How To: Restore a Seriously Ill Pre | webOS Nation
 
 

How To: Restore a Seriously Ill Pre

by milominderbinde Tue, 15 Dec 2009 7:31 pm EST

With users finding so many ways to tweak their Palm Pre's, some wonder if they might "Brick" their Pre (make it stop working). The good news is that you basically can't brick a Pre and if it seems 'bricked,' there are lots of ways to restore it. In extreme cases, which translates to 'hardware failure,' you can brick your Pre, but we're going to assume you know what to do when that happens (get a replacement).

So you've managed to get your Pre in dire straits. We're going to walk you through the steps you should take to try to save it.

After the break, we will detail how to do a quick Restart, Partial Erase, and Full Erase. Then we'll detail how to use the webOS Repair Utility, webOS Doctor, and what to do if even the palm.com website instructions don't work. If you know the tricks, you can save your data too.

One quick note: Since that webOS 1.2.1 update just came out, you may need to wait a bit for some of the tools we're going to discuss to be fully updated to work. At the moment, webOS Doctor and WebOS Repair Utility are not compatible with 1.2.1. When that changes, we'll update this article.

Can You Brick a Pre?

Simple answer is that short of smashing your Pre with a real brick, it is almost impossible to "brick" a Pre.

Palm has built in a number of safeguards starting with the fact that webOS is built on the Linux operating system. Linux is tough. Also, if you know the tricks, the webOS has a number of easy steps you can take if your Pre does not respond.

So what do you do if your Pre stops working? Don't panic. Here are the steps we recommend for an unhappy Pre, in order of escalating need. Basically, we recommend working in the order we present here until your Pre is back up on its feet.

Restart

Sometimes apps don't clean up well when they are turned off. In some cases behind-the-scenes programs such as "services" may still be running. If your Pre stops working right or is sluggish, a simple restart may be just the trick. Here's how:

Tap Launcher
Palm Pre Device Info Button Tap Device Info
Scroll down and tap Reset Options
Palm Pre Reset Options Button

Then tap Restart. You should be back in business in a couple of minutes!

 

But what if the Pre has stopped working and you can't get to the Reset Options menu? PreCentral members have found an undocumented trick! Press the Orange Key Palm Pre Orange Key , Sym key Palm Pre Sym Key , and R key at the same time to force a restart.

If you are not so ambidextrous, you can also press and hold the power button while sliding the Mute button back and forth 3 times (or more).

Finally, as a last resort, you can simply pull the battery out and put it back in.

WebOS Repair Utility

Sometimes the problem with the Pre is that a file has been changed. An app or tweak may have left something behind. In many cases, PreCentral member Jason Robitaille's WebOS Repair Utility is just the ticket. It checks which files are altered or damaged and can quickly repair them. The best part is that no data or settings should be lost. Click Option--> Override Compatibility for a deeper cleanup that will also remove tweaks and themes.

NOTE: ensure that webOS Repair Utility has downloaded the latest version of webOS Doctor (it happens during installation). Again, at the moment webOS Doctor isn't compatible with 1.2.1, so WebOS Repair Utility isn't either.

Palm Pre WebOS Repair Utility Main Screen

 

Partial Erase

"Partial Erase" is not as scary as it sounds. What it does is erase all of the data on your Pre except what you have in your USB storage area. If you can still use the Pre, first backup your data:

Palm Pre Launcher Button Tap Launcher
Backup button Tap Backup

If you can't do a last Backup, you may not have to worry too much. Your Pre should have been set to automatically backup every day. Backup saves your contacts, calendar, tasks, system settings, bookmarks, and Palm applications you downloaded to your phone. Information stored in online accounts like Google should be synchronized by the online provider. A Partial Erase should not erase your music, photos, wallpaper, or other personal files you have saved.

Are you ready? Here are the steps to do a Partial Erase:

Palm Pre Launcher Button Tap Launcher
Palm Pre Device Info Button Tap Device Info
Scroll down and tap Reset Options
Palm Pre Reset Options Button

Now tap Partial Erase and then confirm. Once you are back to your regular screen you will be asked to sign into your Palm profile to restore your contacts, calendar, tasks, system settings, bookmarks, and Palm applications you downloaded to your phone. Information stored in online accounts like Google should be restored by the online provider. Check your Email and Contacts to confirm accounts.

You will need to set up WiFi networking and Bluetooth pairing again. There are also some things that are annoyingly not restored properly yet (ex. linked contacts). Your phone may feel sluggish for a while as it continues to sync contacts and other info.

