Honey, the memory shrunk !

Published in

Yesterday I had something happening which, although previously known to me in principle, somehow striked me hard due to its intensity.

One of my customers, who some months ago upgraded his phone (and his life) from an old Sony Ericsson P900 to a Samsung Omnia, called me and told me his Main Storage area arrived to 0MB free, and wanted to know what to do.

The man is one of those executives that doesn't like to sit in front of a computer and does almost everything from the phone; almost 4,000 contacts, almost 1,000 appointments, dozens of tasks and all mails answered from the phone.

So I set an immediate meeting with him.

I got there and found the phone exactly as he said. with 0MB (zero megabytes) of free storage memory (ROM). Since I had already moved the Opera cache to the internal storage card, defined the camera and other software to write their files in the internal storage card, and also removed all unneeded software which comes with the basic installation of the phone, I hadn't much to do.

Then I remembered it had happened to me before, and a hard-reset helped me. I rapidly did a backup of the device, a hard-reset, and a restore of the previously taken backup. After the backup Activesync told me it needs to re-sync from scratch, and I approved it. When it finished, I went to check the memory: 37MB free !!!

Let's see: you have a 0MB free device, you make a backup, hard reset, restore the backup and resync, and get a 37MB free device. Something must be wrong with mathematics, since after a restore of a backup from a device with 0MB free memory you should get a device with 0MB free memory.

Actually something seems to be wrong with the storage memory management in Windows Mobile 6.1, which seems to "loose" chunks of the storage as you use the phone with time. I am not sure about that, but it seems to me that it happens in all WM6.1 phones.... Samsung Omnia users are the ones who feel it most due to Samsung's brilliant decision that the 8GB Internal Storage Card should come instead of additional 128MB of main storage, making a device in which out-of-the-box state provides only 50MB of free main storage to the user. But the problem seems to exist in all devices.

I have heard of memory leaks before, but mainly in the context of RAM and working memory (program memory). This is the first time I hear about it regarding Storage.

I would be glad to hear if any of the readers has experience or fundamented conclusions regarding this issue.