Attack of the PDA's

This is what my desk looked at last night. Our technician brought in a pile of HP IPAQ Classic 110 PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). We use them to process the money cards for paying bus fare in the buses of this island nation. They were all non-functional in the fact that they couldn't connect to our WiFi service that we put in. The WiFi is used to transmit the fare data to our offices.

The reason that the PDAs could not connect was that the bus drivers screwed them up. For many of the bus drivers, this was the first piece of computer equipment they have ever had. It didn't take them long for them and their friends to figure out how to connect to the internet, get email and such. One driver even used up the entire memory space by recording a three hour sermon at some evangelical revival.

We set up the PDAs such that when they recognized one of our WiFi hotspots, they would connect. Unfortunately the drivers reconfigured them to connect to other service providers. These settings are written somewhere in the registry of the PDA. Even though I went searching through the registry with an editor, I couldn't find all of the wrong configurations. Hence, I needed to find a quick way to wipe an IPAQ clean and restore it to factory condition.

The documentation was poor in this respect, but I found a way. It is illustrated below:

You have to depress the "Windows", "OK" and "Record" button together with one hand. Then with the other hand, you need to take the stylus (or a pen) and depress the recessed "Soft Reset" button, and hold all of the buttons down for 3 to 5 seconds. Then you let go of the "Soft Reset" button first. You watch for the green letters "CLEAN BOOT" come up and you can let go of the rest of the buttons. This wipes out everything. If you have installed other programs, or created other directories, they are gone. All of the settings are gone.

However, the registry is wiped clean as well, and the IPAQ works like a charm again. (Notice the time on my watch. This is after midnight. I left about 15 minutes after that, and went swimming in the pool for half an hour to wipe away the day).

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