As a consultant, you’ll no doubt be assisting some clients with their Windows XP installations. XP users have had to negotiate the usual early-release problems with drivers and hardware and software incompatibility that both Microsoft and other vendors have been slow in addressing.

In particular, Palm handheld users will experience a number of problems when upgrading to XP. You can help them resolve these issues with these top tips and fixes reported by Palm device manufacturers.

Using the Palm desktop 4.0.1 patch
The most basic Windows XP annoyance for users of Palm-powered devices is the inability to HotSync between the handheld and the Palm Desktop on XP Pro and Home editions. To restore this ability to perform a HotSync, install Palm Desktop 4.0.1. This version of the Desktop doesn’t add new features other than Windows XP compatibility.

Some users have reported problems syncing even after installing the patch. Palm’s suggested remedy is to install it one more time.

Both Palm and Handera (formerly TRG) users can use Palm Inc.’s version. Handspring users can download a copy from the Handspring site.

4.0.1 installation tips

  • To install the Palm desktop under Windows XP Pro, as with Windows 2000, users must have administrator privileges.
  • During installation, Windows XP will ask you to perform a HotSync. After you press the HotSync button, XP will launch the New Hardware wizard. You won’t need to change any options.
  • Your HotSync may time out while the New Hardware wizard is searching for drivers. If it does, you’ll see the following message: “The connection between your handheld computer and the desktop could not be established. Please check the setup and try again.” Disregard the message and press the HotSync button again.
  • In a multiuser system setup, each user must install the Palm Desktop separately, in a different location (for example, C:\Palm\Michael, C:\Palm\Paul).
  • Switch User, a feature of XP that allows multiple users to log on simultaneously and switch between them, isn’t supported in 4.0.1. To use the Palm Desktop, each user must log in and then log out in turn.

Synchronizing with USB
Before using the PalmConnect USB adapter with the serial-to-USB adapter, you’ll need to download these drivers from

Synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook
As you know, the first time you run Microsoft Outlook, it asks for a user’s mail account information in order to set up a profile. Users who synchronize mail with Outlook must install an Outlook mail profile before installing the Palm Desktop. Otherwise, they’ll need to install Desktop 4.0.1 again.

Users have several choices when selecting software that will allow the Palm to sync with Outlook, but you should be aware of several issues with certain applications. For example, XP has a few quirks when using Chapura’s PocketMirror Outlook synchronization software. Though XP is a multiuser system, when one user uninstalls PocketMirror, it’s uninstalled for all users. All users need to install PocketMirror separately. (For more information on PocketMirror and other Outlook syncing software, read “Syncing Palms with Outlook: What software is available?”)

For more XP issues with Palm handhelds, see Palm’s XP support page.

According to Sony, the following CLIÈ models are compatible with XP out of the box:

  • PEG-NR70/V
  • PEG-S360
  • PEG-T415
  • PEG-T615

The following CLIÈ models are ready to run with XP after you download updates:

  • PEG-N610C
  • PEG-N710C
  • PEG-N760C
  • PEG-S320
  • PEG-S300

The update involves installing Sony’s version of the Palm Desktop 4.0.1 patch, CLIEPD401.EXE, as well as software patches for specific models. Software updates are necessary for OpenMG Jukebox and Sony Memory Stick Audio Library, which play music files from Sony Memory Sticks, and PictureGear 4.3 Lite, for synchronizing image and movie files.

Links to all updates are available on Sony’s XP Support Information Page.

For Handspring users, the company offers the following suggestions.

Multiusers and the Handspring Palm Desktop icon
If the Handspring Palm Desktop 4.0.1 has been installed on XP under more than one user’s login, the Palm Desktop icon may show up only on the first user’s Windows desktop. Even without an icon, the program is still installed. Other users can still run the Palm Desktop from their Start menus, as with any other program. If they wish, users can create a desktop icon manually.

When multiple users have installed Handspring Palm Desktop under separate logins, removing the Handspring Palm Desktop from one user’s login will also remove it from all other user logins. Handspring discourages uninstalling the Desktop under any user login, to avoid removing other users’ software.

Error messages
Some Handspring users have reported the error message “Handle Exception Error #0x80040707, .dll function call crash: Portdtct.getportinfo” when they try to install Palm Desktop 4.0.1. Handspring is investigating the error but suggests that some third-party software may be the culprit. For example, users of Proxy V3.05 should upgrade to version 3.09 to avoid similar errors.

The same problem might be encountered with Canon MultiPASS F30 or F50 printer/scanner/fax machines. Try uninstalling the drivers before installing the Palm Desktop again. Handspring offers additional Windows XP tips on its Web site.

Have you experienced similar problems using XP and your Palm?

What difficulties, if any, have you encountered using XP and your handheld? Post your comments below.