Installing Homebrew Apps Without Rooting Device (Firmware 1.04)

Here's a tutorial I found when 1.04 was released and I fully tested and works great. All credit for this great step by step tutorial goes to Sir Mycroft over at www.precentral.net

Matthew Lutker
7 min read
Thanks again to Sir Mycroft over at PalmCentral for the great tutorial on how to do this. I was skeptical since I have rooted devices in the past on whether this would fully work. I decided to help a buddy out and try this on his device and surprisingly it works without any troubles. I found that this tutorial is mainly for XP users but does include a workaround for the vista users as well as fellow X64 bit users. I have found this to be the easiest and quickest way to get those neat homebrew apps and games onto your device quickly and stress free. I would recommend this to any of the users that don't feel comfortable rooting their device to get homebrew apps on their devices.
Sir Mycorft has put the following how-to guide together to let anyone who wishes to enjoy some of the fine homebrewed applications that are being produced by the members at Precentral. This guide should not be viewed as a way of derailing the efforts of other members to develop a packaged means of delivering applications to stock Pres. I certainly wish to encourage that development. This guide is instead meant to act as stop-gap measure for those who want the great apps being produced, but do not have the desire to root their Pres, and no longer have the option of exploiting the e-mail hole after the 1.0.4 WebOS update. The how-to guide is in plain English, and is extremely simple. You need not be a techie or hacker to get homebrewed applications onto your Pre. If you are able to download a program from the internet and drag and drop a file, you have what it takes to get these great programs up and running on your Pre. If you had the wherewithal to find this thread in Precentral and currently possess a desire to get the applications in the homebrew section, you can do this. You have my word on it. This guide may have possibly been rendered obsolete by the wiki dev team (it was but a matter of time) which has constructed a tool for installing homebrew apps. It can be found here (thanks go to Xorg):
Click Here
I would try this option first as it is an even simpler solution to installing Homebrew Apps.
Caveat 1: The following how to is only for PC's running Windows XP EDIT(7/8/09): Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64-bit) users appear to be having difficulties with the how-to, possible as a result of the security measures within Vista and Windows 7. Forum member Nightburn has a work-around using an XP emulator which can be found in post #182 in this thread. For Mac (and possibly Linux) users TheInvsbleMan has a fix located at post #223. Many thanks to both members.
Caveat 2: I guess I should also say that you should try this at your own risk. I take no responsibility for damage done if it should occur, and read the instructions fully before attempting.
A Simple How-to Guide for getting homebrew apps onto your Pre (after 1.0.4)
STEP ONE: Preparing your computer
In order for you to transfer applications from Precentral to your Pre, you will need to download some software and install it onto your computer.
A. First, download and install Virtual Box, a program that will allow you to run a computerized version of your Pre within a window. You can download it here:
Click Here
Follow the instructions for downloading via the wizard. Leave the downloaded files in the location where the wizard suggests for simplicity sake.
B. Next, download and install the Mojo SDK, which is Palm's preliminary developer tool, onto your computer. The Mojo SDK has many things that allow programmers to make applications, but you don't need know how to do any of that. What you do need to know is that the Mojo SDK will load files onto you Pre (See Step Two below). You can find the Mojo SDK here:
Click Here
Follow the instructions for downloading. Again, leave the files where the wizard puts them so you can find them easily (see Step Three below).
C. Then, pat yourself on the back, the hard part is now over. Seriously. Once you have the above two programs up and running, you will see a virtual Pre appear on your PC. You can now forget about the programs entirely. You will not need to fool with them again. Furthermore, if you wish to download more apps in the future, you can skip Step One completely.
EDIT(7/7/09): Some intrepid members on this thread have deduced that those who are having problems after following the guide may need to install an additional program, Java, on their computers as well, or need to install its latest updated version. If you too are having problems after completing all the steps, start fresh and as part of Step One install the latest version of Java which can be found here:
Click Here
Download the latest version and follow the on screen instructions.
