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Nokia PC Suite
Related article: Nokia 6230
Nokia PC Suite keeps showing new defects version after version after version. The message store seems to be totally messed up. I was unable to restore messages saved on the computer back to the phone, not even by sending it to my own phone. Nokia has a track record of not valuing user data.
Version 126.96.36.199 introduced a new problem of an endless installation loop. The defect has not been corrected in later versions. The file wpd_disable.reg solves this problem in some cases after a reboot. If it doesn't, or if you want to do further testing, perhaps with a newer version of Nokia PC Suite, you can restore the original state with wpd_enable.reg. To use one of these files, click on its link, then confirm twice. To look into one of them without applying it, right-click on the link, then save the target to your hard disk and open it in editor/notepad.
Warning: The install loop creates lots of temporary folders and files, but never removes them.
To stop the install loop, if the method above doesn't work, open the Device Manager and deactivate the offending driver for the Windows Portable Device.
If you still have the problem, you may have an older Nokia Windows Portable Device driver on your hard disk. You can try to find all relevant files %systemroot%\inf\oemXX.inf, where XX is a number. Look into the oemXX.inf files, beginning with the last one, or use the search function. Look for all oemXX.inf files that begin with:
Rename all of these files' extensions from .inf to anything else, like: .txt
Don't stop after you've found one. Look for at least a second one. Now you should get the regular install dialog, which may again not work.
Go into Control Panel, Add/remove programs, start the Nokia PC Suite installer and select to repair the installation. The driver will again install and may again go into the install loop. In that case, open Device Manager and deactivate the driver.
Test switching the phone off and on and test rebooting with the phone switched on. If everything works well, you can delete the .txt files along with their corresponding .PNF files.
If all of this fails to solve the problem, delete the driver information from the registry.
The Nokia PC Suite software comes with the quite popular Nokia phones, but, as usual these days, also with many big and little flaws, shortcomings, and defects. This page tries to help you with these and also needs your feedback. Please add a comment or reply below if you have additional information.
If you want to write to Nokia, here are some paths, found by Mario S. DePillis Jr.:
E-mail form for the US: https://www.nokiausa.com/support/contact_us/email?category=&topic=&keyword=.
Email für Deutschland: http://www.nokia.de/de/service/kontakt/emailkontakt/85898.html.
The Board of Directors may be contacted at http://www.nokia.com/nokia/0,8764,48509,00.html.
There are email addresses for some other countries as well. You have to find yours on the respective national web site.
Nokia PC Suitegeneral remarks
Nothing is perfect. The synchronizing software sometimes hangs and has to be killed. The WAB records addresses in 5 fields, while it's only one in the phone, so city, state, zip, and country all end up in the street address when you make a change to the address in the phone. Certain fields, like the company name, are not represented in the phone and thus get lost in the phone. And the catchall remarks field is limited to 60 characters in the phone, so you have to be careful not to write anything important beyond these in the computer, because it would be cropped. As usual, all these things have the quality of a first demo version, but that's all we get these days. It's still progress.
The following chapters concern these and other weaknesses, flaws, and defects from a less enthusiastic perspective, after having used the phone for a few months.
Check the Nokia web site regularly for new versions of PC Suite. Usually every new version solves at least one nagging problem. It is getting better, though very slowly. The current version on 2006-04-22 was 6.80.20.
The program, or rather, the collection of programs, is very buggy and unreliable, particularly when the phone gets out of reach, comes back, and tries to reconnect. Older versions were even worse, with some features not working at all, and things are only improving at a glacial pace.
2005-04-15 – Dave Tidd wrote: Hi, just read your page, thanks for making it. I just installed some software called www.mobiledit.com. It does all the Nokia stuff in a less bloaty manner, and seems to reconnect quite cheerfully.
2005-05-10 – Shantanu Chand mentioned Oxygen Phone Manager from www.oxygensoftware.com.
2005-05-12 – Gary Bakewell wrote: Just tried Oxygen Manager with my Nokia 6220 and after pulling my hair out finally found out that their software problem -as they admitted on their support forum- also has problems with the CA-42 cable.
2005-09-20 – Heinrich Seebauer wrote that he couldn't get either of these two to run. Apparently we have no perfect solution yet.
2006-04-20 – Franz wrote from South Africa:
2006-08-30 – Bernard wrote:
Thanks for the good mails! If anybody can confirm or deny that MOBILedit! or Oxygen Phone Manager solves the Nokia PC Suite problems, please add a comment or reply below.
Not loading PC Suite automatically
If you don't want to have Nokia PC Suite loaded automatically, remove or disable all autorun entries for the programs, a one time act, and to log off from Windows and log on again, which removes the programs. I initially did that, but later changed my mind and now have Nokia PC Suite loaded at all times. But if you don't agree with me, please read on.
