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6. Sync Up

You can synchronize your data using sync software—using either wireless synching features or more traditional sync software options. Microsoft Mobile uses ActiveSync, PalmOS uses HotSync, and some providers, such as Yahoo!, offer Intellisync.

Most offerings allow you to sync up contact management, calendar, and notes information, and many now allow you to sync other files (such as with Quicken and Access)

Synching is particularly useful in enabling mobile working: It means that you can set up appointments and update contact information on your PC in the office (or on the web, such as with Yahoo! Calendar and Yahoo! Addressbook). You also can keep your PDA is synched using these tools: While you are out of the office, you can have your PDA let you know when you have appointments (reminders usually activate an alarm on your PDA). You also can look up phone numbers and addresses on your PDA.

In addition, you can add contact information and appointments to your PDA contact-management software or calendar software, to ensure that all your contact lists and calendars stay up-to-date and in sync on your PC or on the Web.

Synchronization involves replicating changes made on the PC, website, or PDA to the other device involved in replication. This, of course, sometimes involves resolving conflicts. For example, two entries might refer to the same contact but might have different phone numbers. Different sync software offers various solutions to resolving conflicts; carefully read the instructions before you decide which policies to use.

HotSync and Intellisync seem to be easy to use, and few users report problems with them. However, ActiveSync appears to be causing many problems for users. If you're one of them, first make sure you have the latest version of the software; then launch the troubleshooting guide from the Help page.

For information about how to sync up using a wireless connection, see http://pocketpc.pdablast.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=112.

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