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By Chris De Herrera 
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ActiveSync Multiple Partnerships
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2003-2004
 Version 1.01  Revised 3/8/2004

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Introduction

So you have more than two desktops and you want to sync your Pocket PC or Handheld PC with them?  Well ActiveSync on the Pocket PC or the Handheld PC does not support more than two desktops.  Here's an explanation why and how to work around the problem.  BTW, the PCs support multiple Pocket PCs or Handheld PCs partnerships without problems. You just can't sync more than one Pocket PC or Handheld PC at a time.

Why Partnership with Only Two PCs?

ActiveSync's goal is to keep all PCs and Pocket PCs in sync all the time. So with two PCs, you can sync with either PC only once and your data is on both PCs and the Pocket PC.  

Partnerships with More than Two PCs?

If you could partnership with more than two PCs, and you made changes on each PC you would need to sync with each PC twice without any changes in between syncs.  For example, if there are PCs A, B and C and you wanted to sync with them all you would have to start with A, followed by B and then C.  At this point changes made on A are stored on both B and C.  Also, the data that changed on B is copied to C.  However the data on B or C is not on A nor is the data on C stored on B.  By synchronizing a second time, all the data from C is copied to A and B in the next sync. The situation does not get any better if you add a fourth or fifth PC.  Of course after the first time you sync with all hosts, the Pocket PC is up to date.

How can I sync with More than Two PCs?

If you still wish to sync with more than two PCs, you need to purchase a 3rd party application called SyncMgr from Kelbran Software,  Many Partners from MyDocsUnlimited, or Pocket Multi Partnership Sync from Thai PocketPC.  They require you to select the connection you are synchronizing with each time you sync.  This is required because the Pocket PC does not support multiple settings for ActiveSync.  It just copies your settings out of ActiveSync and replaces them with the PC that you wanted to sync with.  You must be careful to select the correct PC or when you sync your Pocket PC will ask to establish a new partnership.  If you proceed with the new partnership, you will erase the partnership with the prior PC.  This will require you to setup a new partnership on both PCs.

Conclusion

I recommend that you proceed with caution when using SyncMgr.  You need to understand how to synchronize with all your PCs before diagnosing problems with ActiveSync.  You may prefer to update your Pocket PC and sync as needed with each PC.

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