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Can I reformat Windows CE? lost password

by populuxe / August 23, 2011 3:12 AM PDT

I just got a refurbished Sylvania 7" netbook. Upon unboxing and fist boot-up, it wants a pass word to use. I figure the original owner pass worded it and the "refurbishers" never bothered to turn the thing on to check it out. I know it was cheap, but I got it just to play around with and read email, etc. If you have relevant experience, I'd love to hear it before I send this back. If you just want to say CE is junk, buy a $10 password cracker or go to a repair shop I'm not looking for that advice--I've already googled as much as I could. If there is a way to search the past questions, forgive me, how do I do that? Thanks you in advance, Chris C-Wisconsin

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by populuxe

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Hard reset...
by John.Wilkinson / August 23, 2011 4:51 AM PDT

With WinCE devices, you usually press and hold the power button for a few seconds while sticking a pin the in 'reset' hole, then follow on-screen prompts. Each model is different, though, so you may need to look around for specific instructions. Use the key phrase "hard reset" to narrow the results.


P.S. There's a search bar in the upper right corner of every page if you want to search the site. It'll automatically filter on forum posts, reviews, downloads, etc depending which CNET site you're on.

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will try to reset
by populuxe / August 23, 2011 8:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Hard reset...

I'll give the reset and switch combo a try tonight. Thanks.
I did get the search to work, it was showing just products before, but I get it now. Believe me, I'm a member of some other technical groups and see the new members that come in when they have have a problem, seems like they never check the wealth of information in the archives never give the make, model and year, and once you give them a solution you never hear back if the problem is repaired or not. Good or bad, I'll let you know what happens. I really appreciate the support. Chris

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tech support responce
by populuxe / August 25, 2011 11:36 AM PDT
In reply to: will try to reset

I was happy to get an email from the netbook's distributor tech support today. I've never done this type of update, I'm not going to think about the danger, only the fun. I'll take it step by step. A previous comment on the discussion was to provide a link to the manual. This was absolutely spot on and I apologize for the omission, I'm sure someone would have found the solution in those documents (downloads) if I would have provided. I could have never figured it out myself

Here is part of the response:

Step-by-step instructions on how to install the OS image update

***You will need: - an SD card with a minimum of 1 GB of space. - make sure the SD card is not HC [High Capacity] - a computer with an SD card reader/ SD card USB reader
1. Insert the SD card to the computer via SD card slot or USB SD card reader.
2. Open "My Computer" and find the SD card. It will have the name of the SD card you gave it or the brand name followed by a drive letter (E:, F:, G:, etc.)
3. Format the SD card. Right click on the SD card and select "Format..." Select File System "FAT32." Make sure you do not do a "Quick Format." If "Quick Format" is selected uncheck that box. Click "Start." After the SD card is formatted go to the next step.
4. Go to: - Click on the "Downloads" tab between the "FAQ" and "Features" tabs.
5. Download and save the file to your desktop (or any place where you will be able to find it).
6. Go to where you saved the "" file. Right click on the file and select "Extract file here" or "Extract to" or "Extract all." It will produce a folder called "Script" where you extract it to. Note: it will usually extract to the same locations and the .zip file.
7. Once the "Script" folder is properly extracted move it to the SD card. To do this, right click on the "Script Folder and click "Send to." Select your SD card. You can also simply drag the "Script" folder to your SD card and drop it in. both of these methods will copy the "Script" folder into the SD card. Note: The "Script" folder should be 132mb in size. Make sure the "Script" folder is the only thing on your SD card.
When you are done move on to the installation process.

The Installation Process:
1. Make sure the Smartbook is powered down.
2. When the Smartbook is turned off, insert the SD into the device. The SD card goes in upside down with the metal plates facing up.
3. Once the SD card is inserted, turn on the Smartbook.
4. The software should now start to load.
5. Wait for the update to finish, do not press any keys during this time.
6. When prompt to remove the SD card, shut down the Smartbook and then remove the SD card.
7. Once the SD card has been removed, restart the device.
8. The next time you restart the Smartbook you will notice a new operating system has been installed.

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Glad you heard back from them...
by John.Wilkinson / August 25, 2011 9:20 PM PDT
In reply to: tech support responce

Their response is interesting in that it is not the procedure to reset the device, but one to upgrade the operating system. However, with WinCE, a common side effect to an upgrade is that it effectively performs a hard reset. Thus, it accomplishes your goal through what is typically an undesirable trait of upgrading. In any case, hope it goes well for you.

Good luck.

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by populuxe / August 26, 2011 2:12 AM PDT

The operating system upgrade was easy, straight forward and it worked!
Now I am wrestling with WI-FI connection. Works just fine with a hard wire connection.
My other divices, this conventional note-book I'm using, 2 wii game/netflix players, a "chumby", various ipods, visitors phones, etc, all work on our wi-fi. I think I'm going to sit back and take a breath before trying again. I've tried every combination for connection I could find. Then I reformatted again to get back to original and tried some more. I do get good signal, then it connects/associates for about 2 seconds, then loses association, then it says "no signal". It even sees neighbors wifi. but won't connect or maintain a connection for more than 2 seconds.
my Netgear router is set up as a WEP w/ a password. Not sure if it is "shared" or "open", been trying everything.
I need a computer kid to get this wi-fi going. Tiny buttons and screen. Good times.

