Navigo WinCE Hack

New Method (safe)

...thanks to mmasco @

Completely safe !!!

This can unbrick your device (if the device is not completely dead and there is a splah/intro screen)

It's applicable only for devices with YuanFeng Shell (has YFloader.exe and Residentflash2 folder)

This doesn't change anything, but launches explorer.exe and bypasses YFS errors. You can synchronise with a PC and correct errors in the registry. Also you can get WinCE desktop without touching the registry.

Unpack attached archive, put YFGo2CE.bld file into root folder of SD card and reboot your device. (not tested on SDHC cards)


Old method (unsafe)

To hack the Navigo to boot up into Windows CE is simple. What you do once you are running Windows CE is where the pleasure and power lies...

These notes apply to newer devices running WinCE5. Some devices are still being sold that run the older WinCE4.2. The difference is that WinCE4.2 doesn't work with Activesync - read the warnings below to see the seriousness of that. File/ Folder locations are also different, so some patch files won't work.

For the version 2 unit's Windows CE hack page see Navigo V2 WinCE Hack

Step 1: Download and install all the necessary tools, see the Hacking Software page.
Step 2: Put your Navigo into MS ActiveSync Mode for the USB connection
- and check that it stays after a reboot [important! (see warnings below)]
Step 3: Create folders on SDMMC card
Step 4: Connect using ActiveSync and immediately make a backup of the registry This is the most important step of all
Step 5: Connect using CeRegEditor and immediately make a backup of the registry (not so critical - Activesync backup is the crucial one)
Step 6: Make the registry changes.
Step 7: Reboot

  • Step 1: Install tools
    You need to have ActiveSync installed. You need CeRegEditor to edit the registry entries.
  • Step 2: Connect Navigo to PC in MS ActiveSync mode
    Turn on your Navigo -> System -> SysInfo -> USB -> MS ActiveSync.
    Re-boot your navigo and make sure that the device stays in ActiveSync mode
    - if it doesn't, you wont get access again should things go wrong

    Connect it to the PC using the USB cable, mini-USB to Navigo, other end to PC USB port.
    ActiveSync will open and start to connect - when prompted to 'Set up a partnership', select 'No'.
  • Step 3: Create folders on SD card
    Once connected with ActiveSync, click on Explore button, a window opens up for your mobile device.
    Double-click on SDMMC folder and create the following folders: Desktop, Programs, My Documents, Application Data
  • Step 4: Use CeRegEditor to backup registry & ActiveSync Backup
    Start up CeRegEditor, Menu -> Connection -> Connect (or F1).
    Menu -> Tools -> Backup/Restore -> Create image/backup (or F2).
    In AsctiveSync -> Tools -> Backup/Restore -> Full Backup -> (choose Filename) -> Backup Now (1)
  • Step 5: Make registry changes to boot into Windows CE mode
    1) HKey_Local_Machine\init\Launch50
    oldvalue YFLoader.exe # PvShell.exe in v2 unit
    newvalue explorer.exe
    2) HKey_Local_Machine\System\Explorer\Shell Folders\Desktop
    oldvalue \Windows\Desktop # \Windows\?? in v2 unit
    newvalue \SDMMC\Desktop
    3) Hkey_Local_Machine\System\Explorer\Shell Folders\Programs
    oldvalue \Windows\Programs # \Windows\?? in v2 unit
    newvalue \SDMMC\Programs
    4) Hkey_Local_Machine\System\Explorer\Shell Folders\My Documents
    oldvalue \My Documents
    newvalue \SDMMC\My Documents
    5) Hkey_Local_Machine\System\Explorer\Shell Folders\Application Data
    oldvalue \Application Data
    newvalue \SDMMC\Application Data
  • Step 6: Reboot Navigo
    1) Close CeRegEditor program
    2) Disconnect USB cable, and wait for beep
    3) Press hold standby button on top of Navigo untill screen goes off
    4) Slide On/off button, to OFF, wait a moment, then to ON
    Your Navigo should boot up into Windows CE mode! Congrats!


