Upgrading your AT&T Tilt to Windows Mobile 6.5 (tutorial)

I’ve been meaning to look in to how to do this for awhile, and finally worked up the willpower to do it…

Here’s how you can upgrade your AT&T Tilt to Windows Mobile 6.5.  Why would you want to do this?  Well…it’s new!  6.5 brings some nice feature upgrades, as well as generally making the whole operating system more finger-friendly.  Here’s a couple screenshots of my phone now:

WM 6.5 Today Screen from the TPC Elite Series ROM

WM 6.5 Today Screen from the TPC Elite Series ROM

WM 6.5 Start Menu

WM 6.5 Start Menu

One last thing before we get into it.  It seems like there’s a lot of stuff to do to make this work.  Keep in mind that most of this stuff is only done once.  Every other time you want to change your ROM it will be much easier.

Ok, on to the tutorial.

Step Zero – Let’s Break Stuff

Please note that if you don’t follow the directions well, or you use some weird ROM that no one else has heard of, or lightning hits your house while doing this….you can permanently break your phone!  I don’t take any responsibility for anything bad that happens as a result of the following.

That being said, it’s a pretty fool-proof process as long as you follow directions.

Step One – Backup your data

You’ll want to be sure you back up stuff on your phone that you don’t want to lose.  For me, I was mainly concerned with all the contacts.  If you’re syncing your phone to Outlook on your PC, your contacts are already backed up.

If there’s more you want to back up, Tilts have a program called Sprite Backup on them which you can use to back up just about everything on your phone.

Be sure you think about what you want to keep for awhile.  For example, I also had an extensive collection of bookmarks to mobile-friendly websites so I was sure to back those up as well.

Step Two – Finding a ROM

You’ll need to head over to the xda-developers forum for the Kaiser.  (Kaiser being the name given the ATT Tilt hardware by it’s original manufacturer.)  Peruse the ROMs available and download one that it seems you would like.  Getting the ROM with all the features you want on the first try isn’t necessary, as once we’re done it’ll be easy to move from one ROM to the next. You can get a copy of the original ROM for your device if you ever want to go back (or you need to do a warranty return).

Update:  Several people have a hard time finding a ROM to use.  My favorite is the ROM created by twopumpchump which you can find in this thread here.  I’m currently using v11 of his ROM, but he should have v12 out before long.

In case it’s not clear, you are downloading Windows Mobile 6.5.  The “v11” refers to the fact that twopumpchump has created 11 versions of the Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM.  The differences between each version relate to software that is included with the ROM, updated versions of WinMo 6.5, and other little goodies.

Step Three – Note your radio version

There appears to be a bit of voodoo about the software package that manages the different radios on your device (WiFi, GPRS, etc).  Some ROMs work better with different radios.  The easiest tack to take is to leave your radio alone unless the ROM maker specifically says it must be changed or if after upgrading your ROM you run into the problems talked about in this forum post.  In the least I’d make note of your current radio version.

To check your radio version, just turn your phone on (or off and then on) and look at those red numbers in the lower right corner of the screen.  Those are the version numbers of the various software packages required for your phone to run.  The one that starts with an “R” is the version of your radio.  Make note of it.

Step Four – Let’s get started! (Or, time to flash HardSPL)

Download this file and unzip it.  The following is ripped straight from the xda-devs forum

