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Thread: N900 Mods & Customizations (Windows Centric)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Parts Unknown
    Nokia N900
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    N900 Mods & Customizations (Windows Centric)

    Now that PR1.2 is officially released and we are all on the same playing field we can start showing ways with which to make your N900 into the outstanding device that it can be.
    One of the drawbacks to Maemo, or any Linux distro for that matter is the lack of Windows tools or Windows centric instructions for its use. This is natural but it may be a roadblock for many who would benefit from its use and it has dampened the rate with which it has been adopted by the general public.
    The purpose of this thread is to provide some of these missing instructions and tools. All that I will post have been used successfully from a box stock 32 bit Windows 7 machine.
    This thread will be stuck and closed so that the information can remain easily accessible. When further help or discussion is required (and it will be ), please open a new thread in this forum for each of these posts as required so that all can contribute to your success. I will then edit these initial posts to include links to these new threads.

    First off: Flashing new firmware

    Before any of the modifications discussed here are attempted you should have first successfully flashed your phone and are familiar with the process.

    One of the beauties of this device is that generally, no matter how bad you screw up, you can restore your N900 to its factory fresh state in about 20 minutes. You will need to download two things in order to accomplish this:

    - First download and install the appropriate flasher for your desktop environment from here >>
    The file maemo_flasher-3.5_2.5.2.2.exe is the installation package for Windows 7, XP and Vista (x86, 32-bit)

    - Once it is downloaded (I keep a copy in a N900 folder on my Windows desktop) click on this exe file and it will install. The default directory it will install to in Windows is C:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5

    - After the installation cruise over to this directory with Windows File Explorer and create a shortcut to it in the N900 folder you created on your Windows desktop .

    Note: Your Windows folder options > view should be set to “show hidden files, folders, and drives” for this and all instructions in this thread.

    - Next you will need to download the appropriate firmware image from here >>
    By entering your IMEI in the box provided.

    An easier way to find your IMEA on the N900 is to go to: settings and select “about product”

    The latest “global” firmware file is RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.19-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin

    Specific variants can also be found there for other regions but unless you have a subsidized phone (UK) or need that regions language files, it is best to use the global image (USA English language files are included in the global package).

    - Once the firmware image is downloaded to your Windows machine, move it to same directory that now contains the newly installed flasher.

    - Now, run the back-up utility on your N900 and create a fresh back-up, make sure your battery is fully charged and you will be ready to begin.

    - Create a new text file in your N900 windows folder and call it flash instructions or suttin’

    - In that new text file copy and paste the following:

    1. Open the Command Prompt (Start then Run or hit the Windows Logo key + R) and type cmd in the box then press Enter.

    (Once the C:\Windoes\system32\cmd.exe DOS box opens on your Windows desktop right click on the title bar and make sure that the “Insert Mode” box is checked in properties > options

    2. Change the directory to the Flasher's path by copying and pasting the following command after the DOS prompt (you may have to hit the enter key after doing so):

    cd "%ProgramFiles%\maemo\flasher-3.5"

    (Your DOS prompt should have now changed to something like this: c:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5> )

    3. Unplug the charger from your freshly charged and backed up N900

    4. Hold the u key on the device keyboard and connect the USB cable from your Windows machine at the same time. Once the USB icon can be seen in upper right hand corner of the dimmed screen on your N900, release the “u” key.

    5. Flash your N900 by copying and pasting the following command after the c:\Program Files\maemo\flasher-3.5> DOS prompt (you may have to hit the enter key after doing so):

    flasher-3.5.exe -F RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.19-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin -f -R

    (Note: Change [RX-51_2009SE_10.2010.19-1_PR_COMBINED_MR0_ARM.bin] to appropriate file name if another image is used. )

    - Now, simply follow the instructions in your new text file and you should see something like this after rapidly scrolling to a stop:

    (Screen shot is from an earlier flash and does not show the current firmware)

    (If the Windows display dims and a security box pops up, do not freak, do not unplug the USB, do not adjust your set. Simply click "yes" or whatever in the pop up and rock on.)

    - After you see “CMT flashed successfully” and a DOS prompt you can unplug the USB cable and the N900 should reboot. You can then follow the N900’s on screen instructions in order to restore your back-up.

    REGARD: If you use programs from the “Developer” or “Testing” repos DO NOT enable these catalogues just yet as the restore routine may pull newer unstable versions of the programs you were using.

    Instead let the restore run its course and try out your newly flashed device. You can go back latter and simply enable these catalogs one at a time and click on the App Managers title bar and hit restore again. Any missing programs that you had used from these repos will now show up.

