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The good within Hard reset

You might already be thinking this is crazy.  How can you find good within Hard Reset - the very action that clears my Palm device to the out of box state.  I am here to tell you, it's quite possible to certainly not fear it and this article will attempt to show you how.  I would strongly advise that you read the whole thing out before you try this.  It's not hard, if you follow along, but you can definitely make some mistakes if you rush.  Be comfortable with the process before you begin...

Before we begin...

The technique discussed here can assist you in either rebuilding a crashing or error prone device or simply assist you in moving to a new one.  While the main focus of this piece is to assist you in rebuilding an existing unit, the plan is essentially the same path I've taken to upgrade quite a few palms over the years.  When my Treo 650 finally arrives, I'll provide an update on the upgrade based on the new file system...

BackupWith all computing there are some good basic guidelines you should follow.  With a Palm device, you need to sync regularly not just to keep data on both your computer, but to ensure that you have a backup which should be happening at each sync.  There's an even better way though which is to backup to an SD card with one of the various tools.  I personally use BackupMan, but BackupBuddyVFS will also do the trick.  These programs both allow you to schedule your backups on an interval.  I'd suggest daily and my Treo gets backed-up each night at 1am.  If need be, you can actually restore from the SD card and get back to where you've started.

I chose to Hard Reset my Treo this morning in order to give it a fresh start.  Over the past 7 months since I've had it, way too many things have been installed, deleted and even re-installed!  There were a few quirks and a few too many remnant files for my liking so I thought if I did a hard reset I could rebuild.  We have the technology!

In BackupMan, I chose to do a final manual backup, which gave me a bit of extra confidence -- knowing I could officially restore right back where I was if something went wrong, which fortunately was not necessary.  After this was done, I did a final full sync with my computer (I'm on a Mac using Missing Sync) and then... gave my Treo a Hard Reset.

To do a Hard Reset - remember all data will be deleted - Use a paper clip or the tip from the inside of your stylus and press inside the reset hole on the back on the Treo while at the same time press and hold the power button on the top.  Release the pin, but keep holding that top button until you see the Palm logo.  Upon release, you should then see the magic words:

Erase all data?
YES - "up" button
NO - any other button

You still have one chance to back out from here... if you know you have a good backup, you can confidently press the UP button and reset the Treo.  Otherwise, press something else and save where you are!

A freshly reset Treo is actually well ... refreshing.  I noticed an immediate performance boost and even though nothing was installed or restored yet, enjoyed that new Treo feeling once again.  The history of my usage had actually inhibited some performance.

Time to Restore

A fresh Palm device has no immediate user association and I've found it best NOT to do anything on the Treo, until you use your computer to first claim it. 

I'm sorry I don't have a screenshot handy for this, but when you first press hotsync on a new device (out of the box or fresh from a hard reset), your computer (assuming Palm software has been previously installed) will ask you to confirm which user you are.  I've been using the same hotsync ID on my devices for years and this has allowed me to easily carry forward software licenses I've purchased (some require a device ID, which I won't get into now since it does not impact things for this situation) and more easily get up and running as I've upgraded or in this case re-build.

Before you actually sync, I would strongly suggest that you backup and remove your user backup folder from within your Palm directory on your computer.  On Mac, this is located within /Documents/Palm/Users/YOURNAME/Backups.  I duplicated this folder and renamed it something easy to associate - try Backups_reset if you can't think of something more creative, but keep it nearby as we'll need to refer to it shortly.  I then move my Backups folder to the trash, though you can copy it someplace safer for the time being if that makes you feel better.  With the Backups folder gone from your user directory, your Treo will not be restored from backup as will happen if things in that folder are detected to be missing when you first sync.

Your First Sync

Go ahead and press sync on your Treo.  You'll see the dialog box I mentioned earlier asking you to confirm the hotsync ID... Pick the one you were last using...  Since nothing has been installed on your device, you'll only be potentially doing a sync with the standard Palm applications and your desktop.  On my Mac I use the Apple Address Book and iCal as my desktop and sync through iSync.  In order to properly get data written to my Treo I had to actually Reset my devices - again it sounds worse than it is.

Because I had a good sync prior to this process I knew my computer's data was good to put back on my Treo.  Following these steps I was able to make sure that a full set was restored to my Treo again.  In iSync, go to the iSync menu and select the Reset All Devices option:


This opens the next box which looks like:


In my situation, the best data set was actually on my computer, though if you backup to .Mac you could choose that as your source from the dropdown as well.  Press Reset All and when you next sync all devices connected through iSync will be re-written with the same set of data, as you just chose to do.  Press sync on your Treo and your contacts and datebook will be restored once again.

