Blackstone/Blackstone for noobs

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If, like me, your new Touch HD is your first Windows Mobile device, then you may be finding things a bit daunting right now...

Of course, if you're not, then please feel free to hit the Back button :-)

This page reserved for future use, but planning on putting things in here like

ActiveSync - the ABC guide to connecting your HD to your PC

First up, some basic definitions.

  • ActiveSync is the Microsoft supplied method for connecting your PC to your Windows Mobile device. Or more specifically (as you're in this section), your nice new HTC Touch HD.
  • ActiveSync comes supplied with your phone, on one of the two CDs in the box.
  • Microsoft kindly also include a 60day trial of Outlook, but you don't have to install that.
  • In essence, ActiveSync allows your PC to talk to your HD, and vice versa.

Click any of the highlighted ActiveSync links on this page to get to the more in depth trouble shooting / how to Wiki, but basically, install the software on the PC, then plug the HD in (you MUST use the HTC supplied usb lead - bog standard ones don't work), and follow the on screen prompts. You will only be able to sync Contacts / emails / calendars etc if you have full blown Outlook installed - Outlook Express doesn't support these.

What do I do now I've downloaded this .cab file?

All is good, and you've come across an interesting thread where someone is doing something great with their HD. And better yet, there's a download!

Great. You now have a .cab file on your PC. Now what?

To install some programs (.cabs), you may have to do something over and above what is mentioned here - but people are normally really good at explaining those extra bits, so here we'll just deal with the basics.

First up, you need to somehow get this new .cab file onto your HD.

Really, the simplest way to do this is via ActiveSync (there may be better ways, but this is pretty simple!).

Connecting via ActiveSync itself is covered above.

  • On your PC, in ActiveSync, click Tools, Explore Pocket PC. This will open an explorer window (on your PC), showing the various folders on the HD.
  • Click the 'My Windows Mobile-Based Device' icon, which will then show a bunch more folders.

These all contain interesting stuff, but for now go for the 'storage card' icon, which will (as the name implies) open up the storage card on the HD. Personally, I created a folder called 'installs' in here, just to keep things cleaner. But you don't have to. Also, you don't HAVE to copy them to the storage card - you could put them anywhere on the device. But hey, let's keep everything together for now.

  • Now open a new explorer window on your PC to find the .cab file you downloaded earlier.
  • Drag the .cab file from the one explorer window to the other (ie copy it from the PC to the storage card).

ActiveSync will probably flash up a message about converting it (it won't change it though)

Phew! We're almost done now! Pat yourself on your back, and grab a coffee :-)

OK - now we need to turn our attention to the HD itself. I.E. PUT DOWN THE MOUSE! Step away from the PC! :-) Leave the PC alone for the moment, and instead pick up your HD - this is where all the action takes place from here on in. Do NOT attempt to run the .cab file by using the PC - this will NOT work. (Well, it will - the PC will treat the .cab as a zip or rar file and unpack it for you - but that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to confuse things - so DON'T!) It doesn't matter if you leave the HD connected to the PC. Just as long as you leave the PC alone ;-) What you need to do now is find the .cab file which you just copied across. There are several after-market solutions to doing this, but I'm going to assume that you have pretty much just un-packed your phone from the box, and explain it with the tools that HTC give you. Besides, if you've installed one, you wouldn't be reading this...

Using the TouchFlo3D interface (that cool sliding bar across the bottom of the screen), wizz along to Programs. By default HTC don't see fit to put the File Explorer on the program buttons, so we need to find it. Don't worry though, this isn't as daunting as it sounds!

  • Click the 'All Programs' button, bottom left
  • Scroll through the list until you find 'File Explorer'
  • In the top bar it will display which folder you are looking at - Click this to get the drop down list, and choose 'Storage Card'.
  • If you created an 'Installs' folder earlier, click this to open it.
  • You should now be able to see the .cab file you copied across.
  • Click it!

You will be presented with a 'are you sure you want to install this?' prompt (and chances are that you do indeed want to!) You will also be asked where to install it - personally I always go for 'device' (maybe a more experienced user might challenge that?)

As with most Windows based software, there is a good chance you will have to soft boot the phone at the end. And that's pretty much it! :-D Depending on what you've installed, it might auto-run each time you turn the phone on, or you might have to access it through the Programs screen, but basically, your software is now installed. Time for another coffee...

What about .zip files - same thing?

Almost - but not quite! A .zip file is intended to be run on your PC, not your HD Blackstone.
Usually, once un-zipped, you will find a .cab file and other files which the program needs.
Hopefully amongst these will be a 'read me' file explaining what to do with them all - or details will be in the thread you downloaded from.

How do I do this registery edit thing?

