10 tips for new HTC HD2 users
This article was written for the unlocked HTC HD2 that was released in Europe and Asia in late 2009. If you have the T-Mobile HD2, please see 10 tips for new T-Mobile HTC HD2 users.
Even though the HTC HD2 is currently the best Windows Mobile phone on the market, it could still be a little better out of the box.
While adventurous users often prefer to flash custom ROMs, dual boot WinMo and Android, and hack the registry to bits, others would be happy with a very simple set of tips, tweaks, and other suggestions to get the most of their new handsets. If you're part of this second group of HD2 users, then I hope you'll find what you're looking for below.
What follows is by no means an exhaustive list of tips for the HD2; it is only meant to serve as a starting point. It is also compiled primarily for beginning users with limited knowledge/experience with Windows Mobile.
Tip #1: Apply official updates.
The first thing to do after charging your new HTC HD2 is to visit the HTC support site to check for officially released updates. Just as Microsoft routinely issues patches and other updates for Windows computers, HTC will often release files that fix and/or improve functions for users to download and install. Clicking the "download" link for the update you want to apply will take you to page with installation instructions and more information on the fix/upgrade.
Tip #2: Install BsB Tweaks.
If you're looking for an absolute must-have for your HD2, it is BsB Tweaks by xda-developers forum member makeveral. It's a free utility that takes some of the best registry changes and packages them in an attractive interface that couldn't be any easier to use.
Simply choose which tweaks you like and tap the on/off switch to enable or disable them. Some of the best ones include enabling 802.11n for faster wireless access when connected to an 802.11n WiFi network, adding pinch zooming to other applications, shaking the HD2 to take a screenshot, adding vibration to HTC applications, enabling 9 tabs in the Opera Mobile web browser, and improving camera quality.
If you need help installing the BsB Tweaks CAB file to your HD2, please see these tutorials on how to install CABs to Windows Mobile devices.
Tip #3: Enable Flash support in Opera Mobile.
The HTC HD2 comes with two web browsers: Opera Mobile (default) and Internet Explorer. Both browsers have their pros and cons. Opera Mobile supports pinch zooming and is generally just a better browser, but Internet Explorer supports Flash. There are other third-party browsers that support Flash as well (e.g., Skyfire), but did you know that you can stick with Opera Mobile and still be able to view Flash content like YouTube videos directly in the browser?
All you need is fixOperaFlash, a free tool that automatically does everything that needs to be done to get Opera running with Flash support. In addition to the fixOperaFlash file, you'll need to install SdkCerts and .NET Compact Framework 3.5, which can be downloaded from this how-to tutorial (also includes how-to videos and FAQs).
Tip #4: Get and/or tweak YouTube app.
If your HD2 didn't already come preloaded with the YouTube app (and some versions don't), you can easily download and install it yourself, especially if you don't like the results from the tip above and don't mind viewing YouTube videos in a separate application rather than directly in the browser.
Once the app is up and running, you may not like how large the text size is because it cuts off video titles, which can make it difficult to know what the video is about. Fortunately, decreasing the font size requires nothing more than a simple change to the registry.
For more information on how to edit the registry, check out WMExperts' comprehensive how-to guide.
Tip #5: Increase number of Quick Links.
Out of the box, the HD2 has 9 Quick Link slots on the home screen arranged in a 3 x 3 grid. You can increase that number to 16 (4 x 4 grid) or 20 (5 x 4 grid) by installing xda-developers forum member Co0kieMonster's QuickLinks & Extended Appointments mod, which not only boosts the number of slots but also offers additional features.
If you don't need the extra functionality and are fine with having just 16 slots, there's also "Vovichek_Jamrecords 16 TT UPDATED" (shown above and attached here – scroll to the bottom) to consider.
Tip #6: Add Task Manager to Quick Links.
Now that you have more Quick Link slots, you may want to fill one of them with the Task Manager, which lets you see which programs are running in the background so that you can pick and choose the ones you want to close to free up some memory.
But before you can add it in the same way you've added other Quick Links, you need to go to File Explorer -> My Device -> Windows and find the TaskMgr file first. Then press and hold the item until the pop-up window appears, select Copy from the menu, and scroll up and tap the Start Menu folder -> Programs. In the bottom-right corner, tap Menu -> Edit -> Paste. This adds the Task Manager to the Program menu and lets you select it from the list that appears when you want to add a Quick Link.
You can still access the Task Manager in the regular way (Settings -> Other -> Task Manager), but this is faster and more convenient.
Tip #7: Try out VistaHide Battery Gauge.
There are a lot of third-party battery meters out there, but my favorite one is a free utility called VistaHide Battery Gauge.
It's an unobtrusive color-coded gradient bar that sits at the top of the screen and "shortens" as the battery depletes. I use it on all of my Windows Mobile devices because it's always visible and doesn't take up any room on the taskbar.
Tip #8: Reclaim hidden games.
Teeter appears to be the only game preinstalled on the HTC HD2, but Solitaire and Bubble Breaker are actually there too. They're just hidden.
To reclaim them, go to File Explorer -> My Device -> Windows and find Bubble Breaker. Press and hold the item until the pop-up window appears, select Copy from the menu, then scroll up and tap the Start Menu folder -> Programs -> Games. Press and hold an empty space on the screen until the pop-up window appears, and select Paste Shortcut from the menu. If you want to rename the file (by default, it will be called "Shortcut to Bubble Breaker"), hold the item until the pop-up windows appears, select Rename from the menu, type in whatever name you want, and hit the Enter/Return key on the keyboard.
Repeat the process with Solitaire.
Now when you navigate to Games on your HD2, you'll see all three titles. You can get more games from Windows Marketplace directly on your device or from other app stores online on your computer.
Tip #9: Get an ebook reader.
The large 4.3-inch screen and 800 x 480 resolution make the HTC HD2 an excellent ebook reader. But since there isn't a preloaded reader like there is on the T-Mobile version of the HD2, you'll need to find your own way to get some reading done on your device.
You can download and install the official HTC eReader app or choose from a number of other alternatives. I like eReader Pro (free) because although its user interface lacks polish, it lets you buy and download ebooks from eReader.com's extensive library, gives you access to your online bookshelf, and provides all the standard ebook niceties like bookmarking, highlighting, looking up words, and customizing the look of the text. eReader Pro is also available on other mobile platforms (e.g., iPhone, Android, BlackBerry), so you can read books you've purchased from your HD2 on other devices and vice versa.
Tip #10: Accessorize.
Customization isn't limited to software, so accessorizing your new HTC HD2 is worth looking into. From cases and microSD cards to headsets and screen protectors, accessories are a great way to protect, personalize, and enhance your investment. Check out the nice selection available at online retailers like Amazon and Proporta. Use the promo code POCKETABLES at Proporta to receive 10% off your order.
Bonus tip: Increase Start Menu columns.
When you first use your HTC HD2, your Start Menu will contain program icons arranged in 3 columns.
To reduce the amount of scrolling needed to see all of the icons, which will only increase as you install more apps from Windows Marketplace and other places, change the Start Menu layout to display 4, 5, or even 6 columns. You can do this by installing StartMenu_Grid_4, StartMenu_Grid_5, or StartMenu_Grid_6, which was created by isangelous from the xda-developers forum.
If you need help installing the StartMenu_Grid CAB file to your HD2, please see these tutorials on how to install CABs to Windows Mobile devices.
Enjoy your new HTC HD2!