Changing Pocket PC Language

The Pocket PC I recently received was completely in French, so I figured 'I'll just change this to English'.

It can't be that hard, can it? Apparently it was trickier then I thought.

The Pocket PC has the OS in it's ROM, and it has limited ROM, so no multilanguages in there.

It quickly became obvious to me the ROM had to be flashed with an English version, but where to get it?

I didn't buy the Pocket PC, so asking Dell to give me an English one probably would fail, and from various messageboards I discovered they won't do it anyway.

So, where to get it? From the Dell site I guessed, in the download section there was an English update for Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition.

Since this update just flashes the ROM and puts the new version in it, I guessed this was ok.

But when trying to flash it, it started complaining about being the wrong language.

Apparently French can only be upgraded to French, and since I don't speak French fluently this wasn't practical :)

So, search engine to the rescue. I found this post on Aximsite, a site dedicated to Dell Axim resources.

It seemed logical, get the English and French ROM, make the updater believe the English ROM is actually a French language, and flash.

The process looked obvious to me, so, let's get started!

I opened up the French ROM and English ROM in a hex editor and located the differences:

Note: This is different from the forum post! It's not the first 7 lines you have to copy paste.

Pasting the first 7 lines results in an Integrity Check error. It's enough to change everything before the "AXIM30".

After having modified the English ROM with the new header, I saved it to the French updated directory, overwriting the original French ROM update. (So, now you have a filename which indicates it's a French ROM, but it's actually the English ROM with the French header)

I did the same for the other image (there is a C and an N image).

Now I ran the updater, which did not give me an error about Integrity Check anymore, and also not about wrong language.

It successfully updated the ROM and after the Pocket PC restarted, everything was English!

So, now I have an English Pocket PC :)

Of course, the disclaimer on my blog applies especially to this post, as this is not something you should do quickly if you have no technical skills.

So: I (David Cumps) cannot be held responsible for any damage what-so-ever that might come from this post. You do this at your own risk.