Upgrading my O2 Xda Orbit to Windows Mobile 6

Windows Mobile 5 compared with Window Mobile 6
Before and after: Windows Mobile 5 (left) vs. Windows Mobile 6 (right)

I’d read a few days ago that O2 would be offering a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 so yesterday I went in search of such delights, and lo! as it says in the good book: seek and ye will find: software update for O2 Xda Orbit only

Browser caveat

Except, it doesn’t warn you in the Bible that if you’re trying to download the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade from the O2 website you can’t use Mozilla Firefox, it has to be Internet Explorer (or, oddly, Opera).

I spent ages entering my Xda Orbit’s serial number again and again only to be told that the serial number was wrong. I tried it again a little later in IE7 and got straight through to this page: O2 Xda upgrade page on HTC website, where I was able to download the 44.7 MB upgrade file.

Installation preparations

Installation was thankfully very simple and straight-forward. Here’s what I did to prepare for the upgrade:

NOTE: I’ve updated the link to the download as it doesn’t appear to be available anymore; I hope that helps (and that it’s the right file as I now no longer have my Orbit) — 8 October 2011.

  1. Download the software upgrade (Zip, 89 MB) for O2 Xda Orbit only
  2. Deactivated Co-Pilot 6 using these instructions (PDF, 28 KB)
  3. Connect the O2 Xda Orbit to my PC and synchronize with Outlook using Windows ActiveSync 4.5 (for Windows XP or earlier — Windows Vista does its own thing).
  4. Run the installation file, which is called RUU_Artemis_O2_UK_3.4.206.2_4.1.13.28_02.67.90_Ship.exe

Here’s a walk-through of the installation screens while upgrading from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6.

Step 1: Welcome

Welcome to the ROM upgrade utility

Not exactly a quiz this screen: just understand that this installation will wipe clean the Xda Orbit’s memory (but NOT any MicroSD card that you may have installed). That’s why it was important to sync with Outlook before the installation.

Tick the box to say that yes you want the software to purge the phone/PDA of all its sins, then click Next.

Step 2: Instructions

Follow the instructions

Aha! Instructions:

  1. Connect the PDA Phone to the USB cable.
  2. Establish an ActiveSync connection with your PDA Phone.
  3. Disable the standby and hibernation modes on the host PC.
  4. Make sure Main Battery has a charge greater than 50%.

If you’ve completed those steps then tick the box. The third instruction is quite important: the last thing you want to do is have your PC go into standby or hibernation midway through the upgrade.

Tick the box, click Next.

Step 3: Current ROM version

Current information about your PDA ROM

The application then checks the Xda Orbit and gives feedback on the Operating System ROM version found.

On my machine, running Windows Mobile 5 it found:

Image version:

Click the Update button

Step 4: New ROM version

New ROM version

Next the application tells you what OS ROM version it will upgrade you to:

Image version:

Click Next.

Step 5: Confirmation required

Confirm you are ready to update

After all that information, you are now finally ready to update your Xda Orbit’s OS to Windows Mobile 6. This screen simply tells you what to expect:

  • The PDA Phone is prepared for the update process.
  • The progress bar is displayed on the host PC and on the PDA Phone.
  • The completion screen is displayed on the host PC.

If that all sounds fine click on Next.

Step 6: Update in progress

Progress bar

The dialog window is now replaced with a non-closable progress bar window. (I tried to capture the shot at 45% but it was just too quick for me.) As indicated, the progress bar also appears on the Xda Orbit.

Step 7: Update complete

Congratulations! Your ROM update is now complete.

After a few moments the dialog window appears again indicating that the planets have aligned, there is once more a star over Bethlehem leading wise men from the east and the update to your PDA Phone’s OS has completed successfully.

First impressions

My first impressions of Windows Mobile 6 (WM6) are that it appears to be running a little faster and is more responsive and stable than WM5. It feels like Windows Vista’s ‘Mini Me’, with a more pearl-like Windows logo and some tasty Web 2.0-esque gradients.

Sadly the enhancements to Office Mobile don’t appear to have been in the areas that it could have most used them. For example, I still find the Tasks application unnecessarily complicated (for different views) and limited; Calendar still doesn’t have the flexibility of Pocket Informant or indeed of the Psion Agenda application from 1999!

One new-comer to Windows Mobile 6 is the inclusion of Windows Live, which now integrates with Windows Live Messenger. But be warned: if you don’t logout of Windows Live it will not shut down and will constantly attempt to connect to the Web via GPRS which could prove to be costly.

