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View Full Version : SmartPhone: Bringing it back to life (updated 8-29-03)

08-07-2003, 12:30 PM
Restoring a SmartPhone by Mitchell Waite (Updated 8-29-03)


Important Note for i-Mate Owners. Before you restore your phone, you should upgrade your ROM. See details at the end of this article.

If your phone locks up often you can't turn it off, the keys don't work; it stops beeping, and just acts like its brain dead or on life support, you often can just remove the battery, wait a few seconds, put the battery back in, then power it up. Most times your phone will come back up with everything back to normal. But not always. Sometimes the remove then replace the battery trick won't fix the problem. If a setting gets corrupted in the registry for example, removing the battery won't fix it. Sometimes the phone just won't start, or starts than halts.

In this case you're hosed and have to reformat the memory. And it's like when you reformat a PC, everything gets lost. The OS is in ROM so it will come back up but your programs and settings will be gone. Someday soon someone will bring out a back up program. But in the meanwhile you can use this information to recover.

Until someone launches a good backup and restore program I suggest you set up a single Smartphone folder to store all your programs, themes, sounds, etc. This is a 1.0 device and thus it's likely you will be doing this restore often, especially since the new programs have not been out long enough to be well tested. I had to restore 5 times in the first week I got the SP. So I wrote this all down. I hope it helps you.

Note: Try not to change everything at one time. After restoring a few areas, shut the phone down and restart it. While I have become adept at restoring my settings quickly, I have also found that sometimes making changes too fast can lock up the phone.

Note: Sometimes you can get mangle a database. For example I once managed to get an email screwed up so that I could not delete it no matter what I did. It caused stability issues and eventually I had to reset the phone. I think I have reset mine about 10 times now. I am sure I am a worse case example, not everyone will have these experiences.


Reset your Tanager or SPV Smartphone (devices from HTC) after a serious crash or when it won't restart properly. If you just installed the new ROM upgrade this step is not necessary.

1. Remove the SD or MMC card in the phone before resetting the phone. If you leave it in the phone will think that there is usable SD card in the slot and will try and use it. Further there will be more options other than just Erase ISPM below.
2. Turn off the device
3. Press and hold down the Record button
4. While continuing to hold Record, press and hold down the Power button
5. Put your finger over the action key and get ready to hit it fast. You will see “Card found” and then be prompted to “Press action button to enter diag mode”.
6. Sometimes the Card found message will disappear and reappear, so don't press the Action button until the "Press action" message has settled down.
7. Release the Power button. Release the Record button.
8. Press and CONTINUE to hold the Action button
9. Continue to hold the Action button until the diagnostic screen appears.
10. If you see a screen with 3 colors on it, then you have messed up and need to start over.
11. Select “8, Erase IPSM” from this menu
12. Wait for the screen to say “PASSED”
13. Remove the battery and replace it again. Wait a few seconds for the device display to completely disappear.
14. Power on the device
a. It will take several minutes to complete its start up process and the screen will dim. Don't worry; let it alone till it's done.
b. The screen will first show the phone logo (in my case i-mate), then go blank, then you will see the Smartphone start up screen. It will go dim again.
c. Then you will hear the two beeps (ding dong) sound. It will show your start up screen, then it will display a new white screen and a message AddConfig…waiting. There will be an OK button but you don't need to press it.
d. Then you will see Check IPSM…waiting. Don't interrupt it. IPSM is the Intel Persistent Storage Memory, the place where settings are kept that when the phone is off.
e. Then you will get an Info screen that says "Check IPSM Successfully" Press "OK" to reset. If you don't press it the display will blank out, out, but it's still on. press OK and it will restart the phone.
15. It's now ready to reconfigure. Make sure you have two free hours.

Tip: If you miss hitting the action key and wind up at the Tri-Color Screen you can hold Record and Power again and in a few seconds the white screen with the 'hit the action button' message shows up again. This did not always work for me on my i-mate.

