Common connection issues with ActiveSync / WMDC

28 Sep 2006

Below are descriptions of and solutions for common issues encountered when connecting to Microsoft ActiveSync / Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC). These common issues relate to the following topics:

More information on resolving ActiveSync / WMDC issues can be found on the following websites:

Installing Microsoft ActiveSync / WMDC

If you are connecting a rugged handheld computer running Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 or higher, you need Microsoft ActiveSync version 4.5 installed on the desktop PC before connecting.

The latest version of Microsoft ActiveSync / WMDC can be obtained from the following website:

Microsoft Windows Mobile Device Center (ActiveSync)

If you are installing ActiveSync versions 3.8 or earlier, you may find that the install file pauses at 93% complete for several minutes. This is normal, and the process should finish soon (within 3 to 5 minutes). If it does not finish within 20 minutes, you may want to cancel the install process, delete the install file, re-download a new install file from the above website, and try again.

Firewall and Virus Scan Programs

For details on how to work around firewall and virus scan programs to create an ActiveSync connection, visit the following link:

Firewall or Virus Scan conflict

Other Software

Programs such as Palm HotSync can block ActiveSync from connecting. Try disabling or exiting HotSync or whatever other program may be trying to use or monitor the port.

If you are running TDS Solo Field CE or Sokkia iMap, these programs have been known to cause ActiveSync issues. For more information, please visit:

ActiveSync connection issue with TDS Solo Field CE or Sokkia iMap

Check port availability in ActiveSync and on the Field PC

On the handheld tap on Start > ActiveSync > Menu > Connections… to make sure the box is checked and the drop-down has `USB Default selected (not just USB). If not, set these then tap OK and then re-connect the cable.

Make sure ActiveSync on the desktop PC is enabled to connect through the port with which you want to connect. From the main ActiveSync window on the desktop PC, click on the File menu > Connections Settings. If you are connecting to a serial cable, an infrared port, or a Bluetooth device, make sure the "Allow serial cable or infrared connection..." checkbox is checked with the proper port selected. Or if you are using USB, make sure the "Allow USB Connection with this desktop PC" checkbox is checked, and then click OK. It may be good to reset the PC and the Field PC before trying to connect again to the port. Remember that all connection methods except for USB require you to double-tap on the Allegro`s PCLink icon to enable ActiveSync on the Allegro Field PC.

If you are using an Allegro Field PC, make sure the Allegro is set to the proper communication port by tapping on the Allegro`s Start menu > Settings > Control Panel, and then Communications and/or PC Connection.

Windows Registry Corruption

ActiveSync may fail to connect or start dropping the connection due to a corrupted Windows registry on the Windows CE or Windows Mobile device. If the problem is related to one particular Field PC, try to resolve the problem by restoring the device to a previously saved state or setting the device to factory default settings. Please refer to the product manual for more instructions.

Check Cables and Hardware

Some USB ports, particularly those on the front of some PCs, do not provide enough power to sustain a stable ActiveSync connection. Try switching your connection to another USB port, such as one on the back of the desktop PC. If that does not work, try some of the following options.

Check the physical port on the Field PC. For the USB port, check the brass pins or mini-USB connector on the base of the device. If you are using a docking station, check the pins and mini-USB connector in the dock as well.

If you are connecting to ActiveSync using a serial cable, make sure the serial cable is from Juniper Systems (part number 12446). Or if you are using an RS-232 sub D NULL modem cable from another manufacturer, make sure it is "Windows CE" or "ActiveSync" compatible (pins 6 (DSR) and 1 (DCD) are jumpered together and connected to pin 4 on the other end).

Device Manager

If you are using USB to connect to ActiveSync, make sure the Field PC shows up as the proper type of USB device in Device Manager on the desktop PC.

To make sure the Field PC is correct in Device Manager, follow the steps below:

  1. Connect the USB cable to the Field PC or drop the Field PC into the dock.
  2. Click on the desktop PC`s Start Menu > Settings and/or Control Panel.
  3. In the Control Panel, double-click on the System icon > Hardware tab > Device Manager.
  4. Make sure Windows CE USB Device, RNDIS, or similar appears in the Device Manager list. Also make sure an ActiveSync device shows up under the Universal Serial Bus Controllers category or that "Windows Mobile device" appears under Network Adapters or Connections.
  5. If "Unknown Device" appears under any of the categories listed in Step 4 and all other USB device besides the Field PC are recognized properly by the desktop PC, right-click and remove this "Unknown Device" from the Device Manager list, then reset the desktop computer and Field PC. ActiveSync may need to be uninstalled and then re-installed if the problem continues to occur after rebooting.

Charging while in the docking station

Try disconnecting the wall charger from the back of the dock station and plug it directly into the Field PC. Place the Field PC in the dock or connect the USB cable directly to the Field PC to see if the connection is more stable.