On the whole — niggles with Windows Live aside — I’m very impressed with Windows Mobile 6. I still don’t think that Office Mobile has a patch on the Psion EPOC R5 operating system applications (found in the Psion 5mx, Revo(Plus), Psion 7 or netBook) but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Recommended software

As it stands I’d say a newly upgraded Xda Orbit with Windows Mobile 6 is a pretty good mobile phone. But by adding a couple of commercial applications from SPB Software House it suddenly becomes an incredibly good one:

  • Spb Mobile Shell
  • Spb Phone Suite

Thanks to …

With considerable thanks to the folks at Xda Developer’s Forum for advice, and XDA-Orbit.com for just being there!

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Former Scrum master at Safeguard Global, Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

61 thoughts on “Upgrading my O2 Xda Orbit to Windows Mobile 6”

  1. Just out of interest, in the before and after picture at the top of this article, how did you manage to add those emoticon-type shortcuts at the top of your phone? They look nice and was wondering whether they’re an application you downloaded (if so where from?) or a feature I never knew my phone had!



  2. Hi Richard, that’s courtesy of the SPB Mobile Shell application, which is excellent.

    I have SPB Mobile Shell and SPB Phone Suite which have pretty much given me everything extra that I’d want from my phone.

    I’ll blog about these soon.

  3. I’ve upgraded to WM6 and I know find TomTom 6 is much slower in processing with extremely jerky map scrolling and pauses. Has anyone else found this?

  4. Hi your comment “And the inclusion of Spb Mobile Shell and Spb Phone Suite turns a pretty good PDA phone into a really good one” implies that both these applications would be available after the upgrade. Is this correct and if so where would they be located. I have performed the update but cannot locate them.

    Many thanks

  5. Hi Alastair, sorry for the confusion. I’ve amended the blog post accordingly to prevent such a misunderstanding again.

    SPB Mobile Shell and SPB Phone Suite are separate applications that you need to purchase separately from SPB Software House.

    I think they are very reasonably priced and do add some much needed functionality to the phone.

  6. Many thanks for the clarification Gareth. I have since downloaded the demo versions and agree with your comments.


  7. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    Between you (and google) I have now worked out how to update my Orbit. WTF they can’t specify IE only on the site I don’t know.

    Thanks for saving me hours of hassle

  8. I also tried unsuccesfully for a long time using Firefox to enter my serial code. I even rang up O2 customer service and they couldn’t help me, Thank goodness i found this page!

    I also agree that the download is SLOW – 20 kb/sec and im on 20% at the moment.

  9. great… after the upgrade Windows (xp media center) will not recognise my phone!

    How am i supposed to install all this SPB software that i have just got??

  10. Finally completed it. If you get stuck (for me kept crashing and losing communication (Error 602)) I found that a hard reset seemed to give it the necessary kick up the arse!

  11. hi.pl.help me after installing windows mobile 6 rom.my wifi lane connection not working.i can not open any sites..other probelm i cannot hard reset..this function not working…pl help me about this..when i connect wy device with wifi than sowing connectiong but can not open any sites

  12. Hi, great page sorted out my S/N not recognized problem. when i got my orbit at the beginning of the year it arrived unlocked so i could use it on any network, will this upgrade still leave it unlocked?

  13. Love this site, most useful indeed.

    I have a question that I cant seem to get an answer for. If I perform the WM6 upgrade and discover that i don’t like it then will I be able to return to my WM5 (presently on the phone).

    I am a bit worried that after the upgrade my tom tom navigator five will no longer work.


  14. Hi ilovemyprobe (great name),

    I’m about 99.9% certain that the answer is no: you will not be able to return to Windows Mobile 5 after the upgrade to Windows Mobile 6. I’m sure that the upgrade changes the information in the ROM thereby wiping the current data.

    However, my experience of Windows Mobile 6 is that it runs much faster than WM5, is more stable and I’ve not had any problems with software running on it (I had many problems with WM5).

    I don’t use Tom Tom Navigator 5, but I do use CoPilot Live 6 and it runs absolutely fine. I hope that’s some encouragement.


  15. Hi Gareth J M Saunders
    I still haven’t found out about the upgrade locking my xda to o2 but i have found out some information that might help out with some other peoples questions
    At the moment i use xda Orbit with TomTom Navigator 6 (Alk copilot live 6 came bundled with the xda) after looking at the TomTom site they say that TomTom navigator 6 is not compatible with wm6 and they offer no support. Alk replied to my compatibility email inquiry this morning saying Copilot live 6 is not compatible with wm6 but the due to be released copilot 7 will be. So an upgrade to wm6 for me could prove expensive unless someone knows of a patch for TomTom navigator 6 or copilot live 6.
    Thanks for reading.

