Running Windows Mobile 6.1 on the HTC Apache

I’ve had an HTC Apache for a number of years now, and I quite like it as a device, unfortunately – it’s an end of life product and as such, the device supplier hasn’t (yet) offered anything in the way of ROM upgrades to let me take advantage of patches for security/functionality or even improvements on battery life.

Like many others, I turned to the web to help sort this out, and with the assistance of PPC Kitchen, I’ve been running Windows Mobile 6.0 for about 6 months or so without any issues. I’ve recently decided to upgrade to WindowsMobile 6.1 and thought I might take this opportunity to document the process.

Note: It is up to YOU to investigate the legality of this in your service area, what your provider will do if things screw up – and of course, if you brick your device, then you’ll need to turn to the community – not to me.

First up, I visited this page to get the low down on the new ROM, I read the FAQ and downloaded the environment (get the ROM kit via this PPCKitchen page)

The process:

  1. Installed the ROM environment
  2. Got the Updates (PPCGeeks/Apache Kitchen [Helmi])
  3. Start the BuildOS environment (You’ll need a PPCGeeks login [Register])
  4. Selected the Helmi Selections as a base starting point and made my own additional selections
  5. Built the ROM
    1. Chose ‘Telecom New Zealand’ from the ‘Carrier’ drop down (you may need to select ‘Tools’ > ‘Get OEM Snapshots’ first)
    2. Used default selections (as wanting a minimal, lean install)
    3. Selected ‘Build ROM’
    4. At this point everything built fine until the build stalled with a “G’reloc – Cannot open file [long path to temporary build files here]”*.
    5. Once the ROM is built, the option to install it on your device is displayed, the instructions are simple and self explanatory – make sure things are connected, perform a reset on the PDA, don’t disconnect until the build completes, do a hard reset on sucessful build
  6. Installed my PDA apps again (I didn’t install Pointui this time)
    1. Tiny Twitter
    2. WiFiFoFum
    3. Fring
    4. GoogleMaps
    5. [Edit: Whoops – forgot the ESSENTIAL ‘Post to Delicious‘ ]
    6. [ANOTHER Edit: Include the NZ Daylight Savings Patch]
  7. Tested and so far, so good.

*This error takes a fair while to appear so be patient, in my case I’ve simple closed the error, shut the G’reloc dialogue and allowed the build to continue.

  • It appears that this error is related to the HTC 10 Button comm manager and/or the long path names generated in creating the temporary files.
  • If skipped the ROM still builds and installs fine (it will take awhile, be patient!), you will however need to deselect ‘HTC Home’ from the items displayed on the today screen as otherwise you’ll just have a big blank space taking up screen real estate.
  • I’m tempted to try finding a registry key for the BuildOS temporary files to point them to a shorter path and see if that helps, alternatly – I may just wait for a future evolution of the build to resolve this. In the meantime I’m not losing much in the way of functionality I had pre WM6.1 so I’m not entirley fussed. Please comment below if you have managed to resolve this issue.

I’d be interested in hearing others experiences with this device upgrade, again – I’m not attesting to the legitimacy of it, my carrier does appear to have plans to make new official ROMs avalible for it’s devices so for me this was more an inteleual interesting thing than a must have for the device. That said, things do appear to be a lot more responsive under the new ROM so I’ll be looking forward to the official ROMs for the HTC Apache when they become avalible.

See a YouTube video of 6.1 running on an HTC Apache (not mine)