Posts Tagged 'Windows Mobile'

REDUX: upgrade your T-Mobile Dash to WM6.1

This time last year (or so), I posted an article on upgrading your T-Mobile Dash phone to Windows Mobile 6.1 – the latest WinMo build available for these phones.  While that article is still very valid and useable, I thought it best to revisit this topic with more current information, including the WM6.1 ROM that I’m now using.

I’ll be rehashing much of the info from my previous post (no sense reinventing the wheel!).  That said, this article should be able to get you from your current state (WM5, WM6 or WM6.1) to the Windows Mobile 6.1-based “EnergyROM”, which I’m liking very much.  Even better, many of the tweaks that I posted in my previous article are no longer necessary – they’re built right in!

Here we go…

First of all, this write-up assumes that you have a fully-functioning T-Mobile Dash phone operating on the U.S. network.  It also assumes that you know how to use your phone fairly well, as not everything is spelled out for you.  Lastly, this procedure may void your warranty, so please be aware of that.

What you’ll need:

  • A functioning, usable T-Mobile Dash phone (aka HTC Excalibur) on the T-Mobile network
  • Windows PC (XP, Vista or Windows 7 –> what I use)
  • USB sync cable to connect your phone to your PC
  • To download this ROM file and unzip it to a local folder on your computer.  The desktop works fine.
    (Note: you will need a RAR compatible unzip program like WinRAR.)

If you’re already confused, then this upgrade isn’t for you.  Otherwise, please continue…

UPGRADING THE ROM

  1. Turn off your phone, remove any MicroSD card you might have, and boot the phone back up again.  When the phone is fully booted (and usable), connect your phone to your PC via your USB sync cable.  Windows should recognize your phone and either 1) launch ActiveSync/Windows Mobile Device Center (pictured), or 2) see it as a removable drive.  Fine.  Things are working normally.

    winmoUpgrade01

  2. With your phone connected to your PC, double-click on the “auto.bat” file from the EnergyROM .rar file that you downloaded/extracted in the earlier steps.winmoUpgrade02
  3. The ROM update utility will start.  You should be greeted with a command prompt box telling your to “remove SD card and reboot…”.  We’ve already done this, so hit Enter (any key) to continue.  The ROM will be copied to your phone.winmoUpgrade03
  4. The screen should read “execute SPL now…”  Hit Enter one more time.winmoUpgrade04
  5. Now, hit the middle (silver) button of your phone d-pad.  The screen on your mobile phone should turn white.
  6. Back at the CMD prompt (DOS box), hit Enter once more to continue.winmoUpgrade05
  7. The GUI for the ROM updater should launch.  Keep the defaults and select any “I agree” statements when prompted.  The ROM update itself takes about 5 minutes or so.winmoUpgrade06

    winmoUpgrade07

    winmoUpgrade08

    winmoUpgrade09

    winmoUpgrade10

    winmoUpgrade11

    winmoUpgrade12

    winmoUpgrade13

  8. Update successful!  After the update, your phone will reboot by itself and run some behind-the-scenes configurations, which might take awhile.  This is normal.
  9. Upon rebooting again, you will see the Windows Mobile desktop, which is followed up shortly by the “Connection Setup” dialog.  Choose your cellular operator and hit OK to apply those settings.
  10. For whatever reason, this ROM update sets your time, date and time zone quite strangely, which may adversely affect some program installs.  So, go ahead and set those settings now.  Go to START > SETTINGS > Clock & Alarm > Time & Date.
  11. Finally, your phone should be ready-to-go with the WM6.1 EnergyROM.  Congrats!!!  You can re-insert your MiniSD card, if you like.

INSTALLING THE ‘MINI OPERA’ BROWSER

Although this ROM comes with a newer version of the mobile Internet Explorer browser, it leaves some things to be desired.  I’ve found that the (free) Opera Mini browser is very nice to use on these phones, can browse most any website, and is really quite fast – even over the Edge network.

