How-To: Use PowerRUN To Store AvantGo Files on Expansion Cards

One of the mostly widely used Palm applications is AvantGo, which stores content from the Internet onto user's handhelds. Depending on how many channels are subscribed to, this can take up a large amount of RAM and AvantGo has not yet been re-written to allow it to store its data files on an expansion card.

However, PowerRUN has an undocumented feature that allows AvantGo's databases to be stored on external cards.

Use PowerRUN To Store AvantGo Files on Expansion Cards
By Jay

I've been playing around with PowerRUN v1.1b2, Filez v3.0, and McFile v2.0b1 with AvantGo v4.0. I emailed Mr. Tatsushi (creator of PowerRUN) regarding the comparison of his product to WorkBench and I found that his product utilizes a 'smart compare' feature that is very powerful. He has also developed an undocumented feature that makes his product stand out over others that I have used. (BTW, I'm a registered user of both WorkBench v1.2 and PowerRUN v1.1b2) With his help, I have found a way to save over 1MB of internal memory of my Palm.

Avantgo has several 1k files (channels) and two larger files named 'AvantGo.prc' and 'AvGoDocsMQ.prc'. On my Palm m505, these files are 307k and 807k respectively. If a user subscribes to more or fewer channels, these two file sizes will grow or shrink. By following the instructions I got from Mr. Tatsushi, these two big files can be run from the SD or MMC card.

Here's how it works. Upon HotSyncing, the two big files get recreated with newer data and get temporarily stored into the Palm's internal RAM. The reason I say 'temporarily' is because upon launching the AvantGo application (utilizing PowerRUN's shortcut to the SD or MMC card), PowerRUN will automatically see that the internal RAM's files are newer so it will use these two newer files instead. Then, upon exiting AvantGo, PowerRUN will AUTOMATICALLY move these two newer files to the SD or MMC card and overwrite the older files.

All the 1k files (channels) stay in the Palm's internal RAM, but they are small and a user is limited to the amount of channels that he/she may subscribe to, anyway. It's the two LARGE files that can be over 1MB that the user should be concerned about.

Please be aware that Mr. Tatsushi made it clear to me that this is an undocumented and unsupported feature of his application. I have been using and trying it out for over a month now without any crashes, malfunctions, or abnormalities. Mr. Tatsushi was nice enough to allow me to publish this feature as long as it was clear to everyone that it is unsupported by him and that this feature may or may not be incorporated into future revisions of PowerRUN.

Well., now to the good stuff. Following is two different methods to achieve the same result:

Method #1:

  1. Move AvantGo BACK into internal RAM with PowerRUN. (if it was previously moved to SD or MMC card)
  2. Use McFile or Filez to create an 'AvantGo' directory under /palm/programs/powerrun/
  3. Use McFile or Filez to move AvantGo.prc and AvGoDocsMQ.prc to /palm/programs/powerrun/AvantGo.
  4. Use McFile or Filez to create a 'DONTSAVE' sub-directory under /palm/programs/powerrun/AvantGo. Should now be: (/palm/programs/powerrun/AvantGo/DONTSAVE/ )
  5. Execute "Update Shortcut" from PowerRUN's menu.
  6. HotSync then launch AvantGo.
Method #2:
  1. Move AvantGo to Card by PowerRUN.
  2. Use McFile or Filez and move 1kbyte files to Palm's internal RAM.
  3. Use McFile or Filez and create 'DONTSAVE' sub-directory under the AvantGo directory. Should now be: ( /palm/programs/powerrun/AvantGo/DONTSAVE/ )
  4. Now HotSync then launch AvantGo.
I hope that this was clear enough to follow. I've also been trying it out on other apps with success. No problems so far. I really thank Mr. Tatsushi for allowing me to share this 'secret' of his to the public. I only hope that he continues to incorporate this feature into future revisions.

Related Files:

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I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 2:43:10 PM #
Wake us up when you have something interesting to say. So this was the massive, extra-special, cloak-and-dagger secret you kept posting about repeatedly on Usenet? Next time, please just keep quiet until you have something to contribute.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 3:15:14 PM #
While clearly not cloak and dagger level excitement, to some out here this is of value. I have a ton of AvantGo channels, so being able to dump them directly to a MMC or SD card is great. Jay, thanks. Anonymous poster who is bitching, why don't you shut the f#@k up.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 3:53:23 PM #
Some people are just such a pain, cluttering up interesting websites with their rediculous attitudes.