Full Erase

Full erase is like a Partial Erase but as the name implies, it deletes everything. Think of it like reformatting a hard drive. Consider doing a full erase before exchanging a Pre or selling or giving it to someone else. Again, hopefully you left Automatic Backups on. To do a last phone backup tap Launcher and then tap Backup as above.

If possible also make one last backup all of your music, photos, and other Pre files. A simple way is to connect the Pre as a USB Drive and copy everything on the Pre to a subdirectory on your computer, maybe called "PreBackup." To set up free, automatic daily backups, see the Backup & Syncing Tips.

To do a Full Erase, take a deep breath and do this:

Palm Pre Launcher Button Tap Launcher
Palm Pre Device Info Button Tap Device Info
Scroll down and tap Reset Options
Palm Pre Reset Options Button

Now tap Full Erase and then confirm. Once you are back to your regular screen you will need to go into Email and Contact and confirm accounts. You will also need to set up WiFi and Bluetooth pairing again.

After a full erase, you will be asked to sign into your Palm profile to restore your contacts, calendar, tasks, system settings, bookmarks, and Palm applications. Information stored in online accounts like Google should be restored by the online provider. You can also sign in to your Palm profile on a new Pre and restore your data to the new phone in the same way. You will need to reinstall Homebrew Apps manually. Your phone may feel sluggish for a while as it continues to sync contacts and other info.

You can connect your Pre as a USB drive and restore the Pre files you backed up to your computer including all of your music, photos, and other Pre files. See the instructions above.

The webOS Doctor is in!

One last reminder, as of this writing, webOS Doctor comes with version 1.2, not 1.2.1. the below instructions will work fine, but you'll have to do a software update immediately after you finish these instructions.

During an update or even normal usage, there is a chance that your phone may no longer respond. Even pressing Orange Key Palm Pre Orange Key , Sym key Palm Pre Sym Key , and R key at the same time may not force a restart. Pulling the battery may not even work.

In this case, webOS Doctor may be just what the doctor ordered. The webOS Doctor can fully restore your phone. Unfortunately the webOS Doctor instructions at palm.com/support may not revive your Pre.

The webOS Doctor instructions below should work almost every time:

1. Backup your Pre one last time if you can: tap Launcher and then tap Backup. Use the instructions above to make one last backup of your music, photos, and other Pre files.
2. Disconnect your phone from your computer.
3. Download webOS Doctor for your phone to your computer.

If the webOS Doctor does not automatically run after you download it, double-click the file in the location where you downloaded it.

4. Select your language and click Next.
5. Click Accept to accept the terms of use.
6. After your system is checked, click Next.
7. You are now starting your phone in Recovery Mode:

7.1. If your phone is on, turn it off by pressing and holding the power button and then tapping Turn Off.
7.2. If your phone's USB cable is connected to your computer, unplug it. Do not connect your phone back to your computer until the webOS Doctor tells you to.
7.3. Hold the Volume Up button  on the side of your phone down while you remove and then reinstall the battery.
7.4. While still holding down the Volume Up button, plug your USB cable into your phone. Continue holding the button down until the full-screen USB logo appears on the screen.
7.5. Make sure that you have connected the USB cable directly into your computer, not through a USB hub or other device. A "Found New Hardware" wizard may run.

8. Click Next.

• Warning: Do not disconnect your phone from your computer during this process. Disconnecting the phone may damage your personal information.
• Note: If the battery level is below 30%, the recovery process first charges your battery. This can take up to one hour.

9. When the Reset Complete screen appears, click Done.
10. After the phone resets, the original startup screen will appear.
11. You will be asked to sign into your Palm profile to restore your contacts, calendar, tasks, system settings, bookmarks, and Palm applications. Information stored in online accounts like Google should be restored by the online provider.

You can also sign in to your Palm profile on a new Pre and restore your data to the new phone in the same way. You will need to reinstall Homebrew Apps manually. Your phone may feel sluggish for a while as it continues to sync contacts and other info.

You can connect your Pre as a USB drive and restore the Pre files you backed up to your computer including all of your music, photos, and other Pre files. See the instructions above.

The technical version of these instructions is here: Palm webOSdev Device ROM Tools

Your Pre won't be another brick in the wall. (Apologies to Pink Floyd.)

Craig Lincoln, aka Milominderbinder, is a moderator on the PreCentral forums and the developer of the Palm Pre Tips and Tricks. Craig's recent articles include Music Player (Remix), There's a Patch for That (Part 1), Part 2, and Part 3, and Getting Started: Homebrew Apps, Patches, and Themes with WebOS Quick Install.

This guide is offered "As-Is" and without warranty of any kind. In no event shall the author or PreCentral be liable for any claim, damages, or other liability.