Familiar Linux Installation on a Compaq IPAQ

The original HowTo is found on this page:


Supported devices

  • iPAQ 3600/3700/3800/3900
  • iPAQ 5400 with small restrictions


1. Download the needed software


2. Put the iPAQ in the cradle


3. Copy both files on the iPAQ

You need Microsoft ActiveSync on your PC for that.


4. Backup the old bootloader and Windows CE itself

1. Run the BootBlaster program on the iPAQ

2. Backup the old bootloader
3. Bootloader Backup succeeded
4. WinCE Backup succeeded

Both backup files (saved_bootldr.gz and wince_image.gz) are stored in the "\My Documents" directory on the iPAQ and are automatically copied to the PC when ActiveSync is run next time.

5. Installing the new bootloader

Run the BootBlaster and select "program" from the menu and wait - the bootloader is now flashed, and this can take around 15 seconds.
After the flashing process, the iPAQ should still be Windows CE, but with the following boot splash screen.

6. Flash the Familiar Linux image

  • The cradle must now be connected via the serial interface of the PC
  • Run the program "HyperTerminal" on your Windows PC (Start => Programs => Accessoires => Communication => HyperTerminal)
  • Create a new connection
  • Reset the iPAQ and press the calendar button on the very left of the handheld iPAQ right after the splash screen of the bootloader shows up.
  • In the HyperTerminal there should be a boot prompt now
  • Enter "load root" at the command prompt. The boot loader now awaits the image file.
  • As soon as the message "ready for modem download" is shown, the image file (task-bootstrap.jffs2) can be transferred (via Transfer => Send File (Protocol = XModem))


7. Restart your iPAQ


8. Enjoy your Familiar Linux on a handheld