Friday, August 06, 2010

The case of the disappearing Windows Mobile battery charge

A couple of days ago I discovered that just a few hours into the day my phone’s battery was already down below 50% charge.  For the remainder of that day, and the following day it continued to chew battery charge like it was going out of fashion.  Needless to say with the work I was doing at the time I could not do much about it, just grin and bear it and use every opportunity to top up.
Yesterday I was sat in a Lincolnshire auction rooms with my wife watching over 400 lots go over the space of 3 or 4 hours.  Some of these were lots from her parents’ estate that she and her fellow executors were selling, but many were not, and quite rapidly it got tedious.
So I set to on the phone.
Whilst generally looking around I checked ActiveSync (it connects to my Exchange Server) and found it syncing the last 2 appointments (it was about 1097/1099 done).  So I killed it, when it failed to die, I soft reset the phone (a common Windows Mobile diagnostic trick!) and synchronised again.  This time (I have forgotten the numbers) it was 2 short, but then the total and the number completed increased by 2, and then again.  It seemed to be in a massive loop always trying to synchronise 2 more appointments.
So I thought I’d clean up the calendar – this I did by removing it from the Synchronisation list, letting the phone delete all the calendar data, and then recreate the link.  This time the synchronisation got to 395/397, but then it jumped to 397/399, and then 399/401.  I could see this would not end, so stopped the sync.
As all my data is held primarily on Exchange and the phone has no original content, I knew I could delete the connection and start again, just to take diagnosis to a second level.  So the Exchange connection was deleted – the content deleted (this takes a while when you are an Outlook junkie!!), and the phone left blank of Exchange data.
I then re-created the line, connected and downloaded email, then contacts, then tasks.  These all synchronised fine, so finally I added in the calendar synchronisation again – annoyingly the “all but 2 appointments” fault recurred so I stopped and removed calendar; and left it like that – I could fix it tonight.  My resolution was to wait until I got back to the office and then move my calendar items out with Outlook and then move them back in until the error recurred.  My feeling was that there were 2 corrupt appointments causing this problem.
However, later that day, over coffee and cake, curiosity got hold of me and I (to my wife’s rolling eyes reaction!) played around a bit.  For some reason (not really sure why – but it seemed like a good idea at the time!) I decided to scroll through the empty calendar.  To my surprise I found 2 recurring appointments in the diary – these were recently created (a week or so ago), and of course as the calendar was deleted, should not have been there.  So I took notes of the contents and deleted the 2 items.  It seemed too much of a co-incidence to ignore.
Then came the acid test – I re-established the calendar link in ActiveSync and synchronised.  It worked! 395/395 appointments transferred.  And no errors.
That meant of course that my evening appointment with Outlook was now cancelled and I would not have to contemplate the rebuild of the phone from a factory reset as a possible diagnostic step.  Hurrah (twice over).
Of course, I’ve yet to see the data package bill for the damn phone continually trying to synchronise those 2 appointments over a 36 hour period L  But at least I know my sync is working properly again.

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