Random rants

Nokia N97 - Optimisation Tips & Tricks

, posted: 3-Aug-2009 17:45

Welcome to the second in a series of blogs about the N97.

In my first blog, I highlighted all the major desired and required featues that are still missing from the N97, as well as bugs still to be sorted.

In this blog, I will explain how to best optimise the N97, using all the tips, tricks and techniques I have learnt and experimented with over the past month or so.

Let me warn though, everyone has different expereinces, and while the steps I explain below myself and many others have followed and know work, I make no guarantees that you will obtain the same results.

I have broken my tuturial down into two major sections...
1) The whole process in order (with no detailed explanaion)
2) Each stage in detail

So lets begin: 

1) The whole process (in order)

If you do not know how to do any one of these steps, read below for detailed instructions.
- Backup your contacts and messages etc by syncing to Ovi online, and any files you want to keep to your PC
- Uninstall all apps found in the Program Manager first, then;
- Format the Mass Memory, then;
- Reset the phone using *#7370#
- Reinstall your apps, but only on the E: drive (mass memory)
- Change the dowload directory settings in the following apps:
-- Ovi Store
-- Messaging
- Done

Hopefully, your N97 is now speeding along with no errors or warnings to be seen.

2) Individual areas that can be optimised

- Apps (install location)

The default install location of most of the apps on the N97 is the C: drive (phone memory), but this is an issue due to the C: drive having only 75MB of available memory total, much of which is used automatically by pre-installed Nokia apps.

When the C: drive memory gets to low, errors and warnings start poping up and the UI can lag for obvious reasons.

For this reason, it is highly recommended to install all apps on the E: drive (mass memory) as there is plenty of space to spare there, and thus doing so avoids issues and errors due to lack of memory being available on the C: drive (phone memory). 

It should be noted, that if you are going to uninstall and then reinstall your apps on the E: drive (mass memory), you want to be sure you can reinstall them...

Most apps that comes pre-bundled with the N97, are available free of charge from the Ovi Store.
Otherwise, if you have paid for apps, check that you have a serial or docket hence a way of getting a copy again, otherwise you may find yourself having to pay again.

To uninstall apps, take the following steps:
Menu > Setings > Application mgr. > Installed apps > select app > Options > Uninstall 

When reinstalling apps, the installation process will ask you where you would like to install the app, select the E: drive (mass memory).

The only apps that cannot be installed on the E: drive (mass memory), is the Ovi Store client, and N-Gage, they have to be installed on the C: drive (phone memory)

Following this process, you should have freed most of the space on your C: drive (phone memory) and should expereince less or no errors, and increased performance.

- Apps (their settings)

This section ties into the first, being that it is preferable to have everything installed or saved to the E: drive (mass memory).

That in mind, after installing any app, go into its settings and see where it saves informaion and files etc, and if not set already, set it to the E: drive (mass memory), otherwise, I will cover two default apps here:  

-- Ovi Store

By default, the Ovi Store will save downloads to your C: drive (phone memory), it is preferable to change this to the E: drive (mass memory), by doing the following:
Open the Ovi Store app > Options > Account > Setitngs > Installation preferences > set both options to 'Memory card' > Save

Once that change is made, all new downloads will be saved to the E: drive (mass memory)

-- Messaging

Again, Messaging is another default app that saves to the C: drive (phone memory) by default.
To change it, do the following:
Open the Messaging app > Options > Settings > Other > Memory in use > change to 'E: Mass Memory'

Having made these changes should again save C: drive memory (phone memory), thus preventing future poor performance due to lack of memory. 

- E: Drive (Mass Memory)

There is by default, alot of rubbish on the E: drive (mass memory), with plenty of unused and confusing folders...for this reason, we can clean it up by doing a good old fashioned format.

This process will wipe everything on the E: drive (mass memory), so backup anything you wish to keep.

To format the E: drive (mass memory) take the following seps:
Menu > Applications > Office > File manager > E: Mass Memory > Options > Format Mass memory

Having followed that process, the E: drive (mass memory) will be wiped clean and just a few default folders left.

- Updates

Installing the latest updates and firmwae is highly recommended as not only do Nokia include new features, but more importantly, they include bug fixes and inceased stability and speed.

To update to the latest firmware (phone operating system), ake the following steps:

--On your phone:
Dial *#0000# > Options > Check for updates > Yes

--Via your PC 
Connect your N97 to your PC via the USB cable, and select 'PC Suite' mode
Open the 'Nokia Software Updater' (NSU) app
Start > Next > Update (if new firmware is available)

The above mentioned is for updating the firmware, but you can also update other apps via Nokia's built-in 'SW update' app, it is found doing the following:
Menu > Applications > SW update

Selecting it will automaically run the update, and it will list any updates available.
What you install depends on what apps you run, but at the very least, install the update:
N97 C: Phone memory update

That update will help improve the N97 performance by freeing space on the C: drive (phone memory)

Having followed those steps, you should have the latest firmware and updates, and a more stable and faster N97.

- Reset

The reset, is used when all else has gone wrong and you want to start again from the begining.

Word of warning, should you reset your phone, you will loose everything on it, so make sure to backup your contacts and messages etc to syncing to Ovi online, and backup any files you want to keep to your PC.

This reset will also wipe apps, but as most preinstalled apps on the N97 are available free of charge on the Ovi Store, that is generally a non issue, but if you have paid for apps, make sure you have a way to reinstall otherwise you may have to pay for again.

This reset technique, is only a 'soft reset', meaning it will put the N97 back to a 'as new' state, but will still retain your network provider and the latest firmware previously installed.

To reset your N97, take he following steps:
Dial *#7370#

Once this has been done, the N97 will be restored to its original state, and you will have to go through he process of adding your contacts again, and reinstalling any apps you want.

Having followed this reset process, the N97 should be flying along, and you will notice hat many of the previous default folders and apps have been removed and not reinstalled.

If you are going to reinstall apps, please read and follow the steps stated above in the section titled: Apps (install locaion), so to not drag the speed of the N97 back down.

I hope this all helps, but as previously warned, results vary, everyone has different expereinces and I make no guarantees.

Do you have any other suggestions, tips or tricks?

Other related posts:
Motorola Nexus 6 Review
Nokia N900 - Initial Review
Kiwibank 'heaps'

Author's note by TheBartender, on 3-Aug-2009 21:04

My next blog will list all the download sites and uisefull apps I have found...stay tuned

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Euan Andrews
Lower Hutt
New Zealand

I'm a 32yo male, living and working in the Wellington region.

I currently work as a manager for Interislander, having worked in the Hospitality industry for about the last decade.

I have interests in computers, gadgets and information, and love to be 'in the know', hence I read vasts amount of information online, anything from tech news, gadgets to current events and history.

Being a movie buff and having an interest in computers, I setup a wiki about Home Theatre PC's, and have recently built my own HTPC.

I was also heavily involved with the setup and design of the NZ Connections Wiki, having been invited by Cokemaster to help, as a result of my extensive and ongoing interest in ISP's. 

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