STEP TWO: Preparing the Pre
Now that your computer is ready, it is time for your Pre. Unlike Step One, this will have to be repeated every time you want to install future homebrew app on your Pre.
A. First, you have to put your Pre into "Developer Mode" which sounds impressive but is really, really simple. This will allow your pre to accept applications via the USB cable. To put your Pre into developer mode all you do is type a Universal Search on the Pre for the following:
If you type it correctly, as soon as you finish the last "t" a "Developer Mode Enabler" icon will float up to greet you. Tap it, turn on developer mode, and you will be prompted to restart your Pre. Do so.
B. Next, plug your USB cable into your computer and your Pre. Select the "Just Charge" mode. If this is your first time doing so, the file, "Novacom" will automatically install on your Pre. Your Pre will be recognized on your PC as a Novacom device.
C. Then, leaving your Pre hooked to you PC once again, restart your Pre. This need only be done the first time. After the initial installation, subsequent restarts after putting your Pre into developer mode and linking to you PC is unnecessary.
STEP THREE: Getting the homebrew apps onto your Pre
This is the fun part. Precentral already has many great new apps cooked up by members ready for you to install, and there are more and more everyday.
A. Find the app or apps you want by going to the following thread:
Click Here
Click on the attached file which will end in .ipk and download it onto your PC somewhere you can find it, like the Desktop. Do not e-mail the link to yourself, you need the actual file. Some apps require you to go to another site to download the link, but it is still the same thing, simply download the app to your PC desktop.
B. Next, you have to find a file that has been installed onto your PC in Step One. The easiest way to do this on WindowsXP is to click through the following folders on your PC:
My Computer
Program Files
Once in the "bin" subfolder you will see a list of files, including the following:
This file is key for the last thing you have to do, which is...
C. Drag the .ipk file and drop it into the palm-instll.bat file. That's it. Really. Once you do that, a command prompt window will open, and a bunch of code will scroll past. The window will then disappear. Viola! The App is now installed onto you Pre. You're done! It is just that easy.
Except for...
STEP FOUR: Disconnecting everything
EDIT (7/7/09): Once again thanks to the collective genius found on Precentral, my previously unresolved issue under this step is now completely resolved, and Step Four has been thoroughly updated.
Once you have your new homebrew apps working, you will want to safely disconnect your Pre and return it to its original state.
A. First, to disconnect your Pre, you cannot use the "Safely Remove Hardware" option on the task bar, at least not yet, because you will receive an error message that your "Novacom Device" is being accessed by another program. Not to worry, though, as all you need do is end the service by doing the following on your PC:
Type "Services.msc" and hit enter
At this point a large list of programs will appear. Scroll through until you find the following:
Palm Novacom
Now simply right-click on the above file and stop the process. You can now safely remove the "Novacom Device" by clicking on the "Safely Remove Hardware" button on your task bar, and disconnect your Pre from your computer. You will want to restart the Palm Novacom process by right-clicking it again, so that you can install new homebrew apps in the future.
B. Finally, return you Pre to its original state by taking it out of developer mode. To do that, once again do a universal search on your Pre for the following:
Then turn off developer mode on the enabler, and restart you Pre as necessary. Some members on this thread have said disabling developer mode is not needed, and have apparently left their Pres in a permanent state of development, so to speak. Frankly, the only down side to keeping it in developer mode that I see is you may leave your device open for files to be unintentionally loaded onto your Pre. While this is only a very slight risk, I still recommend turning off developer mode so you can rest easier with the entire process of loading apps.
So, NOW, that's it! Enjoy your new homebrew applications!
Special thanks go to everyone's work on the Homebrew thread where I gleaned all this information. And CONTINUE to receive voluminous feedback. I am sorry I can not name you all individually, but your collective work should definitely be rewarded sometime down the line The original thread this tutorial was found at is here: PreCentral