Fixing your WindowsMobile Device Icon in Vista

When looking to fix a friends issue with his WindowsMobile synchronising with his Vista machine, I came across this article. I have summarised it and placed it in one location for everyone to see. However, the original is here…

In Windows Vista, the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) replaces ActiveSync to synchronize your files and information to your handheld. On the WMDC is a large photo of a device. By default Microsoft included some illustrated generic images for either Smartphone or Pocket PC (which is a nice looking graphic, don’t get me wrong). This is well and good, but those of us that want to customize this are left in the dark as to how to change the image.

The OEMs (the people who release the devices) are capable of switching the graphic to a “custom” graphic. On the PC, the image, is in both in the registry and the file system and created in the profile directory here:

c:users(your username)AppDataRoamingMicrosoftActiveSyncProfiles(your profile key)

That graphic was “sync.ico”.  The icon file needs to be in the Windows directory of the device and it needs to be there on initial load of the drivers If you have already loaded it, then remove the device and re-add it, which would then show the graphic on each sync. So here are the steps:

Setting custom Icons for WMDC

1.       Get your icon files. You can get a lot of (US_centric) icon files from the guy who originally worked all  of this out. He has done many icons for a lot of different devices ( see Figure 1)

2.       Rename the icon file to “sync.ico” (without the quotes). This is how WMDC will recognize the file. Right click on “sync.ico” and choose COPY.

3.       Place your device in the cradle and let it full sync. This does two things

a.       it allows you to backup all the information on your device

b.      Lets you access your device so you can place the ICON file in the correct location

4.       You now need to get the ICON file in your windows directory on your device. The problem is (in Microsoft’s great wisdom) they hid “system” files on your device in Vista, so through Windows Explorer on the PC, you can’t see it by default. Instead of me walking you through turning on those files, we will do it an easy way.

a.        On the Main screen of WMDC, go to “File Management” and then click on “Browse the contents of your device.” This will pop up a Windows Explorer window allowing you to copy files to the device.

b.      In the Pocket PC window on the PC, it lists a “” for the root of the system, double click on the “”. Right click in the background of this window and hit “PASTE”. This will paste the “sync.ico” file on your mobile device.

c.        Now move to your mobile device (un-docking if you must), and open File Explorer on your mobile device. Go to the root folder in File Explorer and CLICK AND HOLD on the file.

d.      Choose CUT. Open the Windows folder. Scroll all the way to the bottom, and CLICK and HOLD in the white space at the bottom, below all the other icons, and choose PASTE.

e.      The “sync.ico” file will appear (it might be missing the .ico extension). Close File Explorer.

5.        Now we need to get WMDC to see the icon file

6.       Make sure the device is synced and connected to your PC. You need an active connection so that Windows Vista sees your handheld device.

7.       Uninstall your Device

a.       Go to the Control Panel.

b.      Switch the Control Panel to the “Classic View” in the upper left hand corner of the Control Panel windows.

c.        Open Device Manager.

d.      Click the small “+” in front of “Portable Devices”

e.       Right click on “Pocket PC” or “Windows Mobile Device” or “Smartphone” or similar.

f.        Click Uninstall

g.       Choose OK when prompted about Uninstalling the device.

8.       The Device Manager will flash a time or two, and the devices will no longer show up on the Portable Devices list.

9.       Remove your Device from the computer

10.   Wait a good 30 seconds to 1 minute and then connect your device to the computer again

11.   Your computer will now be installing the device once again

Open Windows Mobile Device Center, and you should now see your Device icon on the left hand side (see picture below), and you have not lost any details of your partnership.



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