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By Chris De Herrera 
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Backup & Restore FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1999

 Version 1.02  Revised 7/29/99

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Windows CE Services offers the ability to backup your PC Companion.  You should use it often since this is the primary way that users will need to restore.  You can perform a backup using the serial, IrDA or Ethernet connections available to your PC Companion. I recommend using Ethernet since it is so much faster than other methods (see my Communications Speed Comparison). 

Standard Backups

Windows CE Services supports full backups once you are connected.  Just go into the Mobile Devices folder and select Tools - Backup Now.

You can setup incremental backups automatically each time you connect. Just go into the Mobile Devices folder and select Tools -Backup/Restore.  Then click on the incremental backup.  I do not recommend this for slower connections like modems or the serial port.

You can also backup to a flash card. Both BSquare'sBUseful backup that is part of their bUseful Utilities, CasioSoft's CSI PowerPack backup or EZOS EzBackup. Some newer units like the Casio E-100/e-105, Nino 510, Compaq Aero 8000 have rom based programs for backup and restore. On other systems you must re-install the backup program in order to restore.

Standard Restores

Set the unit to the same country code as when you did the backup. Then synchronize for the first time. Windows CE Services asks you if you want to synchronize, restore or browse. Select restore and then select the device name that you were using when you did the backup. The system will then restore the data. Beware, this may take a very long time (could be an hour or more depending on how much data you have installed). Then press the reset button and synchronize your calendar, contacts and tasks. If you are asked to combine or discard, I recommend discard since your desktop should have the most current backup of your calendar, contacts and tasks.

Note: On when upgrading to newer versions of Windows CE, only programs and data files are restored, not the Pocket Outlook data. All Pocket Outlook data is backed up each time you perform ActiveSync and will be restored the first time you synchronize.

Manipulating Backups

AnyWare Consulting offers HPC Vault Deluxe which allows you to perform selective restores of programs and data files.   You can restore them to your desktop or PC Companion.  These files are extracted from standard backups that are performed using Windows CE Services.

Faster Restores using Ethernet

Perform a complete backup as described above. Once the unit has been reset, you must first synchronize with another name for your device other than the one used during the backup. Just enter a different name in the Communications Control Panel applet on your PC Companion. I recommend that you always use a more descriptive name instead of the default Handheld_PC or Palm-size_PC. Once you have synchronized with the new name, disconnect the device from the serial port. Then copy the backup from the \program files\windows ce services\profiles\devicename\backup.stg to the to the directory of the newly synchronized name  \program files\windows ce services\profiles\newdevicename\. Now you are ready for a network sync and a restore. Once this is complete, press the reset button on your device and then use the serial cable to synchronize the data. If you don't then you will get a combine/discard message without an option to perform it.

Database Backup & Restore

Windows CE Services does not offer the ability to perform selective database backups and restores.  With Developer One's FlashBack/Database Edition, John Schettino's Database Backup Utility or Phatware's HPC DBExplorer, you can create backups of your internal databases and easily restore them.   You can even transfer the databases to other machines and restore them there.


Clearly, knowing how to backup and restore is important.  I recommend that each user know what backup and restore method they are using for each device before they start to depend on the information that is stored in it. Also, I recommend using Ethernet for backups since it is so much faster than other connections.

What method of backup do you use?


I reserve the right to edit or remove your entry if I feel it is inappropriate. 

If you find an error or can add to in the information provided above, feel free to e-mail me at Chris@Pocket PC FAQ.

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