Lost Your Software?

Sooner or later it happens, you need to access one of your programs and it's either gone, or hidden somewhere and you cannot find it.

Perhaps it's a Window's program that you haven't used in a while, or a Palm application that seems to have disappeared from your PDA.

Maybe you have even lost your Palm handheld entirely and fear your software went with it.

Fortunately, software isn't really lost as often as many would suspect, typically it's just misplaced.

Windows -

If it's a Window's program that you're looking for, the easiest approach is to use the "Find" option on your "Start Menu" and to search for just part of the program name that you're seeking.

For instance, if you are looking for a copy of the email program Eudora, just search for "Eudora" or "Eudora.exe" and it won't take long to locate the program, as long as it's still on your system.

Once found, you can "right-click" the program file, choose "Create Shortcut" from the drop-down menu and then drag the new shortcut to your desktop, or to any part of your Start Menu so you won't have to search for it again.

Often, the issue isn't finding a program, but making it run when the appropriate files are selected. Eventually, you'll find that clicking a JPG or GIF (for instance) no longer opens the picture with the software program that you've come to expect, or it won't open at all..

To solve this issue, you simply need to "re-associate" the type of file in question (in this case a JPG) with the software of your choice.

To do so, Windows XP users can just "right-click" the file and choose "Open" (or Open With, if available) from the resulting drop-down menu. Then select "Choose Program" from the options and you can select the software you prefer. Additionally you can check the "always use the selected program to open this kind of file" option so you won't have to repeat this procedure each time you want to launch such a file.

Windows 98 users can achieve similar settings but much hold down the Shift key while "right-clicking" the file.

Palm -

When looking for a missing Palm application on your PDA, make sure that you select "All" from the dropdown menu on the top right side of the main applications screen. Often programs that users think are missing are simply hidden in a different menu. Choosing "All" means that you can see all of your applications regardless of how they are categorized.

On the other hand, if a program has been lost or deleted from your Palm-based PDA, or you've actually lost your PDA and want to reinstall software on a replacement unit, then you need to locate the backup copies that are stored on the desktop or notebook computer that you use to HotSync with your PDA.

The exact location of the backup can vary somewhat, depending on the choices you made when you first installed the Palm Hotsync manager.

For most users, the software backup directory will be located in the following directory:

C:\Program Files\Palm\MS\Backup

But, you may also find them at:


Other options are possible, but the one constant seems to be that the directory will end with MS\Backup.

Often, your new PDA will automatically recognize this directory and re-install all of your old software for you. If this doesn't happen, then simply use Windows Explorer to navigate to this directory and you'll likely find copies of the software you've installed to your Palm-based PDA located there.

To make the process easier, you need to know that Palm-based programs end with a ".prc" file extension. Simply double-clicking on any of these files will cause your Hotsync manager to launch and thus schedule the program for reinstallation upon your next synchronization.

You will also likely find files that end with ".pdb" and these are typically data files that are used by Palm-based programs. These can be launched for installation as well, though should try to determine which ones are needed by reviewing the file names. When in doubt, re-install just the files you can determine that you obviously need. Then if some specific program is not working properly on your PDA, go back and look for likely candidates that may solve the problem.

For instance, if you're mapping software doesn't seem to display your maps, look for a file that makes sense, likely named after your city, town, county or state, for instance.

Whether your PDA automatically restores itself or not, the good news is that there's almost always a way to find and install the programs and data needed to be up and running in short-order.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale