessly or without a few simple precautions, you can easily stop your phone from working and lose all of your personal data. In a case like this, you have more than likely not "bricked" your phone, but have caused an error where it cannot run "as is" with the changes you made, but it will run again as soon as you do a hard reset. A hard reset changes it back to as if it just left the factory. In other words, the phone will work just fine again, but none of your personal information or software you installed will be on the phone any longer.

The bottom line is that when playing with the registry, you should always be able to hard reset the phone to wipe out any bad errors you may have caused, but in the process wipe out your personal information as well. So in reality, for the most part, the only thing at risk is your personal information, settings you have changed, and software you personally installed, which is really easy to backup and restore so you can have it all back again.

I guess for liability sake, I have to say to "proceed at your own risk" as Murphy's Law often times proves, anything can happen no matter if it is likely or not. Beyond urban legend reports of someone posting that they heard from their best friend's wife's manicurist's dog walker's cousin's mom, who is a totally reliable source that works at a Sprint's independently owned mall outlet in Backwater, WY that they saw a phone another Sprint rep was working on that was totally bricked because the customer edited the wrong key in the registry... I have personally not seen a situation where a hard reset cannot fix a registry edit (and I know someone somewhere is going to point out where and why I am wrong about this). Basically put, you should be able to recover from nearly any published and verified registry edit with no real worries beyond having to do a hard reset and restore you latest backup.

So again, if you do make a change in the registry that stops your phone from working, then there are two simple steps to get it working again:

  1. Do a hard rest on your phone (see the manual for your phone to see which buttons you need to push while you use the stylus to hit the reset button)
  2. Restore your latest backup with all of your personal information and settings

That's it. These two steps are the worst that you should face. No balls of flames... no eternal paperweights.

Safe steps to take when editing the Registry

There are two points of advice I will always give to anyone when tweaking their registry.

The first is to not just go around in the registry and start changing settings willynilly just to see what happens, as you will get unexpected and sometimes fatal results, but instead to stick only with published tweaks that have been posted in articles, proven to work in forums, or found in books. There is always a percentage that will stand out as exceptions, but with most of these published and verified tweaks, even if you accidentally enter in the wrong setting, you can still just go back in and correct it. No harm, no foul.

My second point of advice is a strong one... no one, no matter how experienced, should ever touch their registry without doing this step first! That is to do a complete backup each time before you edit your registry to make sure that all of your latest settings and personal info are saved and ready to restore at anytime for any reason. Sprite Backup or SPB Backup are the two backup programs I personally recommend.

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If you haven't yet, go read HobbesIsReal's great How To: Edit the Registry. He ends the article with some suggestions as to where to find some useful registry hacks. Here's one I've never heard of that's super cool: you can set up your bluetooth headset button to launch whatever voice recognition application you prefer -- or heck, set it up to launch anything at all:

For users of bluetooth headsets, you might face either or both these problems:

When you press the button for voice command on your headset, the default program (Voice Commander) comes out but you want to change it to something else.
Pressing the same button, nothing happens.
If this sounds like you, then there’s a very easy solution for you in the form of a registry hack

Head on over to Eten Blog for the full details on how to make the registry edits - there's even a “.reg” file that you can use to add the keys to your phone and “import” them into your registry (if that's your thing).

That's what's cool about the registry, the neat hackable things buried in there never seem to end. Yeah, a registry is sometimes not the best option for computing -- on a desktop, for example, I much prefer the Mac method of discrete text-based pref files to the Windows Registry. Windows Mobile, on the other hand, has less complexity than XP or Vista so a single database of settings makes a lot of sense.

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