How To: Back up your Palm Profile Information | webOS Nation

How To: Back up your Palm Profile Information

by Robert Werlinger Tue, 24 Nov 2009 1:17 pm EST

While we have no evidence to suggest that the failure of Palm Profiles to successfully sync contacts to newly activated webOS devices is a widespread phenomena , it is widespread enough to be a cause of concern.  These recent developments, compounded with the Danger fiasco last month, should serve to reinforce the importance of data redundancy, even in the days of "cloud computing." To echo Dieter's sentiments on the issue:

Our advice: your key data should always be in a minimum of three places:

  1. Your Pre (where it's persistent as long as you don't erase anything)

  2. A cloud service (Palm, Google, Exchange, etc)

  3. Someplace 'else.' For most of us that will be your desktop, where hopefully you're pulling down your data from Google or Exchange. If you're using Palm's profile exclusively, we suggest you take a look at one of the several desktop sync apps that are available now.

Aside from using third party programs like Mark/Space's The Missing Sync or Chapura's PocketMirror, there really isn't an easy to take the contact information stored in the Palm Profile and export it for use in other services, such as gmail or Yahoo.  There is a utility in the works by DrewPre that's intended to fill this void, as first reported by Derek earlier this week, but it has yet to be released to the public as of this writing.

Those who want to back up their data without parting with money are still in luck, however: utilizing the tools and resources already made available to us by members of the webOS community, it is possible to back up the contents of your Palm Profile, and even export the contacts contained therein to the cloud service of your choice.

Here's how.

Step 1: install and configure webOS Quick Install 

Follow the directions here for installing and configuring Jason Robitaille's webOS Quick Install, and what steps are needed to get your webOS device ready for the procedure.

Step 2: Extract PalmDatabase.db3

Per the webos-internals wiki, everything in your Palm Profile is kept in an sqlite database located in /var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3.  If that sentence doesn't make much sense to you, that's okay.  To extract the database file, connect your webOS device to your computer, selecting "just charge".  Start webOS Quick Install and navigate your way to Tools > Receive file, where you'll enter "/var/luna/data/dbdata/PalmDatabase.db3".  Select where you'd like the program to save the file, and click "Get From Device!".


Step 3: Archive, Export, or Transplant

Archive: If you're not interested in transferring the contacts contained in PalmDatabase.db3, performing a weekly backup as a "just in case" is never a bad idea.

Export: If you are interested in exporting your contents to a cloud service, xybyre has created a program, which can be downloaded from here, that will extract the contents from the database file into a CSV file that can be exported into gmail, outlook and the like. Questions to the developer can be directed to him in this forum thread.

DrewPre also has a utility for doing this requiring users to root their devices, but the complexity of using his method is beyond the scope of this write up. If you're interested in more about this method, take a look though this thread in the forums.

Transplant: In the way that we were able to copy a file from a webOS device, it is also possible to copy a file to a webOS device.

So long as the OS version of the device the data is taken from matches that of the receiving device, you should be able to transplant PalmDatabase.db3 without any ill effect.  Just transfer the file over, restart the phone, and you should be good to go.

Further resources

As always, the forums are an excellent resource if you have any questions regarding this process at all.  Many, if not all, of the developers behind the programs and resources used for this quick how to maintain a regular presence there.  Go ahead, give 'em your thanks, and if you really dig their work, a donation.