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Freeing Up Memory in Your iPAQ

An old saying claims that you can't be too thin or too rich. When it comes to iPAQs, you can say that you can't have too much memory. Your iPAQ differs in one very fundamental way from your desktop PC: Your iPAQ must store all programs and data in memory at all times. Your desktop PC, on the other hand, can put unused stuff out on a disk somewhere until it's needed.

This difference between your iPAQ and your desktop PC is an important one. It means that you can't simply add new programs whenever you want without making certain that you have enough room for them. On a desktop PC with gigabytes of hard disk space, you'll probably outgrow your desktop PC long before you need to worry about space. On an iPAQ, available space can be an issue almost as soon as you start adding new programs.

Unloading programs you don't need

One of the great things about having your desktop PC and your iPAQ as partners in installing iPAQ software is that you can typically remove programs from your iPAQ and yet still have them available if you later decide to reinstall them. And because you may have to unload some programs when you want to try out new iPAQ software, this can be a real lifesaver!

You can unload programs from your iPAQ in one of two primary ways: Remove them by using just your iPAQ or by using ActiveSync on your desktop PC. Both methods work, so it's really up to you to decide which you prefer. Consider using ActiveSync on your desktop PC because that way the desktop system and your iPAQ always agree about which programs are installed.

Unloading programs by using ActiveSync

If you want to remove programs from your iPAQ by working through ActiveSync on your desktop PC, here's what you need to do:

1. Place your iPAQ in the synchronization cradle and open ActiveSync on your desktop PC if it isn't already open.

Of course, if you're using a wireless network connection for your iPAQ, you can skip the part about placing it in the synchronization cradle because your network connection is likely much faster than the USB connection — meaning that the wireless connection is a better option for installing and removing most programs.

2. Choose Tools --> Add/Remove Programs.

ActiveSync examines your iPAQ to see which programs are currently installed and then displays the Add/Remove Programs dialog box (see Figure 1).


Figure 1: You can add or remove programs from your iPAQ by using ActiveSync on your desktop PC.

3. Remove the check mark from any programs that you want to uninstall from your iPAQ.

You can also add a check mark to any of the listed programs that you want to install.

Don't click the Remove button — doing so removes the program from both your iPAQ and your desktop PC.

4. Click OK to make the changes.

Be sure to look at your iPAQ's screen to see if you need to do anything else, like reset your iPAQ.

Using ActiveSync on your desktop PC to remove programs from your iPAQ has another advantage that you may not have considered: By using ActiveSync, you can be sure that you still have the ability to reinstall the program if necessary. If you uninstall a program directly on your iPAQ as shown in the next section, it's possible to remove programs and not be able to reinstall them without first downloading the installation program from the Web.

Unloading programs directly on your iPAQ

If you'd rather work directly on your iPAQ, you can uninstall programs without using your desktop PC — this may be your only choice if you're away from your desk but need to download a large file directly into your iPAQ by using your Internet connection.

Here's how to unload programs directly from your iPAQ:

1. Tap the Start button on your iPAQ and choose Settings to open the Settings screen.

2. Click the System tab and then tap the Remove Programs icon to display the list of programs that are currently installed in your iPAQ's storage memory (see Figure 2).


Figure 2: Choose the programs that you want to remove.

3. Select any of the programs that you want to uninstall and then click the Remove button.

4. Tap OK when you have removed everything that you don't want and you're finished.

You've probably noticed that neither using ActiveSync on your desktop PC nor using Remove Programs directly on your iPAQ offers you the option of removing all the programs on your iPAQ. That's because the basic applications on your iPAQ — things like Pocket Word and Pocket Excel — are loaded permanently into your iPAQ's ROM (read-only memory). Even though these items are loaded into permanent memory, it's possible to update them with special software that can modify Flash ROM — a special type of ROM included in all iPAQ systems specifically so that updates can be made if necessary. See the support pages for your particular iPAQ model at the HP Web site for information on possible updates.

Deleting unneeded files

Of course, programs aren't the only files that can eat up memory space on your iPAQ. It's a sure bet that other unneeded files are wasting space.

You have several ways to remove unneeded files from your iPAQ. For example, if you've loaded a bunch of eBooks into the Microsoft Reader library, you can delete those books when you're done with them by using the tap-and-hold method. You then choose Delete from the pop-up menu, and they're sent off into digital nothingness.

You may think that the Find link on the Memory settings screen offers a good way to find and delete unneeded files. If so, you'd be half right. Sure, you can use the find tool to locate files, but you can't delete them when you find them.

A better way to find and delete files is to use the File Explorer, shown in Figure 3. Here you can locate and delete files.


Figure 3: Use File Explorer to manage the files on your iPAQ.

To open File Explorer on your iPAQ, click the Start button and choose Programs to open the Programs folder. Then, tap the File Explorer icon.

To view your files sorted by size (or some other sort order), tap the sort list just below the time display and choose the sort order that you prefer. In Figure 3 the list is sorted by name.

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