Note: Sometimes I have trouble avoiding the three-colored screen that means you need to do the procedure over. Releasing the Power button, then the Record button while holding down the action key seems to be the trick.


If your phone is from a foreign country then you will need to adjust the GSM band. In Europe the network is 900/1800 MHz, while in the US and Canada its 1900 MHz.

Select Programs->Settings-Telephony
Select Band Selection
Switch from "GSM 900/1800 MHz GSM/DCS dual band" to "PCS Band"
Press Done.


You need to set this for the phone to work on the GPRS network and access the internet.

Programs-Settings-Data Connections.

The following is for T-Mobile GPRS Network.

Set Internet connection: Automatic
Select Menu-Edit Connections
Select GPRS Connections
Select Menu-Add
Set Description: T-Mobile (put in your carrier here)
Set Connects to: The Internet
Set Access Point to: internet2.voicestream.com
Press Done

restart the Phone!

LOCALIZATION Settings, Regions, Currency, Date and Time, Owner Information

If you bought your phone outside the USA (like from Germany) it won't be localized to your area. Mine was set to the UK. You should set up your Ownership information before restoring programs as sometimes the programs won't register properly unless this information is present. Note that to get to the final menu item you might have to press the 9 More…key.

Programs-Settings-Date and Time
Set Time Zone to what your zone is, mine is GMT-8 Pacific US
If you want to be annoyed once a day turn the Alarm on in this screen, and set the time to get an alarm once a day at a particular time.

Programs-Settings-Regional Settings
Locale: English (United States)
Adjust Positive number, Negative number, Positive Currency, Negative Currency

Programs-Settings-Owner Information
To switch between capital and lower case letters press the * key
Enter your name, telephone number and email address
The @ sign and the period is found by pressing the "1" key several times.
If you don't do this some programs will tell you they are not properly installed.


If you already had a partnership set up with the phone, then before you sync, open ActiveSync, and delete the partnership. Its name is probably Smartphone.


With phone out of the cradle start ActiveSync.
Next select File-Mobile Device-SmartPhone.
Then select File-Delete Partnership.
Put phone in cradle.
ActiveSync will start and bring up New Partnership Dialog.
Select Standard Partnership and Next.
Select Synchronize with this Desktop Computer and Next.
Select Synchronization Settings, a dialog appears.

If you plan to have the phone get your email uncheck the Inbox.

Press Next then Finish.

ActiveSync will now automatically sync with your Outlook Calendar, Contacts and Tasks. It will sync all your contacts even though you might not want them all, since if you are like me you have way more contacts with just email addresses that don't belong in your phone.

A way around this is to filter what contacts end up in the phone is to go into Outlook and assign a category to your contacts. You can even make up your own, like I have Artists, Programmers, etc.

With ActiveSync still running click on Options-Settings.
Click on the Contacts and then click the Settings button.
The Contact Synchronization dialog will appear.
Select the lower button (Synchronize only those contacts in the following selected categories) and then check the ones you want in the phone.
Then click OK.
ActiveSync will then Look for Changes and resynchronize the contacts.

When it's done check your contacts list on the phone (while it's in the cradle) and see if they are all the ones you want. If not go back and change your contacts in Outlook. ActiveSync will automatically send the changes to the phone when the contact is saved.

Check your Calendar and your Tasks as well.

If your phone locks up again after this, just remove the battery, put it back in, and restart the phone.

Note: ActiveSync can sometimes take a long time to connect, so be patient. Sometimes you have to wait up to a minute for it to Connect. Sometimes after connecting it takes another 20 to 60 seconds to up date the changes. Pulling the phone out of its cradle while ActiveSync is running can cause a lot of problems later.


In ActiveSync with the phone in the cradle select Tools-Add/Remove Programs
Let the PC find all your programs.

Select the ones for the phone from the list. Be careful not to select any programs that are for the Pocket PC if you have a partnership for one.

