While most of you know me as Clinton Fitch, writer for Gear Diary and owner of Clinton Fitch (Dot) Com!, I do have a day job. That would be the Unified Communications Product Manager for Spanlink Communications. While we are not the biggest Cisco Systems partner on the block, we are one of the best when it comes to applications in Unified Communications and Contact Centers. As you can imagine, I have email constantly flowing into my inbox and thus onto my HTC Advantage on a variety of different topics, customers and solutions. My answer to managing all of this email are sub-folders. I love them. I have them for just about every category out there and it makes it quick and easy for me to find a message. This is great on my Windows PC but by default Windows Mobile does not synchronize any folders other than your Inbox via ActiveSync or Over-The-Air (OTA) Push Mail. Fortunately this is somewhat easy to change and in this How-To I’ll show you.
Now for a word of warning: What I’m about to demonstrate requires that the folders you are wanting to synchronize are on your Exchange server. This will not work if you are trying to synchronize folders that are stored in your PST file on your PC. It could also be that your Administrator does not allow folder synchronization beyond the Inbox through policies set in place. You will need to check with them if this does not work for you. Secondly, this will require a lot of bandwidth depending on how much you have to synchronize so make sure you have an unlimited data account. Gear Diary is not responsible for your $5,000 data bill!
The first step in doing this is to make sure that your Inbox and attachments are being stored on a storage card on your device. This will help assure that you do not run out of storage space on your device which can be quite a challenge to undo once it is done. To change this setting, open Outlook E-mail on your Windows Mobile device and navigate to Menu>Tools>Options>Storage. There is a checkbox on this screen “When available, use this storage card to store attachments”. Check this box and all of your inbox and attachments will be moved to the storage card. Depending on how big your Inbox is, this should only take a few minutes to move from your main memory to the storage card. The bigger question at this point for you may be how big of a storage card you need. Ultimately, given the low cost of high capacity cards, you should get the biggest one you can that is supported by your device. Most devices today will accept up to a 8GB card while almost all will accept a 4GB one. An 8GB card is around $50 (US) while I have seen 4GB cards as low as $15 on Meritline. Make sure your device can handle the card size before you buy by checking on the manufacture’s website.
The next step is selecting the folders that you want to synchronize. This is done inside of Outlook E-mail by tapping Menu>Tools>Manage Folders. From here, select the folders that you want to synchronize. Keep in mind that if you have sub-folders in a folder, you will need to tap the plus sign next to the main folder and select the sub-folders themselves. It may seem that by selecting a top-level folder that all sub-folders should be synchronized. That, afterall, is somewhat intuitive. However Microsoft’s approach has been that you select exactly what folders you want to synchronize so you do not waste time, bandwidth or storage space on folders that you do not necessarily want. It’s a good approach and leaves you completely in charge of what you synchronize.
After you have selected your folders, go to ActiveSync on your device and force an update. How long this takes will largely depend on both the amount of data you are synchronizing but also your connection speed. For me to synchronize about 400MB of data it takes about 4 hours on EDGE with T-Mobile. On AT&T it only takes about 45 minutes. If I bypass the carrier and go to 802.11G WiFi, it takes about 15 minutes. Generally I use the Memory applet in Settings (Start>Settings>System>Memory) to watch my memory usage increment as synchronization is happening. It’s a good way to know that something is really happening!
As with all ActiveSync setups, the initial synchronization is the one that takes the longest. Once you have the folders selected to synchronize the updates are much faster. With the synchronization complete you can now pull down your folders menu in your Outlook E-mail and select folders you have synchronized! Note that the folder has a little ActiveSync icon on it. That tells you that it is setup to synchronize with your Exchange folder.
Now that you have synchronized your folders onto your device, essentially it works the same as Outlook on your PC. You can tap-and-hold an e-mail in your Inbox and move it to a folder of your choice. Once that is completed it will synchronize with your Exchange server.
Hopefully this small How To will help you get your e-mail folders in sync on your device. As always feel free to comment or post your own experiences in the comments section.