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What is a Windows Mobile ROM?
A Windows Mobile ROM is an upgrade to your current Mobile Operating System. This upgrade can include something simple like increasing a device's battery life by implementing programs more efficiently, or a major upgrade such as the upgrading of a Windows Mobile device from Windows Mobile 5.0 or 6.0 to Windows Mobile 6.1.
If you remember the "Service Pack 2" for Windows XP then you have a pretty good idea as the what Windows Mobile ROM updates set out to accomplish, basically increased usage while offering quick fixes to errors in the original OS installation.
No matter what your ROM update entails following the directions below is always the best way to ensure you don't lose your valuable information, while also receiving the best performance your device has to offer. Until the next ROM update at least ;)
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Official Vs. Unofficial Roms
Before I jump into the steps you'll want to take when updating your ROM I thought it would be a good idea to explain that there are two types of Roms. The first type if your Official ROM's, these are upgrades that have been authorized by the cell phone manufacturer and wireless carriers for use on your device. Many times you'll see these official Windows Mobile Upgrade ROM's announced on your carriers site, or the site of the device manufacturer. By visiting their sites you can download the ROM to your computer or use Over the air programming to update your device with no download needed.
The second type of ROM is the "unofficial Rom" these are available upgrades based on your device type that are in no way supported by the device manufacturer or wireless carriers. In this case a developer has simply created their own upgrade to the newer mobile OS version and has released it without consent from Microsoft or the carrier. While these ROM's are often fine for general use, they are not supported by the carrier and will void your devices warranties.
Official ROM's are obviously safer for use, although I have used some Unofficial ROM's that actually performed at a higher level, which type of ROM you choose to use is up to you.
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How to Backup Your Device's Memory
Updating your Rom is basically like upgrading the version of Windows you use on your desktop, therefore its essential that you backup your devices information. You can do this by storing your phone numbers and contacts on your SIM card and by transferring any documents/files on your device to your memory card.
If you have more information than can be stored on your memory card you can also use ActiveSync or the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) to transfer your devices memory for safe keeping on your desktop until the ROM update is complete.
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As I stated earlier, some carriers offer Over The Air programming, while this is defnitely an option, I highly recommend downloading the newest ROM via the internet to your PC and syncing your device with ActiveSync or WMDC. I prefer the second method because ROM update failures do occur on occasion and with a hardcopy you can simply start the process again from the beginning.
Also with Over the Air ROM upgrades you won't receive the upgrade documentation that oftentimes comes with the downloadable PC version.
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Now that you have the downloaded ROM you will simply run the ROM Update Utility (RUU) the device will then run through the upgrade process, eventually resetting your cell phone when the process is completely. If an error occurs or your device freezes you can simply reset the device and start from the beginning.
Its really that simple to install a new ROM, whether you're installing a full version upgrade, or just some simple fixes, all you need to do is remember to: backup, download, and install, before finally restoring your device's apps via your backed up copies.