As surprising as it may seem, it is entirely possible to synchronize your Pocket PC with Novell’s GroupWise messaging system. Those using Microsoft Exchange probably haven’t experienced the issues we GroupWise users contend with when it comes to syncing our Pocket PCs. Let’s face it, Pocket PC is entirely a Microsoft solution platform, and integrating non-Microsoft components poses a unique, but not insurmountable, set of challenges. Let’s take a look at the two major challenges GroupWise users face when syncing a Pocket PC device, and the resolutions I found to address each of them.

Challenge 1: Local syncing
Docking your Pocket PC into its cradle and syncing to Outlook is a relatively straightforward exercise. But GroupWise is not Outlook. There are portions of Outlook that don’t even exist in GroupWise, such as the Notes and Contacts folders. Conversely, there are folders in GroupWise that don’t exist in Outlook, such as the Work In Progress folder or the GroupWise Address Book. To make matters worse, ActiveSync is completely GroupWise unaware. This means that when you configure ActiveSync, there isn’t even an option for connecting to GroupWise.

To synchronize the full functionality of GroupWise with your Pocket PC, you’ll need the assistance of some third-party software.

While it’s true that there are several third-party utilities on the market for synchronizing a PDA with GroupWise, virtually all of them focus exclusively on Palm devices with respect to syncing. Little or no attention is given to Pocket PC devices.

One product that does, however, sync GroupWise to Pocket PCs is the venerable Intellisync from Pumatech. Intellisync has been syncing PDAs for a long time, and the latest release, version 5.1.1, supports all versions of GroupWise through 6.x, with the following minor caveats:

  • GroupWise 6.x e-mail cabinet folder mapping is not supported.
  • E-mail attachment support is not available for GroupWise.
  • GroupWise 5.5.4 and require an additional update that you can download from Novell’s product updates Web page. GroupWise 5.5.4 requires gw55puma.exe, and version requires gweppuma.exe.

I recommend selecting Intellisync’s custom installation option and stripping off all but the GroupWise component. Once Intellisync is installed, it’s easy to configure. Simply launch the Intellisync For Windows CE Configurator and click the Configure icon on the console. In the corresponding screen (shown in Figure A), select any of the Pocket PC applications: Calendar, Contacts, Inbox, or Task. Then, click the Choose button.

Figure A

Next, select GroupWise as the translator. The Apply To All Applications option is automatically selected. This will configure GroupWise for three of the four applications. You must select the Inbox separately.

Select Synchronize from the console screen and you’re done. Whenever your Pocket PC device is in the cradle, sync away to your heart’s content.

Challenge 2: Remote syncing
How do you remotely synchronize your Pocket PC device to GroupWise? Syncing remotely requires a bit of flexibility, ingenuity, and turning a slight blind eye to security. So the solution presented here is not for every user or every organization.

While there are a few products on the market for remotely syncing Pocket PCs to Exchange, from the research I’ve done, there is presently only one solution available on the market for remotely syncing Pocket PC devices with a GroupWise backend. SyncWiseEnterprise from Toffa International is based on the new SyncML standard protocol (designed to allow networked information to be synchronized with any mobile device), and will synchronize your Pocket PC with GroupWise 5 and 6. However, this product is rather expensive because you must purchase a minimum of 10 licenses at a cost of £600, which is nearly $1,000, depending on the exchange rate.

SyncWiseEnterprise aside, I developed a free and effective, yet rather complicated, method of remotely syncing GroupWise and Pocket PC. If your organization has a rigid set of desktop and network security policies, I recommend using SyncWiseEnterprise or configuring your Pocket PCs for only local synchronization. If your organization has some flexibility, the solution presented below can save you some money.

There are several crucial elements that must be in place for this solution to work—remote access to a PC running ActiveSync with Outlook installed and set to Autologin. Since there is no server-based application to process the sync requests, you must rely on the client PC to do the work. For this process to work, there are some requirements: a computer with Outlook and GroupWise installed, which will remain powered on at all times and which is logged in to the corporate network.

Install Outlook
While this may seem like heresy to die-hard GroupWise fans, Outlook (not Outlook Express) is required to act as a conduit between GroupWise and ActiveSync. With Outlook and GroupWise installed on the same PC, you can configure the Outlook profile to access the Novell GroupWise Transport Provider. To configure Outlook XP for GroupWise access, go to Tools | E-mail Accounts | View Or Change Existing E-mail Accounts. Click the Add button and select Additional Server Types. With the GroupWise client installed, Novell GroupWise Transport Provider will automatically appear for selection. Once configured, Outlook can function as the client for the GroupWise server, but, be forewarned: It has numerous quirky limitations and is not as reliable as a day-to-day e-mail client. After all, Outlook is designed to work well with an Exchange server, not with a GroupWise server.

Remote PC access
To access your PC remotely, there is only one requirement: that it is turned on. This is a problem for individuals whose primary PCs are also the laptops they take on the road. In such cases, the individual should configure a desktop PC with ActiveSync and Outlook and label it “Do not turn off.”

This portion of the exercise can get a little dicey with respect to security. Having your PC powered on is only one part of the equation. Additionally, you must ensure that your PC is logged in to your corporate network and will remain logged in should a power outage occur.

To ensure online connectivity, you must edit the Novell and Windows client software to allow AutoAdminLogon. This can be accomplished by editing the Registry as follows:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Novell\Login\AutoAdminLogon = 1

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Novell\Login\DefaultPassword = your password

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Novell\Login\DefaultLocationProfile = default

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\AutoAdminLogon = 1

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\DefaultUserName = your username

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\DefaultPassword = your password

If any of these registry values are missing, you’ll need to create them. For more information on these registry edits, see Microsoft Knowledge Base (MSKB) article 315231 and Novell Technical Information Document (TID) 10052847.

I also recommend that you enable your Windows screen saver after one minute (the shortest delay possible), since you will be leaving your PC on with your password. Also, ensure that the screen saver is password-protected.

Once you’ve met these requirements (i.e., Outlook, PC, Autologon), you’ll need to test your configuration. Restart your PC and ensure that the Autologon process works and that the screen saver is invoked. Then, remotely connect your Pocket PC via LAN, dial-up, or wireless to the network and execute a synchronization. Your Pocket PC will pull the information from Outlook, which should have already pulled the information from GroupWise.