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Hard Reformat
by Junster5 / December 21, 2011 1:00 PM PST
In reply to: tech support responce

Hello, I have tried the step-by-step instruction, but when i remove the SD card and restart it it goes back to the original operating system

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don't works
by silviutofan / July 18, 2014 3:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Hard reset...

hi! i have a gps with windows ce 6.0 on it and i removed the gps software, and it works....but it don't haves the all programs. i entered in settings and putted a password. but when i reboot, i can't put it.....i attached a usb keyboard and don't works. i tried what you said, with the pin, and don't appears nothing. please help!!!!

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Bad news.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 18, 2014 4:22 AM PDT
In reply to: don't works

That is, this system is now so old that issues like yours may never be resolved. Try a reset and if the maker's instructions fail, make it an item to return as defective.

Bob (who wrote WinCE, WinMo apps.)

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No. There may be a reset.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 23, 2011 3:30 AM PDT

This is where we check the manual. Do you have a link to this product's user manuals?

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machine info
by populuxe / August 23, 2011 6:30 AM PDT

sorry I didn't include, the machine comes with only a quickstart guide and no reference to the start-up password. I viewed a youtube vidio of unboxing and start-up and there is no password needed when new. As for on-line info, same story. I'm waiting on the "tech support" reply on email, they don't answer phone. I guess I bargined for this frustration--but just a password holding the whole think up the whole thing is deflating.

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(NT) Try the reset noted below.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 23, 2011 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: machine info
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by Junster5 / December 26, 2011 1:08 AM PST

Yes, I have found the user manuel and i have downloaded it. When the system update is completed the computer tells me to turn the computer off before ejecting the SD card.

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7 inch chinese arm laptops and other Windows CE devices
by thqgqmna / July 14, 2013 12:49 AM PDT

The very same thing happen to me recently. The solution was rather unexpected and easy. All you need to do is connect your device to PC via usb cable. Make sure it is off and charged. You have two ways to connect. First off (the one I've used) is to open the laptop itself (just few screws really) And you'll find a mini usb connector between two usb's on the right. thats how you connect it as drive. The usb on the back of the laptop is probably the same, but i had no such cable and didn't try that one. When you connect it to PC it'll appear as new device. For windows find wm8505 drivers. For linux it'll appear as 3 drives. Sizes 128 mb, 256 mb, 1.6 gb. Its gonna be the same for windows when you'll get drivers. Then just open the 256mb drive and look for Documents and Settings folder. Inside it there gonna be few files, that store user info (maybe password as well) Just remove them or overwrite them with generic empty ones, taken from any win CE firmware. Thats all. It will not affect any files you might have created. You might lose desktop background setting/etc. But your files gonna be there anyway.


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WinCE reboot help
by Guzz82 / August 21, 2013 6:20 PM PDT

I have been trawling the www for days looking for a way to restore my wife's WinCE SmartBook, and everything i find tell me to do the same thing. I have tried this over and over again, and now i am bricked at a black screen with the busy light, and power light stuck on.

Initially, when i turned it on a few days ago it would log on, get to the desktop and that is all it would do. I would have 'My Computer' and the 'Recycle Bin' only showing. No programs that were there before and all i can do is shut down. The control panel (although the option is there) does not exist...

I have downloaded the Chinese and Win CE OS, along with android OS (not yet tried). I have also followed the instructions by formatting an SD Card to FAT32, extracted the Zip file to my SD Card as a Script folder, and only that is in the root with several other files/folders inside and inserted it in to the Smart book upside down, and turned it on. At first i would get the logo (Smart Book) start up screen but now it is just black. I have downloaded the Win CE software from Windows as well. I have left the smart book running over night as all the videos on youtube show that it starts instantly on powerup... Not for me. As you can guess, like a lot of you on here this can be frustrating. I am not an expert but simple step by steps can be achieved by anyone, what am i or have i done wrong and can this be rectified?

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Sorry but is there a service manual to be found?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 22, 2013 4:05 AM PDT
In reply to: WinCE reboot help

I'll read it if you find it but the old WinCE things are passing now. I do have apps on WinCE and WinMo so while I know something, it may not apply if we can't find a service manual.

BIG NOD to trying Android on it.

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:( No manual
by Guzz82 / August 22, 2013 4:54 PM PDT

Sorry there is no manual. I have followed all the step by steps on www, and I have a feeling it is now bricked at the black screen. Fingers crossed its not, but if it is my lesson has been learnt. I just cant afford a new one right now... I still have the downloaded script files for various WinCE and Android OS and I have not touched it for 2 days in the hope it might reset itself... and try again

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