I selected:

Fonix VoiceDial
Hexacto Tennis
PocketX Software Photo Contacts
Resco Explorer 2003
Resco System Toys
MUD Solitaire
Tiny Stocks
Sunnysoft MailCenter

I suggest that you stay away from programs that have not been well tested, or are really new, or experiments, as they can cause all kinds of problems. I would definitely not install any programs that might have led to your crash (like Xbar for me).

After copying all the programs to the phone, look at the phone in its cradle.
Its screen will ask you, one at a time, where you want them installed. Specify where they go, phone or SD card, by moving the action button to the right, and then press Done.
The program will finish installing.

If any screen seems to stay on the phone a bit too long, just wait for it to end, don't remove and turn off the phone.

Once you pick a location it will remember that for the next program so you only have to press OK after each install.

At the very end of the set up you may get a message that the phone needs to be reset and an OK button. If you press it the phone will restart and you are ready for the next step.

Note: If you have problems installing, or one of the programs you expected to be installed was not installed DO NOT use Add Remove Programs again. Instead go find the installer for the program and install it that way.


Select Menu-Options
Email Setup, then Next
Enter the following

Name: Mitchell Waite
Email: mitchwaite@earthlink.net
Password: (your password)
Type: POP
Press Next
Select Done

Select the Receiving Option
When downloading new messages retrieve
Select: First 5000 Bytes (you might prefer the first 1000 bytes, but don't say "everything" as the phone is too slow and it will take forever if the message is a big one.
Select Done

Select Automatic Synchronization
Connect on a timed basis:
Select: Every Fifteen minutes (or what ever you prefer)


If you are a T-Mobile user when you first go to a web site you will see a T-Mobile Accelerator page. Select the No button and then click on Accept. This accelerator does not help. My favorite web sites for the Smartphone:


Tips and Tricks of the SmartPhone Masters 101: Making email work better

If you enter your normal email address it will only receive emails that have not already been received by your desktop outlook. On your PC Outlook you should check Leave Messages on the server to something like 1 day. However if you get lots of email this will mean your phone will have a lot of downloading. My solution is to set up a different email account on the phone from your regular account. Then set up rules in Outlook to forward jus the mail that you want to this account. For example I have a rule that sends all the messages from Special People in my contact list to a folder called Special People. I just added a second rule to also forward these messages when they come in to the email address I have reserved for the phone.


Messenger is easy to set up.
Press the Sign In button.
Name: goofy167@msn.com (whatever your msn or hotmail name is).
(be careful that you don't press sign in until you have filled in all the fields because once it dialing you can't stop it without going to the task manager (Programs-Task Manager). Again this is 1.0 with a big .0.
Password: (fill in your password).
Check the save my password box.
Select Sign-in.
Note that sometimes messenger just won't seem to sign in; this may be because the GPRS network is not allowing a connection. I find it a bit unreliable. If its stuck dialing go to the task manager to kill it or go smoke a cigarette while its figuring out that its not getting though.


Chose your favorite: 4 Loud (this is what I like).
Select Menu-Edit.
Scroll Down to System Sound Volume – change this from Loud to 4 (this makes the tone when you hold down a key not so darn loud it gets you angry looks from people sitting near by).


Put your phone back in the cradle
Select Explore
Open the SmartPhone item
Open Application Data
Right Click in the window, select New Folder
Name the folder: Sounds
Move your custom WAV files to this folder

Attach Custom Sounds to your Phone



You can download Microsoft's free theme generator for the Smartphone at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile/resources/downloads/smartphone/default.mspx

Open any pre-existing theme you want to add to the phone
Click Next, Next, then check the box 'Send to device when finished' and click Build.
The theme will get sent to the phone
Go to the phone and click the OK key and it will appear as your new home screen.

I suggest you put all your themes in one folder and locate it in the same folder where you store all your smartphone programs.

Set up Your Home Page

Your phone probably came with a default home page made by the manufacturer. They probably have a layout you don’t like.

Programs-Settings-Home Screen
Select Home Screen Layout.
Toggle though the settings and pick the one you like.
I like Full Layout.