  16. After much reading i decided to go ahead with wm6 upgrade and i too now have wm6 and TomTom Navigator 6 running ok except for the problem of TomTom Home not seeing my external memory card but i think that might be a TomTom Home problem not an upgrade one and i can live with that.

  17. Hi i have xda orbit and it works fantastic and tomtome 6 is ok do u think if i dawnload the windows mobile 6 will i face any problem with any of the softwear or with tomtom 6? if you have any idea just let me know please,
    thanks alot

  18. Hey!! Could you tell me whether this upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 is possible from WM 2003 which is currently in my O2 XDA Mini? Is it even possible to upgrade the XDA Mini to WM 5 even? Thanks a ton!!

  19. Hi Samir, you may encounter some problems with your current software, I don’t know what software you have. All I can say is that I had no problems whatsoever with any of my applications, and in fact some of them ran better under Windows Mobile 6.

    Hi Neo, as I understand it the upgrade there is hardware-specific to the O2 Xda Orbit — I could be wrong but that was my understanding. I recommend that you contact O2 about it (see http://www.my-xda.com/xdaminis.html)


  20. You definately saved me! I have spent many days trying to identify the right way to enter the S/N.

    How stupid not to mention that the site does not work with Firefox

  21. Hi

    Two things

    1) My name came about because I once owned a Ford Probe…….and I loved it ! ! !

    2) If you upgrade to WM6 you can never return to WM5 unless you go out and buy the software separately. Got that from 02.


    If I have tom tom nav 6 on my memory card at present and I update to WM6 tonight, will I need to reinstall the tom tom software?


  22. Great stuff, thanks for that. I was about to give up trying when I read here to use a different browser.

    Tried Firefox 2, ie6 and ie7 none worked for me but opera did the trick. Cant wait to install it now.

    Does anyone know if this upgrade is supposed to fix the random SD card corruption issue which seems to plauge the htc orbit ?

  23. Yes, I believe it does fix the SD card corruption issue. I had problems with that in WM5, not had any problems with WM6 at all, which is a relief.

    WM6 has been a real blessing, and fixed no end of problems — I’m delighted with it. (Even if I still prefer my Psion!)


  24. Hi

    Can you post the wm6 upgrade file as the o2 site appears to have a problem with the site at the moment, have been trying for days to get file, but the link to the htc download site doe not work.

    Many thanks


  25. Hi,

    I bought this fantastic XDA Orbit O2 in Germany. It is really great that the Saturn Store’s guys in Dusseldorf, where I bought it, had already upgraded it to WM6, but as everyone can imagine, it in German.

    I really like German but most of the time I just guess what the system messages are rather than understand them. As I understand English better, I really need to change the language.

    I have 2 issues now:

    – My German ROM version is GER while the upgrade ROM version seems to be which seems to be slightly lower than mine. Could this “downgrade” be performed? Or there should be no problem with it.

    – Last but not the least. As I mentioned, my XDA Orbit is in German and the reason why I need to perform this upgrade (or downgrade, call it as you like) is to change the language from German to English. Can I change the language from German to English by using RUU_Artemis_O2_UK_3.4.206.2_4.1.13.28_02.67.90_Ship.exe?

    Thanks in advance!

  26. I also have upgraded to WM6 (hoping it will solve my WiFi and SD card corruption problems), and although there is improvement on both fronts, ,y ring tone volume has dropped significantly. Even if I turn the volume control all the way up, it still is very quite, no matter if I use a built-in ring tone or an mp3 file (that otherwise plays great via the ear phone). I’m so unhappy with this, that would be willing to downgrade back to WM5.

    Has anyone experienced the same problem and have a solution? Or anyone figured out a downgrade path?

    Thanks, Akos

  27. Hi,

    I’ve upgraded my XDA orbit to WM6 and I have lost the comm’s, battery and close programme short cuts from the bottom right of the screen. Any ideas how to get it back?

    Also TomTom nav 6 works fine on the phone but I can’t get TomTom Home to work. Any ideas on any fixes?

  28. Hi

    Just bought a XDA orbit with wm6 preinstalled; seems to work fine if a bit sluggish,but speed is probably more to do with the speed of the orbit. I’m thinking of getting the TomTom nav 6 software but there seem to be lot’s of difference experiences running the software on orbit with wm6; un-usable to running slow.

