Get IT Done: Tweak your Pocket PC's performance with RegKing

Use RegKing to configure a Pocket PC for improved performance

Just like its Windows brethren, the Pocket PC with Windows CE has its own registry. As with other Windows products, you can make changes in the registry to tweak Windows CE. But also as with other versions of Windows, the registry isn’t a place where you want to go without a bit of help. Now you can use the RegKing 1.5 utility to implement some Windows CE registry hacks that can improve your overall Pocket PC experience.

What’s RegKing?
RegKing is a freeware utility that implements a collection of Windows CE registry hacks in one place. Rather than having to know how to implement the hacks yourself, you can just run the utility, select the tweak, and click Apply. RegKing does the rest.

RegKing comes in two basic free versions. There’s one for Windows CE 3.0 and one for Pocket PC 2002 devices. The Windows CE 3.0 version supports Casio Pocket PCs, HP Jornada 52x and 54x Pocket PCs, and iPaqs. The hacks included with the Windows CE 3.0 version include:
  • Change Pocket IE Version—By default, Pocket Internet Explorer reports itself to be Internet Explorer 3.02. This prevents it from working with Web sites that require IE 4.02 or later. This hack makes Pocket IE report that it is, in fact, Internet Explorer 5.5.
  • Enable ClearType—This hack turns on ClearType in all HTML applications, including AvantGo.
  • Change AvantGo Location—This hack allows you to store AvantGo channels on a storage card, instead of the unit’s main memory.
  • Run Media Player In The Background—This improves how Media Player runs when you’re doing other things at the same time.
  • Increase Glyph Cache—There are two settings here: one for regular Pocket PCs and one specific to the Jornada. These settings make graphic rendering faster.
  • Increase TCP/IP Buffer Size—This tweak makes TCP/IP perform better if you’re using networking.
  • Show JavaScript Errors—This will display JavaScript errors in Pocket Internet Explorer.
  • Change Font Size—With a soft reset, you can increase or decrease the default font size on your Pocket PC.

The Pocket PC 2002 version does all of the same things as the Windows CE 3.0 version. It also adds a few features. These added features include:
  • Turn Off ActiveX Controls And Scripting In Internet Explorer—These tweaks allow you to turn off and on the scripting and ActiveX features in Pocket Internet Explorer.
  • Turn On Battery Warning—This tweak turns on a battery-warning message when you insert a PC or CompactFlash card in your Pocket PC.
  • Narrow And Widen Scroll Bars—This allows you to change the size of the scroll bars on your Pocket PC.

Although RegKing is free, the authors also have a paid version in the works called RegKingPlus, which costs $9.95 and adds features to the free version of RegKing. Among other things, RegKingPlus will allow you to browse the Internet from your Pocket PC while you’re docked with your main workstation and to store Pocket IE temporary files on your Pocket PC’s storage card.

My examples use RegKing
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to discuss the free version of RegKing that works with Windows CE 3.0. Screenshots for this article were generated on an HP Jornada 545.

Obtaining and installing RegKing
On the RegKing Web site, you can download RegKing.PPC300_10003.CAB. (This was the filename at the time of publication. It may change, of course, if the program is updated.) The file is small, only 180 KB.

Unlike most Pocket PC programs, RegKing doesn’t have an installer or use ActiveSync to track and install the program. Nor do you need a program like WinZip to extract any files from RegKing.PPC300_10003.CAB before installing the utility.

Instead, to install RegKing, dock your Pocket PC to your workstation and make a connection using ActiveSync. Drag and drop RegKing.PPC300_10003.CAB to your Pocket PC. You can then remove the Pocket PC from the dock.

Find RegKing.PPC300_10003.CAB using File Explorer. When you do, tap the filename to install the program. The program will install quickly.

To start RegKing, tap Start and then tap RegKing. You’ll then see the RegKing window appear, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

To install a tweak, scroll through the Installed Registry Hacks list box. When you see a hack you’d like to install, select it and click Apply. RegKing will apply the hack and then inform you if you have to perform a soft reset to make the hack take effect or not. Follow the appropriate on-screen instructions.

For the purposes of this article, I’ll show the effect of enabling the Turn On Clear Type For IE hack. Figure B shows what the Space.com Web site looks like in AvantGo before applying the hack.

Figure B
This is what AvantGo looks like before the ClearType hack.

Figure C shows what the same site looks like after enabling the hack. As you can see, IE now uses ClearType, which makes the text a little easier to read.

Figure C
Here’s AvantGo and Space.com after applying the ClearType hack.

If you want to remove the hack, start RegKing again and select the hack you want to remove. This time, rather than clicking Apply, click Undo. Doing so removes the hack from the system. As when applying the hack, you may need to perform a soft reset on the system to complete the Undo.

Long live the king
As you can see, RegKing allows you to quickly tweak settings on your Pocket PC. When I installed it on my Jornada, I found that the Glyph Cache tweak immediately improved performance of the unit without seeming to cause any harm at all. If you want more control over your Pocket PC, give RegKing a try.

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