Get Custom Skins if You Want Something Really Cool

There are lots of custom skins being created. These go beyond Themes because they allow the creator to change where information is presented, not just colors and backgrounds. Skins are can be distributed as CABs or full Installers. The best site I have found so for Skins is MoDaCo: http://smartphone.modaco.com/index.php

Warning: When a skin is installed it may change many standard SmartPhone default screens. Changing them back to the default is not easy. So install these with care.

Installing a CAB file

CAB files need to be installed manually on the phone itself. The advantage over a windows installation is a smaller file size, because the setup engine is not necessary. To install a CAB follow these steps:

1. Run the Explore command in ActiveSync.
2. Copy the CAB file into the folder \IPSM\Windows\Start Menu\Accessories.
3. On your phone, go to Programs-Accessories and run the file you just copied.
4. Smartphone 2002 will then start the installation. It will ask you where to install the application. Choose the destination that matches your need and click Done.
5. Once installation is finished, Smartphone 2002 will automatically remove the CAB file. No need to do it yourself.

Backlight Default

I think the backlight goes off way to fast, but making it last longer lowers battery life. Experiment.

Programs-Settings-Power Management
Select Backlight Timeout: 30 seconds (15 might be better, 10 is the default)
Set up your Shortcut Keys


Installing a CAB file does NOT require a File Explorer. You can do it quite easily as follows:

1) SPV in cradle (connected to PC via USB)
2) Check that sync is OK (green Active Sync icon!)
3) Click on Active Sync to open it
4) Click on the "Explorer" tab (in Active Sync)
5) Open "My Smartphone"
6) Open "IPSM"
7) Open "Windows"
8) Open "Start Menu"
9) Copy the CAB file in "Accessories" (drag and drop).

1) Open "Programs" (in Home)
2) Open "Accessories"
3) Open the CAB file (it is in the Accessories list), it will install it



The following comes from Arne Hess's PPCW.net web site. Arne is a supplier of the i-Mate Smartphone.

The most recent ROM update for the i-Mate Smartphone 2002 is available for download in version

This ROM doesn't include any certificates nor does it lock down your Smartphone to a dedicated carrier.

Shipping Version ROM Update
Operating System Version 3.0 (Build 13037)
Radio Version 1.30.00
Microsoft: 3.0.13037.0
File System: 3.0.13037.0
Applications EZOS SmartMMS 2.5 Build 030128

Operating System Version 3.0 (Build 13121)
Radio Version 1.33.20
Microsoft: 3.0.13121.0
File System: 3.0.13121.0
Applications EZOS SmartMMS 2.5 Build 030424

The upgrade will erase all existing information and files from your Smartphone. It is strongly recommended that you synchronize your Contacts, Calendar, Mail and Tasks to your PC before upgrading your device as well as copying all files from "/IPSM/My Documents" to your PC. Also all tweaks and modifications like ring tones will be erased!

Connect your PPCW.Net i-Mate Smartphone 2002 to your PC with the USB cradle or cable. Connect the cable directly to the PC; don't use a USB Hub in between!

Download the ROM Upgrade from below. This file is approximately 10 MB. Extract the .zip file Upgrade.exe to a folder on your PC. With your PPCW.Net i-Mate Smartphone synchronized run Upgrade.exe from your PC and follow the on-screen instructions.

Once the upgrade is done (please follow the instructions step by step and carefully) you have rebooted your PPCW.Net i-Mate Smartphone 2002.

When the phone battery is removed and plugged back in, the phone may take several minutes to start up. If it doesn't start, remove the battery, wait 30 seconds, and try again.

Now you can synchronize it to your PC again, to restore your synchronized Contacts, Calendar, Mail and Tasks.

The new ROM is a major improvement for the overall stability of your device so it is highly recommended to upgrade your Smartphone. However, please take the time to do it carefully



Mitch Waite, Robert Levy

This document is presented at:


Mike Temporale
08-07-2003, 01:56 PM
WOW 8O I sure hope I don't have this problem when I finally get my smartphone.

You might want to move this to the "tips and tricks" section.