    Any feedback of anyone using the software with above spec would be great.


  29. Hi. I first tried another version of the upgrade I found on google. But it crashed half way through. So now I am left with an XDA that will not boot, just sits with O2 on screen for hours. Can i use this upgrade if i cannot get Active sinc running. I can get it to usb mode. ps it will not except my serial no. even though i am using explorer?
    Thanks Terry

  30. Just so you know re above comment, it did work once i got the serial no. in. for those who dont know how to get to usb mode, hold power and record then reset, holding power and record buttons.
    Thanks Terry

  31. I have an Xda Orbit that I’ve upgraded from WM5 to WM6 – definite speed and stability improvements. I use Microsoft VoiceCommannd 1.6 and this lost its ability to announce the names/numbers of incoming callers after the WM6 upgrade though I have now fixed this.
    I also got CoPilot Live 7 and installed this but it is unusable – it slows down the Orbit to a snail’s pace and seems to take so much resource (processing power?) that Voice Command fails to understand EVERY spoken instruction. If I close CoPilot7 completely then Voice Command works again fine.
    Has anyone else had this problem?
    For me, a pocket PC phone without MS Voice Command is like a Ferrrari with no engine – nice to look at but next to useless!
    Help please ….

  32. Thank you for this site!

    I didn’t know about the “No Firefox” to download either, and had given up on the WM6 upgrade. Meanwhile, I’ve installed all kinds of stuff on my XDA – there really is some excellent software out there! So I was very unsure about the palaver of having to reinstall all that.

    In the end, I got brave and went to the update site, using IE7. What do I get, after several minutes wait, but the same message that I got in Firefox that my serial number isn’t valid.

    The number is written on the label under the battery, the thing says O2 and Xda on the front, but no, it’s not valid. The serial number looks like HT709FX04489 with a “B” a long way to the right of that. I’ve tried with and without the B, with the same results.

    Looks like I’m staying with WM5 🙁

  33. hey terry.

    when i go to hard reset, my computer detects the usb, but i cannot access it at all, not through windows mobile center or through the computer. any ideas ?


  34. Hello, just ugraded to WM6 following the info on this site and all seems well. Only when the update window came up my xda disconnected from activsync so came up with disconnection error, but I hard reset (as someone mentioned previously on this website) and then ran the update program again which then was uneventful. For those afraid to take the plunge, dont – WM6 seems much faster and reliable.

  35. Hi, I’ve Windows Vista and Windows XP PC and laptop but my XDA orbit was only recognised once on each and when I created the partnership, next time I connect my XDA to my Vista laptop the mobile goes into charging mode and media centre doesn’t recognise it. My desktop with Windows XP also not recognising the phone? What am I doing wrong.. Please help…


  36. Ok, so I’ve just bought an xda orbit running Windows 5 and TOMTOM 6.
    Seems to be mixed messages out there!

  37. I’d say yes. I found by upgrading to Windows Mobile 6 (WM6) from WM5 that my O2 Xda Orbit became much, much more reliable, easier and faster to use.

    With WM5 I had to reboot it two or three times a day. Now it’s two or three times a month, if that.

    Personally I recommend the upgrade.

  38. Hi Gareth.

    Thanks for the advice.

    Do you have any satnav running on your orbit? Did you have to reinstall it after the upgrade?

  39. I have CoPilot 6 installed on my Xda Orbit. I had to follow careful instructions . These were the instructions:

    Don’t install Windows Mobile 6 until you’ve deactivated CoPilot 6.

    1. On your O2 Xda open CoPilot Live on your O2 Xda
    2. Then click on Menu – Options – Licensing
    3. Select Deactivate followed by Yes
    4. You’ll now be given a deactivation code – take a note of this code as you’ll need it later
    5. On your computer open your internet browser and go to http://activate.alk.com/deactivate
    6. Enter your 25 digit product key code where prompted. This was the code on your product
    7. key card that was in the original packaging for CoPilot Live
    8. Enter the deactivation code you took a note of earlier
    9. Click on Submit
    10. You’ll now be told your product has been successfully deactivated and that you can
    11. Install the new operating system now
    12. On your O2 Xda select OK to confirm deactivation
    13. Now upgrade your OS and then manually reinstall and reactivate CoPilot 6

    Not sure if it’s the same with TomTom 6, but you’d be best to check with them first.

  40. hi i just bought a spv m600 with wm6.1 on it and it dose not have windows live messenger and i was wondering if anyone knew how to get it thanks

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