ActiveSync is Microsoft’s software to match up the information on your Windows Mobile smartphone or PDA with your PC’s information in Outlook. And it’s brilliant… probably the single best reason to have a Windows Mobile device. Just plug it in, and all the synchronisation happens automatically.
Of course, there’s a catch. Inexplicably, Microsoft refuses to let you access the information on the phone directly. There’s a button in ActiveSync to ‘explore’ the device, which isn’t far off. But you really want it to work like a removable hard disk or USB stick, available like any hard drive in Windows Explorer and everything else. That way, you can use something like Microsoft’s free SyncToy to sync up ordinary files as well – like photos.
Thankfully, someone’s written a freeware tool to do just that. WM5storage sits on your mobile device, and effectively lets you switch it between ‘ActiveSync’ mode and ‘USB Mass Storage’ mode. (You can’t have both at the same time.) It works a treat with my T-Mobile MDA Pro. You’ll need to sign up as a member of the Modaco discussion forum, but it’s worth the effort.
(By the way, I note there’s a beta version of ActiveSync 4.2 now available from the Microsoft site.)