08-08-2003, 04:25 PM
In my tip on how to hard reset an HTC made Smartphone, I posted that you don't have to insert an SD card into the slot.

Inserting an SD card just adds more options to the list rather than Erase IPSM.

Removing the SD Card or Dummy Card will actually make things far simpler with less chances of reflashing the SD Card or ROM for that matter.


Mabuhay! ~ Carlo

08-08-2003, 06:39 PM
The tip about not needing the SD card is great, thank you. I would like to update this sticky, I have made several changes to it. I'll have to find out frm the powers at be how I change it.

08-09-2003, 09:07 AM
The tip about not needing the SD card is great, thank you. I would like to update this sticky, I have made several changes to it. I'll have to find out frm the powers at be how I change it.

You're welcome...

Cool! I see you were able to update the sticky...

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo

08-11-2003, 07:13 AM
I don't yet have the privelage to own a smartphone. However, I am well experienced with Pocket PC's. As an avid pocket pc user and destroyer, this seems ludicrous to me that you should have to go through all the steps. On my pocket pc, I can do a hard reset, including reloading my "localization" in under a minute. Activesync then sync's over all my contacts, calender, and all the programs i installed from that computer. Simple as that (of course if Activesync is working right). That's without a backup program. Depending on how slow activesync goes, I can get it done in a half hour. With a backup program, I'd cut that time in half (sprite), and it does a better job because program settings are maintained. It is sad to see that microsoft didn't bring smartphone up to this level of ease of reseting, especially considering how much you said you have had to reset it. While this wouldn't disuade me from buying one, as I love a challenge :lol: , I think it would for the majority of casual users. Microsoft has to make an easy backup, BUILT INTO the os, or else the phone could never in my mind become mainstream. No other member of my family would ever stand for a phone which could lose it's memory and need a computer to be reset. (Thank G-d for SIM cards).

Just my 2.5 cents.

08-11-2003, 12:20 PM
I dont think It's as bad as all that.

Fortunatly its been a long time since I've last needed to hard reset my phone.

Ideally you should keep a backup of your IPSM ready to restore quickly.
This unfortunately is not that easy, requiring either USBterm (pc program with bootloader functions) or an old version of the booloader (0.92 Max I think)
You will also need an SD card to make the backup, and if you want to keep it on your PC then an SD card reader and a copy of winhex.

Roll on the automatic backup utility...

08-11-2003, 02:29 PM
I wish it was as easy as you make it sound.While backing up the IPSM might be nice, its not going to help restore your settings which take mos of the time in bringing a phone back up. Secondly "most" programs modify the registry so you can't just copy them back to the phone and expect them to work (just like on the PC). Lastly you don't need an SD card to back up the IPSM you can just use ActiveSync's explorer to copy it to your PC's hard disk.

I hear there is a backup coming soon.

08-11-2003, 03:55 PM
Aren't most settings stored in the registry?

If so, wouldn't it be possible to extract the relevant settings - put them in a cab - and load that cab to completely restore?

Programs would be a little harder, but at least this should work for basic settings (gprs, e-mail, etc.)

I'm off to try it right now.

08-12-2003, 02:48 PM
So I've worked on this registry settings thing a little - and it seems to be working to some degree.

I'm having problems with some of the keys being way too long - especially those with GPRS settings in them. Hopefully I can get this resolved soon.

08-17-2003, 03:51 PM
I have found that my instructions for resetting the phone using the power and record key are not 100% reliable. I don't think the instructions are incorrect, I think the phone itself is flaky and the procedure has a critical time component. I am still trying to figure out how to reset it 100% of the time and when I know I will update the instructions.

Also I find that my phone freezes a lot. I would like to see a poll of other users (Jason are you listenting) that asks this question: How often does your phone freeze up? Once, Never, Often, Occasionally.

08-30-2003, 03:24 AM
I updated this article today, including info on the new ROM upgrade. I have foudn the best way to re-install you apps is to skip using ActiveSync and install them from scratch using there own installer.