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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Microsoft ActiveSync 3.0 Review
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1999
 Version 1.03  Revised 9/15/99

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Microsoft has improved on Windows CE Services 2.2 with their new release of Microsoft ActiveSync 3.0.  (Note: Microsoft has changed the name of the synchronization software from Windows CE Services to Microsoft ActiveSync).   ActiveSync 3.0 allows you to connect your Windows CE 2.0 or 2.11 Handheld PC, Handheld PC - Professional Edition or Palm-size PC to your desktop (Windows 95/98/NT or 2000)   for synchronization. You can synchronize your PIM data with Schedule+ 7.0a (included), Outlook 97/98/2000. You will notice that the Microsoft has made the user interface similar to Windows 98 and that ActiveSync no longer requires RAS to synchronize. You can now connect to the Internet via proxy or modem, or a VPN without a conflict!  You can download ActiveSync 3.0 from Microsoft's Website.

I recommend that all users read the following documents included on the CD before you install:

  • ReadME.Doc - Release Notes on ActiveSync 3.0
  • ReadRAS.Doc - Tech notes on configuring your PC for RAS server for your PC Companion
  • ReadCE.Doc - Fixes and updates - Recommends that users install Service Pack 1 for the H/PC Pro to resolve some problems.

Note: You MUST have a minimum of 256 colors on your desktop's display in order to install ActiveSync 3.0.  Also, you can install over existing versions of Windows CE Services. I have personally installed ActiveSync 3.0 on Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.  Also, note that ActiveSync 3.0 does not support Word Perfect for file conversions like Windows CE 2.x did.


Upon inserting the CD you will see the option to install ActiveSync 3.0

Selecting the Installation Folder for the Desktop

Defining a New Partnership for your PC Companion

Selecting the Synchronization Settings for a New Partnership

New Partnership is Complete


ActiveSync 3.0 now installs their own PPP server for synchronization.  It offers advanced capabilities like auto-detection of the serial port your PC Companion is installed on. It also automatically adjusts the baud rate of the connection based on the settings of your PC Companion (Control Panel - Communications - PC Connection - Change Connection) You can now select 115.2K baud and it will connect without any other changes required on the desktop!   If ActiveSync 3.0 runs into a problem completing synchronization, it will notify you in the status window.  You have the option to see the log to identify the problem and potential options to resolve it.

Synchronizing the first time

Fully Synchronized

Mobile Devices Folder

Configuring ActiveSync 3.0

ActiveSync 3.0 offers the same sync options that Windows CE Services 2.2 did. The Calendar defaults to synchronizing two weeks of appointments in the past while the Contacts defaults to synchronizing all contacts and only outstanding tasks.  File synchronization is not on by default, however, I recommend that all users turn this feature on since it automatically copies and converts documents stored in your \My Documents\Synchronized Files\ folder to your desktop.

Sync Options

Sync Mode

Sync Rules

Additional Applications Included on the CD

Microsoft included Internet Explorer 5.0 as well as Pocket Streets 3.0 and Schedule+ 7.0a on the ActiveSync 3.0 CD.  Also, Microsoft included the Schedule+ 7.0a Year 2000 patch.  I recommend that all users of Schedule+ 7.0a consider installing the patch for Year 2000 compliance.  It would have been idea for Microsoft to include the Mobile Channels setup for the H/PC and H/PC Pro devices on the CD. 


Some 3rd party applications that use ActiveSync 3.0 to synchronize will show an error of "Unable to find ActiveSync manager..." while trying to synchronize. You need to install the WCESSTUB.EXE patch to ActiveSync 3.0 that adds a syncman.exe stub to resolve this problem. This patch is developed by Microsoft and is available on Phatware's website. Important! If you have an older version of ActiveSync, do not install this patch.


Overall, Microsoft has made synchronization of Windows CE PC Companions very easy with ActiveSync 3.0.  Network administrators and users alike will appreciate the ease of use and flexibility of not requiring RAS.  The ability for the user to easily adjust the baud rate on their device only will satisfy many users' requests for faster synchronization.

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