Windows Mobile stuck during boot

26 Jun 2008

On rare occasions, one of our rugged handheld computer products may get stuck during the boot or resume process. This leaves the product in an unusable state showing only a screen similar to as described in this list.

Make sure you do not have an incompatible SDXC card inserted (since only SD and SDHC cards are supported). Though most often such issues are caused by a corruption in the Windows registry or operating system file(s). On rare occasions it can instead be caused by a hardware component that will not respond. Some possible solutions are described in order of recommendation below.


Perform a software reset by pressing and holding the Power (On/Off) button for a full 5-7 seconds. Release the button and wait several seconds for any indication of change in condition.

Hard Reset

Perform a hardware reset by pressing and holding the Power (On/Off) button for a full 15-20 seconds. Release the button and wait several seconds for any indication of change in condition.

Remove Power

Remove all power supplies including battery pack(s) for a full 20 minutes (which is necessary to drain the backup super capacitor which normally is intended to maintain suspend mode power while swapping battery packs). The process may be accelerated by pressing and holding buttons, though this not recommended and no progress indications are given.

Clean Registry

Setting only the Windows registry to a factory default state is only recommended for potential data recovery or if first performing a full Clean Boot (as explained below) does not respond. This process may leave the user interface in an unusable condition, requiring a full Clean Boot to then be performed or the operating system to be reloaded / updated. Follow the instructions given in the user guide (manual) or in the Clean Windows Registry article.  Contact us if you can not find this procedure and feel you need it.

Clean Boot

Return all accessible internal memory to a factory default state by perform a full Clean Boot as explained in the user guide (manual) or at the following links.

Reload or Update Operating System

You may be able to reload the operating system by downloading and following the operating system update process. Operating system files and instructions are available in our Downloads section. This is particularly important for Archers that have still been running the Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 OS release 2.1.3 build which should be updated to the 2.1.5 build as explained in the Release Notes document.

If the handheld will not connect to ActiveSync/WMDC for running the "Desktop Install EXE" OS update utility, most of our products can alternatively install the OS directly from an inserted SD card. For the "Direct Install ZIP" file from which to extract the SD files, see the bottom section of the full OS download article for your product.

Re-Install or Correct Application Software

Application software can often cause Windows registry corruptions and possible operating system file issues. Make sure you have the latest app software version installed. Or you can contact and work directly with the app software developer to make an improved version to prevent such issues from occurring in the future, such as by applying the suggestions at the following web pages.

Submit Order to a Repair Center

If the unit continues to have issues while booting or resuming, then it may need to be returned to a Repair Center for evaluation.