Flashing via ActiveSync with USB Lead
1. Copy JumpSPL1.56-KAIS.exe, JumpSPL1.93-KAIS.exe and JumpSPL1.94-KAIS.exe to your device memory (NOT STORAGE CARD)
2. Pull out the battery and reinsert it (this step IS important) *DONT turn phone back on yet*
4. Turn phone back on and let it boot back into your operating system
5. Connect your phone to PC with a USB cable and wait until it syncs with your PC
6. Run File Explorer on your phone, browse to where you copied JumpSPL1.56-KAIS.exe on your device and run it (make sure the USB cable is still connected). If you get a white screen then reset your device and now try JumpSPL1.93 and lastly try JumpSPL1.94 if that one doesnt work.
7. CLick Continue on phone when prompted
8. After a few seconds the tri colour screen will appear on the phone and “USB” will be displayed at the bottom
9. Unplug the usb cable for 30 seconds and then Replug (phone will not re-sync but still says “USB” on the screen)
10. Right click on the Activesync icon in the bottom corner icon on the computer, goto connection settings, deselect “Allow USB connections” and click “ok”
11. Run the KaiserCustomRUU.exe file on your PC thats in the same folder as the HardSPL .nbh file and follow instructions (ticking boxes and clicking Next) *DO NOT re-enable USB Connections in Activesync*
12. Update will goto 100% (should take less than a minute), the Congratulations screen will be displayed on the PC and the phone will restart
13. Unplug USB cable from phone then REPLACE SIM and SD CARDS !!
14. Restart phone

*Remember to re-enable “Allow USB connections” in Activesync connection settings after a successful flash*

The only additional information I would add to the above is this:  If you’re using Vista or Windows 7, you don’t have an Activesync icon.  In those two operating systems you use Mobile Device Center.  Just hit the Start button, type “Mobile” and then select it from the list.  For step 10 you select “Mobile Device Settings” and then “Connection settings”.

At this point, you’ve made it so you can flash a new ROM any time you want.  None of the previous steps need be done again.

Step Five – Flash your ROM

Again, ripped straight from xda-devs forum

Flashing Via ActiveSync(Mobile Device Center)
1. REMOVE SIM and microSD CARDS !!
2. Turn phone back on and wait until it syncs with your PC
3. Run the KaiserCustomRUU.exe from the Roms Folder
4. Once phone finishes flashing, resets and gets to the screen where it configures the stylus, HARD RESET
(press left and right softkey buttons on the front and hold in reset with stylus until message appears)
5. When prompted, Press “Send Button” (Green Call Button on Front) to Clear Data
6. When prompted, Press “Send Button” (Green Call Button on Front) to Restart Phone
7. Follow onscreen instructions to set up your New Rom
8. Once phone has gone through customisation procedure then replace Sim and microSD Cards
9. Turn phone back on and set up as required

You’re basically done.  If your ROM came with a preferred radio, you may want to flash it, which is done in the same way you flash your ROM.

Update:  Some of the keys on the keyboard are swapped around on the Tilt when you flash a new ROM.  To fix that go here.

Leave a comment ?


  1. hey I tried this but I got to the flashing part and it got to 1% and said invalid model id I tried it several times and got the same message. what should I do. please help, Kyle

  2. I tried this too but nothing happened. I found the forum where the documentation originally came from and it didn’t make much sense. For instance, where’s the ROMs folder? How do I get KaiserCustomRUU.exe to recognize the ROM that I downloaded?

    • For instance, where’s the ROMs folder?

      When you download the file it’s going to probably be some sort of compressed file like a zip file. So, the ROMs folder is going to be wherever you extract it to.

      How do I get KaiserCustomRUU.exe to recognize the ROM that I downloaded?

      The ROM just has to be in the same folder as KaiserCustomRUU.exe.

  3. Thanks Dustin. I had tried adding the ROM to the folder but it just doesn’t seem to work for me. I download a file named 21929_Full.7z from xda-developers forum. Could it be I have the wrong file?

  4. Could it be I have the wrong file?

    That probably isn’t what you want. My favorite ROM right now is this one. (Currently version 9 is the newest.)

  5. Wow, that looks awesome. I will download that and try the upgrade again.

  6. Dustin – Do you, or does anyone you know upgrade Tilts? I am technically inclined but time challenged. You guys have done the research, tweaked the version and can do a better job in a shorter period of time than I can. Let me know, I’d like to talk to you if you are interested or know of someone who does this work. Thanks!

  7. excellent tut…thanks!

  8. thank you very much for ur detailed information

  9. I went through the process I still have WM 6.1 after the customization and reset.

  10. Can you repost that link to Version 9 or the newest version you are on now?

  11. I’m using v11 from here. I haven’t had time to upgrade to the newest version called Titanium Ultimate.

    FYI, when people talk about Titanium on WinMo 6.5 they’re talking about thew new home screen layout like in the first picture in the above article.