I found this to be a very useful post.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 4:02:33 PM #
This method does NOT automatically DUMP AvantGo data directly to ms/sd/mmc. When you hotsync, it dumps it to the internal ram. then you have to run avantgo then exit, then it will dump it to the ms/sd/mmc.

Your Point?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 4:52:39 PM #
Yes, that's covered in the third paragraph. Are you complaining about this? Mistakenly saying it wasn't brought up in the article? What are you trying to say?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 6:26:45 PM #
LauncherIII from
offers a lot more, is free and superior to the now outdated powerRUN which costs a fee.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 3:01:34 AM #
Launcher III's implementation of external media is tottaly different than PowerRun.
PowerRun is much more Powerful.

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/12/2001 12:16:23 AM #
With some trepidation, given the tone of some of the posts, I humbly offer the plea for Jay and others to clarify the PowerRun feature they have described. I confess that I don't exactly understand the significance. First, can AvantGo actually be moved by PowerRun to SD? That's news to me. Again I ask that the description of the feature be re-posted and clarified for idiots like me.

Was this feature copied from Workbench?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 3:35:23 PM #
"I emailed Mr. Tatsushi (creator of PowerRUN) regarding the comparison of his product to WorkBench and I found that his product utilizes a 'smart compare' feature that is very powerful. "

Jay, I read something very similar to your post with this 'smart compare' feature. Is this hidden McFile feature actually copied from Workbench? I'm posting a link below from Palm Boulevard dated 07/18/2001 explaining the similar Workbench feature.

RE: Was this feature copied from Workbench?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 4:05:03 PM #
PowerRun not McFile.

RE: Was this feature copied from Workbench?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 4:10:50 PM #
Oops sorry. I mean PowerRun not McFile. Thanks.

RE: Was this feature copied from Workbench?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 2:54:48 AM #
Hmmm. Seems very similar, doesn't it? Well, according to Danny (Creator of WorkBench), Toy-Soft will no longer support WorkBench. He (they) are discontinuing WorkBench and replacing it with the application MyWorkBench. I think that he did mention that the later versions of MyWorkBench will incorporate this feature as well. Will keep you posted.


RE: Was this feature copied from Workbench?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 11:33:44 AM #

Just to clarify. Workbench is still in development and the features in WB will be migrated over to myWorkbench. There might be some overlap and I am considering discontinuing WB. Its still up in the air.
There will be a new version of WB soon.

If Palm had enhanced the Launcher to launch apps from the card and have a better way of managing dbs on the card then we would all be happy ;)


RE: Was this feature copied from Workbench?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 6:38:23 PM #

Yes. I agree. I'm sorry that I didn't get to fully try out your WorkBench application. However, REALLY look forward to your new 'MyWorkBench' application. Looks VERY promising and could be the next 'must have' application for any PDA that utilizes an external media card.



I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 3:46:24 PM #
Thank you, thank you, for this tip. It works great with my Sony Clie 710 and G4 PowerBook. Your instructions were excellent.


RE: Thanks!
tritan @ 8/20/2001 10:34:43 PM #
How do you create the dontsave file??I cant find a setting anywhere that says create file or subfile??

Nice but...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 7:11:41 PM #
It would be better to have Avantgo have native support for the SD cards instead of this kind of cludge.

PowerRUN not so HOT!!!!!

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 7:53:38 PM #
After reviewing all software that lets run software from the card. I found that there is a large problem witch I have informed the PowerRUN software developer. The problem lies in if your have copy programes using the desktop installer or if you have copyed the programes from ROM to the card using the Palm copy programe, The PowerRUN software dose not see them. There for you would have to install in the rom and then copy using the PowerRUN software. Two many steps in my book.


Thanks Jay ... ;)

Carlis @ 8/19/2001 9:56:31 PM #
Nice of U to share this info with us...

Good writing .. Easy to understand.. ;)

RE: Thanks Jay ... ;)
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/21/2001 9:45:47 PM #
I thank you as well. I had been trying to figure this out on my own. I had a less elegant solution. I like your instructions. I followed them. Now I am a happy Clie owner as apposed to a non plussed clie owner.

David Leader, DMD
Malden, Ma.

just say no to AvantGo

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/19/2001 11:39:33 PM #
Just use one of the open source alternatives, Plucker ( If your favorite web site has problems with these open systems, either fix it or contact the web site. The last thing we want is for handheld access to the web to become an expensive, proprietary proposition.