Here’s how to install Opera Mini, if you like.

  1. On your phone, select Start > Internet Explorer
  2. Click the right soft button for the Menu, and select Go To Web Address
  3. Hold the backspace arrow to delete the current text.
    (Note: to disable the XT9 predictive text, hold the Alt key + Space Bar to bring up that menu.  Choose ‘ABC’ from the list.)
  4. Type in mini.opera.com and hit Enter
  5. When the page loads, choose the bottom most option that says “If this version fails to install…” and click the center button on your d-pad
  6. On the next page, select the top option for “Download Opera Mini! (English, Multiple Certificates)” and hit the center button.
  7. Click the left soft button to Continue.  Click OK at the <root> option prompt.  Click Continue again.
  8. Click OK at the warning screen
  9. Click OK at the Security screen
  10. Opera Mini will download and install.  Click YES to launch when prompted.
  11. Click YES at the initial Permissions screen for Opera Mini.
  12. At the Permissions screen, select “Yes, always.  Don’t ask again” and hit OK to continue.
  13. Opera Mini will finish its install.  Click “Accept” and you’re done.
  14. Finally, within Opera Mini, choose Menu (left soft button) > Tools > Settings.  Deselect the “Auto-complete address input” and “24-hour clock” options.  *Highly recommended*.  Hit the left soft button to Save.
  15. Opera Mini is ready-to-rock!  Enjoy 🙂

Note: Opera Mini is a java application, so you won’t see an ‘Opera Mini’ link on your Start Menu.  Instead, launch the Java application, and then launch Opera Mini from within it.  You can assign a hotkey to the Java app, or use MortScript to make Opera Mini its own “program”, so to speak.  More on that in the near future.

PARTING THOUGHTS

The T-Mobile Dash  continues to surprise me with how well it performs after all these years.  Hey… this sucker was originally released in late 2006!  The continuing dev support, especially at XDA Developers, is nothing short of astounding.

Even better, the EnergyROM has breathed additional life into this phone, which is really cool.  It looks great, is a bit faster, handles low-memory situations better, and incorporates a lot of the tweaks I really love.  Very nice work, NRGZ28!!

I hope you enjoy it too 🙂

homescreen

start1

celetask

Advertisements

Upgrade your T-Mobile Dash to Windows Mobile 6.1

NOTE: A newer version of this article is posted here.

 

I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for years (and years).  In fact, I’ve been a T-Mobile customer for as long as they’ve been active in the United States.  Before that we were with Voicestream , the company that T-Mobile bought out to stake a claim on American soil.  During that time, of course, we’ve had several phones.  An early Handspring PDA with a phone add-on that made me look like I was talking into a pizza box.  A couple of Samsung phones.  A Nokia 6820 that my wife still uses.  And there were other phones, I’m sure.

In November 2006, however, I waded reluctantly into the Windows Mobile world.  Not because I wanted a Windows Mobile-based phone, mind you, but because I was beginning to support them in the workplace on a regular basis.  It just made sense.  Most of our company is on AT&T, but I staunchly demanded to stick with T-Mobile.  That being the case, my choices of Windows Mobile-based phones was limited.  Not too limited, however, as I was able to purchase the T-Mobile Dash for not-too-much money.

Designed by HTC to be a "T-Mobile" branded phone, I have to say that this handset has some seriously impressive staying power.  Almost 2 years after they were released, T-Mobile is still selling these phones on their website!  Admittedly, T-Mobile is typically behind the "technology curve", if you will, but they seem to know a good product when they see it.  The Dash is a good phone, and a very decent PDA.  I’ve beat mine to heck, but it keeps chugging along.  I don’t turn my phone off — ever — and this device has been surprisingly stable, especially considering that I sync my work email, calendar, and contacts as well as making phone calls, of course, the occasional game, and much more.  So stable, in fact, that at one point I had not rebooted (restarted, turned off, etc.) this phone for over 90 days!  Can you leave your phone up and running for over 3 months without a restart?  Bet you can’t.  🙂

But I digress.

