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Synchronising Windows CE 1.0x over Infrared with Windows 2000, XP or 2003


Applies To

  • Windows CE 1.0, 1.01
  • H/PC Explorer 1.1
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003


This article outlines the steps involved with synchronising a Windows CE 1.0 and 1.01 based Handheld PC with the H/PC Explorer Sync client using an Infrared adapter.
The document describes connecting to the Windows NT5 family - Windows 2000, XP, 2003 Server. Connections to Windows 95 and 98 are covered in CESD-C-0020. Windows NT 4.0 does not support Infrared connectivity.

More Info

With the release of Windows 2000 in 1999, Microsoft implemented a number of significant and fundamental changes to the support of the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) communications layer in the Remote Access Service present in the operating system.

As part of the changes to the IrCOMM protocol in the TinyTP layer of the Infrared stack, Microsoft removed the dependency on using Virtual COM ports, opting instead for an API controlled connection schema which doesn't rely on exclusive access to the Infrared communications port on your PC.
The resulting change to the software environment in Windows is that more than one application is now able to poll the infrared port for connection attempts, allowing for more than one Infrared Protocol (e.g. IrCOMM, IrOBEX, IrDial, IrTran-P) to 'listen' simultaneously. For example Windows File transfers and Digital Camera photo transfer application can run concurrently, or a Palm OS synchronisation software and Windows CE synchronisation software can monitor the port for connection attempts without toggling available ports.

Under Windows 95, a COM port was permanently assigned to the Infrared Port under the guide of a Virtual COM Port, locking that port to any application specifically monitoring the data flow at that time.
H/PC Explorer was written to integrate with the Virtual and non-Virtual COM port system under Windows 95; which does not require specific API calls to be made to the access the Infrared layer.

As a result of the fundamental differences in the connection layer invoked by H/PC Explorer when searching for available COM port connections it is not possible for a Windows NT5 based computer equipped with an Infrared port of any type to connect and synchronise over IrDA.


Under NT5, a COM port is assigned to an Infrared connection once it has been established by the WinSock API. By assigning the 'Infrared Modem Port' as an available connection option through the Accept Incoming Connections Wizard, and by using Terminal Emulation to create an active connection. Or alternatively by creating a specific Windows Infrared program which can call the API layer and create the connection. It may be possible to specify a COM port for and thus for H/PC Explorer use the pre-established COM connection to sync across.

H/PC Explorer itself cannot be modified to exploit the new API calls, and this information is hypothetical.

In order to facilitate these calls any Windows 2000 user will either require SP2 and MSKB252795 or Service Pack 4 (Recommended) which will bring the Infrared Stack up to the functionality level of Windows XP and allow IrDial connections.

See Also

CESD-H-0024 - Troubleshooting Infrared Connections
CESD-C-0017 - Infrared Overview
CESD-C-0020 - Synchronising with H/PC Explorer over Infrared under Windows 95 & 98