Well, if you're asking the question, it's probably becuase you seen a thread along the lines of "change these settings to get extra performance / hidden features / free money!" - but now you're wondering what and how?
I'm not going to go into an in-depth explanation of what the registery is - suffice it to say that it's a set of key values that most programs use to determine / record the personal settings which you (or HTC on your behalf) set. By tweaking, or changing, some of these values, you can affect how your HD works. DISCLAIMER - playing randomly with the values can seriously affect your HD, and shouldn't be attempted unless you know exactly what you're doing! That said - there are MANY clever people on here, who DO know what they're doing :-D

So. With that out of the way, here you are, armed with a set of registery entries to change. Now what?

Unfortunately, neither Microsoft nor HTC saw fit to provide us with any sort of useful registery editor.
Hiss boo! Fortunately, others have seen fit to fill this gap. All you need to do is find one you like the look of, and install it (as per the instructions above, or by whatever instructions come with the package). I've listed a couple of choices at the bottom of the page here, or check out HTC_Software

Once installed 'all' you need to do is find the registery key being mentioned (the starting part of the key name will give you a guide to finding it - it's a bit like a directory structure), and set it to the required value. You will usually need to save and reboot for the change to take affect.

Job done!

Changing registery keys sounds scary - any other options?

Some values can be changed without actually hacking the registery itself, and again people have stepped up to this. See the list of must have programs below for more details (or again, check out HTC_Software)

How do I install all these great wallpapers?

There is a REALLY great thread going on which contain some wonderful wallpapers. The bit that none of them mention (or mention in passing) is how to install them. If you simply want to use one of the pics as the background to your home page, then this is pretty straightforward: (Assuming you are still running TouchFlo3D)

  • Download the pic to your PC, and use ActiveSync to copy it into the \My Documents\My Pictures directory (on the Device, not the storage card).

NB. Make sure it is the right size before downloading... You may wish to save them to the storage card instead - just make sure you remember where...

  • From the home page in TouchFlo3D, wizz across to the 'Settings' tab
  • Select 'TouchFlo3D'
  • Select 'Wallpaper' and browse for the one you just saved.

Adding pictures to ALL the background screens is a bit more tricky, but check out as a starter :-) (Note - you need a bit more effort for this, so make sure you read the thread in detail!) But PLEASE make sure you take a backup of the two files first! (4a087e41_ and 5c9aa261_ just in case you want to go back to stock...)

But what are these 'manila' files about?

The manila files are what are used unless you did the above to change just the first page. The one KEY thing to note when you start playing around with these is that they are used by TouchFlo3D - so if you want to change them, you have to turn that off first. Which is a bit scary first time round... Again - take a backup of the two files you will be replacing - or you'll be writing up a "can someone post up the original manila files please!" post if you want to revert to stock.

How do I turn off TouchFlo3D then?

Again, from the Home page, select Start, Settings, Today.

  • This time though, select the 'Items' tab.

This will list a whole bunch on programs, and you will see that TouchFlo3D is ticked.

  • un-tick it... and click ok

The front screen will now look VERY empty - but you get the 'Programs' link button, so you can still get at everything you need to copy over the replacement manila files (prob best to back up the ones you are replacing first though!). Once you are done copying, simply repeat the above process to re-tick the TouchFlo3D screen :-)

What tools / programs do I NEED to get started?

This is a bit of a contentious one, as everyone has their own preferences... However, if you're even half serious about playing with your HD, there are certain tools you can't do without. I've listed below the ones I found useful, but there are alternatives which others may prefer:

  • Something to transfer files from PC to HD - ActiveSync does the job, and it comes with the phone (CD in the box)
  • Something to rotate the screen from landscape to portrait - Gyrator2 is well recommended Not strictly a dev tool, but well worth installing! Note - needs .net 3.5 to be installed first.
  • Something to edit your manila files - manila editor is again well thought of in here
  • Something to tweak your settings without digging around in the registery settings - Schap's Advanced Tools does this job very nicely. You will need to also install .net 3.5 for this, but instructions are in the thread :-)
  • Something to navigate your way round the files on the HD - it comes with a Windows Mobile version of File Explorer, but (for me) Resco Explorer is nicer. Total Commander is a popular alternative.
  • Want to watch movies on your HD? - check out, and install Pocket Divx Encoder (this one installs on your PC, not your HD), and also the HTC_Blackstone_Tweaks wiki page for the SD Cache settings
  • Registery Editor of some sort - for me, Schaps Registery Editor is the one I use

You may also want to check out to see what software others are using, or HTC_Software for a full list of what works and what doesn't.

Enjoy! :-D

And please feel free to add to / correct this page :-)

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