1. When making changes to the registry, you MUST leave your device in ActiveSync mode so that if anything goes wrong, you have external access to the registry. Before you begin - turn the device off with the side (slider) button and check that it's still in ActiveSync mode. This is an extremely important step that may just save your bacon!

2. When the device is unlocked, DO NOT be tempted to set a bootup password from the control panel applet. The reason for this is that the password entry box appears off screen and you will have no way to enter the password. Also, you cannot load any WinCE applications such as the onscreen keyboard, registry changes cannot be saved and you will be unable to change the shell back to YFLoader.exe. There is a fix for this if you have ActiveSync mode on and can get hold of a fresh copy of the registry to re-sync across.

1. ActiveSync Backup

When a user set a boot password using the Control Panel Security option, the only way he was able to get into the device was to use ActiveSync Restore. He could attach to the registry remotely from his PC but then couldn't save changes. So this may just save your bacon, and I'd recommend you do it.

Activesync backup backs up what is in RAM. So that would include all installed programs to internal memory and the registry. It does not backup up the ROM

Notes/ Observations
WinCE5 was designed to run in 640 x 240 or 480 x 240 resolution MINIMUM - so some applications will use the screen area that's outside what your Navigo 320 x 240 screen can physically display. A work around for this is to set the taskbar to run 'always on top & minimised' - that way you can get to the on screen keyboard and be able to press enter or escape. There's also a utility called movewindow that may help.

The SDMMC2 error - an alternate configuration
There is an issue with setting up your registry so that it points to system files on your SD card. If your device should crash or similar, the device reference to the SD card becomes locked and a new label automatically created (commonly SDMMC2). This means all shortcuts specified in the altered registry are now useless. An example is where if you set your desktop folder to be \SDMMC\Desktop, the new location would become \SDMMC2\Desktop. Suddenly your registry is pointing to a non existent location!

Your device will sort itself out with a reset or reboot, but not always easily. Meantime, if your applications are on your desktop & start menu saved to the old location, it can be awkward to do anything useful.

It is actually far better then to use a user writeable area on the SY-885, ResidentFlash or ResidentFlash2, for everything but the My Documents link. Please note that this space is limited so it is not suitable for the My Documents folder used by some GPS apps to store maps.

So in the above instructions, best procedure now is to use \ResidentFlash\ instead of \SDMMC\. Users have reported that the SDMMC2 occurs much less often with this configuration.

Alternative Solutions

There are other ways to skin this particular cat. To run WinCE on your Navigo you do not need to edit the registry. Common to GPS devices is that they will look for a shell.ini file in the root of SDMMC to point them to an executable to run (this is how GPS programs sold on SD card work). When you click on the shortcut to your GPS program, the Navigo, by default, runs the file at \SDMMC\MobileNavigator\MobileNavigator.exe [WinCE is not case sensitive].
If you put a shell.ini file at the root of \SDMMC with a pointer to another executable, this will take precedence.

So a file named shell.ini with the contents: \Windows\explorer.exe will run WinCE when you click on the GPS button from the Main Menu. [this file can be created in any text editor such as notepad]

If you would like to try a different look for your SY-855, as well as have access to the WinCE Desktop, Sarah99 and Dixie265 have created skins for the Navigo that run using this method, so that your original setup isn't changed in any way. [just delete the file/s from the SD Card to restore]

Reg files to use with CE_Reg_Editor

To make your life easier, here are some reg files so that you can hack your system without searching through the registry. Personally I would recommend familiarising yourself with the above. You really need to know what's going on. If things are not working for you, please also read the above as your question may already be answered.

Save the text exactly as posted into files named in the titles. From CE_Reg_Editor click on Edit > Import

filename: Navigo_Hack.reg

copy from here>

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Explorer\Shell Folders]
"My Documents"="\SDMMC\My Documents"
"Application Data"="\ResidentFlash\Application Data"
<end copy

filename: Navigo_Restore.reg

copy from here>

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\Explorer\Shell Folders]
"My Documents"="\My Documents"
"Application Data"="\Application Data"
<end copy

Many thanks to sarah99** (of eBuyer forums) for the hack in step 5 (original post here).