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 "All in One" Navigation Systems
 [FAQ] Unlocking a WinCE GPS System
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2031 Posts

Posted - 26 déc. 2008 :  16:56:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This was wriiten in response to several questions "newbies" ask about unlocking in general. It does not not get into unlocking techniques for specific devices, you'll have to search the Forum for those.

If you have a specific question about unlocking a device, do not post it here. First search for your particular device and ask the question in that topic. If the topic doesn't exist, start a new one.

What is "unlocking"

"Unlocking" is creating a file or set of files that allows your PNA (Personal Navigation Assistants) to boot directly into the core OS of the device to become a PDA ((Personal Digital Assitant). In this Forum, it is NOT the bypassing of OEM license restrictions to allow maps and/or software not legally purchased to work on your device. Asking or publishing such techniques (or links to same) will be deleted and persistent (or wise a$$) remarks about same will usually result in being banned from further posts.

Why unlock at all

Other than "because you can", it's usually because you'd like to have PDA functionality on your device, i.e. being able to run games, GPS or other related utilities, or play media.

All TomTom's and Garmin's (and some SmartPhones) that I'm aware of use proprietary hardware or operating systems. Most other PNA's usually use some version of Windows CE, and therefore are theoretically amenable to being unlocked and converted into a PDA.

Is it safe to say anything written for Windows CE and for a PDA should work?

Wrong (but thanks for playing anyway... ;o). it is definitely not safe to say that. The "problem" is that PNA's are just that, and as such are (typically) loaded with only that subset of the full WinCE OS to allow the navigation (and other OEM utilities, if included) to work. When you "unlock" it, you're now allowing other PDA programs to run on it, and some of those may need some dll's (Dynamic Link Libraries) that were not included in the manufacturers ROM firmware.

But all is not lost- if a particular program doesn't work, you'll get an error message that the program "cannot find one or more components", and there are other diagnostic programs (do a search on the Forum for "executability check") that can help determine what those missing files are. Next comes an internet search for those missing files (for of course whatever version of the core OS that you have). If you're lucky enough to find them, you load them into either the same directory as your executable or into the Windows folder, and then at least you have a fighting chance of getting it to run.

If the program is not compiled for your PNA processor (most commonly an ARM device), then you're pretty much S.O.L.

Edited by - Supremo on 26 déc. 2008 17:00:12



257 Posts

Posted - 14 janv. 2009 :  16:11:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Safety first
Be careful, changes you make could disable your device. Search for "brick" as in "I turned my GPS into a brick" on this site. You will find over a 1000 hits. Most manufacturers do not provide a way to get back to the original state.
If you do not have ActiveSync or access to the WinCE desktop, you cannot do the steps below. But unlocking your device should give one or both.

Backup, Backup, Backup. Here are a few things I wish someone told me to do before I started experimenting:
  • Make a backup copy of your registry. You can compare the original to the one when you have a problem.
    - If you have ActiveSync you can use 30 day trialware Registry Workshop available here.
    - If you have a WinCE desktop run one the regedit programs in the MioPocket package.
    - Most (but possibly not all) devices do have a baseline copy of the Registry in ROM, which a hard reset will restore, but it is still prudent to make a backup immediately after you have unlocked your device. A hive-based registry is particularly hard to restore without your backup copy - see this thread for original init entries.

  • Make a backup of all your flash drives. You might need to replace a file that gets damaged.
    - ActiveSync makes as easy as drag and drop. You cannot copy your \Windows directory.
    - If you have a WinCE desktop, you can copy and paste to your SD Card. Total Commander in the MioPocket package can help.

  • Make a backup of your SD Card that came with the device before you use it if you can. Again to compare to see if a file is damaged.

  • Save all this on CD somewhere.
Finding missing dlls
I found the following tools helpful in finding the missing dlls and seeing what is in a CAB:
  • Dependency Walker - a PC program that builds a hierarchical tree diagram of all dependent modules. Run Dependency Walker on the .exe on your PC. Look at the level one dlls and see if the dlls are in \Windows. If there are missing, put the copy from MioPocket in the same directory as the exe you are trying to run. This works about 90% of the time.

  • TestDump and DumpRom -Optional- available here - are utilities to extract the dlls from your kernel so you can use them with Dependency Walker. You could just look in your \Windows directory.

  • MSCEinf - a PC utility to find, analyse, and unpack all the data contained in installation WinCE CAB files.
Note that the MioPocket package has a bunch of dlls and programs. You do not need to install MioPocket to run many programs. Just click, if it doesn't start then the package install is needed.
- dlls and programs are in \MioAutoRun\System directory.
- More programs are in \MioAutoRun\Programs directory.

Edited by - rickgtx on 04 avr. 2011 16:59:13
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United Kingdom
10 Posts

Posted - 11 mai 2009 :  10:04:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
safety measures as backing everything up not really mentioned in the threads. bricking a unit is & plenty of "don't blame me if it gose wrong" disclaimers.

the trick is to id the unit first & cross ref the chipset before doing anything!!

