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ActiveSync FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1998-2001    

 Version 1.17  Revised 5/4/2001

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ActiveSync is the Windows CE standard for automatically synchronizing and converting data from your desktop Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or Windows NT PC and to your PC Companion (your H/PC, H/PC Pro, H/PC 2000, Palm-size PC, Pocket PC). This FAQ will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the features and capabilities of ActiveSync.

ActiveSync provides for the conversion of standard data files, synchronization of data files, synchronization of Outlook 97, 98, 2000, XP or Schedule +, and e-mail synchronization (except Schedule +). Also, ActiveSync is used to initiate communications from your PC Companion to your desktop via serial, IrDA, modem, USB, and Ethernet. You can not use Outlook Express for synchronization.

I personally have performed ActiveSync via IrDA, modem, USB and Ethernet for all PC Companions.

Synchronization can be started from the PC Companion or the desktop once the connection has been established. You also have the option to have continuous synchronization as well. You must disconnect the connection from the PC Companion only. If you remove the cable or turn the PC Companion off you should restart your PC since Mobile Services will think it is still connected to your PC Companion.

When the PC Companion is connected remotely, you can not copy data or programs to/from the desktop (except synchronized files). This can be done from the desktop in all configurations. There is no automatic method for installing or upgrading applications, templates or data files to the PC Companion for network administrators.

You can now use the Network Client to access Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP/NT Workstation/NT Server network drives.

Conversion of Data Files

ActiveSync supports the following formats for conversion. You can choose only one format for each file type.

From PC Companion to PC

Pocket Word -> Microsoft Word 6, Microsoft Word 95, Microsoft Word 97, HTML, Text, Rich Text Format (RTF)

Pocket Excel -> Microsoft Excel 5, Microsoft Excel 95, Microsoft Excel 97

Pocket PowerPoint  -> Microsoft PowerPoint 97

Sounds -> Standard .WAV File

Fonts -> Standard TrueType Fonts

Bitmapped Graphics -> 2bp, BMP

From PC to PC Companion

Microsoft Word 6, Microsoft Word 95, Microsoft Word 97, HTML, Text, Rich Text Format (RTF) -> Pocket Word

Microsoft Excel 5, Microsoft Excel 95, Microsoft Excel 97 ->Pocket Excel

.WAV Sounds -> Standard .WAV sounds

Fonts -> TrueType Fonts

2bp, BMP -> Bitmapped Graphics

Note: The H/PC Pro can read an write Word and Excel in desktop file formats. You may lose some formatting with this conversion.

Synchronized files are placed in the \My Documents\Synchronized Files\Handheld_PC directory. The files are automatically converted into the desktop format. You cannot change the name of the directory or location of the directory on the desktop. This would be beneficial so end users could put these files on other drives, including network drives.

Outlook/Schedule+ Synchronization

This synchronizes your contacts, calendar and tasks from your PC Companion to your desktop in Outlook 97, 98, 2000 or Schedule+.  All fields and notes are transferred to/from the PC Companion. You can setup specific groups of contacts to synchronize to the desktop.  You can only have two desktops for ActiveSync synchronization at any given time. The desktop will prompt you to delete an existing partnership if you connect to a third computer.


With Outlook 97/98 you can synchronize your e-mail. The attachments for incoming or outgoing e-mail will be converted into the appropriate format automatically. You can only have one desktop for mail synchronization.


ActiveSync provides a lot of flexibility for different types of connections. It should allow multiple ActiveSync hosts for e-mail and PIM synchronization. Some folks have PC's at home, work and also have laptops as well. Overall it provides a very easy method to synchronize your PIM data, tasks and specific files to the desktop.

Other Articles on ActiveSync:

ActiveSync Versions FAQ
ActiveSync 3.5 Review
ActiveSync 3.1 Review
Removing ActiveSync 3.1

ActiveSync 3.0 Review

Troubleshooting ActiveSync
ActiveSync - Identifying Unresolved Items
ActiveSync Configurations

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