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There's an old PDA/smartphone operating system named "Palm OS". It's included with PalmPilot, Palm, Visor, Tungsten, Zire, Treo, and Centro devices.

Palm OS devices don't really connect to the cloud. To do backups, you can use NVBackup to back up to an SD card. But it's safer to save off-device backups to a computer.

Linux users can sync their devices with J-Pilot, which is still maintained. (Source.)

Windows users generally sync with Palm Desktop.

Palm Desktop comes with a sync utility ("HotSync Manager") and a 32-bit USB HotSync driver. Most PCs sold nowadays come with 64-bit Windows, which can't load 32-bit drivers.

How can you synchronize a Palm OS device with a modern 64-bit PC?

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Data-loss warning

Always quit Palm Desktop 6.x before you shut down or restart your PC. If you fail to do this, it may cause data loss. See, for example, this forum thread. Can it also cause data corruption? I have no idea.

Slow synchronization

The first time you sync a data-filled Palm OS device with a new computer, it may take hours. Please be patient. Future HotSync operations will likely be much quicker.

Note

You'll probably have to start HotSync Manager manually. Once you install Palm Desktop, it'll be on your Start menu.

How to sync a Palm OS device with a 64-bit PC

You have choices. You can choose the Bluetooth method, the Wi-Fi method, the XP Mode method, the Linux method, the serial method, or the USB method. Maybe try the Bluetooth method first. If it doesn't work, post a new question, or try another method.

Bluetooth method

This might be simplest. You can sync using Bluetooth. For help, try a Google search for [ palm os bluetooth sync ].

64-bit Bluetooth drivers are included with Windows.

If your computer doesn't include a Bluetooth chip, you may need to buy a Bluetooth adapter.

This method should work, though I don't guarantee it.

In my experience, the Bluetooth method seems to work. Bluetooth doesn't seem quite as reliable as the Aceeca driver, but Bluetooth seems to be perhaps four times as fast.

If you have problems, see here.

Wi-Fi method

You may be able to buy and install some hardware in order to upgrade your Treo to support Wi-Fi. If you do this, then you can probably use Wi-Fi to sync. For help, try a Google search for [ treo wi-fi ].

This method may work, though I don't guarantee it.

XP Mode method

If you have access to a computer running Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate, you can probably use Windows XP Mode to sync. Forward your USB port to XP Mode, install Palm Desktop and HotSync Manager in XP Mode, then sync. (Source.) See also this forum thread.

I don't think that XP Mode is supported in Windows 8 or any later Windows version.

This method should work — though I don't guarantee it — on any supported operating system.

Linux method

Modern Linux distributions still ship with a preinstalled Palm OS driver nowadays, just as they have for a couple of decades. It works fine on 64-bit computers. You may view the source code if you wish.

Install Ubuntu or another good Linux distribution. You can install Linux inside VirtualBox (plus its Extension Pack); then you can forward your USB port to the virtual machine. If you install Linux directly onto your computer, back up your data first.

Now, use Ubuntu Software Center or another package-management tool to download the jpilot package.

Finally, start J-Pilot.

If you're good with Linux, this method should work, though I don't guarantee it.

Serial method

You'll need a serial HotSync cable for your Palm OS device. You'll probably also need a USB-to-serial adapter. You may need to buy these things.

This method may work, though I don't guarantee it.

USB method

Aceeca Limited, in New Zealand, have released a 64-bit Windows USB driver for Palm OS synchronization. They've written that non-customers are free to use it, that they provide no support to non-customers, and that they accept no liability if it causes problems.

You can get it from their driver download page. Installation instructions are inside the Zip file.

I followed the instructions. They worked fine. Afterwards, Windows told me: "USB device not recognized. ❧ The last USB device you connected to this computer malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it." I ignored the message. You should too.

Press the HotSync button.

