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*
3. REMOVE SIM and SD CARDS!!
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 ?

125 Comments.

  1. Hi,

    I followed all the steps and at last I left with WM6.1 only. How can I upgrade to 6.5?

    Thanks

  2. I flahed and got 6.5. But, when I flashed with new ROM, it seems like, it is doing some thing (Tri color screen, etc), but at the end I am seeing my old system only (old 6.5). I used TPC_V11_KAISER_LOADED ROM, but seeling Smart Mobility ROM only, don’t why ??

    Please put some light on it.

  3. Dustin, where are you located? Is there anyway you can email me for some tech support? I’ve gotten all the way to step 4.12, it went to 99%, then came up with a comm error, and now it won’t go above 0% without giving me the comm error again. It looked good right up till then. Any additional help would be nice.

    Chad
    jaxvette95@yahoo.com

  4. I have been trying to flash all evening with no luck. When I go to flash the rom, I click on the update and I get the 1.00.000.0. If I try that it does the fast blue bar like when you do the HardSPL, then reboots back to 6.1. Can anyone please help me. I am very frustrated by this and I have done plenty of flashing/unlocking/jailbreaking etc. I know my way around phones.

  5. Worked great! Thanks!

  6. Great article. Worked like a charm. I just had some problems with the hard reset.

  7. Hi,

    I tried to faithfully follow the directions, but when I get to the flashing step, the progress bar stays at 0% until it times out. When I go through the recovery process, the phone goes back to original ROM. But I can’t get past this step. I am trying the version of ROM that you recommended in your article. Any help would be appreciated.

  8. Thanks for the great instructions. Worked almost 100% except I lost my audio. Phone audio works, but I’m getting nothing out of the loud speaker on the phone. All settings I can find seem to indicate speaker is on (not silent or vibrate). I can hear a slight hiss from it when I put my ear up close, but no sounds, music, clicks… nada. Any ideas?

    Thanks

  9. HardSPL and CidUnlocker.zip

    Do you have another location where I can download that?? I can’t get it to download from rapidshare…

  10. Now I am getting storage error..I tried the solution mentioned in this forum (Registry settings), but didn’t work. Any help is appreciated

  11. I also have a problem with my audio. The sound says it’s on but there is nothing coming out when somebody calls or I try to play music. If I’m on the phone I can hear but that’s it. PLEASE HELP!

  12. @kk, @artie: You didn’t follow the directions. Specifically, the part about your radio.

  13. Is there anyway I can revert back to 6.1? I’m having issues and I don’t like the 6.5

  14. Okay so if it’s the radio part that I messed up on do I just click the link you put in part 3 and install my specified radio version? Is that all I need to do? I have a 1.27.14.09 radio. Thanks for all your help, sorry about so many questions

  15. Just read the forum thread for the ROM you picked and see what the recommended radio is. Download it and flash it as specified in the post.

  16. Okay so if I install the reccommended radio, will have to reinstall the v.11 rom again since I already installed it?

  17. okay, thank you so much for the fast help! I’ll try it and see if it works!

  18. one last question, after I flash the radio do I hard reset?

  19. I didn’t have to hard reset after the radio flash… but the instructions regarding radio roms is sketchy on the other site. Nobody really knows which rom will work with your phone so you just have to try different ones. I had the same rom as kk (1.27.14.09). The newest radio did fix my audio problems (1.71.09.01). They also have patches for other issues like alt characters mis-mapped. Works great now.

    Thanks Dustin for sharing the info.

  20. I noticed when upgrading almost all of my keys for fn key are switched like & and @, ! $. It’s quite confusing. Is there a way to fix that?

  21. Great tutorial and easy to follow. Phone works great. Thanks!

  22. I DID EVERYTHING AND IT WORKS, BUT I DO NOT HAVE WORD, EXCEL ETC. ON MY NEWLY UPGRADED WINDOWS MOBILE 6.5. DO YOU KNOW WHY?
    THANKS FOR YOUR HELP

    SHAKMAN

  23. @Dustin the keyboard works fine now except for the symbol key when I use fn. I know it’s not that important but I did sometimes need to use that key. Do you know a fix? And I do not have windows mobile office anymore either.

  24. i followed all the instructions and the ROM is great but i havent been able to send text messages since i did this. i went to xda and looked around it was kind of confusing. i flashed my radio to 1.70.19.09 but i’m still having this problem. do you have any idea on what i can do? my phone is a AT&T HTC Tilt 8925 and i flashed the v11 of the TPC Kaiser Rom

  25. i followed all the instructions and the ROM is great but i havent been able to send text messages since i did this. i went to xda and looked around it was kind of confusing. i flashed my radio to 1.70.19.09 but i’m still having this problem. do you have any idea on what i can do? my phone is a AT&T HTC Tilt 8925 and i flashed the v11 of the TPC Kaiser Rom

  26. followed instructions, but get error 240 file open at custom ruu. already have hard spl 1.56 from flashing rom to 6.1. what;s the work around?

