How-to: Hack your Windows Mobile registry

Difficulty: 4

PhmIn all Microsoft operating systems, there is a registry which loads as your computer starts up. The registry lets the operating system know what settings to to start your computer up with. Most settings on our computers are stored in the registry somewhere, we just need to know what to change to achieve what we want.

Windows Mobile devices also have a registry. We can customise many of the defaults on our devices to suit our needs. The structure is very similar to the Windows Registry structure, so if you are familiar with it, you will find this just as easy. If you have not yet delved into a registry, you will find this quite tricky.

This article will cover some of the changes we are able to make to our devices, through our devices registry. I hope to update this article as time goes on so please use the comments to report your own changes. These hacks are for Windows Mobile 5 devices, though some may work with other versions of Windows Mobile.

Find a Registry Editor:

There are a number of free register editors available for Windows Mobile Devices. We have the option of editing the registry from either a desktop computer or the device itself. I have not tested out any of the programs below extensively but I can confirm they will perform any of the changes listed on this page.

ExclimationOpening up a registry and making changes is slightly risky. If we change the wrong key, it is possible that our device will no longer work. Backup your devices data before continuing. You should be prepared to reinstall the operating system on your device if something bad does happen. I give you this information for educational use only. If you decide to tinker this way, you are doing so at your own risk.

MREMobile Registry Editor: runs on your desktop and connects to your device using ActiveSync. Once you have this installed, connect your device via ActiveSync and click on one of the folder to the left. If the right side refreshes, you have a connection.

Being a desktop application, it is easy to navigate and make changes using your keyboard and mouse. As I don’t make many registry changes away from my desktop computer, I would generally use this.

Available from Inspect My Gadget.

PhmPHM Registry Editor: runs on your device so you have free reign over where and when you make changes to the registry.

It has a nice interface and is quite easy to use on our little Windows Mobile screens. PHM Registry Editor works a little faster for me than Mobile Registry Editor did.

Available from FreewarePPC.

Both of these editors are suitable for the changes listed below so choose what you think will work best, or try them both out, they are both free.

I have tested all of the hacks below and they have all worked on my Ipaq rw6828. You may experience that some do not work on your device. If you have no luck, I recommend changing the keys back to what they were originally so you do not experience problems down the track.

On with the hacks:

Remove “Message Sent” Notification when sending text messages.

Navigate to
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Inbox\”

Create a key called “Settings”

Create a String Value called “SMSNoSendMsg”

Set the value to “1”

Now when you send a text message, you will feel a little naked.

Change contents of New menu on the “Today Screen”

The “New” button allows you to create various file types directly from the today screen. Adding new items in is tricky but it is easy to remove them.

Navigate to
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shell\Extensions\NewMenu”

Look in the keys and remove the items you no longer want. Adding them back will be a pain so take caution doing this.

Change which items load at startup.

Navigate to
“HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shell\Start Items”

Add or Remove keys according to what you want to run. Not all programs are listed here as some programs are configured in their own settings.

Change the amount of suggested words when inputting data.

Navigate to
“HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Sip”

Find “SuggWords”

Change value to between 0 and 6(4 is the default)

I have been using my device with one word showing since I got my device. This is also configurable through the Settings/Input applet but it did not work for me until I made the registry changes.

Change the location of My Documents to the SD Card.

This one is complicated but possible. I had to play around with this one for a while trying and failing with several methods, succeeding with this one. The order in which you do this is essential.

Please ensure that your SD card and My Documents are backed up. It is recommended that you do this on a fresh install of your ROM. This cleared out my “My Documents” folder but I was able to restore it.

1. Reset your device
2. Synchronise your device with your PC
3. Navigate to
“HKLM\System\StorageManager\Profiles\SDMemory“
4. Change the “Folder” key to “My Documents”
5. Rename your original “My Documents” folder to “My Docs”. This is a crucial step, but it does not matter what you name it.
6. Power off and reset your device.
7. Sync your Device
You should see in “File Explorer that your “My Documents” folder has an SD card icon next to it.
Copy your files back into your My Documents.

