Palm Releases OS 4.1 Update for m500 and m505

One of the most long-awaited software releases has finally happened. Palm Inc. has released an updater to flash Palm m500 and m505 models to Palm OS 4.1. This update is free.

The update includes several patches that have already been available separately, including one that prevents OS 4.0 models from using SD cards larger than 32 MB. It also includes Copy Update, which lets the Launcher's Copy function copy user data associated with an application.

This update works only on the Palm m500 and m505, not on any other model. For some reason, it can't be installed from Windows XP or Mac OS X

Be sure to perform a complete backup of the handheld before installing the update because all data on the handheld will be erased.

The original members of the m500 series were the first models to ship with OS 4.0. A few months later, OS 4.1 was released and began being shipped on new models announced later, like the Sony N760C. However, there was no legal way for m500 and m505 users to update to the new version of the operating system.

This was especially galling when Palm began selling an update to OS 4.1 for older Palm models, like the V and even the III series, in November of last year. At that time, Palm said a free update to OS 4.1 would eventually be available for the m500 series, which has finally happened.

Thanks to Christian Elkjer and Graeme for the tips. -Ed

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Palm Limitations

bookrats @ 7/11/2002 11:04:31 AM #
"For some reason, it can't be installed from Windows XP or Mac OS X."

Looks like PalmSource got all the programming wizards, leaving Palm with a bunch of marketing guys and a part-time Visual Basic contractor. :-)


Jeff Meyer

RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 11:14:53 AM #
it seems to me that anyone anxious to keep their palm os up-to-date is going to be running either winXP or Mac OS-X on their desktop...pretty lame but then i dont expect much from palm hardware division (owned a 505...)
RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 11:17:09 AM #
Ummm... let's see - you buy a $400 Palm and I guess they expect you are still running it with a Pentium II 450 running Windows 95. Sheesh....

Although I really like Palm products, I have to admit the new thin Toshiba PPC with integrated 801 is a very, very nice PDA. And since I have a wireless network at the house......

RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 11:35:15 AM #
Well, this is certainly an about face from what palm reps began claiming after OS 4.1 became available for other models. Although they initially announced a free update for 4.0 users, reps from the company then claimed that 'os 4.0 users don't need to upgrade to 4.1, because 4.1 is really just 4.0 but for other palm devices' - and no i'm not kidding, i saw this in print and heard it from reps over the phone. lame. my guess is that they waited til most owners of defective m505s paid good money to upgrade to m515s, that way the number of people they would have to provide the free upgrade to would be less - saving them money. Yes, its downloadable, meaning in theory it costs the same no matter how many people get it. But the increased cost would come with support issues. just my theory anyway.
RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 1:28:04 PM #
i just read the palm web page regarding the 4.1 updater and it says that the "4.1 software updater isn't compatable with xp or osx) i imagine that if i were to update using a win98 or 2k machine, the palm will be able to sync with xp or osx after it's upgraded.
i'll try it tonight, i have a win2k machine laying around the house somewhere. after that, i'll try to sync on xp(my main machine).
it seems like a bad idea to release a software upgrade that won't work on the newest OSes from both MS and apple.
hopefully (and i can't imagine why not) the 4.1 m505 will sync with xp.
and fortunatly, this upgrade opnly has to be performed once.
RE: Palm Limitations
useybird @ 7/11/2002 4:27:43 PM #
Windows XP comes with a compatibility setting changer. Find your file in which ever folder, right click it and choose properties. Under the compatibility tab you should be able to change the OS compat. settings from there. Sorry I can't help Mac users

--()-- Support the USA in the war against terrorism.
RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 4:39:36 PM #
> Ummm... let's see - you buy a $400 Palm
> and I guess they expect you are still running
> it with a Pentium II 450 running Windows 95.
> Sheesh....

I do have Palm m505 and Windows 95. What's wrong about it?

RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 8:29:43 PM #
Useybird, you are pretty slick. Still, it gives me one or those error reports as the flash updater opens after the installation. Tried changing my desktop to w2000 but still no workie. Probably something simple I overlooked.
RE: Palm Limitations
jjsoh @ 7/12/2002 11:01:41 AM #
useybird, thanks for the tip.