  12. hey, i really want to change up my phone but i’ve never done this before and i’m worried about bricking my phone. Are the instructions as easy as they seem to be?

  13. for me I completed step 4 no problem, but step 5 was not working for me. After I did the hard reset my phone came back to WM6.1. It actually took a combination of reading different blocks to figure it out. My suggestion is complete step 4 on this page, then click on Dustin’s link and download one of the builds there. Then follow step 5 but use the download from Dustin’s link. See if that works.

  14. hey, i really want to change up my phone but i’ve never done this before and i’m worried about bricking my phone. Are the instructions as easy as they seem to be?

    I was quite nervous to flash my phone as well. In fact, I started thinking about doing it over a year ago, but never worked up the courage. In the end it turned out to be a bunch of worry about nothing. It was easy.

    I’m going to make a change to the post as Anonymous suggests and recommend a specific ROM instead of pointing you to the forum full of them.

  15. I updated the post with some more information in Step 2. This should fix the problems Anonymous mentions above.

  16. how about the performance of the phone? will these roms slow down the phone? the number one thing that bothers me about my att tilt is that it’s too slow.

  17. how about the performance of the phone? will these roms slow down the phone? the number one thing that bothers me about my att tilt is that it’s too slow.

    One of the big reasons for upgrading your ROM is that it increases your phone’s speed. The cooks (that’s what they call people who develop custom ROMS) strip out a lot of the stuff that carriers like AT&T put on the phone that slows it down.

  18. HI, I just upgraded to the titanium the way you described. Works pretty good but now I am getting a warning that the memory is critically low. I have tried deleting anything I can think of but does not free up memory on the phone (I do have a storage card that is 10% full). I think this is preventing it from syncing with my computer. Have you had any issues with this? I ran the Ram cleaner and the temp cleaner programs on the phone as well. Thanks in advance for any help.

  19. okay well maybe i’m retarded, but nothing happened to my phone after step four. i did step five but my phone is….normal still. I downloaded the v11 rom onto my cpu, but the instructions never said to do anything with it. AHHHH help! Thanks.

  20. oops ignore my last question. I didn’t realize that the rom i dl’d had kaisercustomruu in the folder.

  21. That was the easiest thing i’ve ever done. I love my phone again. Thanks for your help.

  22. I’m glad this was of help to you!

  23. Hi, could you please make a list of ALL the stuff we should dounload (and the links). Thanks

  24. Hi, could you please make a list of ALL the stuff we should dounload (and the links). Thanks

    I did. That’s what the whole post above is for.

  25. Hi Dustin, Thanks for helping me with the problem with the memory. Once I followed the steps in the link that you posted here, everything was good. Thanks again for this article, it has brought new life to my tilt!!!

  26. on the slide to unlock screen my clock is in army time, how do i change it?

  27. Hi!! I need HELP!
    I did everything, step by step.
    I’m it Step 5, just did Hard Reset and it stay on a gray screen:
    Elite Rom Series

    and does not turn on, does not do anything else.
    What happened?? 🙁

  28. Nevermind… I’m Done. 🙂 Works fine! I used v.11 as per your recommendation. Is there a way to reduce time waiting on phone start?

  29. Thanks for this tutorial. I am beginning to like my Tilt again.

  30. Dustin. Went through the instructions on step 4. Must have missed a step because a Rom folder was not created on the phone. went back to do the unlocker and now my phone will not boot up past the ATT intro – black screen.

  31. @PB: A Rom folder isn’t supposed to be created on the phone. Be sure you read the steps again…carefully.

  32. I tried your procedure…but, as many people mentioned, it didn’t change any thing in my ROM
    But, I found one interesting thing in xda-developers web site. Some people are using 6.5.1, but didn’t understand how to install it. I would appreciate ff you can help us out.