The point of this article is to help others upgrade to the very latest OS that you can find for the T-Mobile Dash: Windows Mobile 6.1 (WM6.1).  Although these phones initially shipped with WM5.0, T-Mobile (and HTC) eventually offered a free, supported upgrade to WM6.0.  It was a nice move on their part, and a worthy upgrade.  Upgrading from WM6.0 to WM6.1 seems almost trite, but make no mistake about it: upgrading to WM6.1 is a radical front-end change that will leave you feeling like you have a brand new phone!  Perhaps that’s overstating it a bit, but the upgrade is really quite nice to have.

Among the WM6.1 enhancements are…

  • "Sliding panels" homescreen
  • Threaded SMS messaging
  • Improved browser
  • Built-in task manager
  • Better battery life and improved device performance
  • Other stuff

Enough of all that.  Let’s try to get you upgraded!

—————————————-

First of all, this write-up assumes that you have a fully-functioning T-Mobile Dash phone operating on the U.S. network.  It also assumes that you know how to use your phone fairly well, as not everything is spelled out for you.  Lastly, this procedure may void your warranty, so please be aware of that.

What you’ll need:

  • A functioning, usable T-Mobile Dash phone (aka HTC Excalibur) on the T-Mobile network
  • Windows PC (XP or Vista)
  • USB sync cable to connect your phone to your PC
  • To download these zipped files and unzip them to a local folder on your computer.  The desktop works fine.

If you’re already confused, then this upgrade isn’t for you.  Otherwise, please continue…

UPGRADING THE ROM

  1. Turn off your phone, remove any MicroSD card you might have, and boot the phone back up again.  When the phone is fully booted (and usable), connect your phone to your PC via your USB sync cable.  Windows should recognize your phone and either 1) launch Active-Sync, or 2) see it as a removable drive.  Fine.  Things are working normally.
  2. With your phone connected to your PC, double-click on the "RUU_Excalibur_WM61_Kavana_080330_WWE.exe" file that you downloaded/extracted in the earlier steps.  The ROM update utility will start.  Click the button with "EC" to continue.
  3. You should be greeted with a command prompt box telling your to "remove SD card and reboot…".  We’ve already done this, so hit Enter to continue.  The ROM will be copied to your phone.
  4. The screen should read "execute SPL now…"  Hit Enter one more time.
  5. Now, hit the middle (silver) button of your phone d-pad.  The screen on your mobile phone should turn white.
  6. Hit Enter once more to continue.
  7. The GUI for the ROM updater should launch.  Keep the defaults and select any "I agree" statements when prompted.  The ROM update itself takes about 5 minutes or so.
  8. After the update, your phone will reboot by itself and run the ‘Cold Boot’ config.  This is normal.  Restart your phone when prompted.
  9. Upon rebooting again, you will be prompted with a "Voice Command" program selected.  I chose "Microsoft Voice Command" and clicked OK.  Another reboot.
  10. Finally, your phone should boot up into the new WM6.1 interface and join the T-Mobile network.  Congrats!!!  Your phone has successfully upgraded.  You can also turn the phone off again and re-insert your MiniSD card, if you like.

FIXING THE DEFAULT KEY MAPPINGS

This ROM defaults to an alternate (non-US) keyboard mapping for this phone.  It’s fairly easy to fix, so here we go….

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘ET9 Full.cab’ and ‘et9.Excalibur.0409.kmap.txt’ files to your phone.  Remember where you put them!
  3. Using the File Explorer, find the ‘ET9 Full.cab’ file and launch it to install.  Install it to your ‘Device’, if prompted.
  4. Under Start > All Programs, use the Resco Explorer program to copy the ‘et9.Excalibur.0409.kmap.txt’ file to the My Device\Windows folder on your phone.  Overwrite the existing file.
  5. Restart your phone and enjoy the proper keyboard mappings!

