How to recover deleted Windows Mobile contacts after removing an Exchange connection

imageHad a bit of a disaster at work the other day. I was setting up a new laptop for one of the head honchos at work. Everything was going well, the user was migrating from a Lenovo ThinkPad R61i, with Windows XP & Office 2003, to a ThinkPad Edge 15, with Windows 7 and Office 2007. Quite a big initial change to get used to but worth it. The final job I had to do was sync her HTC Windows Mobile 6.1 phone with her Outlook Contacts, Calendar etc.

I installed the Windows Mobile Device Centre ( a.k.a. ActiveSync 5) and set up the relationship with the laptop. The initial synchronisation started and it said transferring 0/340 contacts. Unfortunately this never got past 0 (after 2 hours of waiting!). My experience with ActiveSync in the past was that if there was ever a sync problem you should clear all the old syncing profiles on the phone and PCs and start again. This is where I made my mistake. The phone contained an old Exchange connection for her previous job. I quickly removed it, she had not worked for the company for years and it wasn’t syncing anymore. However, little did I know that any contacts she had added to her phone after leaving were attached to the dead Exchange account! Microsoft’s handling of removing Exchange accounts mean that any data on the phone is erased “by design” without any kind of options as to what is left on the device. I can understand that from a security point of view. In theory the data would still be on the Exchange server so no big deal. Unfortunately, this option wasn’t available to me. The fault was really that the phone was adding contacts to the inactive Exchange account not the phone’s local contacts. It seems that lots of frustrated people were experiencing similar kinds of loss over at but there seemed to be no workaround to recover them. Read on to find out how successful I was.

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Windows Phone 7 “pin to start” app limit

I find it a bit cumbersome to navigate through all the apps I have on my WP7 Samsung Omnia 7. Once you move from the start screen to the app list all you get is a long alphabetical list of apps. There is no way to group or rearrange them so sometimes the quickest way to open them is use a voice command.

I wondered if I could just use my Start screen for all of my apps. I presumed there would be a limit but this doesn’t seem to be the case. So far I have pinned over 75 apps to Start plus 10 games, as well as several maps, artists, albums and a radio station. All of this has made no difference to the speedy responsiveness of the phone but I can now achieve some amount of organization and grouping by moving the tiles to the relevant position. You also get the added benefit of seeing the icons in their full size glory and expose any “live tile” functionality.

I imagine Microsoft will do something about the never-ending app list in a future update but for now this seems like a workable alternative. It’s far from a perfect solution, I have a niggling feeling it may affect battery life.

If you know of a limit or have a better idea on sorting your apps then please leave a comment. Stay tuned for my full review of the device coming in 2011. Happy New Year everyone!

Posted from WordPress for Windows Phone

Hyper-V 2008 Launch Event

Ballmer Begins

I was lucky enough to get a day out of the office to go and see Steve Ballmer (the new CEO of Microsoft since Bill Gates retired) at the launch of Hyper-V 2008 Server.

I thought I was bound to get a scoop on some pre-PDC news but unfortunately the Register & CW beat me to it 😦 Continue reading