Okay, I realize that Palm handheld computers aren’t really much in use anymore, but there are still a few of us diehards that use it for a specific purpose. In my case, it’s for running GOLog, my ham radio field contest logger. If you’re wondering if you can run Palm Desktop on a modern Windows computer, read on.

Truthfully, there’s not much to installing and running Palm Desktop. The latest version is 6.2 and can be downloaded from here. I’ve installed it on two computers here–a Windows 7 32-bit netbook and my Windows 7 64-bit desktop. The installer for Palm Desktop should run without a hitch.

Palm’s help files for using Palm Desktop and HotSync Manager are pretty complete, and I’m not going to describe in detail how to use either of those applications, so consult those help files if you need additional information on using those applications.

The main issues begin to arise when you try to HotSync one of your devices. Palm Desktop allows you to HotSync using a serial connection, a USB connection, and over the network. In addition, you can configure Bluetooth-enabled Palms to HotSync via Bluetooth. By far, though, the easiest to set up are serial and USB HotSync’ing. None of my computers has an actual serial port these days, but a decent USB-serial converter cable will work with HotSync Manager–just plug in the cable, figure out its port number (COM1, COM2, etc.), and tell HotSync Manager to do a serial HotSync through that port. In this configuration, if HotSync Manager starts up when the USB-serial cable isn’t plugged in, HotSync Manager will display a warning message that the port is not available. This is harmless–just make sure you plug in the cable before you try to HotSync (obviously–how would you HotSync otherwise?).

HotSync’ing via a USB port is a little more challenging. It works fine on Windows 7 32-bit machines–in my case, when I first plugged in my Palm to a USB port and powered it on, Windows automatically ran Windows Update to located a suitable driver and installed it–no intervention on my part. After that, USB HotSync worked fine.

USB HotSync’ing on Windows 7 64-bit proved problematic initially. Palm states specifically that this will not work, but I learned that 64-bit USB drivers for Palm OS devices were available From Aceeca here. I downloaded and followed their instructions to install the drivers, and they worked perfectly!

The only other “gotcha” I experienced was that when I first attempted to HotSync with my old Handspring Visor, a fatal exception would occur during the HotSync process and it would fail. I finally tracked this down to the Package Installer application that HotSync Manager was trying to sync with my Visor. Once I disabled sync’ing of that application, everything else sync’ed smoothly.

Once I worked through the issues mentioned above, I’ve been able to HotSync all of my Palm OS devices (a Palm m100, a Palm T|X, and a Handspring Visor) without any issues.

11 thoughts on “Running Palm Desktop on Windows 7

  1. I too am a Handspring fan that hates to give up his visor. I installed the Aceeca drivers as instructed and all indications looked good. However, my handspring still will not connect and gives me the message “The connection between your handheld computer and the desktop could not be established. Please check your setup and try again”

    In your article you mention, “The only other “gotcha” I experienced was that when I first attempted to HotSync with my old Handspring Visor, a fatal exception would occur during the HotSync process and it would fail. I finally tracked this down to the Package Installer application that HotSync Manager was trying to sync with my Visor. Once I disabled sync’ing of that application, everything else sync’ed smoothly”

    Could you explain this in detail what you did. It would be appreciated. Thank you

    Reply
    • Open HotSync Manager Settings (right-click on Hotsync Manager in the system tray, and select Settings), then click the Applications link. In the list of applications that appears, make sure “Package Manager” is unchecked. Only the applications that are checked will be synced during a hotsync operation.

      Dave

      Reply
  2. Thank you, this was very helpful. I had no idea there were any versions of Palm Desktop which were compatible w/ Windows 7. Just installed it — Great! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Hi Dave,
    This is Dietrich in Switzerland, first time visitor to your pages (which I find very cool: kudos!). We seem to share a few interests: the outdoors, astronomy and… the Palm, which is what brought me here in the first place.
    I happen to be a fan of Palm Desktop (happy user since roughly 2000, i.e. some 15 years ago) who just had to re-install the software (version 6.2.2) on a new Windows 7 machine (my old one, also Windows 7, just died).
    Everything has worked out fine and I’m seeing all my precious data in Calendar, Address Book and Memos (wouldn’t know about HotSync because I’m no longer using the handheld – at least for now).
    I do have a problem though: when I hit ‘Find’ (ctrl F) I see a ‘loading…’ task bar opening bottom left, after which everything freezes, leaving me with ‘force quit’ as only option. In case you may have run across this before: any idea about possible cause and advice on how to try and fix the issue? Or where else to turn for help?
    This is in fact quite an annoying circumstance due to the large amount of data I’ve accumulated over the years, which I very often go back to (and actually is one of the principal reasons I’m so faithful to Palm Desktop!).
    Thanks much in advance.
    Best wishes,
    Dietrich

    Reply
    • Hi Dietrich,

      Thanks for the note–glad you’re enjoying my web site. Unfortunately, I haven’t run across the problem you’ve had and I don’t have a solution for you. I don’t use Palm Desktop for any of my calendar or contact info–I only use it to sync a custom app I wrote many years ago.

      Good luck –

      Dave

      Reply
  4. Many thanks, I was able to finally recover files from my old Handspring Visor 2Gb that I got back in ’99. I was stumped until I found out about turning off the Package Manager when trying to sync with a 64bit system. If I need to re-install some software onto the Visor, I can find a Win7 32 bit system to install the programs

    Reply
  5. The Hotsync software for Windows 7 is no longer available. I would appreciate if someone could send the program to me,

    Reply
  6. I have been running Desktop 6.2.2 on my Windows 7 – 32 bit with NO problems until recently. Now, when I open Palm Desktop, I get NO contacts, calendar, etc. I only get Media + Listpro + Install. My Palm TX and my Treo 650 will sync, however, this is useless if I cannot display them on my computer. Any ideas?

    Reply
  7. Hi. Thanks for your site. I continue to be in love with my Treo 755p, largely because of a fantastic time tracking program, Times for Palm, that was never updated to any other OS. All was fine so long as I was syncing with my previouis Win7 32 bit laptop, but it died. So I bought another, but I can’t seem to get the Palm Desktop software (from the original Sprint Treo CD) to load. I go through the normal installation, see the announcement that it has been successfuly installed as well as the shortcut to the app on screen, but when I click on it, the program freezes as soon as the opening Palm Desktop window appears. Sorry, I’m only a technically dependent but ignorant carpenter: any clue why the program doesn’t load properly and what I can do to fix this? Thanks.

    Reply

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