The autorun entries are in the Windows registry:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \policies \Explorer \Run
The two values on my computer are:
The word DISABLED and the subsequent space has been inserted by me to prevent the automatic startup of these two programs. You can do that too, if you are sufficiently conversant with the program regedit.exe. After you disabled these entries, you can log off and log on again to throw Nokia PC Suite out of the memory. Of course you could also delete the two values entirely, but then you would have to write everything down elsewhere or reinstall Nokia PC Suite to reenable them.
Several problems of PC Suite, like a persistent "Phone disconnected" message, can be solved by unloading all its modules from memory and reloading them.
First of all, Nokia PC Suite cannot connect to the phone when it has a GPRS data connection established. If you don't start it automatically, but want both connections at the same time, you have to start Nokia PC Suite first, then establish the GPRS connection. This is another one of the many defects.
Nonetheless you will probably get into the situation that Nokia PC Suite announces, "Phone disconnected", although the telephone is within Bluetooth (or infrared) range. Normally the phone reconnects when you walk away and come back later. However, frequently this does not work, perhaps when you go in and out of range in quick succession, when you're at the border of the range, when you go out and in again several times, or when you simply let everything sit for some time (my guesses).
Unfortunately, there are three parties to this problem, the phone, the Nokia PC Suite software, and the Bluetooth driver and management software. But in most cases the problem is only in the Nokia software, and unloading and reloading it solves the problem.
The most radical, though inconvenient method is to log off and on again. If that's too awkward for you, read on.
2005-02-23 - Thomas Kobler sent me a workaround to offload and reload Nokia PC Suite:
pskill is a free tool from www.sysinternals.com. If you don't have sleep, you can also use:
ping -n 1 localhost
Instead of pskill you can also use taskkill.exe, which seems to be included in Windows XP and is usually already in the system32 folder. For older versions of Windows you can perhaps download it with a Resource Kit—I have not checked this.
I experimented with this and wrote the following batch file to unload and reload Nokia PC Suite 6.8 as thoroughly as possible. Copy the following lines into a text editor and save the file as NokiaReload.bat :
For Nokia PC Suite versions before 6.6 change "LaunchApplication.exe" into "Launch Application 2.exe".
The sleep 8 command allows you to press Ctrl + C or close the windows to abort before reloading.
2005-03-24 – Mark Matheson adds: If you like, you can add the following line before rem Finished to restart the Synchronizer as well:
And you can add a shortcut on the desktop or in the Quickstart bar. In that shortcut you can also set the window to start minimized if you don't want to see it.
Initially I couldn't bring myself to restart the program automatically, because I didn't want to keep it loaded, but I soon changed my mind and now have it loaded automatically, keep it loaded and reload it if it fails.
2005-03-09 – Jim Margolis writes, related to a cable connection: The solution to make it re-connect that I've found is to open the PC Suite "Manage Connections", highlight the CA-42 cable, press "configure" and change the port from the one that is the correct one for the USB (COM3 in this instance) to one of the other com ports in the list (COM1 works for this) and hitting OK. PC Suite then pops up two messages about how it can't use that port. I click OK to both. At this point PC Suite finally says the phone is not connected (even though it is still plugged into the cable). – Now I can hit "configure" again, and I go set it back to com 3, and tell it OK. – Since the phone is still plugged into the cable, it takes about 5 seconds, and PC Suite re-discovers that it's there, it says connected now and this time it really is. This has not been tried with any other connection type like Bluetooth.
Occasionally the cause of a disconnection is in the Bluetooth system, rather than in the Nokia software. In this case it helps to recycle (disable and re-enable) the Bluetooth hardware or the USB controller if the Bluetooth hardware is external and connected through USB. This can be done with a batch file using the devcon tool available from Microsoft.
Please add a comment below, if you find any improvement.
Error message: Search Engine – Unable to create Contact Finder. Please reinstall PC Suite.
This is a defect in version 6.6 before release 18. Download and install the latest version of Nokia PC Suite to repair it.
Nokia PC Suite contains a program to synchronize phone data with data in your computer's organizer, usually Microsoft Outlook. Interestingly, the synchronizer can also synchronize your contacts (only the contacts) with Outlook Express or, more precisely, with the Windows Address Book (WAB) that Outlook Express also uses.
Unfortunately this program has at least one terrible defect, leading to the loss of user data without the user being alerted. Clandestinely erasing user data is about the worst crime a programmer can commit, but these days we have to put up even with this.
