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OneCare – Why You Can’t Sync Your Mobile Device

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I’ve been going crazy for months, unable to sync my Windows Mobile device (the T-Mobile MDA) with my computer, or even connect it via USB to move files over (thank god for MiniSD). Turns out there’s a known reason for it: Windows Live OneCare.

If you have OneCare, there is a good chance you can’t connect your device to your computer. The reason: OneCare’s firewall blocks a lot of things, including the sync, leaving you high and dry. Unless…

Just disable the firewall. That should get rid of almost every problem. When you want to connect your device, open OneCare, click “Change OneCare Settings” (you need administrator privileges to do this), click on the “Firewall” tab, then drag the slider down to the bottom (”Off”) and click Apply.

OneCare will ask you if you want to run the Firewall Connection Tool. There’s good news: This might fix it. Run the tool, put a check in the checkbox for “ActiveSync/Windows Mobile Device Center” and click OK. If that works (see if it worked by opening Windows Mobile Device Center/ActiveSync) then smile and move on. If it doesn’t (and for me, it only works half the time), turn off the firewall as described above. You will now be able to sync your device.

Once you are done syncing, activate your firewall again. If you clicked Apply when turning it off, the dialog should still be open, and you just have to drag the slider back up again and click OK. Otherwise, go through the steps again, and drag the slider up instead of down.

I hope to god the OneCare team figures out how to ensure that this stops being a problem in the future. They need to fix the Connection Tool so that if I select the ActiveSync option, it actually works. And Windows Mobile Device Center needs to be able to launch OneCare if it sees that there is a problem, because I spent months before I found this solution. Get on it, boys!

Also, a OneCare 2.0 beta is starting in April (maybe it won’t have this problem?), and you can sign up for it now by filling out a survey.

According to Paul Thurrott, the new version will feature “the new version will include wireless connection setup and security features, a boot time optimizer, monthly reports, online photo backup functionality (at extra cost), unified monitoring and maintenance of networked PCs, printer sharing, and automated tune-ups.” That sounds so cool, I just can’t wait to try it. The boot time optimizer (which I hope will optimize hibernation as well) alone is worth the effort.

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