Thursday, October 20, 2005

PocketPC Survival Kit I

After I lost all applications I had on the Toshiba e755 I came up with a rescue procedure. When restoring a backup isn't an option this will probably save you some grief. This shouldn't be necessary that often but with the Toshiba for some reason I end up doing this a lot. Maybe because of the combination of wireless + CF + SD cards.

With such a stupid architecture for the PocketPC, MS finally decided to install applications to non-volatile memory in their latest release, but if you don't have it this tip will help you overcome the grief of loosing everything once in a while.

It needs some preparation and a SD card (I use the CF port for the GPS receiver, but it also works with a CF card).

First start the install of your PPC package from the host PC and stop right at the initial dialog. Do not answer it.

Now to go /Program Files/Microsoft ActiveSync and look for a directory with the most recent date and a name that matches what you are installing. Inside this directory you will find one or more .cab files.

If you find more than one .cab file, it probably means that the installer provides versions for the different hardware architectures supported by the PocketPC.

Figure out which one your PDA has (the Toshiba e755 uses ARM) and copy the .cab file and any supporting file like .ini's to the SD (or CF) card.

Now make a /backup directory in the SD/CF card and copy the same files to it. This is necessary because when you install the .cab file it usually goes away and you won't have it in the card any longer.

So, that's the setup required for this approach. Now you can install the .cab file from the PDA itself if you ever have to do a hard reset. Remember to copy the .cab file from the backup directory for the next time you need to reinstall the apps.