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MemMaid for Pocket PC review

Posted on 1-Jul-2004 21:10 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Like other Windows devices, your Pocket PC needs some care. Temporary files, Internet cache files and other things lurk without being noticed. Until MemMaid comes around to help with the clean up job.

Novice users (and sometime more experienced users too), don't realise that their Pocket PC share some functionality with other Windows devices (mainly Windows CE). Like other bigger computers, we need to manage some of the features implemented by individual programs, or as part of the OS.

For example, every Pocket PC will store temporary data in files stored in a folder called Temp. And since some programs don't follow this standard, we have to keep an eye in multiple locations. Pocket Internet Explorer will store its cache files in a different folder. Like other Windows based computers, some programs use uninstall files, and almost all programs store information on a special storage called the Registry.

Keeping these files, information and other pieces of data under control helps us manage the device, sometimes avoiding negative impact on its performance. Another good example is the Notifications Database. Windows Mobile 2003 OS sometimes fails to clean up this important database, and some notification entries are not removed, or are duplicated. With time this database will grow to a quite large size, causing all sort of problems and creating problems with notifications, alarms and other tasks that depend on event handling.

Although there a programs available to keep this under control, some of them even distributed as freeware, I haven't seem many that could perform multiple checks and clean up the or help setting configuration parameters. Some programs clean up the Notification Database, others will allow some registry edit, but these are separate tools, with different user interfaces, sometimes creating confusion in the user's mind: "What program do I have to run now?".

I've tested MemMaid, from DinarSoft. The program integrates multiple clean up and environment controls in a single utility, with a very easy to use interface. At some points it actually resembles the Aqua interface, well known to Mac OS X users.

The program has six tabs. Each will provide access to a function. We'll have a look in each tab:


On this tab you can check how much memory space each one of the following items is actually using on your Pocket PC:

  • Windows Temp Files
  • MS Reader Bookmarks
  • Notify Queue Duplicates
  • PIE Cache files
  • AvantGo Cache Files
  • PIE Cookies
  • PIE History
  • Dead Shortcuts
  • Dead Registry
  • Mail Attachments
  • Log File (Phone Edition)
  • User Folder 1 & 2
  • Custom Extensions

    After scanning you can select which items should be removed from memory. The options button allows us to set two folders, independently from the Temp folder, called User Folder 1 and User Folder 2. We can also determine which Custom Extensions to be checked, and even create our own extension.

    To keep things in shape, there's an option to execute MemMaid at startup, including options for a silent mode where the program will run, clean up the memory and terminate without showing anything during the soft reset.

    For the more paranoid in the crowd, the program offers the option of a Secure File Delete (wipe). I couldn't really test this option, because this would probably need some low level access to memory in order to check if anything was changed. I'll give the program the benefit of doubt here.

    As you can see below, the first time I run the program I found 1.38MB in use, that could probably be put to a better use than wasted space.

    Cleanup report, before removing files and other items

    Some options

    Automatic run at Startup, with report showing

    Notification Queue

    This is an interesting thing. I actually had a freeware program on my Pocket PC, to manage this system database. I checked the Notification Queue with this freeware program and it reported no duplicates. MemMaid reported fourteen duplicates, as you can see in the screnshot below. I decided to remove the other program and keep MemMaid on my startup for now.

    Reporting duplicates in the Notification Queue

    Start Up programs

    Like other computers, our Pocket PC can automatically start some programs after a soft reset. On this tab we can see what programs are in the queue for this auto start, and we can also add new programs here. I know we can manage some of this by adding or removing shortcuts to the special folder \Windows\Start Up, but MemMaid makes it much simpler.

    Memory Tweaks

    This is a good area to change settings, and specially if you have an external storage (SD, MMC or Compact Flash) available. In my case I've moved the Pocket Internet Explorer cache files and the AvantGo files to my SD card, freeing up lots of memory from my Pocket PC. I've reduced the Font Cache Size a bit too. What really didn't seem to work well was the IE Cache Size. It seems that it sets the Cache Size correctly, but somehow the value is restored to 19379 after a few uses of Pocket Internet Explorer. I've manually set the value on HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/InternetSettings/5.0/Cache/CacheLimit to 512 using a registry editor, and it restored to 19379. I'm sure it's not a problem with this program. In any case, having the cache and AvantGo files on my SD card is a great memory help.

    Easier to tweak here than using a registry editor

    Storage Usage

    Nothing much to change here. You'll see a tree representing each folder in the storage, and the space used by these folders. You can drill down the tree by tapping the + sign on the left.

    How much space is each folder using?

    Process information

    In this tab you can see each process/program running on your Pocket PC, and how much memory each one is using. This memory is dynamic, and each process will more or less, depending on what's being done. Also, if you don't know what's a program doing, don't hit that Terminate button. You can end up with a crashed system in your hands.

    What is running on this Pocket PC now

    Other details

    MemMaid also shows a row of buttons on the botton of the screen, giving easy access to functions like Exit, Off, Soft Reset, Device Info (shown below), General options and Help.

    Device information

    The MemMaid program is a nice well polished tool, integrating under a single interface functionality available in a series of different programs. Some of these are otherwise only available as direct Registry changes, not accessible to most end users. If you're keen to keep your Pocket PC in good shape, and like me like to have it like that, I can recommend this program. It's now installed permanently on my device .