I tried the COMPATIBILITY change by running the app as a Windows 2000 program. I've also UNASSIGNED MY SECURITY PASSWORD before running it (as recommended by someone else on this forum). It seemed to do the trick, though not without my share of problems.

If anyone is having problems updating to OS 4.1 through USB cables sold by Landware or the like, try using the Palm cradle that was originally shipped with your Palm instead. I used the Hotsync/Charger cable from Landware at work, and could NOT perform the update on a Windows 2000, XP or 98SE machine. When I went home and used by cradle, no problem running the updater. BTW, at home I'm running WindowsXP Pro with an m505 (w/ upgraded internal 16MB RAM).

However, I had to launch the updater 6 times until it finally updated properly. The other 5 times gave me update errors which left my Palm COMPLETELY unusable because it was stuck in the debugging mode (with the blue line running along the bottom of the screen). I've also restarted my computer once after installing the updater.

Since I had no intention of leaving my m505 in that dead state of debugging limbo, I was left with no choice but to keep trying and trying. Eventually, I was lucky enough to have the update sucessfully complete! I am now at 4.1. All that work for colored memos! :P Heheh.. just kidding.

Anyway, I hope this helps for those who might be having the same issues as I.


RE: Palm Limitations
jjsoh @ 7/12/2002 11:20:17 AM #

Sorry if this statement was a bit confusing. I was referring to the unassigning of the security password in your Palm before running the updater.


RE: Palm Limitations
LiveFaith @ 7/12/2002 3:59:52 PM #
Palm responds ...

Either they are confused, lying or hired "The New Cokes" marketing team. I'll try what they say and see what happens. :-0

Actual letter to Palm with their response ...
I want to upgrade to Palm OS 4.1, but Windows XP is not supported as it says. Is the wait going to be very long before this is available for XP, or is their some other way that I must do this?

Dear Pat,

Thank you very much for your inquiry. We understand that you wish to upgrade to Palm(TM) OS 4.1 with Windows® XP.

The Palm(TM) OS 4.1 can be now be installed using Windows® XP.

For further questions you may send another E-mail message or use our telephone support.

To telephone Palm U.S. Technical Support, please dial:
(847) 262-7256

Pat Horne;

RE: Palm Limitations
LiveFaith @ 7/12/2002 5:16:18 PM #
Did what the Palm rep said and I've got a dead 505 and no fix in sight. Any help appreciated as I am now in a limbo state with Palm not responding via e-mail.

Pat Horne;
RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 11:42:41 PM #
This comment was in this thread:
>BTW, at home I'm running WindowsXP Pro with an m505
>(w/ upgraded internal 16MB RAM).

How do you do that m505 upgrade to 16MB RAM? That makes it an m515, no/yes?

Any help appreciated.

RE: Palm Limitations
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 9:34:55 AM #

Look on eBAY or web search for Palm memory upgrades. This is a service I think for about $100 to go from 8mb to 16mb. Still the better screen, new Docs2GO version & possibly other upgraded software are on the 515.

It also doesn't work!

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:08:29 PM #
I have a palm505 running win200 and this update won't work. It puts the flash tool into the palm directory but then it says the flash tool has generated errors and is closing due to errors. It also says its generating a log which it doesn't appear to do.

Sad that Palm can't get an update like this to work.

Pick a Name

RE: It also doesn't work!
Barry @ 7/11/2002 12:17:03 PM #
I also tried to upgrade my M505 and got the same error messages. I am running Windows ME. Hopefully Palm will fix this soon!

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:39:39 PM #
I don't get any errors, but it's not working... I install the flash tool, get to the point where I "Backup and Upgrade", I follow step 1 and 2 (Perform a Hoysync and reset palm), I reset when asked on the palm, then nothing. It says that after I reset the Next button on the flash tool will become active. It never does...
I've tried to HotSync again, but I just get a "Could not est connection with palm and desktop." I've closed all my Hacks, thinking it might be that and tried everything again... I closed launcherIII and tried again, nothing... I'm at my whits end. Anyone have any ideas?