  27. Thanks for the helpful steps! Unfortunately, I am lost at step 5. I tried to download the ROM and just got a file titled “TPC_V11_KAISER_MANILA.rar” but no “KaiserCustomRUU.exe” I tried to use the “KaiserCustomRUU.exe” (from step 4) with “TPC_V11_KAISER_MANILA.rar” in the same folder and it gave me an error. Any help?

  28. @boydston: .rar is a compressed archive like .zip. You’ll need a program to decompress it like 7zip or WinRar.

  29. i got to step 5.3 and then it gave me an error any advice?

  30. I installed WM 6.5 on my Tilt phone and I liked some of the features and eye candy, but it made my phone run horribly slow. I ended up hard resetting my phone back to WM 6.1.

  31. @Dalnutt:
    Some 6.5 ROMs are a lot faster than others.

  32. Is voice recognition available in WM 6.5? I used it quite a bit in 6.1. I used the TPC v11 ROM mentioned above and that worked fine but I can’t find anything other than MS “Recite” on 6.5… and that’s no longer supported!

  33. @Jimbo:

    I haven’t looked for it myself, but I know you can find MS Voice Command for WM 6.5

    Check around the XDA forums…

  34. I did this last night and it worked great. the only thing is that my phone is not recognizing my 2gig micro sd card. any suggestions?

  35. @JDUNN: Only thing I could suggest is trying the card in a card reader on your computer…

  36. the card works fine in the computer but does not show up when its in my phone.

  37. Not all SD cards are the same… Is it a new SD card? If so try (re)formatting it…

  38. i formatted it and it did not work. i have a 512 card i threw in that works so im just using that now. not as nice as a 2gig but it will do for now. thanks.

  39. This does not work I tried 4 different roms and they all did not work I think this is phoney no pun in tended

  40. @Myketal: Yes, all the people in the comments above yours and the hundreds of thousands of posts on the XDA forums are all in on the conspiracy to get you to waste your time flashing ROMs.

  41. Hi Dustin:
    I haven’t tried the up grade as I am concered I will not be able to use my third party program for Expensbles (not support by the factory on the mobile version any more). Also, I run XP inside of Windows 7 and Active sync to programs there. I also sync to to Windows 7. Were should I put the update programs, Windows 7 or the Virtual XP in Windows 7.

  42. @Tiggy:

    I do not know if your program will work with WM 6.5, but if I were you I would use Win7 for the flashing.

  43. 1.) down loaded to V11 versions of the rom, mega and chump. Which should I use?
    2.) my radio number is r 1.65.21.18 can’t find that listed any place (should I still try the upgrade with on of the rom’s above?
    3.) other information on the screen with the radio type is G25.88.40.05 H and D35.70.00.00(or was that a D? went by to fast) do these tell me anything I need to be concered about?
    4.) will my skin still work on the PC as it does now in both Windows 7 and the XP vitural Machine?
    Thanks

  44. Hi I have 6.1 on my tilt. I followed all steps specified but my phone still shows 6.1 only not upgraded to 6.5. Can you please help?

    Thank you

  45. @Anonymous:

    You didn’t follow all the steps.

    @Tiggy:

    1. Whichever one you want. Read what he says they all include.
    2. You should use the radio they recommend in the FAQ for the ROM. (IIRC, it’s in the second post of that thread)
    3. Don’t worry about the other numbers.
    4. Skin? I don’t know what you’re talking about, but flashing a ROM doesn’t change anything on your PC.

  46. I assume this works with sync center that is used with windows vista? It seems to work ok until step 5.4.

    In step 5.4 it does not go the step up mode, where you set the screen with the stylus. I continue anyway but it does not update to 6.5. All that happened is I lost all my setup, not a big deal since it is backed up.

    I am fairly sure I am following all the step but 6.1 is still on the startup screen. Any suggestions?

  47. Worked like a charm. Though I downloaded the Titanium version of the ROM and my SMS Text Messaging doesn’t work. I am going to try version 11 to see what happens.

  48. Still have not found the time to do the upgrade! Maybe by the time I have some time to do it Windows PHone 7 will be out? Wonder if the tilt will take that and if it be worth it. From what I have read “not” for business, more iPhone type.