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Losing db files

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:22 am
by macmedix
Hi, I'm using HandBase 4.1.5 on a Palm Centro. I have a number of HandBase databases, and the ones I use most keep disappearing from the handheld! I sync every couple of days to Mac (OS X 10.5.8) via palm factory usb cable & the Palm (v4.2.1) hotSync software (Still works after all these years). I don't believe the problem relates to the sync, as I have seen HB files disappear during the workday when I have not synced lately. Only files with recent activity will disappear.

Some time ago, I noticed that the Hotsync will sometimes stop backing up al the palm files to the Mac. I don't know, why, but moving or deleting the files from the Mac Palm "Backup" folder at
will result in the backups working again for awhile. Doesn't seem to be a permissions issue, so I have no idea why.However, I don't think this is actually related to the problem, but it means that when HandBase loses my database I don't have a copy in the desktop computer. So this is a serious problem.

Anyway- HD files are disappearing from the Palm. When this happens, (and I notice it and I remember the names of the missing db files) the only apparent recourse is to restore the individual files from the daily BackupMan backup. If it wasn't for that little 5am automatic backup to Palm micro memory card I would have lost all my important HandBase data forever. Several times. So when I restore an individual file, say "TapTotal 1.2g 2010" BackupMan will report that the file already exists on the Palm handheld. Exists, but HB can't see it. So I restore, losing the missing/broken file, and go forward. The files work after that. However, this does sometimes mean data loss, and it is happening more often. So I'm getting very concerned.

I thought that maybe copying a db shell and hand-entering new data into it might help, but one of those files went missing today as well.

Why is HB losing my db files, and what can be done to fix this?

Dave Nathanson

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 10:08 am
by dhaupert
Hi Dave,

Thanks for writing. Unfortunately I don't really have good news for you. The problem you describe is one that plagued Palm OS users for many years, ever since Palm started using Flash memory instead of RAM on their devices. It is a problem that they created in devices at the end years of Palm OS and unfortunately never fully rectified. Here's an article on our support site describing the problem and our best attempt at a workaround: ... d=321&UID=

Please try the option and see if it helps you. Unfortunately the only other solution is to keep the database on the memory card- it seems that a database stored on the memory card won't be deleted by the rogue db check that happens on a device reset!

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:58 am
by macmedix
Thanks for your informative & quick response. Even though not good news, I appreciate it. Also glad to hear that this problem is limited to the Palm, as I am considering moving to iPod Touch, but have been worried about HandBase in general recently because of this data loss problem.

I am running Palm Garnet OS 5.4.9 and the 'enable NVFS workaround' checkbox' was already enabled. So I unchecked it to see if that helps. I also set BackupMan to run more often to reduce permanent data loss. (ever 4 hours during the day, rather than just once at 6am). And since you mentioned a full ram issue, I purged my text messages, in case they are hogging ram that might be better used for more important thngs. Do you think that might help? Should I delete other apps to free up more Palm OS memory? or is that not related? I have noticed that the Palm Centro often takes 30 seconds of blank screen & beeping to open a text message. Maybe that is also causing a device reset?

What I find interesting is that when BackupMan restores a lost HD database, it always says that the file already exists on the Palm. So the file was not deleted? Could there be a Palm OS file flag that just needs to be reset?

So 2 follow up Q's;
1) Will it help to delete unnecessary Palm apps & text messages?
2) Could editing the Palm OS File flags make a missing file visible to HB again?


Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:00 pm
by dhaupert
I was going to ask you if you were aware of any case where you saw a reset, and if that can be avoided, then maybe the database won't disappear in the first place. Perhaps the text message application is where this is happening.

In regards to your questions:

1. I don't think those would be related unless you're running out of free space.
2. I went through all of the flags for a file using Filez (a freeware) app and none seemed to make a difference. You could try installing that and if you see a db disappear again, you could then see if Filez can see it and if so, whether there are any flags set.

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:33 pm
by macmedix
Good to know, Thanks.
I don't recall having this disappearing database problem until I started using text messaging more often. So maybe that is part of the problem.
I often see a blank screen & a stall, but I didn't realize that was a Palm reset (and might be busy deleting my db files). There is no 'Welcome to Palm' screen, it just hesitates for a half minute on a completely blank screen & moved forward.

Thanks for your insight. Much appreciated.

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 3:50 pm
by macmedix
Does it help to prevent this problem if I close the db file by returning to the HB "Choose Database" screen - by tapping the "home" button to exit the db?

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:12 pm
by dhaupert
I don't think it really makes a difference- either way it calls the same save routines.

Have you tried storing on the memory card? I have not heard of any disappearing databases when using them on the memory card..

Re: Losing db files

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:35 pm
by macmedix
If I can successfully make it to the "Choose Database" screen without a problem, does that mean that my database has been correctly saved and not so vulnerable to being deleted after a Palm OS crash?

Usually when I lose a database it is when I am NOT using HandBase and the Palm OS has a hiccup. So I'm thinking that I could train myself to always properly exit the database if that helps prevent database deletion by the Palm OS as you explained. If that helps. Thanks for your help & explanations about this, it really matters to me and I appreciate it.

Re: Losing db files - Follow up

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:22 pm
by macmedix
Hi, it's been a year since I had that problem of disappearing databases. I did try the work around DaveH linked to; opening the db, select Preferences from the options menu, go to the "Other" tab, and X the box for NVFS bug work around. Results were inconclusive for me. (Palm Centro phone, Palm OS Garnet v.5.4.9, HanDBase v4.1.5)

So I set BackupMan to backup the Palm Phone every 4 hours to a memory card. Not only does that give me a far better chance at retrieving a database if lost - but it seems to prevent the loss in the first place! I don't claim to know why, but I haven't lost a database in almost a year since!