BTW, I'm using win 2000 and have a palm 505 running 4.0...

What next?

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:46:43 PM #
Same here, it installs the software but when it runs i get the error and it shuts down.

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:54:35 PM #
a little more info... I tried to install the upgrade in the the "Advanced Mode" but in step 2, ran into the problem, I think. When I tried it the other way and got to the point where it asked me to reset the palm, it reset, but when it turned back on, I was taken to the Date&Time screen in the preferences area. Well, when I tried it the Advanced way and performed step 2, which tells it will put it in "Debug Mode" when I do a pin reset while holding down the Down scroll button, it says I will see a blinking square in the top corner... I don't, guess where I go. yup, the Date&Time screen in the preferences area... Hmmm????

Any help is appreciated :)

RE: It also doesn't work!
Xian @ 7/11/2002 1:21:32 PM #
I was having the same problem as well. I tried the reset-down button trick and I never got into Debug mode. I tried to use the shortcut, but that didn't work at all. I basically backed up everything on my m505 and did a hard reset. After that, I was able to upgrade to 4.1 with no hitches. Then I restored all my data back from my SD card.

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 1:54:32 PM #
Same here. Backuped all data to my SD card with Backup Buddy and then do a hard reset, then the install works for me. I've been working with OEM's on Palm OS's for years, but have never had such a crappy update before. Such a shame.
RE: It also doesn't work!
Stranger @ 7/11/2002 2:57:43 PM #
Same here, I get the "Unknown Exception Error" when running the Flash upgrade tool. I emailed Palm Tech Support and they replied with:
I suggest to attempt to run the Palm(TM) OS 4.1 upgrade with no other
applications running in the background. If you have anything in the
System Tray in the lower right corner, attempt to shut these off except
the HotSync® Manager and attempt the upgrade again. If this does not
resolve the issue, I suggest to attempt the upgrade on another computer.

Anyways, it didn't work at all, even when I tried it on another Win2k box. I dont have a Win98 box to try it on. My other other one is Win XP. Oh well, I guess I'll wait for a patch to fix the upgrade (hopefully they'll fix it)

Did you know it is impossible to lick your elbows?

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 4:58:14 PM #
It's not working here either. Not on Win 98se, win NT 4Sp6, ME even Win2000. Even running in compatibility mode in XP does not fix the problem (bug). I'd suggest that the Palm developers drink more Mountain Dew.
RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 6:47:20 PM #
Now we need a patch to fix the patch! Sounds like Palm is about as efficient (read: not at all) as micro$not! Typical! F#@k!ng idiots!
RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 6:50:24 PM #
Thanks (really!) to all you guinea pigs out there who have volunteered your time, your Palms and your data. I have downloaded the patch, but I now see that I will have to wait for Palm to fix (if they are even capable of doing so) the patch (patch the patch?) before I attempt to waste my time and potentially lose data trying to upgrade (and for what?).

Seriously, *THANK YOU*! to all who have attempted this upgrade only to find out that Palm still has their head up their ass! Your help (not Palm!) is invaluable!

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 5:11:50 PM #
I'm having trouble too.

Error message appears towards the end of running the installer. The Palmm500_ENG_Flash Tool appears in the correct folder though. When I run it, I get the message: "Palmm500_eng_flashtool has caused an error in PALMM500_ENG_FLASHTOOL.EXE. Palmm500_eng_flashtool will not close." It closes OK and does cause any other problems. Tried restart, no difference. Tried reinstalling, same result.

I use WinMe on a Dell laptop (but using USB, not serial cable, so haven't disabled the IR port).

RE: It also doesn't work!
Lucky Dragon @ 7/12/2002 6:24:52 PM #
I'm using Windows 2000 also and my M505 wouldn't update either until I did the following two things:

-Uninstalled HandEra's FlashPro
-Removed the security password on my PDA

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/13/2002 8:21:58 AM #
I have not tried this upgrade yet but I remember when I upgraded my PalmV a while back that any modifications to the ROM using an app like JackFlash or FlashPro must be removed prior to attempting the upgrade. When I tried the update last time I kept getting errors refering to the checksum on the ROM. The modified ROM would not validate correctly for the update.

