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Old 05-31-2017, 04:00 PM   #1
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How To Restore a Zaurus SL-5500 SD Card Backup To A Different Unit?

Hello, I'm new to this forum. I purchased two "vintage" Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 PDA's, one as a main unit and one as a backup. Call them "A" and "B". After typing all my contacts into "A", I backed up "A" to an SD card. Obviously, there's no problem with restoring the data back to "A". However, I noticed that I CANNOT restore the data to "B". To me this is kind of dumb, because my whole plan is that if "A" gets lost or damaged, I want to be able to restore my data to "B" and carry on with life. I don't know anything about Linux, but I was hoping one of the gurus out there could answer this for me. Since this is such a sophisticated unit, I imagine there should be some kind of workaround for this problem. Again, in short, how to restore an SD-card backup from SL-5500 "A" to SL-5500 "B"? Thanks in advance for any assistance!
Old 05-31-2017, 08:50 PM   #2
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Welcome to LinuxQuestions.

Originally Posted by Erroll View Post
I noticed that I CANNOT restore the data to "B".
What software did you use to try to restore it and what error indications did you get?

Steve Stites
Old 06-01-2017, 02:14 PM   #3
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Hi Steve, thanks for your prompt reply. I'm using the backup/restore utility that is built into the Zaurus. I'm not 100% sure, but from some basic research I believe the program may be "Smartbackup". Here is a link to info on it:

I have attached a screenshot: As you can see, when I insert the SD card in the alternate Zaurus and go into the restore function, I select "Restore", and then "SD", but the "Start" button is greyed-out (non-functional) so I cannot proceed. If I do the same thing on the primary Zaurus (where the backup was created) I get the same screen but the "Start" button is clickable and I can restore as normal.

It just seems pretty strange that I can restore to the source machine of the backup but not to a different machine of the same exact model.
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Old 06-01-2017, 03:32 PM   #4
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Maybe some unique naming in there to prevent users from doing what you want.

I'd look at the format and way the data looks on a linux system with a card reader. You may discover what is going on (assuming you can read the sd card)
Old 06-02-2017, 06:04 PM   #5
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I looked at the backups on my SD card and the naming format is as follows: YYYY-MM-DD-HH-MM.backup_sl5500-US-3. So my latest backup from 11:59PM on 5/29 is called 2017-05-29-11-59.backup_sl5500-US-3. All the other backups share the same file extension of ".backup_sl5500-US-3". I can open the file on my laptop with Notepad but the format is crazy, looks like a debug dump. I can see pieces of my address book data in there, but it's garbled up with special characters and not really in any usable form. I suppose the key to solving this may be to determine what would make a backup unique to a particular SL-5500? Maybe I'll create a backup on the auxiliary machine and see if the naming convention is different... In the meantime I'm all ears (eyes?) for any other suggestions...
Old 06-05-2017, 11:25 AM   #6
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By googling around I have found a post where it is suggested to rename the backup by changing the "3" digit at the end with "unknown", in your case "2017-05-29-11-59.backup_sl5500-US-3" would become "2017-05-29-11-59.backup_sl5500-US-unknown". I'm not sure what that number means, but I suspect that it indicates the revision of the kernel and/or the Sharp ROM version installed on the device where the backup has been made. If the revision in the filename and on the destination Zaurus don't match, the backup tool might refuse to flash the backup. I don't have here my 5500 ATM, but there should be an About menu where you can verify which version of the OS you are running.
You might also want to first flash the same OS version/ROM on both devices before making a backup, to avoid to flash a different version over the original one. Here's a updated Sharp ROM for the 5500, which allows to use the whole 64MB of RAM on these devices:

You'll need a CF card (or an SD one on an CD adapter) in order to reflash your devices, as this ROM is distributed as a complete dump of the flash memory, and it has to be flashed using the internal flashing software which only supports CF cards.



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