Home > Nokia, Rant > My Nokia N97 Won’t Start!!! I don’t want to Hard Reset. (Rant)

My Nokia N97 Won’t Start!!! I don’t want to Hard Reset. (Rant)

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]

One of the best things about S60 and the N97 is that it’s meant to grow with you. Out the box, it’s really not much, but over time personalizing it, you get it to the settings that’s right for you, organized layout of icons, widgets – set up your online accounts – building up photo libraries, map destinations, playlists, contacts and web bookmarks. Over time the N97 and other S60 devices become specifically tailored to your requirements and makes it very hard to switch to other devices.

My N97 was doing that – until it decided that “NO. I’m not going to switch on. In order for me to function, you will have to hard reset me!”

n97 trash

The first time, I thought it was a problem with the memory card (n97 wouldn’t start if the memory card was inserted) then it just stopped switching on altogether. After a hard reset, I stopped using the memory card and I thought the problem was fixed. Manually, I put everything back, reinstalled apps, resynched contacts, etc.

A couple of weeks later (last Sunday) my N97 refused to start up again. It wasn’t the memory card error now – something is really faulty with this N97. S

I didn’t want to hard reset my n97, but that was the only solution.

I didn’t want to send my N97 away just yet, thinking perhaps this is an issue firmware V20 could fix (coming some time this month). God knows how long before I would get my N97 back if I did decide to send it away. I thought my N97 could last maybe a couple of weeks maybe even just one week without breaking and requiring a hard reset.


This is the third time I’ve had to HARD RESET my Nokia N97 just so I can get it to start like  NORMAL PHONE!

Actually – no. In the time in took to write this. My N97

My N97 gets stuck at the “Nokia” logo, and proceeds to stay there FOREVER. The only solution means a HARD Reset – wiping the phone memory completely.

Q.What do I lose after a hard reset?


  • Settings – anything I’ve configured in settings to my liking is gone
  • WLAN access points – gone
  • Bluetooth paired devices – gone
  • Profiles – all profile changes/new profiles made – gone
  • Calendar inputs/appointments/todo – gone
  • Notes – gone
  • Web bookmarks – gone
  • Menu Layout – any reconfiguration of menu is lost. Since my last reset was only on Sunday, luckily, I didn’t bother to reconfigure my icons
  • Certain applications have disappeared – Gravity/Nimbuzz/SmartMovie/Nokia Messaging/Google Maps/Opera Mini and a few others (Fortunately, Gravity and Numbuzz both remember any previously applied settings – the rest, if you did change any settings around/make bookmarks – well that’s all GONE)
  • Some ovi store purchased apps may need redownloading. Have fun trying to do that.
  • Ovi Maps has reverted back to 2.0. You can’t use Ovi Maps at all if you’ve used 3.0 before because the maps are incompatible.
  • All my landmarks that I may have been building up have disappeared.
  • My homescreen widget settings have disappeared – reverted back to default.
  • My phone contacts have disappeared –
  • Any messages stored on phone
  • Call log – recent calls in/out/ data logs
  • Profiles refuses to see any music files prior to the HARD RESET.
  • Calendar refuses to see any photos/videos prior to the HARD RESET,

Q.What about backing up?

– no because it’s utterly horrendous with the N97.

Regardless of the frequency of this unfortunate bricking of my N97, usually with S60, I’d just restore from backup and I’d get my phone back pretty much how it was on my last restore, albeit a few apps that won’t install from memory card. I thought this would carry through to my N97 but restore here is so utterly crap.

Of the few things the N97 can back up and restore, of course, it has to also back up BUGS. Bugs that if you restore your N97 will continue to fork it up.

Contacts and settings are the only thing I’ve found my N97 to restore properly. But because my N97 likes to break if I back anything on memory card, I don’t use it.

Backing up via PC suite is atrocious. It locks up 100% of the time and enjoys freezing when it’s 86% of the way in my backup.

What about Ovi Sync?

– too many freaking clicks.

Ovi Sync is supposed to help out with contacts/calendar but in the N97, Ovi sync is

1. difficult to set up. You must go to Ovi.com, sign in, go to contacts manage phone section, send your settings to your phone, put in the activation code, save settings, go to settings on your phone, locate connectivity>sync>select active profile>ovi>then sync contacts.

2. impossible to find as it’s stupidly hidden in settings>connectivity>sync as opposed to having its own dediated SYNC icon/app.

I wish Ovi Sync would make automatic syncs – perhaps once a day. At least just have an easily accessible Sync icon so that I can manually sync my personal details. You can’t even sync contacts within the contacts app it self, or calendar entries via the calendar.

Re-downloading apps from the Ovi Store:

Ovi store remembers what apps you’ve downloaded but there’s no way to automatically redownload lost applications. There’s a section called “My Stuff” which has your recently downloaded apps. This is great because otherwise you’d have to search for it and searching for Apps on Ovi Store is like searching for a corner in a spherical room, i.e. impossible. They might as well call the search feature “waste 20 seconds”.

What’s really annoying is that for paid applications, (I think) you can only redownload via the dedicated Ovi Store client. Trying to redownload from the browser version results in you most likely buying the application again. But to do this, you need the latest version of the Ovi Store.

Unfortunately, I cannot even download the latest Ovi Store app from store.ovi.com. I get the error “Item Unavailable – Sorry, this item is no longer available”. So for x amount of time, I cannot redownload purchased apps from Ovi unless I buy them all over again. Thank you Ovi Store! (Though it would have been nice if said apps could just remember that you have a licence for it, e.g. Gravity).

I don’t want to keep having to contact Nokia support just so I can do something that should happen automatically.

  1. david
    January 9, 2010 at 2:41 am

    ive had the n97 since oct and never had a prob should i expect any

  2. Robert Ingle
    January 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    My Nokia N97 is a pig for not starting. I have had to reset it 4 times in the past three months. I reckon Nokia should refund us all 100% for this pile of crap. Mine normally causes problems when you install something new. The last time it was N Gage from the software updates. All I can do is try to start the thing up to 20 imes. If I am lucky unistall the last item installed, and all will be well to the next time. Nokia N97 is very annoying, if it was not for the bugswould be quite a good phone, please address this problem in the next firmware update

  3. scott
    January 29, 2010 at 12:51 am

    This is so stupid I have just updated to V20 and WLAN wasnt working so I decided to re install v20, now my phone is stuck on the Nokia screen doing Nothing.
    What is up with Nokias, I hated even turning my phone off before the update because I knew they were a pain to turn on, they can make a great phone with all these features but they cannot make a phone that can switch on when the button is pushed

  4. January 29, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    My nokia n97 won’t even startup. Even after plugging it into the charger. I can’t even boot it using hard reset either. It just won’t start up

  5. January 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    There is a way aound this; which means no more hard reset and no more losing info and settings, and it’s a lot easier than a hard reset. This should be ironed out in the new update due in Feb.
    1.Turn OFF your phone ie.take battery out
    2. Insert charger
    3. Remove charger right after screen lights up.
    4. Wait a couple of seconds till screen turns off and just after that press the power button.
    5. After stndard vibration just put your charger back in.
    6. You can input your pin again and it should start ok.
    7. Done.

    Hope this helps

    • Tom
      January 30, 2010 at 8:08 pm

      Melrath, your solution might work, but what if, your in a situation like this:

      It all starts on the plane with information from to captain to turn off your mobile phone. Off course the plane is late and so you wont make it for your bus, and as your a student you travel with megabus, so the only way to buy a new ticket is through a browser or to call their customer service, and so you turn on your mobile to find out that it stops on the Nokia sign and is not going further. Can you find a electricity socket somewhere on this airport? Will you find the charger somewhere in your bag? Do you actually have the time to do that because its quite late and there is just one bus due to leave that day, and your not even sure if there any places left because your phone wont turn on! And most importantly what if it happened for the first or second time and you don’t know/remember the hard reset combination. Well, I guess you’ll be staying in freakin Glasgow tonight.

      It seems that your smartphone outsmarted you.

      Bravo Nokia, Bravo.

    • matt
      January 31, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      worked totally amazing, thank you so much!!!!

      • buzzy
        February 27, 2010 at 3:08 pm

        after trying about 4 hours …. this method worked for me

    • April 30, 2010 at 7:59 pm


      I did exactly as Melrath suggeted and after a very slow boot up (about a minuet) it worked!

      Once booted up it allowed me to connect the phone via usb to my laptop & removed the files using the mass storage transfer on the laptop & by selecting it on the phones screen.

      Mister Admin/Blogger dude, if you read this please promote this option (if you havent already).

      Thank you so so much – ive got some of the best 9 months of my life of pictures & videos back. Thank you.

  6. childoftheworld
    January 31, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    After upgrading to v.20.x.xxx, did everyone here restore their applications, data, files, settings… etc. from backup?

    Did anyone here install the newest memory re-organizer via the phone’s software update?

    Did anyone here remove the Databases for Music & Photos in E:\ (Mass Memory) & F:\ (MicroSD) via PC Connection Mass Storage Mode and re-create a new folder for photos and music to force the corrupt database to be corrected?

    I did all these, could not figure out my WSOD.

    But after my last emergency hard reset (25th time), I decided not to restore anything from back-up, remove all Java Apps (me thinks Java Run-Time on this phone is f***ed!), remove all themes I downloaded from I don’t know where (remove these from the Private Directory), bought Swiss Manager Pro to monitor memory consumption… I removed N-Gage and Games too BTW.

    Now, cross my fingers (My C:\ Drive has more space, like 20 MB more), My Memory Free (I have 2-3 running apps, Swiss Manager Pro, ACM and Nokia Messaging), ranges from 45-50 MB. Nice!

