Patch misuse and web page delay stall Axim fix

Dell has missed a self-imposed deadline to post a fix on its website for the performance problems plaguing the Windows Mobile...

Dell has missed a self-imposed deadline to post a fix on its website for the performance problems plaguing the Windows Mobile 2003 versions of its Axim handheld.

The company had quietly posted an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) link to the patch yesterday, but had to pull that file after some users discovered a way to upgrade their Pocket PC 2002 operating systems without a licence.

Several web-savvy Axim users were able to find an unpublicised FTP link to the upgrade file on Dell's site while waiting for the patch to be posted on the support page, and a few others found a way to upgrade their Pocket PC 2002-based Axims using the patch.

The patch was only supposed to work with Microsoft's Windows Mobile 2003 handhelds, but a few enterprising users appear to have found a way around that restriction. A Dell spokeswoman was unable to provide details about exactly how the patch was circumvented.

Dell had halted shipments of Axims with Windows Mobile 2003 operating system on 16 July after numerous complaints were lodged about the poor performance of the handhelds. Dell discovered a problem with the internally created firmware shipped with the handhelds, and said it would make a patch available for download at its support web page.

Before the unlicensed upgrades were revealed, Dell said the patch had not been posted on the support web page because of delays in redesigning that page to post the link to the patch.

After discovering the patch was being used for unlicensed upgrades, the FTP file was removed from Dell's site. Both the FTP files and the link will not be posted "until we develop a more targeted distribution to customers who were truly affected with performance issues", the spokeswoman said. No details were given for when distribution might take place, or how it might occur.

Upgrade CDs for users with the Pocket PC 2002 operating system are still expected to ship in a few weeks.

Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service

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