Migrating to a new PDA

While the bulk of this discussion is based on migrating from a Palm Vx to a Sony CLIE PEG-T615C, it is generally applicable to any migration between Palm OS devices. At the end, I also discussed my much simpler migration from a Sony T615C to a very similar T665C, the migration from an OS 4 T665C to an OS 5 Palm Tungsten|T3.

Palm Vx to Sony T615C

With the exception of FlashROM enablers, if your Palm OS software is compatible with OS 4.1, it will probably run on the Clie. I just upgraded from a Palm Vx to a Clie T615C, and only two programs didn't work. More on them below. Everything else works flawlessly, and even looks a lot better under hi res assist. Here's how I did it:

While Sony recommends deleting your Palm Desktop before installing the new version, I didn't do that. I just deleted the stuff I knew wouldn't be needed like OS updates and the USB driver. I then installed the Sony desktop over the existing setup to preserve my other conduits like Wordsmith, ePocrates, and AvantGo. Worked like a charm.

Big note of caution--don't just plug in your Clie and sync your entire Palm's contents from the desktop. Sony uses a different serial driver, it will crash if you try to use your Palm saved preferences in it or Palm OS patch files (e.g., 3.5.3 update), and network settings/perference may cause problems. Take at least two good looks through your \Palm\username\Backup directory for Palm-specific system files. Also, make sure you uncheck any launcher boxes that say 'Always Use' before your last hotsync from the old device. I did all that, and still had lockups due to Launch 'Em and DateBk4. I abandoned and deleted the former, and deleting the DateBk4DB settings file solved the problem w/DateBk4. Some program registrations like Richreader and MathUPro didn't transfer over for some reason.

Non-compatible programs/settings will vary with your device, OS version, and software suite. In the case of my Palm Vx running OS 3.5.3, I eliminated all sound files (esp. System_MIDI_Sounds.PDB), 68328EZ_Serial_Driver.PRC, ConnectionDB.PDB, fonts.PDB, Graffiti_ShortCuts.PRC and all its cousins, Palm_V_Update_3_5_3.PRC, Net_Prefs.PRC and all its cousins, NetworkDB.PDB, Saved_Preferences.PRC, and Update_3_5_3.PRC come to mind. You also want to delete any other standard Palm add-ins like games so as not to take the chance of overwriting the new ones, programs like Graffiti.PRC. Some on this list are OS-specific, others are hardware-centric. Anything you even suspect to be device or OS specific should go.

This list isn't meant to be all-inclusive, but to give you an idea of what to look for. It may be that some of the configuration databases could stay, like Net_Prefs.PRC, but I didn't take the chance. Generally, if any preferences were setable from Palm's Prefs program, I deleted them from the Backup directory. As it was, Launch 'Em caused me no end of headaches until I deleted it from the T615C. I also ended up deleting Datebk4DB.PDB from my T615C and recreating it. Interestingly, my old Datebk4DC was over 10K, the new one is 80 bytes. Huh? Also, make sure you uncheck the "Always on" boxes on any apps that have them before you hotsync your old device for the last time.

On the flip side, don't forget to copy anything in your ROM-Files directory to the Backup directory. No FlashROM-enabling programs like FlashPro or JackFlash are compatible with the Sony T-series (or perhaps OS 4.1) at the time of this writing, so they must be deleted from the backup directories. FlashPro doesn't work with any Clie, and never will according to Handera. While JackFlash isn't yet compatible with the T series, it will be. It does work with most others, but check their website to be sure.

The critical stuff that transfer flawlessly were all the internal databases like datebook, phone book, etc., and the vast bulk of my other programs, their databases and preference files. As I said above, a couple of programs lost knowledge of their registration data and it had to be reentered, but that was minor stuff.

Since you can't do much w/your new PDA until it charges for about 2 hours, you can use that time to do several scrubs on your Backup and ROM_Files directories. And since you can't take it out of its charger until it has charged initially for about 4 hours, you can use the rest of the time hotsyncing the scrubbed configuration over and fine tuning it on the new device while its stays in its charger. If you get repeated lockups on resets, remember to hold the page up button while soft resetting the device to prevent lockups due to bad apps initializing. That's the only way I got rid of Launch 'Em.

I think that covers it. Good luck!

T615C to T665C

This is actually pretty simple, and the process will be very similar for any two PDAs in the same family (Palm m505 to m515, etc.). First, I saved the entire PalmOS user directory on the PC to another location. Then I culled through the user backup directory for T615C-specific programs, those that wouldn't work on the T665C, and those files from the CD that would have newer versions on the new CD. The first category included the IRC patch files. The second included FastCPU. The last category covered the bulk of the programs that I had to delete--Clie RMC, Clie Paint, etc. Lastly, I ran FileZ on the new Clie and deleted any files from the backup that were the same. After this preparation, BackupBuddy transferred everything else on initial hotsync. After hotsyncing, don't let hacks initialize. Enable them one by one to see if any will cause problems. In my case, FontHack123 had to be reconfigured in my case. Everything else transferred perfectly, including all but one registrations. Skyscape products are registered as hardware specific, so you'll need a new code from them. Since the bulk of my third-party apps are on my memory stick, all I did was pull the stick out of the T615C and put it in the T665C after ensuring all programs were OK on the new device. This whole process took very little time and was well worth the effort.

T665C to Palm Tungsten|T3

Although I migrated over a year ago, I continue to receive questions on this migration. Moving from the T665C to the T3 wasn't all that different from other migrations, though it added the complexity of going from OS 4 to OS 5. Carefully follow the directions above for removing Sony or T665C-specific libraries, patches, and apps from your Backup directory on the PC, as well as other considerations like registrations. The Sony built-in apps and many on the Sony CD will not work on non-Sony devices. Sony image-viewing apps usually use the Sony DSP will not work on a PalmOne device. Read through the software page to find those apps not compatible with OS 5 or the T3. They are marked with a '#' symbol. All other apps should be updated to their latest version to assure compatiblity. You may want to review the reset primer because you may need to use the warm reset to bypass troublesome OS 4 apps after a reset. If you encoutner such a problem app, it should narrow down to an app that controls the screen or other low-level function--i.e., a utility of some type. It took me about half of a day to find one holdout application that caused a reset loop, so be patient.

With the help of Cleanup 3.x, I deleted preference settings and misc. data files that were left over from incompatible apps. That left me with a full-migrated, operational, and clean T3 without reloading everything from scratch. Sweet!