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Troubleshoot "Establishing connection to desktop computer. Please wait." message when initiating a LAN ActiveSync connection


Applies To

  • Windows CE 2.0, SP1
  • Handheld PC Professional, SP1
  • Handheld PC 2000


When attempting to synchronise a Windows CE based Handheld PC across a Local Area Network (LAN) or via a Remote Access Connection (RAS) the H/PC ActiveSync module freezes with the following message

Establishing connection to desktop computer. Please wait.

After a few seconds the connection agent drops out and ActiveSync closes. No data will have been synchronised with the Host PC and no connection was made with ActiveSync.

More Info

The Networking stack under Windows CE relies on the use of local network naming pointers to initialise connections to remote computers. Under a 'Networking for Microsoft Windows' client network the naming services are either provided via the Windows Internet Naming Service (WINS) or by NetBIOS.

WINS Servers

Full WINS services are only provided by Microsoft Windows Server and Domain Controller systems. If you believe there to be a WINS server facility within your Network contact your network administrator for details of the Primary and Secondary WINS addresses.


Before continuing please be sure that you have followed the steps outlined in CESD-C-0012 - HPC:Factor guide to synchronising over a home network.

There are instances where the time-out period used on the ActiveSync client lookup does not allow for the Handheld PC to locate your Host PC. In the event that you have followed the steps outlined in CESD-C-0012 and are still unable to create a connection, you must manually create a Local Machine Host Lookup (LMHost).

NB: The steps that follow involved editing the System Registry. Please be sure that you make a full backup before continuing

These steps assume that the machine you wish to connect to is not shielded by a firewall and makes use of either a Static or Sticky IP address. In the event that a fully dynamic, short term IP lease is being used the steps outlined below will not provide a viable solution.

In order to successfully implement the LMHost you will need to convert your decimal IP address into a hexadecimal IP.

  1. On the Host PC click Start, select Run
  2. Type CMD (Windows NT 4.0, 2000, XP) -or- COMMAND (95, 98, Millennium)
  3. At the prompt type: ipconfig /all and press enter (winipcfg /all for Windows 95)
  4. Note the value listed for 'Host Name' and for 'IP Address'
  5. On the Handheld PC open a registry editor and navigate to:
  6. Create a New Key and name it identical to the 'Host Name' you noted in step 4
  7. Navigate into the new Key
  8. Create a new Binary Value and name it:
  9. Set the value of the ipaddr Binary to the hex equivalent of the 'IP Address' you noted in step 4
  10. Exit the registry editor and soft reset the device