As far as I can tell, this annoys the crap out of people that do notice and (at max) gives no real benefit to people who don't notice:

Why did Microsoft decide to make the "X" on Windows Mobile (or CE before that) not close, but only hide the application, and thus keep cluttering up your memory?

  • WM wants you to go to the Control Panel -> Memory and "Do you really want to" shut down the app.

  • Pretty much every WM application I've seen that did not come from Microsoft has a "Quit" menu choice.

  • The number of task managers out there that let you quit programs is larger than the count of emails from African bank managers that want me to take care of some millions of bucks that belonged to a deceased customer of theirs.

  • My new HTC even comes with a close-able (not closeable, though) task manager pre-installed.

But still today, Word Mobile just wants to hide, not be closed.

I don't want to get a "That's M$hit, get used to it" answer; I really want to know:

What in the world is the reason for this decision, and even more, for still sticking with it?

  • FWIW, I've recently noticed many Microsoft applications have a "Quit" or "Exit" menu item now: IE Mobile (on WinMo 6.5), Facebook, Marketplace to name a few. – Michael Itzoe Feb 6 '10 at 21:57

From the Windows Mobile team's blog:

The Emperor Has No Close

In summary of the above article, Windows Mobile's base philosophy is that users on a mobile platform shouldn't be expected to have to manage the memory. So it will close applications to free memory when needed. The X button was designed as a "I've finished with this" button, but the choice of X obviously implies close.

  • That's quite a nice read, I actually liked it (the title is awesome!). While I don't totally agree with the reasoning, the whole thing is starting to make sense. Thanks. – balpha Jul 16 '09 at 20:55
  • It is still really darn annoying! Of all the mobile OS's I have used so far, WM is really low on the list for me. – geoffc Jul 16 '09 at 21:28
  • I hear you, geoffc, but at least it runs Python and doesn't put me in a sandbox :-) – balpha Jul 16 '09 at 21:37

If you install Pocket Plus from SpbSoftware, you can make it so the close button actually works as a close. I've found it handy.

The software also adds swipe-to-scroll and tab-browsing to Pocket IE.

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