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By Chris De Herrera 
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Pocket PC FAQ
Code Name Rapier

By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000, All Rights Reserved.
Revised 6/26/2000

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Here's some answers to questions users are asking about the Pocket PC. 
If you have questions about the Pocket PC, feel free to post them at Pocket PC FAQ Forums.

Sections: User Interface, Included Applications, ActiveSync and Communications, File System, Upgrades, Devices, Tips for Using the Pocket PC, Development

User Interface

1. Where is the task bar?

The task bar is only visible on the Today screen.   If you have a Palm-size PC application that uses the task bar, it will only work when you are on the Today screen.

2. How do I access items that are usually right click?

Right click functions are available with tap and hold.  This means you click on an item and hold the stylus for about 5 seconds and it will display a drop down menu.

3. Does the Pocket PC use one click for all functions?

Yes, the Pocket PC uses a single click metaphor for accessing functions.  When you use a Palm-size PC application you will have to use two clicks just like the Palm-size PC does.

4. Does the Pocket PC icons and screen look different?

Yes, Microsoft has removed all 3D effects and minimized the size of all icons, buttons, scroll bars and menu bars to make it easier to read.  Everything looks flat, kind of like the way Windows 3.x looked.

5. Where is the Start button?

The Pocket PC does not have a Start button like prior PC Companions. This functionality is built into the title bar for the application. Just click on the Windows Icon or the name of the application and the drop down menu will appear.

6. Can I run my existing Palm-size PC applications?

Yes, you can run your existing Palm-size PC applications on the Pocket PC. While these applications are running, the screen will resemble the Palm-size PC screen including the Start button.  You will need to use two clicks when running these applications just like the Palm-size PC does.   Applications that reside in the system tray will only be accessible when you run the Today application.

Included Applications

1. What applications are included?

The Pocket PC includes Pocket Excel, Pocket Word, Pocket Money, Microsoft Reader, Windows Media Player, File Explorer, Pocket Internet Explorer, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes (voice, text and ink).

2. Does Pocket Word support desktop file formats?

Yes, Pocket Word does supports Office 95, Office 97 and Office 2000 formats

3. What features of Word are supported in Pocket Word?

Pocket Word supports using fonts (TrueType fonts, bold, italic, underline), outline mode, as well as justification and images.  Pocket Word does not support tables, passwords, headers, footers or Visual Basic for Application scripts.

4. Does Pocket Excel support desktop file formats?

Yes, Pocket Excel does supports Office 95, Office 97 and Office 2000 formats.

5. What features of Excel are supported in Pocket Excel

Pocket Excel supports all the functions used in calculations that Excel does.  It also supports multiple sheets in a workbook.   Graphs, pivot tables, embedded objects, passwords, and Visual Basic for Application scripts are not supported.

6. Can I print?

The Pocket PC does not support native printing from any applications.  You can print pictures and text using HP Jetsend and transfer files to other PDAs.

7. How do I create content for Microsoft Reader?4/font>

ReaderWorks offers a standard tool to convert text, html into Reader Books.

8. Where can I find more Reader Content?

There is a list of the available Reader Content at Pocket PC FAQ

9. Does the Windows Media Player play MP3s?

Yes, Windows Media Player supports MP3 and WMA (Windows Media) format music files.  The Windows Media Player supports multiple bit rates including 32k, 64k and 128k.

10. What does Pocket Internet Explorer offer?

Pocket Internet Explorer offers the ability to view web pages on a virtual 640 x 480 display and scroll left and right to see the whole page.   It also offers a Fit to Page option which shrink fonts and images for a better fit.  It also supports HTML 3.2 frames, Java Script, XML (eXtended Markup Language), 128 bit encryption, links to files (excel, word, mp3, wma, etc.) and runs the application.  It does not support Java Virtual Machine, or Visual Basic scripting.

11. Does Pocket Money work with other versions of Money or Quicken?

No, Pocket Money only works with the US version of Money 2000.

ActiveSync and Communications

1. Does the Pocket PC work with ActiveSync?

Yes, the Pocket PC only works with ActiveSync 3.1.   If you have Windows CE Services or ActiveSync 3.0 you will need to upgrade.   The Pocket PC is not compatible with ActiveSync 3.0 or Windows CE Services 2.x PC Companion.

2. What PC Companions does ActiveSync 3.1 support?

You can use ActiveSync 3.1 with all Windows CE 2.0 or later PC Companions.  This includes the Handheld PC, Handheld PC, Professional Edition, Palm-size PC and Pocket PC.

3. Where can I get ActiveSync 3.1?

ActiveSync 3.1 is available for free at Microsoft's Website.   You can read more about ActiveSync here on Pocket PC FAQ

4. What communications methods does the Pocket PC support?

The Pocket PC uses USB, serial and Infrared for the first synchronization to the desktop.  It supports using PPP dialup to the internet or a corporate network.  You can also use Ethernet to access your network as well.   The Pocket PC does not offer a network client (no file and print sharing), RAS dial back,  RAS data encryption or Secure Authentication Protocol (SAP).