I hope these have worked for you. Please put more in the comments as you come across them. There are bound to be hundreds of these tweaks. If tweaking is not for you, check out the rest of Inspect My Gadget for other types of workarounds.




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41 comments so far »
 

  1. Timothy Forkner said, on October 25, 2007 @ 4:42 am

    Is it possible to restrict incoming or outgoing calls with a registry change?

  2. mike said, on January 26, 2008 @ 9:19 am

    is there a way to import outlook express contacts to wm6 i realy dont want to have to pay for office outlook

  3. Chris Duckworth said, on January 29, 2008 @ 7:41 am

    Mike, Outlook Express does not sync up nicely with Windows Mobile. I haven’t tried it, but you may be able to get your gmail contacts to sync with your device. Apart from that, you might be able to use thunderbird or another free email client which you can sync your Outlook contacts into and then sync with your device.

  4. Bill said, on February 6, 2008 @ 6:09 am

    Is there a way to move the Outlook data file to the SD card? I have a 1 gb card and no data on it. Everything is in the main system storage.

    Thanks!
    Bill

  5. Chris Duckworth said, on February 6, 2008 @ 8:40 am

    Hi Bill, it is probably possible to relocate the data file, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It could cause syncing problems and the like.

    If you have lots of attachments, you can save them on the storage card instead of the main memory.

    In your devices mail client, tap menu, tools, options, storage. Here you get to tick the box to place attachments on the storage card.

    When you install programs, you can choose to install them on the storage card too. There are lots of ways to keep the main memory fairly free.

  6. Russell said, on April 7, 2008 @ 12:18 am

    i tried to do remove the message sent notification i folled the steps you listed but the message still comes up.. is there anything more you can tell me?

  7. Chris Duckworth said, on April 7, 2008 @ 10:39 am

    Russell, I don’t know why it is not working. You may want to try some tweaking software such as this tool. I am not sure if this tweak is included, but there may well be other software available that will do the tweak for you.

  8. Piotr Kolodziej said, on April 9, 2008 @ 10:09 pm

    Hi

    Is there a way to:
    1. Block operator hello and byebye messages? They come in a form of short video and are very loud.
    2. Force programs to ASK for the permission to access WEP/GPRS/HSDPA – my phone sometimes starts data connection god knows why.

  9. Mooj said, on May 7, 2008 @ 5:28 pm

    What registry editors work with vista? Vista no longer uses active sync, but rather the Windows Mobile Device Center and I can’t find a working editor. Please e-mail me and let me know.

  10. Jason said, on June 5, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    I downloaded the nueled and i when i disable the lights on the list they keep blinking i don’t mind the lights i just hate not knowing how to use something i have in case i ever do need to turn them off how do i fix this?I have an htc ppc6800

  11. Anu said, on June 13, 2008 @ 4:02 pm

    Is it possible to modify windows mobile ‘Contacts’ application menu to add my own custmoized links.

  12. Chris Duckworth said, on June 13, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

    Anu, you got me searching my phone. I knew it was possible, but forgot how to do it. Then I remembered. Get your hands on Advanced Configuration Tools. It has a nice interface which lets you do change these softkeys quickly and easily. It also lets you do lots of other nice stuff too.

  13. sam said, on September 26, 2008 @ 3:43 am

    Is it possible to forward my calls (outgoing an incoming) calls and text to my email or other phone?

  14. Mike said, on October 12, 2008 @ 11:48 am

    Remove “Message Sent” Notification when sending text messages.

    I had the same problem as Russell and after some searching on the internet it looks like the string name should be;

    Create a String Value called “SMSNoSentMsg”

    instead of
    Create a String Value called “SMSNoSendMsg”

  15. yhe2x said, on October 24, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

    I was just wondering if there’s any way to remove the ringtone filesize limit on the lg vu and how to do I do it?

  16. Chris Duckworth said, on October 28, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

    yhe2x, you could try dropping the bit rate a little. The quality will drop slightly, but the filesize will significantly drop. I don’t have that phone to test it out on though.

  17. John said, on November 19, 2008 @ 10:02 pm

    The registry tweak for startup items on windows 6.1 is incorrect. The folder located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shell\Start Items is actually the links that appear in the start menu.

  18. rainwalkr said, on December 9, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

    you R totally cool, helping me getting rid of this annoying msg sent alert.. NICEEEEE

  19. Jeudy said, on December 23, 2008 @ 6:25 am

    Is there a way to increase the amount of program memory, taking just a litle from storage. I have a SD card so I would like a little more memory for the programs (for example, Opera sends me an error every 10 secs saying I don’t have enough memory even if it is the only app I’m using at the moment)

    Thanks!

  20. Chris Duckworth said, on December 23, 2008 @ 7:46 am

    Jeudy, on some devices, in settings/memory, you can change the amount of memory allocated to program storage and program running memory. If there is no slider to allocate more for running programs, uninstall programs you don’t use too often and install them on the SD card instead of the main memory. I install almost all my programs on the SD card and they perform just as well.

  21. Jeudy said, on December 23, 2008 @ 8:03 am

    Thanks Chris,

    Actually I have everything installed on the SD card. All the programs work OK (even GoogleMaps!), except for Opera which demands more memory!

    I own an iPhone clone (M88+) with WM6, and it doesn’t have the slider.

    I was thinking on an indirect way to do it: either editing a configuration file or a registry key.

  22. Chris Duckworth said, on December 23, 2008 @ 8:24 am

    Hi Jeudy, I don’t have any more ideas on this one. Maybe look for memory management software. I would agree with you that if anywhere, the registry is the first place I would look to allocate more memory to apps. Software may make it easier.

  23. Jeff said, on December 29, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

    I have looked all over and I’m surprised no one else has asked…

    When Pocket Outlook checks my gmail via imap, it receives HTML email just fine – however – for “security reasons” it will not download images unless I click on the link stating it’s ok to download images.

    How can I set this to “always download images” so I don’t have to do the extra step and wait for it to download?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

  24. Peter said, on January 5, 2009 @ 9:30 am

    Good info…

    Is there a tweka to get sms arrival notifications and voicemail notifications to repeat?

  25. Manglio said, on February 20, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    Hello Chris! Would you please let me know how can I change the font size of the calls screen in Windows Mobile 6?
    Also, the phone numbers shown on that screen, when in vertical position, are limited in 6 digits, and the rest of the number is hidden, like this “015994…”
    Is there a way to change this limitation and show the complete numbers?

    Regards,
    Manglio

  26. Chris Duckworth said, on February 26, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

    Good question Manglio. I am not sure of any registry hacks which would sort this problem out. You can change font size in settings>screen, but this does not change the size of fonts in the call screen, or most other places in the device.

    There are 3rd party dialer utilities that can replace the default dialer. They are sort of like themes. You may find one that is costomisable. I did a quick search and found this one within a minute – it may be good or bad. Please let me know how you got on with it.

  27. Lee Webb said, on April 28, 2009 @ 8:17 am

    I need to change the check for email option in WM6 to LESS than 5 minutes. Does anyone know the registry setting?

  28. Chris Duckworth said, on May 6, 2009 @ 10:14 am

    I don’t know the registry setting, but I did try the 5 minute check on another phone and I recived a savagely high bill after 2 days use. If you have access to an exchange server, push email works really well. Messages get to my phone quicker than they get to the PC 100% of the time.
    I know this doesn’t answer your question, but I hope the information will be helpful.

  29. Frank said, on May 7, 2009 @ 7:27 am

    Hi Chris:

    I am using the native VoIP soft phone included on WM6.1 and have had trouble while making calls since the app is sending an encryption key and the telco does not support it, can you help me to disable that encrypt please?

