How to: Escaping the Nokia N97 hard-reset (tips and tricks)

| October 14, 2009 | 102 Replies

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UPDATE: Since installing V21.0.045 I have no more hard reset problems! I thought V21 didn’t fix it, but that was because I was just getting impatient and staring at that damn “Nokia” Screen too long. It does take about 50 seconds, where before it would only take around 28 – anything past 40s meant you needed to restart but no more

Check out this post]

Since my post, “My Nokia N97 Won’t Start!!! I don’t want to Hard Reset. (Rant)” I’ve had to hard-reset my N97 twice. I know it would probably be best to just cart it off to a repair centre and be away with it (man it sure needs to anyway as it’s picked up scratches in the camera portion and has bruises/chips/dents from the CityMan Antitheft)

However, sending it off would mean (despite being insured) at disappearance act of at least 2 weeks- most likely requiring a SWAP. Not only is that an inconvenience (what with being away and having to contact dvelopers about my change in IMEI) but what with the now seemingly mythical V20/V2.0 firmware for the Nokia N97 supposedly coming some time this month, I don’t want to miss out on maybe THAT fixing myN97 problem.

Several people have mentioned leaving the battery out for a long while and replacing it. That didn’t work for me (switched to my housemates’s iPhone for 2 hours…ooh that thing was glorious!) So what to do to avoid having to do a hard-reset and lose all your data?

How to avoid/fix the hard reset

Here are some methods you might want to try out, not 100% certain on effectiveness, but worth a try maybe just in case it helps you avoid hard-resetting. They are individual methods, not a sequence of instructions.

1. Re-install v12.0.024 firmware. I did this (on the 11th it seems – thank god for twitter acting remembering when/where/what I did for me!). to sort out a another problem I had with the N97.  This is more of a preventative measure.

[update: Install V20.0.019 firmware. This seems to have sorted out my hard-reset issues. No it hasn’t]

UPDATE: INSTALL V21.0.045 firmware. See start of this post.

2. If you see the blue Nokia logo for far too long (I’ve grown to hate seeing it at is means I may need to hard reset – anything past 40 seconds is abnormal) and no matter how long you wait it won’t start, try cycling these restart motions,

  • Battery out,in; memory card out – start
  • Battery out,in; memory card in – start <REPEAT for a while until something happens or you get bored and eventually do a hard reset)

Today, my N97 did the whole “blue nokia logo for 5 minutes = you need hard reset”. But somehow, taking the memory card out, and back in, and back out, and back in I managed to get the phone to turn on.

3. Try and avoid re-installing certain software. It’s possible a misinstalled app on the mass memory that once reinstalled causes these logo-screen-of-death to appear.

You can narrow it down next time by RESTARTING before you reinstall your next application. Then avoid installing that back the next time.

4. Wipe clean the MASS MEMORY and also maybe PHONE MEMORY. As in (3.) there is a possibility that there isn’t an underlying hardware fault but a misinstalled file, messing up your N97. It won’t go away with a hard reset as it only wipes phone memory (fortunately as that means not 100% data loss).

Do this in file manager>[open]>Options>Format mass memory.

Before doing this, Try maybe backing up E:Mass Memory with the PC Suite, “backup”, just in case it doesn’t help.  I haven’t tried but will as a last resort if V20 does not fix the problem and THEN I’ll send it away for a repair/swap.


Whilst we’re on the subject of backing up; a good thing to try is to set the memory card to “BACKUP DAILY AT A TIME YOU SPECIFY”.

You do this within file manager>backup.


Make sure you set it at a time where you’re N97 is most likely on full charge. Perhaps early morning just before you leave for work/classes.


If you have escaped a hard-reset by other means, please comment below on what you did.


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Category: 5th Edition, Nokia, Nseries, S60, Symbian

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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]