5. Does the Pocket PC support a Network Client to connect to Windows Networks?

No, the Pocket PC does not support a network client.

6. What can I use USB for?

USB is supported in the Pocket PC for synchronizing to your desktop.  You can not use it to connect peripherals to your Pocket PC.

File System

1. Does the Pocket PC allow you to browse the directories?

Yes, you can browse the directories on the device and on the Storage Card (compactflash or multimedia card) using the File Explorer.

2. Can you run programs from the File Explorer?

Yes, you can run applications that are designed to run on your Pocket PC by clicking on them.  You can install programs by clicking on the .CAB file as well.

3. What types of storage media does the Pocket PC support?

The Pocket PC supports CompactFlash and MMC (MultiMedia Card) format cards.  The data is stored in FAT format so you can store information using a laptop with a PC Card adapter.

4. How much information can I store in internal RAM?

The Pocket PC uses Windows CE 3.0. In Windows CE 3.0, you can use up to 256 MB of ram for internal storage.  This is an improvement over prior versions that were limited to 16 MB. 

5. Do I need to manage my storage in my Pocket PC?

No, you do not need to adjust the amount of storage for your Pocket PC.  It automatically adjusts the amount of ram available for storage based on the applications which are running and the required space to store information internally.


1. Can I upgrade my Palm-size PC?

Right now none of the hardware manufacturers have announced their upgrade plans.  Just keep tuned for more information as it is released.  Based on previous upgrades, I anticipate that only Windows CE 2.11 Palm-size PCs will be upgradeable if the manufacturer is still selling Palm-size PCs.   Here's what we know right now:

Casio E-100/E-105 - Trade In Program - $199 rom upgrade or $199 trade-in for a new E-115. Sign up from 6/1/00 through 6/30/00.   See Casio website for details.

Compaq Aero 1500 - Yes $69.00 (16 Mb of RAM) Part # 175593-001.  Does not include the ActiveSync 3.1 CD.

Compaq Aero 2100 - Yes $99.00 (24 MB of RAM) Part #175595-001.  Does not include the ActiveSync 3.1 CD.

Hewlett Packard 420 - No plans for an upgrade.

Hewlett Packard 430 - $100 Cash Back on Jornada 540 Series.

Philips Nino 510 - Philips has discontinued the Nino.  There are no plans for an upgrade.


1. Who will be selling Pocket PCs?

Casio, Compaq, Hewlett Packard and Symbol have committed to offering Pocket PCs.

2. Where can I see a comparison of the new Pocket PCs?

Right here on Pocket PC FAQ is a detailed Pocket PC Comparison and the Pocket PC Feature Comparison. Also, there is a comparison between Palm, Palm-size PC and the Pocket PC as well.

Tips for using the Pocket PC

1. Can I change the sound that my Pocket PC uses for an alarm?

Microsoft does not allow you to select your own sounds for the alarms under Start - Settings - Sounds - Reminders. If Select Alarm1 (or Alarm2 or Alarm3 or Alarm4 or Alarm5) for the reminder. Then take a copy of your .wav file and put it in the \Windows directory and name it Alarm1. Then the new .wav file will play.

2. Installing Applications from .CAB files.

If you click on a .cab file in Pocket Internet Explorer or in your File Explorer you can install an appliction.  This will allow you to avoid downloading a program to install it on your Pocket PC.

3. Microsoft Money Sync Tips

Some users have reported problems synchronizing Pocket Money.  The MS Money Sync Tips may help you avoid this problem.

4. Microsoft Money Multiple Partnerships

Did you know you can have multiple partnerships with Pocket Money?  To find out how, read Microsoft Money Multiple Partnerships.

5. Using a CompactFlash card for storing MP3 or WMA Music

In order to play music from a CompactFlash card you need to create a My Documents directory on the CompactFlash card and copy your MP3 or WMA music files there. Then the Media Player will recognize the music and display it in the play list.

6.  Closing Applications

Most applications support being closed by clicking Control-Q on the pop-up keyboard.  This is faster than closing the applications by clicking on Start - Settings - System - Memory - Running Programs and selecting the application to close.


1.  What development tools are available for the Pocket PCs?

You can get eMbedded Visual Tools 3.0 which supports C++ and Visual Basic for the Pocket PCs, H/PC Pros, Palm-size PC 2.11 PC Companigns for the cost of shipping from Microsoft. MSDN subscribers can download Embedded Visual Tools 3.0 for free from the MSDN Subscriptions page.   It is 304MB.  NSBasic/CE also offers a Pocket PC version as well.

If you have questions about the Pocket PC, feel free to post them at Pocket PC FAQ Forums.

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