I hope this helps those of you who are having trouble.

RE: It also doesn't work!
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 10:51:35 AM #
I downloaded the update and now I get the error message when trying to pull the file up to Sync it to my palm. I thought that I was a computer dummy but evidently Palm Pilot must have some tech's with as much knowledge as myself working for them.

Does it works with EFIGS ROM???

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:14:33 PM #
Seems that it doesn't works with EFIGS (English, French, Italian, German and Spanish) ROM, which is sold outside USA...
RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:26:47 PM #
Had the same problem
RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 8:50:15 PM #
I have tried using both Win98SE and Win2K Pro on different hardware and got the same error message, I even tried to use the M500 AND M505 installers but get this error message every time :

Application Error : The exception unknown software exception (0xc06d007f) occurred in the application at location 0x77e89b01.

Search of the web gets me nothing and Palm web site support is pants.
How do Palm expect to maintain a loyal user base when they treat their customers like this.

My patience wears ever the thinner......

RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 3:41:52 AM #
I have tried flashing the ROM twice but to no avail. I have gone to palm-asia and this update is on their site but it points back to These guys are dumba$$e$ as for as i'm concern.
RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/12/2002 5:29:03 PM #
Here is a report of how it can be done with efigs rom

Read the readme homepage.

Remove files from flash and release flash (JackFlash).

Make a COMPLETE backup of your RAM data (by some means)

Installation Instructions
If you are a Windows user and have downloaded the zip file:

Download the zip file to your hard drive.
Extract the file using a standard unzip utility. Note the location of the directory/folder the file is extracted to.
Locate Palmm50X_eng4_1_FlashNew file in the directory/folder noted in Step 2 above and double-click on it.

Then the fun begins.

A. When the hotsync button is pressed this little nice window pops up with text and exit button.
not match the model of the handheld you are
attempting to upgrade. Click exit and locate the
correct upgrade utility for your handheld.>

B. Next try is the advanced mode update
I bring the Palm in debug mode by:
1. unassign password
2. press scroll down button while
2.a. press and release reset button by pen
2.b. wait several seconds
2.c. see one blink in upper left corner (if lucky)

C. When the palm is back in the cradle the next button becomes available...
But a new error pups up.. something like "flash could not be updated cause some of it is locked"
(sorry I didnt made a screendump of that window)

D. Hard Reset Palm

E. Reinstall old EFIGS ROM backup with all languages (see Brayder JackSprat doc.)

F. Try step A but same result.

G. Perform step B again.

H. When the palm is back in the cradle the next button becomes available...
And it worked !!!!

So as you found out it seems not to work on efigs rom.
But if you do it on "non-mingled" efigs rom it can be done in advanced mode.

Good luck

RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/13/2002 7:19:07 AM #
Hi Tim,

Congrats on upgrading your m505. I tried to go into debug mode, but somehow it can never work. I never get to see the blinking cursor.

Is there any other way to do this?

RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/13/2002 9:38:40 AM #
I tried to go into debug mode three times and only saw one blink... so I did it in my cracle and suddently the next button was available (I guess this means the m505 is in debug mode even with no blinking) so I could continue. Have you remembered to unassign your password ?


RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 7:22:32 AM #
A very (un)helpful response to my query regarding this from Palm European Technical Support was,

>I'm am sorry to say that at the moment we cannot >comment on any non
>released products. For further information on this it >will be posted on
>the web site in due coarse.


RE: Does it works with EFIGS ROM???
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/15/2002 7:56:44 AM #
I received the slightly more helpful:

Thank you for contacting Palm.

Your operating system is OS 4.0.1 EFIGS. It is not yet possible for you
to upgrade to OS 4.1 EFIGS. Palm are working on this & something will be
available in the near future. Please visit as it is updated

Kind regards,
Palm Technical Support

Doesn't work for me

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 12:25:13 PM #
I get an error saying that the version of software in my Palm doesn't match that in the updater...
RE: Doesn't work for me
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2002 1:34:39 PM #
I'm getting the same error
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