  33. Am I Dreaming? » Just Upgraded to Windows Mobile 6.5! - pingback on November 1, 2009 at 1:02 am
  34. @Sri: I don’t see anyone here who weren’t able to finish upgrading their ROM. Make sure you go over the instructions exactly.

  35. Dustin,

    I have installed and looks good. The only problem is some times if I try to install any software and it fails or when I need to soft reset/reboot or hard reboot, when reboots, it stucks at the first TCP screen. Also, it wipes off the settings and previously installed apps as if it is a fresh install. Can you please help me what is wrong with the phone or software


    AT&T Tilt
    Previous OS: 6.1

  36. @Sri: Are you sure it’s stuck at the TCP screen? Sometimes it takes several minutes to get past that.

    Also, you may need to try changing your radio version. See here for the recommended radio version.

    You flash a new radio just like the ROM. (Step 5 in the post above.)

  37. Seems like…it is completely dead. I started and kept it for more than 30 mins. I am not seeing anything. I did soft book couple of times..and no use.

    Would it makes any difference…with and with out SIM and memory card ??

    Please help me to bring the phone back to live…. 🙁

  38. @Sri: So did you flash the recommended radio?

  39. I used my phone for one day. It worked OK for me but sluggishly. Today I was trying to open a third party application and it got stuck for long time. So, I soft reset it. After that the phone is not coming back to live, it just stuck at TPC screen only.

    I think I didn’t do the radio when I first install. But, everything worked OK for me. But, now I want to do the radio, but the phone is not coming to live, don’t know what to do??

    Is there any way I can roll it back to previous OS or factory settings ???

    My first priority is now bringing the phone back to live .. 🙁

  40. Have you hard reset it?

    You can flash a ROM via this method, if you’d like.

  41. The process was rather smooth up until the flashing part for me. It would load up the tri color screen and even make it to the load bar, but would then sit at 0% for the remainder until it failed.

    After plugging and unplugging several times I got it to work and now I am rocking windows mobile 6.5

    To be honest, 6.5 runs much smoother than 6.1 on my AT&T Tilt. There is no input delay or anything buggy, and the bluetooth implementation is much better. Thanks for the great read!

  42. Dear Dustin,

    Thank you for your help and support. I tried the “flashing via MicroSD Card” and used one “TPC_V11_KAISER_LOADED.rar” from XDA_Developers. It flashed from it and some how brought my cell phone back..but the problem is after resetting it and doing the intial setup, it is rebooting again and again and finally it stuck at TCP screen again.

    Do you think, I messed up my phone forever.

    Also, I downloaded a ROM “HyperDragon_IV_IOLITE_WWE_20090204.zip” from your dowloads and it has two files, when do we use “KaiserCustomRUU.exe” file.

  43. 4-12 – the following is not happening: a.) Update will goto 100% (should take less than a minute), the b.) Congratulations screen will be displayed on the PC and the c.) phone will restart

  44. OK everything went fine up to step 5 number 4 i actually never got to that point as my screen is frozen for 20 minutes now on the gray TPC Elite ROM SERIES with my radio info in red in the bottom right corner.

    What now?

  45. nevermind. got it. like a brand new freakin’ phone! thank you! thank you! thank you!

  46. @JC3: Try doing the hard reset, JC3.

  47. Dustin,

    I have tried the hard reset twice (hold both – – buttons and use stylus in soft reset hole) only once did it give the described questions asking for send button (green button) i followed the steps and reset brought me right back to the Charcoal TPC ELITE ROM SERIES boot screen with my red radio info.

    I feel as though i am missing something.

  48. Dustin,

    I finally got the phone to hard reset again (get to white screen and ask for buttons to be pressed) only thing is i notice that it says restoring not deleting? could this be my issue and if so how do i correct it?

  49. It seems like the TPC V11 Kaiser has some problem. I flashed the ROM via MicroSD with both TCP and other ROMs and I got the problem with TPC.

    Can any one let us know when we unzip there are two files 1) xxx.nbh and 2) XXXRUU.exe (Example: KaiserCustomerRUU.exe). So, when do you we use 1 and 2.

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