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Syncing Your Windows Mobile Device with the Mobile Device Center in Vista

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/5/2011

Are you using Vista? Learn how Vista affects computers synchronizing with Windows Mobile devices.

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    Upgrade Advisor

    For those on Windows XP, start by running the Windows Upgrade Advisor. The free application looks at Windows XP computers and identifies what will work and what won't work with Vista. The application requires MSXML 6.0 and .Net Framework to run. The Advisor will let you know if you're missing one or both applications and take you to the download page. Also, check with your handheld manufacturer's Web site regarding compatibility with Vista.

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    PC ActiveSync Goes Away

    Windows Vista uses Windows Mobile Device Center to sync your Windows Mobile handheld with Vista. After installing Vista, check your device manufacturer's Web site or documentation for instructions regarding plugging the device into your Vista computer.

    Put the device's USB cable into the computer and the other end to the device or its cradle. A computer connected to the Internet should automatically recognize the device and install Windows Mobile Device Center. Microsoft highly recommends installing Device Center with a connected device. Upon a successful install, the Windows Mobile Device Center should launch. If not, you may need to disconnect and reconnect the device.

    The application, however, only runs on the desktop. Handheld devices will continue using ActiveSync.

    To access the application, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, and Sync Center.

    Windows Mobile Device Center supports Windows Mobile 2003 and later. Microsoft states that owners using devices with older mobile operating systems can still browse, copy media files and transfer photos.

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    Even if you had an existing partnership set up between device and PC on Windows XP, you'll need to reestablish partnership after upgrading the Windows XP computer to Vista. You can connect to the computer without creating a partnership by clicking Connect from the Windows Mobile Device Center.

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    Sync Center and Windows Mobility Center

    In Control Panel, you may notice there is Sync Center and Windows Mobility Center. Considering their names, it's easy to confuse these and Windows Mobile Device Center. Sync Center provides a high level overview of all partnerships you've established with your PC including media players, digital cameras, PDAs, Smartphones and files on a network server. The ability to access files on a network, however, isn't available with Vista Starter, Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium. With Sync Center, you can manually sync files, stop syncs and receive conflict resolution messages.

    Windows Mobility Center gives you a one-screen overview and access to your notebook, tablet PC or other mobile PC settings including battery status, display brightness, speaker volume, wireless settings, external display, screen orientation, Sync Center and Presentation Settings.

    Windows Mobile Device Center provides details of device partnerships, creates partnerships, synchronizes information including emails, events, appointments and contacts, and transfers music, photos and video. In other words, it does all the things you've come to expect ActiveSync to do on a desktop.

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    Wireless Sync

    You can continue sync wirelessly with your Windows Mobile device and your PC. However, you must set it up through Windows Mobile Device Center and your device. Under Mobile Device Settings in Windows Mobile Device Center, click Connection Settings to change the connection to Bluetooth or Infrared. Your device should have instructions on how to use Bluetooth to connect it to the PC. If not, go to the manufacturer's Web site.