WM6 - Update your Treo 500 to Windows Mobile 6.1

Palm Treo 500

I'm the happy owner of a Treo 500. This Palm smartphone is very handy with its complete keyboard.
Mine is a SIM unlocked french version, with an Azerty keyboard.

The main problem is that the embeded Windows Mobile 6 standard edition is by far too heavy. It is really too much unresponsive.
So, I decided to look for an alternative OS to flash on the phone.

I found it on one thread of XDA Developper forum. It is an english Windows Mobile 6.1 ROM, where Office and WindowsLive have been removed. This ROM is incredibly responsive and fast.

This article will explain how to flash the phone with this new english Windows Mobile 6.1 ROM.

Before following this procedure, you have to make sure that you Treo 500 is SIM unlocked.
If this is not the case, do not carry on as you may damage your phone.

Backup your phone data

First thing to do is to save all your configuration as the flash procedure will erase everything.

You can do it with the smartphone version of PocketPC PIM Backup.
It is easily available on the net. If needed, you can download version 2.8 from this site.
The only thing you need to do is to extract and copy the executable PPCPimBackup28.exe on your phone and to launch it with File Explorer.
The backup process is very easy and you will finally get a PIMBackup_YYYYMMDD.pib file. This is the file you will need keep safe and to restore after the update.

Flash the new ROM

You then need to download the ROM file which is available from the XDA Developper forum.
You can also get the ROM directly from this site. 

To be able to flash the ROM, you need to place the my-rose.abi file at the root of a microSD card.
The card should be 2 Gb or less and, very important, it should not be a SDHC card.
In fact, the Treo 500 boot process can only handle SD card, not SDHC.

Once you have placed the card in the phone, you have to follow a specific startup procedure to begin the boot process.
Your phone being switched-off, keep the Down Arrow of the D-Pad pressed while pressing the power On button.

Treo 500 key to start the flash processThe phone will then start in bootloader mode and it will autoflash the .ABI file placed at the root of the microSD card.
You will see a succession of red and green progress bar. The flashing process will take few minutes and the phone will automatically reboot.

If everything has gone fine, you will see the WM6.1 boot logo !

WM6.1 boot screen

The first boot will be a little bit slow, but don't worry, next ones will be much faster.
More important, your phone will be incredibly fast in comparison to what it was few minutes before.

Restore your phone data

As everything has been erased by the flash procedure, you will need to :

  1. Setup a new ActiveSynch connexion
  2. Copy PPCPimBackup with the .PIB file having all your data
  3. Restore your backup by starting PPCPimBackup.exe with the File Explorer
  4. Reinstall all the needed applications

My phone having an AZERTY keyboard, it has a French ROM extension to handle it. This ROM extension is preserved by the flash process.
It means that even after flashing a new english ROM, my azerty keyboard is fully recognized and operationnal.
The only difference is that all the french accents are missing in the software keyboard. In my case, that's not a big deal.

If you follow all the above steps, ... your Treo 500 is now running Windows Mobile 6.1 ...

Treo 500 WM 6.1 Home Screen

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