Friday, January 13, 2006

Upgrade to PocketPC 2003

Somehow I thought that the Toshiba e755 that I bought used at eBay had Pocket 2002 in it. There are no splash screens that tell you right away what you are running or easy to spot versions that make some sense. But after looking for a ROM backup utility I figured out that this PDA already runs 2003 thanks to the previous owner who upgraded it.

Toshiba provided an upgrade CD for PocketPC 2002 users for a while. You can find it for sale as a download on eBay. But you won't need it as you will see below.

ROM Backup

My plan was to first make a backup of the existing ROM so that in case the ugprade failed I could revert it to the original ROM. There is such a tool for ROM backups: an utility called osLoader.

For PocketPC 2003, the version number that shows up after a soft reset is 2 00 06 0409. Which translates to boot loader version 2.00, OS version 6 and English Language. At the About screen you will see Version 4.20.1081 (build 13100).

The upgrade process involves flashing two files from a CF Card: the first is a boot loader (EBOOT.NB0), and the kernel image itself (KERNEL.NB0).

Here are the directions about how to create a ROM backup and the corresponding binary images. It covers both the Toshiba e740 and e75x and also shows how to restore them. The ROM Backup utility writes blocks of 4Mbytes each. You have to combine them and use an Hex Editor to remove unnecessary areas.

Check this site for a detailed map of the Win CE 3.x ROM. The original instructions from Toshiba explain the flashing process thru USB/Cradle and CF card. The whole story is covered in this thread (original link moved, this one now?)

And if you ever want try running Linux on the Toshiba, check this site.

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