The Aceeca driver may be extremely slow. See here. I've started the process of synchronizing the 60 MB of data from my Treo 700p to a Windows 10 machine. After two hours, some progress has been made, but it's still not yet done. I think my AddressDB file may contain some corruption, and so I don't know whether or not the Address Book conduit will ever finish synchronizing. I may post a separate question about this. Or I might use Wireshark to watch the bits going over the USB cable and to see if any progress is actually still happening.

It may speed things up if you disable unneeded conduits; there's more information in this thread.

If you need more help

If any of the above methods doesn't work for you, please post a new question.

Sources

My sources for this answer include part of a Wikipedia article, plus other sources.

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  • Thanks for posting this. Looks like I'm not the only one eeking life out of an old Palm device. BTW, it looks like jpilot provides a way to sync some of the key PIM data, but doesn't include a general mechanism to sync application data. It looks like the Windows-based HotSync provided an interface that each app developer used to create their own sync provision. One of these days, I'll explore running HotSync in Wine. – fixer1234 Mar 27 '17 at 14:27
  • A) Glad I could help! B) You're not the only one. At reddit.com/r/Palm there's an active Palm users' community. C) If you want to use Palm Desktop in Wine, see its Wine AppDB page. D) Other than the basic four, which conduits do you need to use? – unforgettableidSupportsMonica Mar 27 '17 at 14:36
  • Ooh, more good info. Thanks. I used to use it as a mobile office, with extensive apps--MS Office replacement, MS Project replacement, various planning/organization tools like Shadow Plan, PDF and image software, a database app, etc. Your links will keep me busy for awhile. I thank you, my wife doesn't. :-) – fixer1234 Mar 27 '17 at 15:05
  • 1. No problem :) 2. Maybe you can find comparable apps for Android, such as Word, Excel, Docs, Sheets, Adobe Reader, and others. It might be easier to sync Android with the cloud than to sync your paid Palm apps with Windows 10. – unforgettableidSupportsMonica Mar 27 '17 at 16:30
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Thank you so much for your answer unforgettableid! I still use my Palm Tungsten E2, and by using the bluetooth method instead of plugging in my Palm directly to the computer, I was able to get it to sync perfectly! I didn't even have to download the 64 bit driver described in the post above to sync by usb cable. So, for anyone else with this issue, here is what I had to do to get my Palm Calendar to sync by bluetooth with Palm Desktop on my 64 bit Windows 10 computer:

  1. Install the Palm Desktop v6.2 application. Go to this website to download it: https://www.companionlink.com/support/kb/How_To_Set_Up_Palm_Desktop_On_Windows_10 Here are some things to note during the install process:
    • Since Palm is no longer an active company, the installer won't be able to download anything from the internet during the install process. Don't worry; this is fine.
    • Make sure to choose to sync with Palm Desktop during the install process. You won't be able to sync your palm with Microsoft Outlook because because Palm is only compatible with versions 98 to 2003. It's not compatible with versions 2007 and later.
    • The Palm also won't be able to plug in and sync with Hotsync during the install process, since without the 64 bit driver, plugging in to sync via usb only works with 32 bit systems. So, just click skip and finish the install.
  2. If you're worried about losing your data on your palm when syncing, just make sure to configure under the Hotsync settings that your "Date Book" only transfers from your handheld to computer (you'll have to go to applications, then click on the Date Book, then click configure, and select handheld overwrites desktop). However, I still don't believe there should be an issue with the syncing process deleting your Palm's calendar data even if you just leave it as the synchronize option. I was just being conservative by changing it to "handheld overwrites desktop".
  3. Now that palm desktop and hotsync are installed, read the manual for your palm model in order to learn how to sync your Palm with your computer via bluetooth. Here is the link to download the manual for the Palm Tunsten E2: https://www.manualslib.com/download/303179/Palmone-Tungsten-E2.html.
    • Once you follow all the steps in the manual, you should see the palm start syncing, and eventually you'll see your whole transferred calendar when you open Palm Desktop. Note, though, that for some reason I had to bring up the "Bluetooth & other devices settings" when trying to get my Palm to bluetooth sync with my computer.

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