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With the amount of ROM (or main memory as some prefer to call it) being so small on many Pocket PCs, a lot of use have resorted to using a large capacity memory card to store our installed programs and other files. The problem that many of us do not realize is that as the capacities get larger, the amount of fragmentation increases to a point that you would notice a device slowdown. I used to think that this was due to the amount of junk in my main memory and doing a hard reset every once in a while would solved it. Boy, was I wrong!

The problem was my memory card. While it was not filled to the brim, the fact that I had tons of files on it and yet did no maintenance on it was what caused the problems. It was pretty fragmented when I first ran some tests with Pocket Mechanic Professional but thankfully they had the tools to optimize it.

Introduction

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Welcome screen

Currently at v2.83, Pocket Mechanic Professional works on all versions of Windows Mobile (even the oldest Pocket PC OS) and supports all screen displays including square screens. At $29.95, it might be priced too high for a software that you will be using only once in a while so you could always give their 30 day trial a go before deciding if you need to commit to it.

Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Benchmark tests Pocket Mechanic Professional - Benchmark results
Running the benchmark tests And comparing the results

Unlike many clean up applications out there, Pocket Mechanic Professional takes it a step further and let’s your analyze your device as well. This way, you can decide if it’s time for a clean up or hold it off for another week. There’s a benchmark feature for your cards so you can see how well they stack up against other configurations as well as a Fragmentation status to see if the device slowdown is caused by your memory card.

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Card information

While these information can be really useful, I wonder how many of us can really interpret the data. For example, when I run Card Information, I am given a flags value of 0×000b in the Physical Layer Information. What does that mean? What is the default value? Am I suppose to do something at this value?

Fortunately for those who are curious, there’s a window below that serves to explain the data you have selected. The same window is also found at the main screen so you can find out more about the various tests or information that an application provides. Wizcode has really taken something really complex and complicated and made it easier for us common folks to understand.

Speed Up The Device

But analyzing is not all you want to do with Pocket Mechanic Professional because I doubt that’s why you got it in the first place. Pocket Mechanic Professional also has the cleaning tools you need to boost those numbers analyzed.

Defragment

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Defragment in progress

This has got to be one of the more used features of the software. While it’s not everyday that you defragment it, when you do get down to it, you’ll notice a big boost in device performance. In my experience, after I ran the defragment application, my navigation software TomTom became more responsive. I guess it was due to the files being re-organized and optimized that caused this. For those of you who use your memory card a lot of have big navigation files on it, make sure to give their fragment a try and see if you can see any improvement.

Find Duplicates, Large Files And Folders

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Find files with many parameters

The next thing you want to look at when optimizing your device is to remove those duplicates (who needs 2 copies of the same file anyway) and relocate the large files and folders (where possible) to your memory card or remove them completely. Be careful when you run this feature though because some files and folders can only function from one location and removing it would just render your device useless (such as the /Windows folder).

Clean Up File System and Notification Queues

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Notification queues options Pocket Mechanic Professional - Clean up the various files in the system
Check the notifications you want to list Files you want removed

For those familiar with DinarSoft’s MemMaid’s Cleanup features, then this process is rather similar. They both aim to free up space by removing files that built-up with use over time such as your Internet Explorer cache and cookies among other things. While MemMaid does all the optimization from one function, Pocket Mechanic Professional appears to do it over several applications. I am not saying one is better than the other but both have their advantages and disadvantages.

And don’t forget the notification queue. If you have a lot of alarms, reminders and missed calls, this list can build up really fast. Most of these queues can and should be removed on a frequent basis and you can this easily with Pocket Mechanic Professional. And in the unfortunate event that you removed a notification that was not meant to be removed in the first place, Pocket Mechanic Professional might just be able to help you build it back.

Outlook File Cleaner

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Pocket Outlook cleaner

This is a new feature added in the latest version of Pocket Mechanic Professional (the one being reviewed) and something which I have not seen in other maintenance software. What it does is basically to remove duplicate entries or orphaned mail data as well as ensure the data integrity. I usually let my desktop Outlook handle such tasks but I suppose the road warrior and those who do not use a desktop Outlook would definitely find this application useful.

Fix Problems

Now that you have optimize your device, the next thing you want to do is to fix any problems still left behind. This can be done with the suite of applications in Pocket Mechanic Professional.

Fix Invalid Shortcuts

For users (such as myself) who do a lot of installing and uninstalling through the Remove Programs options in Windows Mobile, there are always those few software that are not completely removed. It could be due to bad un-installation code or just plain bad luck (such as your device soft-reseting in the middle of the process). Whatever the reason, this process can leave behind invalid shortcuts that take up processing power because it leads to nowhere. With Pocket Mechanic Professional’s feature to fix such shortcuts, you’ll be freeing up processing power which in turns means you’ll get better device performance.

Recover Bad Sectors

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Recover bad sector

I have not encountered any bad sectors on my Pocket PC devices, be it on the main memory or the memory card but I’m not complaining. I just wonder if such a thing is possible? Has anyone encountered it on your Pocket PC device? If you do, then you can try to fix it with Pocket Mechanic Professional. It will not fix the bad sector but rather relocate the data in that sector to a healthy one and then mark that sector as unusable so no data will be written on it in the future.

Uninstall And Relocate Applications

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Choose the application to uninstall

Now if you do a lot of installation and removal of software on your Pocket PC, I would recommend you using a program such as DinarSoft’s MemMaid or Pocket Mechanic Professional to do the removal. That’s because, these software not just removes the program like the one in Remove Program but does a better job (in my opinion) because it also removes the registry entries and everything else associated with the software.

Pocket Mechanic Professional - Which files do you want to relocate?

But if removal is not what you are looking for but relocation instead, then you will also have that option. But like any modification to system files, do create a backup first in case it does not turn out as expected. And do bear in mind that not all files can be relocated to the memory card (just like files and folders).

Summary

Pros:

  • Many applications to find and fix problems with your device.
  • Help window is useful in explaining the various applications and terms.
  • Very useful for device optimization of device.
  • Defrag fragmented storage cards and speed them up.
  • Run benchmarks to see how your card stacks up.

Cons:

  • No scheduling of tasks.
  • No ‘All-In-One’ application or combo to run several applications one after another.

Conclusion

All in all, I would say that Pocket Mechanic Professional is a really great software. It’s more of a manual one in a sense that you need to decide which functions you want to run but this does have its own advantage. No matter what maintenance program you are currently, I would urge you to give Pocket Mechanic Professional a go and see if it could optimize your device better. They have a 30 day trial for those who are interested and retails for $29.95 for those interested in purchasing a license.

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2 Comments

Comment by drm
2008-01-03 09:14:07

Pocket Mechanic Professional is an amazing piece of software that has saved my device from several hard resets. I use it almost daily to clean my device and check for various issues and problems. It gets updated with new features and the best thing is you get all updates for free once you register the application. Definitely a winner, highly recommended!

Comment by Tariq Bamadhaj
2008-01-03 10:58:02

Hi drm

I am glad to hear that the software works great for you. Do they have an automatic cleaning option that I missed?

 
 

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