Cross your fingers

I wrote recently about problems synchronising handhelds to Windows 2000 and XP. I asked readers to tell me their experiences, and I heard an earful.

I wrote recently about problems synchronising handhelds to Windows 2000 and XP. Palm's USB-to-serial adapter won't work in some cases: if it remains connected during a reboot, its HotSync software is left running, or Standby is engaged.

I asked readers to tell me their experiences, and I heard an earful.

"My most recent experience with Palm resulted in me purchasing a third-party USB kit from Keyspan," says Chris Johnston, a reader who's a Microsoft certified systems engineer.

"It seems to make no difference which model of Palm we're dealing with -- the older Palm III, V, and VII series or the newer M series. All seem to fail trying to sync via USB. On the bright side, the Keyspan adapters seem to have fixed the problem," Johnston notes.

Randy Brous found a different solution for the Windows 2000 machines at his company.

"The available serial port was in use for a phone-dialling application our sales folks use," he writes. "So we purchased the USB-to-serial connectors that Palm sells, and I have yet to get them to work.

"Now our sales guys just have to choose between a Palm or a phone dialer because the Palms work fine on a serial port," Brous says. "An interesting side note is that a couple of our guys use Handspring Visors, and they come with USB cradles and work perfectly. For your users who just can't do it, tell 'em to switch to a Handspring."

Unfortunately, you may have to cross your fingers to make your Handspring work, too.

"I'm a Handspring Visor guy myself and had a few problems with HotSync when I upgraded to XP," reader Scott Greed says. "The Handspring website has a set of easy-to-follow instructions to work around the problem. It took a little work -- under 15 minutes -- and I was back in business."

Several readers report that switching to XP can break Windows-based Pocket PCs, too.

"I have an iPAQ 3760 that loses its connection with Active Sync if I forget to remove it from the cradle before closing Microsoft Outlook," Nick Ertz writes. "To recover, I have to delete the USB port and let the system rediscover it the next time I put the iPaq back in the cradle."

In defence of Palm, reader Kent Maurer says the new Pocket PC 2002 won't sync with his GroupWise software. "We won't be wasting any more money on Microsoft's new toys," he writes. "Our primary PDA has been the Palm for many years, and we cannot afford the risk of trying to support any more of these Pocket PC devices."

My tipsters this week will receive a gift certificate for a free book, CD, or DVD of their choice.

Send tips to Livingston. He regrets that he cannot answer individual questions.

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