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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-15 3:44 PM
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I'm not shouting, it was just a big crash! By the way, sorry for my long hiatus. I've bought a house in the last 8 months and am preparing for a wedding, so anyone who has been through these stages of life can relate to my disappearance.

Back to my crash...
I open my J720 and press the power button as I have hundreds of times before. Nothing happens, so I try again... and again. After about four tries I decide that something is wrong and decided to pull the battery, give the contacts a quick burst of air and try again. This time, it powers up--but with a display I've never seen before. It is a series of setup screens (I later identify as welcome.exe) leading to a "fresh" Win HPC2000. Yep, that's right, everything on the Flash RAM is gone. Fortunately, most of my important documents and my SoftMaker installs are on CF card, but Total Commander and Entertainment Pack as well as many documents I inexplicably never copied to CF are gone. I routinely check my power and my backup battery is always Good, as it was the last time I checked before this event. Upon power up I checked it and it was very low. The main battery however was at 40% or better and I still have not had to recharge it.

Obviously, there is nothing I can do now. What is lost is lost. I also realize this is limited information to conjure up an explanation as to what happened. However, I know we have some very informed people here and in order to save myself and others from future calamities as this, I welcome any theories that would be productive towards preparing ourselves against such a failure.

Thanks... and I'll try not to be such a stranger,
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C:Amie Page Icon Posted 2010-01-15 5:15 PM
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It sounds to me like a case of complete battery depletion.

The 720 doesn't have flash ram or flash memory, everything is held in volatile memory. The second the voltage drops below xvolts, it's a gonner and resets back to OOBE the next time it boots.
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Hal Page Icon Posted 2010-01-15 5:37 PM
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Might have been a good idea to plug it in to AC before yanking the main bat. Sounds like the "setup screens" you saw are what is affectionately called a cold boot.

Edited by Hal 2010-01-15 5:39 PM
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2010-01-15 5:44 PM
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No kidding about the long hiatus - what, three years?

This happens with several of my CE devices. It's pretty much like C:Amie says. Some older batteries start to drop off rapidly once they get to 40% or so; it's just a product of age and lots of use. I've had more than one battery start to do this as it gets old.
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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-17 5:12 PM
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So even though a battery has nearly half it's charge and the backup is at full power, it can still lose everything in volatile memory? Like I said, I had just used it hours before and still had 40% on the main when it crashed. I got another few hours' use before I had to recharge the main. The backup was full when I checked a few days prior.

Edited by KBoyKool 2010-01-17 5:13 PM
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Rich Hawley Page Icon Posted 2010-01-17 5:59 PM
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It should not have lost everything if the backup battery was still good. That is the reason for the backup after all. To maintain everything when the main is depleted until you can swap out the main, or recharge it.

Sometimes, like you tried to account for, the contacts can become oxidized in the backup compartment, hence any interruption of the main battery, no matter how brief, will cause the catastrophic failure you discribed.

Hal gave good advice to make sure the unit is plugged in when swapping out batteries just to insure that any battery work doesn't cause things to go all phooey.
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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-17 7:11 PM
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Okay, I gotcha. Yeah, I see what Hal is saying, but thinking my backup was good I gave it no thought. I was also under the impression that even plugged in you don't get power without the battery.
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2010-01-17 8:39 PM
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I never trust in volatile RAM memory. What I do with my J728 is store all my information on my 4GB CF card. Because it is an old device, once in a while it hangs in a way that a simple Reset is not enough. So, with all my information on CF card I can hard reset it (removing the main battery) not worrying about loosing information. I also keep my installation .CAB files in a special folder on my card so that I can reinstall all my favorite softwares that can't be installed on CF (such as GAPI, Geared modifications, etc etc) after a hard reset.
NOTE: since CE delete the installation .CAB file when you install a software, I always make a copy of the file before installing the software, so I will not lose the .CAB file.
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2010-01-17 10:18 PM
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You can prevent the CAB file from self-destructing after installation by marking it "Read-only" under Properties.
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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-18 11:51 AM
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Ahh, more good advice from ntware and CE Geek. Thanks, guys.
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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-19 12:48 PM
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The last word on this:

I have the CABs saved to CF Card and set to Read-Only. I just need to get TC back so I can edit the registry and have FTP access. Since I didn't find this on my PC, I'm off to check out the new version review. Thanks again for everyone's help. I am also going to look through the forum for a convenient way to sync files between CF and volatile memory. So, if you know any threads, feel free to send me a link.

Thanks,
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ntware Page Icon Posted 2010-01-19 2:44 PM
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you don't need to sync the files. Just use them on the CF. For example, I created a folder on my CF called "My Documents" and then I edited the link on desktop that points to the volatile My Documents to point to my CF "My Documents". This way I will never lose a single document =)
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KBoyKool Page Icon Posted 2010-01-19 4:36 PM
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...which I typically do and the reason I lost only a few documents. For the 99% of the time I have my CF card installed, this is fine. Sometimes, though, I swap cards or use the card in another device and I would like to have the option of sync-ing files across the CF and volatile memory--much like using MS Briefcase on a laptop with files on a network.
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Coburn64 Page Icon Posted 2010-01-19 5:53 PM
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I save my documents to internal RAM, then copy to CF Card and use the HP Backup Tool. The bad thing is about the HP Backup Tool is that it doesn't remove deleted icons and such when you restore from a backup...
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CE Geek Page Icon Posted 2010-01-20 2:10 AM
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You can sync the documents directly to the CF card by editing the value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Windows CE Services/FileSyncPath.
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