Note: the pink "T" button in the lower-right hand corner of the keypad now launches the CeleTask task manager application.  Very nice!

RUN THE CONNECTION SETUP FOR T-MOBILE

  1. Go to the Start menu on your phone.  This selection now opens the "Recent Programs" option by default.  Hit the left soft button again for "All Programs", then select Accessories.
  2. Choose the Connection Setup program
  3. Select the ‘United States’ from the first drop-down menu, and then ‘T-Mobile’ as your operator.
  4. Reboot when prompted.
  5. Your phone should now be configured for T-Mobile phone, data, MMS, and SMS access.

DISABLING Xt9 (optional)

The default typing input method for the Dash is the Xt9 I’m-gonna-guess-what-you-really-mean-to-say method.  I find it aggravating and turn it off immediately.  Here’s how.

  1. Open a new text message and begin typing
  2. Hold the "alt" key and "space bar" down at the same time
  3. When the menu pops up, choose the ‘ABC’ option (2nd in the list), and click the middle of your d-pad
  4. Now you can type what you want, how you want.  This selection will stay even with a reboot!

DISABLING THE JOG BAR (optional)

The Dash features a touch-sensitive strip just right of the display. It’s called the JogBar, and I hate it.  Actually, I like the idea, but it really doesn’t work well if you hold the phone up to your head with your right hand.  What happens?  Basically, it touches the side of your face and ends up turning the volume down in mid phone call.  Ooops!  For whatever reason, they *never* thought to include another method for adjusting the volume on these phones.  How about the up/down d-pad, guys?  Crazy, I know.

All that said, I just turn the volume on the phone to ‘max’ and disable the JogBar entirely.  Works out fine.  Here’s how…

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘SetJogBar.cab’ file to your phone.  Remember where you put it!
  3. Using the File Explorer on your phone, find the ‘SetJogBar.cab’ that you copied over and run it.  Install it to your ‘Device’, if prompted.
  4. Next, make a quick phone call, use the JogBar to turn the phone up all the way, and disconnect the call.
  5. Go to Start > All Programs > and Settings on your phone.
  6. On the 3rd screen, find the JOGGR line, open it, de-select the top 4 checkboxes, and click done.
  7. JogBar is disabled

CHANGING THE HEADER GRAPHIC FOR EASIER TEXT DIALING (optional)

Our home and office phones have letters written on the number keys for easier dialing when calling a number like 1-800-FLOWERS, or something like that.  That has historically been somewhat difficult on the Dash, but an upgraded graphic will cure those ails!  Here’s how…

  1. Connect the phone to your PC
  2. Copy the ‘ms_mobile.gif’ image to your phone.  Again, remember where you put it.
  3. Using Resco Explorer (Start > All Programs), copy the ‘ms_mobile.gif’ file to the My Device\Windows folder on your phone.  Overwrite the existing file.
  4. Reboot your phone and you’ll notice a handy ‘numbers + letters’ graphic at the top of the screen when you start dialing.  Cool.

SIMPLIFY THE HOME SCREEN (optional)

The default WM6.1 home screen includes access to photos, music, and other things that I (personally) don’t use a whole lot on my phone.  I’d rather not have them on the home screen.  Guess what?  That’s easy to change.  Here’s how…

  1. On your phone, go to Start > All Programs > Settings and choose Home Screen.
  2. The first option is called the Home Screen Layout and defaults to "Sliding Panel Media".  Select that box, and hit right or left on your d-pad until it says "Sliding Panel" only.
  3. You’ll also notice a checkbox that says "Show Recent Programs".  If you prefer that the Start button shows All Programs (instead of the new default Recent Programs), then simply uncheck that box.
  4. Hit Done and then hit the Home button.  Your home screen will be changed!

—————————————-

That should do it!  Here are some before and after shots of the homescreen (not my phone, obviously):

Before

After

Schwanky!

For more information on your T-Mobile Dash, check out the XDA Developers "Excalibur" message board.  Really great stuff there!

Enjoy 🙂