Hotsync’ing multiple Sony Clié devices to the same PC

Nice little devices but they sure can be tricky to hotsync…
Updated May 4, 2003

Following on the purchase of a Shuttle SS51 Small Form Factor PC, I had to install everything once again. I printed out the procedure below thinking I’d simply follow it through and be one with it. Not quite… The processes that worked this time was actually fairly straightforward: Install T675 software without USB switcher for user A and synchronize. Log out, log back in as user B, install same software the same way and synchronize. Done. Of course it sounds easy once you’ve tried out everything else.

Useful things to know

  • If things used to work fine and suddenly you can’t sync anymore, try a soft reset of your clié before anything else.
  • If you’re attempting to restore hotsync for an existing PDA, don’t forget to remove all software from the \Install\ directory where Sony puts everything. It will save you a few minutes on your first new hotsync.
  • Registry entries are created when a new USB device is discovered. What helped me was (once all software had been deleted) to delete the following (watch out for placeholders *):
    • KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\*ControlSet*\Enum\USB\Vid_054c&Pid_009a\

Original procedure

Along the lines of the comments I’ve made on synchronizing a Palm IIIx and a Sony Clié to the same PC, I’ve now had the chance to face a similar – if not identical – situation involving two of those lovely Sony devices.

Things may ultimately not be as difficult as I thought. What caused me to spend a good part of last saturday working on it, however, is the different software Sony provides with its Clié PDAs. You would think my wife’s T625C and my brand new T675C would be similar enough for their desktop software to happily cohabit. Well yes… and no.

As you should always do with hotsync issues, I began by uninstalling everything related to it. That means removing the Palm Desktop, PocketMirror, KeyContacts, Secret, AvantGo, … and whatever other applications that sync data to and from your PDA. After backing up our personal files, I even removed the “Sony Handheld” installation directory and a few related registry keys.

Starting from scratch, and sparing you the details of my trials and errors, here is a sequence that works:

  1. Log in as user A
  2. Install the Palm Desktop that comes with Sony’s T625C, including the little USB Switcher utility
  3. Install Chapura’s PocketMirror (I like it better than the Intellysinc software that Sony ships) and any other applications you wish to sync.
  4. Check that you can sync without USB Switcher via local USB.
    If this is not a clean install, you may get asked wether you want to create a new account for network synchronization – this may just be a leftover from all the options you tried before. Clicking ok allows things to proceed smoothly.
  5. Log in as user B
  6. Install the same Palm Desktop software as above, even if user B uses a different PDA (a T675C in my case). Don’t forget to perform a custom install and select the USB Switcher utility.
  7. Install additional applications that you wish to hotsync.
  8. Sync user B’s PDA via local USB without USB Switcher

In my case, the memory stick driver in the T675C ended up not being recognized until I installed Sony’s MS Export utility and rebooted.

Sounds easy, hey? Well it is, but you should absolutely not install two versions of Sony’s Palm Desktop software. I wasn’t able to identify all the differences, but the USB driver is one of them – and having multiple versions screws things up badly. I couldn’t even make sense of the version numbers in the PalmUSBD.inf file (any indications are welcome).

For whatever reason, each device wasn’t recognized by the same username as it used to be.

Phase II

Since I had to fully re-install our PC, I had to go through the procedure once again…

Key to the little success I achieved was to alway delete files prior to re-installing them. In addition, a warm reset of the Clié helped at one point restoring the T625’s ability to hotsync. It used to be litteraly invisible to Windows until I performed that harmless

There’s a FAQ maintained here that may help with similar issues. Apparently some folks are not fully happy with their Sony experience either… Here’s a list of USB ids by vendor and device. It helped me confirm which registry keys to get rid of in certain occasions.

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