    Thanks

    Frank

  30. Chris Duckworth said, on May 7, 2009 @ 9:32 am

    Hi Frank,
    I have no idea how to fix this. I doubt it is possible. You could try another VoIP soft phone, or contact the maker of the native software to see if they can help. You may find a google search on your telco and the softphone may come up with someone else having the same problem.

  31. aysays said, on May 13, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

    hello. is there ayway to edit the registry for the emergency number change??? i heard that is posible to edit the numbers there and whitout sim card or without any $$$ on your sym u can make free calls> is that true? i need a answer pls

  32. Chris Duckworth said, on May 17, 2009 @ 11:57 am

    I haven’t found anything about changing the emergency number through the registry, but it makes sense to me that it would be in there somewhere. You could search your registry for various emergency numbers and see if anything comes out.
    Is it possible that it is associated with the devices locale, so changing the location settings on your device may also change the number?
    I think that you can call emergency for free without the sim installed. I am not game to try it though. This is from an australian travel website.

    000 calls are free on all mobile phones. From analogue phones, 000 will connect callers, although many newer digital phones require the user to dial 112, the international standard emergency number. Consult your carrier if you are uncertain how to access the 000 emergency network.

    Hope it helps

  33. Josh said, on May 27, 2009 @ 9:28 am

    is there a way i can connect a windows mobile wi-fi or wireless lan to the internet when the phone service is cut off?? I know there is probably a way because i did it once but im not real sure how i did it it only lasted for about 3 minutes though!! then it cutt off

  34. Chris Duckworth said, on June 1, 2009 @ 9:27 am

    Hi Josh, you should be able to do this through the wifi connection settings of the phone. The phone should turn on still and let you use Windows mobile. The only thing that wont connect is your phone connection. If the wifi settings are correct, they should have no impact on the phone connection.

  35. Somejuan said, on August 11, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

    As per a previous post, there is incorrect info on one regedit here. Please update it, Inspector! As always be extra careful with editing the registry.

    John said, on November 19, 2008 @ 10:02 pm

    The registry tweak for startup items on windows 6.1 is incorrect. The folder located at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shell\Start Items is actually the links that appear in the start menu.

  36. Rev. B said, on August 28, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

    Would recommend spending a couple bucks on SK Tools. Every time you change the registry on your phone it automatically backs up the settings as they were before the mods. Plus it has some other excellent features besides the Reg editor.

  37. Dave said, on October 8, 2009 @ 7:15 am

    Is there a way to hack the registry so that message balloons such as “Connecting to: Media Net; GPRS,3G”, and “Error, cannot connect to wap.cingular” don’t pop up. Of course, my text is specific to AT&T but hopefully you understand the messages I’m talking about. I’m usually in a weak signal area and these messages constantly interfere with me using other features of the phone.

  38. Marco said, on March 18, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    hello all
    anyone knows how to get a call waiting notification on screen when calling someone busy with another call ?
    Marco.

  39. Justinn Kase said, on March 3, 2011 @ 6:37 am

    My phone i.e. HTC Diamond2 Dual SIM Mobile phone with Windows 6.5 and the SPB Shell, keep automatically switching between menus. As a result I can get nothing done as this is very frustrating.

    I believe that a registry tweak will fix this problem. However, I do not know what registry parameter controls this.

    I would appreciate any assistance that you can provide.

    On another note, I tried the first registry editor and each time I try to change a parameter it comes up with “Access Denied”.

    Is there some way around this?

    Thank you in anticipation that you will respond.

    Regards,
    JG Kase

  40. ADD33r said, on May 3, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    I lost track of my voice mail passkey, is there some sort of file thats stores all your passcodes?
    i have a HTC Touch Pro2
    if you know the answer email me, i may have more problems down the road
    im a novice gadget hacker and an adept white hat

  41. aubrey said, on March 12, 2012 @ 11:39 pm

    Help please, i have a Workabout Pro G2 Handheld device using windows mobile 6.1 professional, when a reboot the device it prompts for the sim card pin (phone pin, for some purpose i want to stop this prompt, either by disabling the prompt screen, hiding it or removing it.


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