RE: just say no to AvantGo
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/18/2002 11:41:57 PM #
Plucker IS graet, but I haven't been able to get it's database files on my SD card on my Palm M505. I haven't tried powerrun yet, but I think Iwill. Anyone have any suggestions?

how does this help?

drw @ 8/20/2001 12:48:18 AM #
If every hotsync puts the files in ram again, then one has to make sure one has enough free space to begin with. If one has enough free space why not leave it in ram. Between hotsync's of what use the ram cleared up good for? The time new stuff is added is usually during a hotsync.

I agree with the poster who said AVGO should be good enough to program the thing to utilize external memory if available.

While I used AVGO extensively with my Palm IIIe, I have not loaded it on my Kyocera 6035 simply because I don't want the long hotsync's. Can someone tell me if the wireless AVGO can be set to NOT fetch content during a hotsync? I'd prefer it to basically do nothing during a hotsync (except if I've added a channel, then I'd like it to add the channel NAME only to my list, but no content) and fetch the content wirelessly when I select a channel.

David in Pflugerville, TX

RE: how does this help?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 3:42:47 AM #
Why don't you set up your hotsync to default to 'Do Nothing'? I have mine set up this way. Now, whenever I hotsync, it skips the AvantGo syncing portion. Then, when I want to update my AvantGo channels, I just change it to 'synchronize' once. Then it automatically defaults back to skip after hotsyncing.


Good Job
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 4:38:58 AM #
Hey Jay,
that's an excellent tip and good documentation. Of cause it would be better to have sd support for all apps, but they all will offer that in their next release or the will probaply die...


Poor Guy...

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 4:50:56 AM #
How long have you played with PowerRun?
The copncept about PowerRun is totally wrong!!

Oh my god.. I don't even believe they let you post this out to speard wrong information !

RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 5:09:39 AM #
I agree..
If you really understand how Powerun works, what posted above is totally nonsense.

(I used PowerRun since version 0.3b)

RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 6:18:09 AM #
Hmmm. I didn't know that you were 'smarter' than the developer of PowerRUN himself. He's the one who gave out those instructions. Also, that was his explanation of how it works. Please enlighten us all (including the creator of the program) of how PowerRUN actually works.

A open word to all
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 7:31:38 AM #
The whole dicussion is missing the point.

Until now the average user had not to stirr in a ancient DOS filing system - he even had not to know there is one around.

He worked with the data and that was it.

The whole approach mingling with the stoneage DOS filing system will hit Palm dearly and bckfire with booster!

The average user (not the techie here around) will not give a damn - and is repelled by the fact that Palm OS 4.0 simply does not even support the weird thing.

It is a misscarriage which will backfire on the market immediately - no matter what tricks you kindly offer at 3rd party (!) in running to palms help, if Power RUN or any other weak tool is enabling to read the cards.

The Palm jetisnoned himself now in stoneage up on the tree - long before the legendaty Newton - no matter what the "techies" here may use as a workaround - the VFS is the biggest mistake since the US election - and the outcome is the same - a stupid is firm on the bridge.

A palm lover

RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 7:43:15 AM #
And could be that VFS was a very good reason for the clever Yankowsky to sack the truly unsympatic Kessler...

RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 1:36:15 PM #
Here is what I think:

The way PowerRun works, is to collect all files which have the same creator ID with the app, and put them into specific folder in MS, delete them from RAM, create a 1KB shortcut in RAM.

When the user click on the shortcut icon, it ** LOOKS LIKE ** to user that you are "executing" that program, but actually the action behind is -- PowerRun goes into MS, copy all files under that folder into RAM (including app and data) and execute the **REAL** app file.

After you exit the program, PowerRun moves all files inculding modified data back into MS, free up the RAM space again.

OK here is why I partially agree with the poster of this topic "Poor Guy" that I think Mr. Jay's idea is a bad idea:

Yes if you put 3 of 300KB programs into PowerRun, you free up 1MB space in RAM, u can use it in whatever way you want, you can install other 600KB of programs into RAM, when you run any program of those three, you only need 300KB free space in your RAM for PowerRun to handle it.

If you run AG in the way Jay says, yes it works, I won't say it doesn't work. But in order to D/L 1MB of channels next time(I here assume the totall size of channel is 1MB), you **STILL HAVE TO HAVE ** 1 MB free space available in your RAM when you perform hotsync to D/L AG channels.

The only advantage of Jay's idea is when you exit AG, it will move the channel content into MS and free up 1MB space from RAM.

YOU CAN NOT PLAY WITH THIS SPACE, even you use only 100K of it, the next time you hotsync AG IS GOING TO TELLING YOU NO ENOUGH SPACE AVAILABLE because it only sees 900KB free space and it need to put files with 1MB into it.