    Also: The above instructions do not include an eMMC flash. If you are not experiencing some very specific issues you will not need to flash the eMMC as this will overwrite all your personal data not stored on a removable memory card. If you still feel an eMMC flash is necessary please open a related thread on the subject in our forum and I’m sure we will all pitch in to help.

    Next UP:
    How to view, manipulate, and edit all the files on your N900 from within Windows File Explorer…

    Happy Maemoin'



    Member wazmo reports:

    Quote Originally Posted by wazmo
    I had to open up the command prompt as an administrator in order to get the flasher to work right under Win7.

    Otherwise, no issues with flashing PR1.2. So far so good.
    Last edited by YoDude; 05-27-2010 at 10:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Parts Unknown
    Nokia N900
    Feedback Score
    How to view, manipulate, and edit all the files on your N900 from within Windows File Explorer…

    The remainder of these posts will be mirrored on a blog I maintain. Don't worry, it is commercial free and I use it to support my forum posts and not the other way around. It is a handy place to link images from and the only reason I mention it now is because it is also a convenient place to store the files and small apps that I am involved with. Because my hosts apparently cut off deep links when a whole bunch of folks hit me up for one of these files I'll also include each mirrored Blog article addy at the bottom my posts where you will always have access to the files.

    Now before we begin there are a couple of things you should do:

    1. Install rootsh by Faheem Pervez (qwerty12) if you haven't already done so. >>
    This will allow you to Enable root access, via the "sudo gainroot" command from X=terminal
    "sudo gainroot" will work without requiring you to enable R&D mode.

    2. Purchase a good nail file and use it to file down the tangs on the male end of whatever you plug into the N900's usb port. (chargers, data cables, etc.) There have been plenty of reports of the USB port used on the N900 breaking off the circuit board and coming out completely still attached to the cable. What you will be doing is filing down the little retention hooks on the male end so there is little resistance.

    Both 1 and 2 are not required for this next exercise but I thought it best to mention it now while I have your attention.

    The following steps will give you complete point and click access to the N900 over your home WiFi connection from the Windows File Explorer. Your N900 will show up as a drive letter whenever you connect.

    REGARD! You will now have the power to do the customizations that will be discussed later in an easy to use, familiar environment. You will also have the power to completely FUBAR your phone by just hitting the space key or the enter key from your desktop keyboard when you are in the wrong file at the wrong time. Any of the mods I outline later will not involve files in one of these wrong places and I will show the logic I used when making the changes and provide what the expected results should be.

    However, it is my intention that we will all learn from this and more Windows users will eventually become comfortable with the N900's directory structure.
    Please familiarize yourself with the flashing procedure outlined in the first post of this thread >>

    And remember: NO SNIVELING!


    1. Install Openssh by Ed Bartosh on your N900 >>
    (both rootsh and Openssh are available in the repository on your N900 in the Application Manager application).

    2. During the installation of Openssh you will be asked to set the root password, write this down or record it for later.

    You will now have both a Secure shell client and server available on your N900.

    3. Download and install the free 30 day demo of ExpanDrive found here >> on your Windows7 32bit machine and you will now have SFTP access from Windows File Explorer.

    4. If you haven't already done so make sure you have administrative rights in Win7 and File Explorer is set to show all folders and view all files.

    When you set up the connection from within ExpanDrive your user name will be "root" (without the dang quotes) and your password will be whatever you recorded earlier when you installed Openssh on your N900.

    For the IP address use whatever your router has assigned to the N900 when it connects to WiFi. (you can find this on your routers set-up page under attached devices)

    Now there are other ways to do this that are cheaper (read free) but ExpanDrive gives you a free 30 day trial and it is very simple to set up and is quite stable.

    Besides, one of the purposes of this is to show how easy some things are to do in Windows in hopes more Windows users will become involved. One of the biggest hurdles Maemo has faced is lack of easy access and explanation from Windows in the past.

    Do you think that the file locations and "how to" explanations that some Maemo heads can rattle off second nature like are because they memorized all of it from the command line in x-term? Maybe for a few but for most it is because SSH connection tools are second nature in the Linux world and most use a GUI file explorer from a Linux desktop.

    This can also be done over USB although I haven't tried it. USB networking connection information can be found here >>

    And les_garten's "Howto Work with N900 as a Drive Letter in Windows" thread on can be found here >>

    Next up: What to do? Icons and Shortcuts

    In the mean time cruise over to [N900 drive letter:\home\user\MyDocs] on your new N900 drive in your Windows File Explorer and create a shortcut to this location in the N900 shortcut folder you have on your Windows machine and enjoy easy access to your personal files on the n900 with out having to plug in that dang USB cable.

    [N900 drive Letter:\media\mmc1] will give you wireless access to your removable memory card.