With any product as complicated as a new operating system, it’s easy for an occasional bug to creep in, even with the best pre-release testing. Apparently, Windows Mobile 2003 is no exception. Reports are coming in that handhelds running the new operating system occasionally fail to set off alarms.
Users in the Brighthand Forums are reporting that their handhelds don’t always come out of sleep mode when an alarm is set to go off. Instead, the alarm goes off when the user manually activates the Pocket PC. This happens only intermittently.
Because it doesn’t happen all the time, diagnosing it has been difficult. And though users of a variety of handhelds have reported experiencing it, not everyone with Windows Mobile 2003 has. A recent poll on Pocket PC Thoughts found that while 51% of readers had problems with alarms on the new OS, 13% had none.
Burr Oak Software, which makes pTravelAlarm, reports that it has found a problem with the Windows Mobile notification system, which may be the root cause of this. Its site says, “It looks like the system processes that run at midnight cause the Windows Mobile notification system to fail on subsequent events. Because these processes run only on certain days, this would have the appearance of ‘intermittent failure’.”
When this issue was brought to Microsoft’s attention, a company spokesperson declined to comment directly. She did say, “Overall, feedback from product reviewers, enthusiasts and customers has been positive around the quality and performance of the Windows Mobile software. As with every release, Microsoft and its partners are committed to providing the best experience to their customers and will work together to address concerns.”
Many developers of third-party software are aware of this problem and are designing their applications so they aren’t affected, including the aforementioned Burr Oak Software.
Users of Pocket PC 2002 may find this familiar, as it also affected handhelds running that operating system.
Unnecessary Database Entries
Another, smaller, bug has also been identified in Windows Mobile 2003. XScale.de reported recently that every time a handheld running the new operating system is reset, three identical entries are added to the DB_notify_events database. Eventually, this causes this database to grow to the point where it can cause problems, like slowing down the handheld.
Fortunately, dealing with this is simple. The site provides a free application that, when run, eliminates the extraneous database entries. It suggests leaving this app in the handheld’s Startup folder, where it will run after every soft reset. It can be downloaded from the XScale.de web site.