How To Recover

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Pre not booting? webOS Doctor How-To


Fortunately, Palm has created a tool called webOS Doctor intended for users to easily restore their devices in the event that they cannot boot for one reason or another.

Note: Before Trying the following steps below. Try removing the battery first and reinsert the battery and turn on the device this will determine whether or not you need to perform the following steps.

Download webOS Doctor here:

After the download is complete, launch webOS Doctor:

  1. Select you language
  2. Accept the license agreement
  3. Connect your Pre to you PC via USB and select "Next" when it becomes available

After completion the device will reboot and present you with the activation set-up.

If your PC does not recognize your Pre and you cannot go past step 3 above, try the following steps:

  1. With the USB cable connected, power off the Pre
  2. Hold down the Up button on the volume rocker
  3. While holding the Up button, power on the Pre
  4. "Next" should now be enabled - proceed with the recovery

The above steps will put the Pre into bootloader recovery mode and should allow the PC to recognize your device and proceed with the restore. In this mode the screen will display a giant USB logo instead of the usual Palm startup logo.

The process usually proceeds as follows:

(If you're on a Mac, you can follow the progress in /var/log/system.log)

  1. WebOS Doctor begins
  2. At 3%, a ramdisk is transferred to the phone, and the phone is rebooted
  3. At 6%, the screen changes to the palm logo
  4. At 10%, the screen changes to a big arrow pointing down to an integrated circuit
  5. Novaterm access is available from 12% onwards
  6. The progress bar advances by 2% increments every 20 seconds or so
  7. If it gets stuck at 52% for more than 30 seconds, it's not going to progress further and you will need to try again.
  8. Around 54% the filesystems are being partitioned
  9. Around 66% the modem firmware is being reflashed
  10. Around 74% the carrier apps are being installed
  11. Around 84% the ROM is being verified

If the process fails at 84% or later, the flash and modem have actually been written, so if you reboot you will get what you were flashing.

Modifications to the recovery process

Between about 18% and 54% complete, you can novaterm into the device while it is being flashed, and modify the filesystem that will be run after the phone reboots (e.g. to touch /var/luna/preferences/ran-first-use).

If you stay in a mounted directory, you can even cause the flashing to abort after the carrier apps are installed and just before the ROM is verified. This is another point where manual modifications can be made.

After you have made your modifications, unmount any filesystems you have mounted and "tellbootie reboot".

Can't boot into recovery mode?

In the very unlikely event that your Pre will not boot into recovery mode (indicating that your boot loader on the flash disk may be damaged or corrupted) you can try booting bootie into recovery mode over USB instead: Last_Resort_Emergency_BootLoader_Recovery Note that there has not been a single reported incidence of this being required, so *DO* *NOT* attempt this before you have exhausted all other avenues, and are sure that you have done all the steps above exactly as described at least 10 times. The procedure listed there can cause more harm than good in the hands of someone who does not know what they are doing, and you can easily cause a perfectly good Pre that can be recovered simply using the webOS Doctor to become a Pre that requires that far more complex and unsupported by Palm procedure to get it back to life.

Short of hardware damage, it should not be possible to "brick" a Pre.