At this point, you should have a Treo with any contact, calendar, memo and todo info you had previously, but no applications.  Apps are easy enough to install, though I was pretty selective in my restore thinking about what I actually use regularly enough to want back on my device.  Instead of running through any official installers I checked in the  Backups_reset folder we made earlier.  You can install both application and data files from the folder if you choose, but use caution if you are not clear on which file exactly to install.  It's better to reconfigure an application, than it would be to install a file you don't need or that may have even been causing an issue earlier.  As you install applications from your backup, they will sync again with their conduits assuming you don't need to first either use a password which might be protecting your data (SplashID for example) or enter a registration code in order to re-activate.

I have yet to re-install nearly as much as I was running previously and so far I don't feel I am missing anything just yet.  I've recovered a great deal of space which was previously lost.  Before today's process I had between 3 and 4MB of free space.  At present, I have 14.5MB ready to be used.  Space recovery was not my goal, but has turned into a great side-effect of being considerably more judicious in what I install.

Final Note

I use Missing Sync instead of Palm Desktop / Hot Sync Manager which allows me to define sync sets - like install for example.  This makes the process much more simple as you can easily go back and forth between a reduced set of conduits and your full set if you like.  I've done this quite a few times and feel comfortable with what I've described.  I hope you find it useful.  I'd be interested in learning how other Treonauts go through this as well

Treonauts love fresh starts! 

Posted by atmasphere on December 17, 2004 at 04:00 PM

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» The good within Hard reset from atmaspheric | endeavors
Based on my recent success with Archive and Re-Install on my Mac I thought the same theory would apply on my Treo. The main difference, is that you have to actually reset your Palm device and rebuild. I've posted a how-to at Treonauts - The good wit... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 17, 2004 4:12:21 PM


by Bryan T. | Dec 19, 2004 9:47:35 PM

THANK YOU! This article is an INVALUABLE reference that every treonaut needs to perform spring cleaning on their device. There is no substitute for wiping the treo clean and starting over - this always solves any problems with 'bit rot' that I've been experiencing.

BTW, for PC users, you'll find your backup folder at: C:\Program Files\palmOne\USERNAME\Backup

by WiFiwantedbadly | Dec 20, 2004 8:50:22 AM

I know it is off topic...but how badly is WiFi wanted by Treo 600 users...I don't even see the author of this blog try and help TreoCentral guys with their WiFi effort given that he or she seems to show some programming knowledge.....we need ALL TREONAUT's support to suceed...

by John Joslin | Jan 3, 2005 9:41:02 AM

Thank you for your article on the hard reset. I just got a Treo650 and had to use it within a week of having it. The proceedure for the hard reset is in the manual, and the missing sync restored everything perfectly. The reason for the reset is as follows: Everytime I tried to turn off the phone/PDA (put the screen to sleep), it would imediately turn off, flash on, and then back off again. It would then wake itself back up until the power off timer would try to put it back asleep. There was some kind of background process keeping the phone from staying asleep, and a hard reset is the only thing that would solve the problem. I have not figured out what app was the responsible party, but if and when I do, I will pass it along to you. I searched through the support site of palm one and never found a similar problem addressed. Just thought you might be able to spead the word or have some insight into what was going on with this problem.

I love the 650, but do not have the 600 to compare it to. I upgraded from the i330, and this is night and day better.

Thanks for this site. I have found it very helpful since I came across it (maybe from Gizmodo's site) a couple of months ago. The missing sync and link for ordering a free 128mb card from Palmone were very useful. Thanks again,

by Ambar | Aug 11, 2005 1:15:39 AM

Is there a site dedicated to helping treo owners with a forum like setting for q&a . i bought a new 650 and am having some trouble with certain features and would love some advice!

by Susie Singer Carter | Oct 13, 2005 1:10:13 AM

My zTreo 650 Sprint phone resets itself everytime someone leaves a voicemail. Thus did not start after installing any software...I have hard reset many times but it doesn't help. Anybody have any advise? It was working perfectly. Do you think VeriChat has anything to do with it? It didn't effect it before.

by Jay Jacobs | Jan 21, 2006 9:59:29 PM

Thank you very much for the info?

by Doug | May 27, 2007 10:50:16 AM

Email me please.
The treo 600 I have? The touch screen won't work with the stylis.
Did a soft reset AND a hard reset.
Nothing works.
THX Doug

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