Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Restoring PocketPc on an IPAQ H3950

I once installed Familiar Linux on an IPAQ 3950 of a friend of mine, who now decided to have PocketPc back.

Of course I had previously saved the wince_image.gz for later restoration. Thus, I went to the handhelds web page and lurked into the documentation to find some hints about the restoration. I found this document that seemed to fit my needs.

This basically says to reboot the pda, get to the boot prompt via a serial communication program (I used hyperterminal) and load the wince_image.gz.

Unfortunately, this method does not seem to work, and when the transmission of the wince_image.gz ends (it takes about half an hour!) the pda complains about the size of the image file.

Luckily, I found this other document,, which says that you need to prepare your image file first, if you have an H39xx or H5xxx with these 3 steps:

gunzip wince_image.gz
dd bs=1k count=32256 if=wince_image of=root_image
gzip -9 root_image
Then, you must upload root_image.gz.

With this solution, the image loads successfully, and after that I could issue a boot wince at the boot prompt (in the serial communication program). After that, resetting the pda brings back PocketPc.


Anonymous said...

why did your friend not like linux and go back to mircosoft.?

I am considering installing linux on my ipaq h3950 but would like to know about the potential problems before hand.


betto said...

My friend has never been a fan of Linux, but he just wanted to give it a try on the PDA.

Then, he needed to go back to win ce for his work.

I personally have a 3630 with familiar linux on it, and never experienced problems.

However, you might want to take a look at the familiar site (and its mailing list, asking other people who have your same pda for some possible problems).

Please, do not hesitate to ask for further information.


Lars said...

would you have the saved bootldr by any chance?