What happens is that at least one field in the WAB, the comments field, is fairly long, which it usually needs to be if you want to store arbitrary information with your contacts. The phone or the synchronizer crops this field to a mere 60 characters and doesn't tell you that all the rest has been destroyed.
If you make any change to a contact in the phone, even if you don't touch and don't even look at the comments field, the next time you synchronize, the entire contact record will be copied back to your computer, and the cropped data is gone for good, because the field is overwritten in your computer with the cropped 60 character field as well. In effect, the phone destroys data on your computer. An interesting proposition!
There are several more problems. When I use the Nokia Phone Browser, it shows a lot of obsolete contacts that have long been deleted, but the phone itself does not show these contacts. I first thought that a crude workaround could be to delete all contacts in the phone from time to time, then resynch all of them from the computer, but this doesn't work either. The current workaround is not to use the Contacts in the Nokia Phone Browser.
Another problem is that the phone doesn't distinguish between the several address fields and puts them all into one, separating them by a comma and a space. When you synchronize in the other direction, back into the computer, it doesn't go the opposite way and splits this field up again, using the commas it inserted earlier. Instead it keeps the entire address in the street field. This is bearable, though incredibly stupid.
What's worse, when you enter or change a contact name in the phone that includes a middle initial, the synch program considers the middle initial to be part of the last name and puts it in front of the last name in the last name field in the WAB.
A crude workaround for this is to connect the middle initial to the first name by an underline character and thus write it into the first name field in the first place, always leaving the middle initial field empty.
The general workaround for all these problems is to make changes only on the computer and thus synchronize only one way, from computer to phone. Obviously this diminishes the funcionality of the phone severely, but that's how it is. If you have to make a change on the phone, write a note instead, then copy the change into the contact on your computer later. Very stupid, but I cannot find any better way.
The other alternative is to restrict yourself already on the computer, i.e. don't use middle initials, never write 61 characters into the comments field, and put up with the address being squeezed into the street field.
I have a procedure to export the WAB to Excel, but it is somewhat awkward. If there are many requests for this, I may one day be willing to write it down in step-by-step fashion. In short, it entails exporting the WAB to a CSV file, creating an empty Excel sheet, setting all cell formats to text, not standard, copying the CSV file into the first column, then using the text-to-data function of Excel to spread the data out into the cells. You cannot simply load the file into Excel, because it will take telephone numbers as numbers and reformat them into garbage.
This procedure also works the other way, but when you do this, you lose all groups information and have to recreate the groups by hand.
2005-09-09 Mario S. DePillis Jr. writes: I duplicated the errors synchronizing to Outlook.
2007-09-05 – Paul S. Vail wrote to inform about procedures on Macintosh computers:
Thanks for the good information, Paul!
Nokia Phone Browser – Messages
The Nokia Phone Browser is a catastrophe when it comes to text messages. If you have set your phone to automatically overwrite the oldest messages in both the inbox and the sent items folder, which to me seems the only sensible setting that doesn't require babysitting the phone, then the Nokia Phone Browser will do very ugly things.
As soon as the phone's text message store is full and the phone begins to replace old messages automatically, the Nokia Phone Browser will fail every time any folder is replicated between computer and phone. The error message will say that the phone's memory is full (an obvious lie) and that you should delete some messages from the phone.
If you do that, things get even worse. Since the replication process starts automatically after any change or after some time, you cannot prevent it when you make changes, like deleting messages, on the computer.
The Nokia Phone Browser will then double and triple many messages on the phone, not only in the folder you're viewing, but in all folders. I've seen all messages tenfold in the archive folder, which had only a few messages in it. As soon as you try to delete messages on the computer or on the phone, the freed space will be filled with more duplicates.
It is difficult to recover from this, short of ignoring and never again entering the messages of the Nokia Phone Browser. As soon as you inadvertently enter it again, it will immediately begin to replicate and produce more errors.
The only way I have found to recover from this situation at all is to delete all messages from the mirror folders in the computer, which are in your user profile in the folder Phone Browser, but leave the folder.xml file in place. Then delete many messages in the phone, so only a few remain.
This will make it work, but only for a short time. As soon as more messages accumulate in the phone, the same defect will crop up again.
I must admit that I have never seen any software in my whole life that was so destructive to my personal data and so idiotically programmed, not to mention that this is a version 6.6 that has gone through many updates and fixes. Not that other software is perfect, but Nokia takes the currently widespread unreliability of computer software to new heights.
If anybody has tried a similar function on a mobile phone from another maker, like Motorola or Sony Ericsson, please report here. Add a comment or reply below.
Back up your phone data
Of course you should use the backup function from time to time.
EpilogueIt took a while, but I've definitely had enough of Nokia. I bought an Android smartphone, which is a total relief, compared to Nokia.
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