So where is the point by doing what Jay says? Why bother to do this? OK here is the conclution:
By doing that, I free up 1MB space from RAM when I exit AvantGo, but in order to D/L my AvantGo channels succefully at the next time I hotsync, I have to keep this 1MB space free ALL THE TIME.

I don't see ANY advantage for putting AG in PowerRun in that way.

This is only IMHO, anybody is welcome to correct me if you think I am wrong.


RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 4:23:09 PM #
Consider the case where you have 1MB free RAM.

You want to be able to run AvantGo, but if you do so, you won't be able to run Zap!2016, which takes 560k to run.

So, you install Zap!2016 to the card, using PowerRun. Then, follow the instructions provided in this article to load 850k worth of AvantGo channels. Open AvantGo using PowerRun, then close it.

Now you have ~1MB of "working" RAM free, so you can run either Zap!2016 or AvantGo when you want to. Without this solution, you could not have AvantGo on your Palm and still run the other application.

Here's the point.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 4:29:31 PM #
If you leave your Avantgo database in your Palm, and just have 10K left in your unit, how the he11 can you run other apps in your memory card using PowerRun (or any other card app launcher)???

What's the difference between Jay's post and running a 100K app using PowerRun when you already have 90K of space remaining in your internal RAM?

RE: Poor Guy...
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 6:45:50 PM #
The DIFFERENCE is being able to store MANY apps onto your card. So what you are saying is that in your case, you would have to delete (remove) apps from your internal memory and install apps EVERYTIME you would want to use them. Take in case Documents to Go version 4.001 by DataVIZ. It utilizes the external card. Also, apps such as PalmReader, Beiks Dictionary, etc. All of these apps must be moved into internal RAM before it can be used. With this method, three different apps can be on the card and take up 3MB worth of space. If each app took up 1MB space, and you had just 1MB worth of space free in your internal memory, you still could run each app without having to 'delete', then 'install' each app separately EVERYTIME you wanted to use it.


RE: Poor Guy...
Altema @ 8/21/2001 10:21:50 PM #
Actually, you can load apps to the SD card and launch them from there using the as-is Palm software. After loading them to the card, select "Expansion Card" from the top right launcher menu. When you pick an app, it will load to RAM and execute. When you quit, it will automatically move the app back to the card. Now, getting the apps there are a hassle, and that's where PowerRun and McFile come in. If it was up to the Palm software alone, you could never do this with anything using separate databases.

Currently on my 16Mb card, I have Ababall, Album ToGo, BigClock, dbscan, Got life, Lunar, Mapopolis, Minidig, Orrery, PacMan, Planet Lander, RockBlaster, SFCave, and Zap!2016. All run just like they were in native RAM, except the largest take a couple of seconds to move and execute. Here is where the difference between SD and MMC show up; The load from SD is about twice as fast.

AvantGo? It's in ROM thanks to JackFlash. Just the 310k PRC file, the rest stays in RAM and I don't have to think about it. As of this writing, I have 16.8Mb of apps, Db's (104 files), but still have 3.2Mb of free RAM on the Palm. I'll have to experiment with PowerRun, as I'd like for the apps on the card to show up elsewhere sometimes.

Will PowerRun Work with Vindigo.

BlackMax @ 8/20/2001 10:01:04 AM #
Vindigo is similar to Avantgo in that storing one city can take up nearly 1 meg. Will the same method work for this app. I'm running a Clie 710C. I want to move Avantgo, Vindigo, MobileDB & Acrobat Reader to my MS card.

Message me via ICQ and join our nightly game of Soldier of Fortune happening at my IP address.


I.M. Anonymous @ 8/22/2001 12:45:20 PM #
All this aside - I tried it -it works - I don't need to do this - I would if AG had support for cards. how many channels do you have? Try loading an app from the card with all these channels attached.

No thanks for now - despite being an interesting test of what one can do with these different apps.

Works Great

I.M. Anonymous @ 9/7/2001 1:09:49 PM #
Don't know what everyones complaining about seems to work great... so far. Thanks for the tip.

PowerRun Tip

jlewis2 @ 9/12/2001 12:28:23 AM #
Instead of using McFile to creat the DONTSAVE file in the SD card, could one not simply use a CF Reader to do so?

thanx for the tip

bigweekend @ 10/13/2001 7:03:45 AM #
can we use LauncherIII instead of PowerRUN ? which is better ? cheers. sean

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