How to: Fixing "Unable to install application" error on N900

| January 5, 2010 | 26 Replies

If you delved into the realms of “Extras Testing” applications, an app there may possibly have caused a fault in your N900 giving you “Unable to install __insert__app_name” errors. Since Christmas day I’ve been unable to find the answers to fix

  • Unable to install ‘Bounce Evolution’
  • Unable to install ‘Hermes’
  • Unable to install ‘MooBox’ etc.

Reinstallation/formatting memory card did not work.

Thanks to Jon Shipman’s reply in my plea post “How to Hard Reset your N900?” [not a tutorial] there’s now a working solution! By following the simple steps below (it’ll take a couple of minutes], you’ll be able to install applications again.

  1. From your N900′s Web Browser go to http://maemo.org/downloads/product/Maemo5/rootsh/
  2. Download that file and install it (you may have to find the download using file manager. Once you open this file, App Manager will take care of installation)
  3. Open X Terminal on your N900
  4. Type
      • sudo gainroot
    • You’ll see “BusyBox v1.10.2 …../home/user #”
  5. Type
    • cd /home (not sure if this part’s necessary, I don’t understand this all, but this is how I got it to work)
  6. Type
    • mkdir opt
    • Refresh application catalogue in download. You’re done!
    • I was unable to reinstall “MooBox” before, but now it’s back. And so will a whole bunch more other apps now this error has been fixed.

    Many thanks again Jon!

    Now if the “unable to install error” was self inflicted by extras testing app, you’ll know to be more careful. If you ever do come into similar problems again however, you’ll know what to do. (Hopefully nothing worse than this)

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Category: How to:, Maemo, Nokia, Nseries

    About the Author ()

    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 mynokiablog.com and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and  Facebook.com/mynokiablog. Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@)mynokiablog.com or email me directly on jay[at]mynokiablog.com

    Comments (26)

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    1. john says:

      yes this is because some crap software you installed did not un-install right
      that the problem with the test install software

    2. john says:

      yes this is because some crap software you installed did not un-install right
      that the problem with the test install software

    3. vish says:

      as i am unable to install apps, when i open the file rootsh, it also hangs in between ! “preparing for installation, please wait”
      Everytime i try to install any app it just hangs in between this screen. installation bar is highlighted till “preparing for insta” with orange color (as my theme is digital nature)and then it hangs ! and ultimately i have to stop it !

      please help !
      thanks

    4. vish says:

      as i am unable to install apps, when i open the file rootsh, it also hangs in between ! “preparing for installation, please wait”
      Everytime i try to install any app it just hangs in between this screen. installation bar is highlighted till “preparing for insta” with orange color (as my theme is digital nature)and then it hangs ! and ultimately i have to stop it !

      please help !
      thanks

    5. Hi there.
      Thank you for a great post. It was very helpfull.
      Anyone reading this post should bookmark this guys contents.

      I have a new PC and needed some installation help so i went over to http://www.InstallSoftware.com but they did not provide me with the in depth
      info this guy did. he kicks all the bigger sites’ butts.

      Thanks Again

    6. Hi there.
      Thank you for a great post. It was very helpfull.
      Anyone reading this post should bookmark this guys contents.

      I have a new PC and needed some installation help so i went over to http://www.InstallSoftware.com but they did not provide me with the in depth
      info this guy did. he kicks all the bigger sites’ butts.

      Thanks Again

    7. jürgen says:

      I am sure ‘rootsh’ is a wonderful thing. If I only would not always get the following error message: “Unable to install ‘rootsh’”
      I downloaded rootsh 1.5 via appl.manager. log-file says: apt-worker: Not handling unrelated package recorder. required disk space: 3156
      thank you for your help! kind regards from freezing germany j.

    8. jürgen says:

      I am sure ‘rootsh’ is a wonderful thing. If I only would not always get the following error message: “Unable to install ‘rootsh’”
      I downloaded rootsh 1.5 via appl.manager. log-file says: apt-worker: Not handling unrelated package recorder. required disk space: 3156
      thank you for your help! kind regards from freezing germany j.

    9. holger says:

      Thanks a lot. This great post let me get rid of an immensely annoying problem, making the N900 almost useless for me. Checking the logfile after those interrupted installations I could see the problem had something to do with ‘opt’, but I could not figure out the fix. Thanks again!

    10. Hasnain says:

      I am trying to install VOIP applications on my N900, but the application manager menu does not show the downloaded files. please help

    11. jürgen says:

      thank you for this little tutorial!
      but I do not succeed with step 1.
      N900 says: unable to install “rootsh”.

      what can I do?
      tyvm
      jürgen from ulm, germany

      • Jay Montano says:

        Hi there.

        One solution maybe to follow this tutorial: http://mynokiablog.com/2010/01/03/how-to-hard-reset-nokia-n900. This will also stop you from ever needing to install rootsh if you reset/reinstall firmware on your N900.

        The link has been updated and will bring back the N900 as to how it was when you first bought it. Also, if you make a backup, it will bring back all your settings/widgets/contacts so it’s like nothing happened to it.

        You can manually choose which apps to reinstall too.

        Just make sure you backup onto a memory card and not the Mass Memory as that will get wiped.

        Good luck.

    12. Phayeser says:

      dunno what the hell all this is about but it seemed to work for me :)

    13. Phayeser says:

      correction: it left me with an almost full space for applications, then I used this one to flash again successfully:
      http://mynokiablog.com/2010/01/03/how-to-hard-reset-nokia-n900/

      if I can do it anyone can:()

    14. Ruuko says:

      After I opened X Terminal and typed “sudo gainroot”, I got this message:

      ‘Enable RD mode if you want to break your device’. Any help? :S

    15. daniel says:

      @ruuko: just type: “sudo su”. it’s shorter and gives you the same effect.

    16. Natty says:

      Where is number 7? :)

    17. lamish says:

      my nokia phone its freezing on the touch screen how to i fix this problem now its been 5days please help my n900 to work again

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