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529 Posts

Posted - 16 mars 2010 :  11:32:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
this is the most basic, simple, practical unlock: i would urge you to find out what the exe file is to reveal the CE desktop. it usually is explorer.exe. i know that some devices rename it differently. after u know what the exe is for CE desktop, find out the line hklm/init in the registry. make a script to run it and voila. you have the CE desktop. all u have to do next is make script to xcopy the missing files/drivers in /windows dir and u have a full CE system in your hands.

if you happen to have the reg entries too then make a script to import it. << though i must say, that will brick your device, so u HAVE to know what reg you are importing, and what it does. if you don't i urge you to NOT do it.

and don't forget, you can WIFI on your gps too.

Edited by - miolover on 16 mars 2010 11:42:13
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1865 Posts

Posted - 24 juil. 2010 :  10:44:15  Show Profile  Visit jwoegerbauer's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Another very simple way to unlock a PNA: 1) download ceDesktop 2) put this ceDesktop.exe in folder named "2577" (without the quotes!) in the root of your SD-card 3) rename this exe to Autorun.exe.
Everytime, if you insert the SD-card, you have your device got unlocked.

Edit by Moderator - this method will absolutely NOT work on every PNA out there, so please don't post "it didn't work on unit xxx" here. It appears to me to be specific to some (not all) Mio devices and possibly some others.

Edited by - Supremo on 04 oct. 2010 02:02:32
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52 Posts

Posted - 25 juil. 2010 :  00:15:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

It didn't work on my Mio until I made a folder named Cobia500R2_NA <---(my device name) and renamed the ceDesktop.exe to auto.exe Other than that this is a great way to quickly unlock the device.
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1 Posts

Posted - 31 juil. 2010 :  22:46:00  Show Profile  Visit Lsamaras's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I tried ether to unlock Ndrive touch xl. But i could not.
Is anybody who unlocked it or could help me?
I tried all above but... nothing... :(

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8 Posts

Posted - 25 sept. 2010 :  18:53:27  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
i need help from you
i have Navigation System : Toyota Land Cruiser 200_LC V8 roadrover model C8003TL from china & this is the Detailed Product Description:

*Main Features:

Digital TFT LCD Touch Screen. 800x480 High Definition Display
Build-in GPS, With Intelligent Voice Guide, Route plan, Advanced POI Management
Build-in Bluetooth with A2DP. HandFree set
Build-in AM/FM Radio. RDS Available
iPod connectivity (Available for iPod Series. iPhone Series.. etc)
Analog TV. PAL/SECAM (Optional). Digital TV Box (Optional)
Original factory panel design. original harness and plug compatibility
Graphical user interface
USB Jack, SD card slot
Dual Zone Entertainment
Original Steer wheeling compatibility
Multi-Languages Menu available--
Turkish/Czech/Spanish/German/ Polish/Romania/Malay/Thai... etc


High-Speed. High-Performace. High-Stability
New Sirfprima Platform
The Most Innovative Technology
#9733; Windows CE6.0 Operation System
#9733; Sirfprima 600MHz CPU. Advanced ARM 11 core
#9733; Multifunction processor: 128MB DDR-400 MHZ ROM
#9733; Ultra-High-speed. High-performance. 800x400 HD resolution
#9733; Multifunctional operations Concurrently
#9733; Mass memory capability: 2GB Built-in MLC Flash. up to 8GB (optional)
SD/SDHC/MMC card. Standard 4GB SD Card. up to infinite (optional)
#9733; 480 Mbps High Speed USB Interface
#9733; Rich audio and video recording and playback capabilities
#9733; High resolution 3D graphics for real 3D map

i'm using igo primo
what i need is to unlock the device or install garmin mobile xt ?

i hope i can get help from you guys

thank you
best regards to all

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2031 Posts

Posted - 04 oct. 2010 :  01:52:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
All right folks, hold on a second. What part of my first post didn't you understand? This is NOT a topic that addresses SPECIFIC GPS units. If you want to unlock your own personal unit, this topic simply gives general guidelines.

PLEASE - start a new topic or (better) post your query in a topic that is related to your unit. DO NOT POST SPECIFIC UNLOCKS HERE.

Moderator ... MIO, AIO Forums
Mio C310x,C520, Moov 300, Navigon 2100, Rightway GPS (various)
"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day- Teach a man to fish and he eats for life"

Edited by - Supremo on 04 oct. 2010 01:55:39
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New Zealand
5 Posts

Posted - 17 déc. 2010 :  03:54:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A lot of the current ones have a real simple kludge for this of course. In the "settings" section there is a "Choose nav program path" option. I use it to activate Ozi Explorer, but you could use it to set any program in the device as your "nav app" ......

Limited "bricking risks" too ......

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4 Posts

Posted - 10 mars 2012 :  08:11:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
all u have to do next is make script to xcopy the missing files/drivers in /windows dir and u have a full CE system in your hands.
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