    If I use a lot of data and memory and I don’t see it go back up to the 40’s, I use Swiss Manager Pro to Reclaim Memory in extreme mode.

    Before I shutdown, I perform a restart via Swiss Manager Pro, then after it restarts do a full shutdown, wait for at least 2 minutes before I start the phone on again to allow it to fully power off and return all memory to system.

    Yes, v20 still has the memory bug, until v21 comes out (hope they fix this BIG BUG), try the above.


  7. arav
    February 3, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    guys when only the logo keeps appearing nd the phone does not start try changing the sim and then start it. it worked for me so thought ill share

  8. February 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Upgraded to v.21.x.045, problem seems to not exist… after what I did in the previous post. =)

  9. Nikki
    February 13, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I have a solution.. Get a hammer.. and hit it haha.. sorry frustrated.. gonna take mobile back to shop hopefully they know what to do.. Whats firmware?? should i put it on my N97

  10. Nikki
    February 13, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    oh i dont know what happened but all of a sudden i saw the charging symbol on the screen, pressed the power button and its on… please dont freeze, please dont freeze

    • February 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      Quite a few users have reported that the newer V21 firmware finally solves the problem of N97 not starting (if it’s caused by the music library fault, which seems to be the case 95% of the time).

  11. Benji
    February 16, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Yes, DONE! over Nokia now. I think we are all having the same problem with the hard reset. Nokia used to be good many years ago but now there are just way better phones out there. Iphone or Windows mobile here I come. I gave my N97 to my niece to play with as a play phone.

  12. José Luis
    February 19, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Hi everyone, I found a solution very different from the others, its tedious but it worked for me. The problem was apps from the ovi store and others users, like themes. I deleted the last apps and themes I installed and now my n97 stars normally and fast. I was worried because I upgraded the phone to the last firmware and none of the solutions worked. It seems that the n97 software is more fragile than we thought. You have to be very careful with the apps you install even from the ovi store. Conect the phone via usb to the pc using mass storage mode, there you can see files that cannot be seen using the pc suite mode, such as themes in (F:\Private\10207114\import), I deleted all.It also helps uninstalling apps from the phone itself. If you cannot delete them from the phone use the pc to do it. When you hard reset the phone a lot of apps and files (like themes) are missing from the registry so you have to delete them manually, like trash. If you install an app that is not signed and not safe for the phone don´t install it. I hope it helps people.I will put this solution to the others post so we can fix once and for all.

  13. Paul
    February 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Nokia admits its FAILINGS on the N97

    Go to this link to see video where Nokia admit it’s failings with the N97

    Whats worse is its failings to LISTEN or RESPOND to its customers could rectified by introducing a proper registered bug reports system and employing just one person to respond to the posts on Nokia’s own forum.

    V2.1 is much more stable but phone needs to be optimised to feel more responisve.
    I have found a way to clear RAM manualy (why can’t Nokia sort it?)

    We need HOME NETWORK, INTERNET RADIO both i had 3 years ago on my N95
    (N95 was ahead of its time and compatition when it launched and all issues were fixed in F/W) so add touchscreen and hardware keyboard why all the problems?

    Instead of fixing current phones that people paid well above average prices for they ignore customers and just keep designing more and more phones.

    Nokia should give me a N900 as i paid for a flagship phone.

  14. Al N97
    February 26, 2010 at 6:03 am

    guys… i had the same problem with nokia N97. and ontime when it i restored factory setting. it restarted and got stuck with the NOKIA with white screen logo… i hesitated to hard reset coz i didnt backup the current inportant contacts and messages. so,, i waited patiently turned it on and off alot of times. and 4hours after, it opened and everything went fine, faster and more reliable.

    so guys…
    be patient. give it halfday before hard reset.

    it works even better after all.

  15. Al N97
    February 26, 2010 at 6:20 am

    guys… i had the same problem with nokia N97. and one time when i restored factory setting. it restarted and got stuck with the NOKIA with white screen logo… i hesitated to hard reset coz i didnt backup the current important contacts and messages. so,, i waited patiently turned it on and off alot of times. and 4hours after, it opened and everything went fine, faster and more reliable.

    so guys…
    be patient. give it halfday before hard reset.

    it works even better after all.

  16. mark
    April 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm


  17. Gary
    May 2, 2010 at 2:20 am


    I had the same problem as you. Have you got it fixed?

  18. Jovann
    May 17, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    People…my nokia N97 is not working like it should even though it’s new….when i take a picture, that picture is not saved in captured pictures like it should be and i can only see the pic. if i go to file manager.Oh yes and i cannot delete anu pic.:(

  19. pressure
    May 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    In Camera

    Select OPTIONS
    then Select SETTINGS
    SCROLL DOWN and check “memory in use” if you have memory card plugged in you wil have three choices C: phone Memory, E: Mass memory & F:memory card
    use ether E: or F: (if you hvae card)

    To see you images you use the PHOTOS app (i have mine as a short cut on the home screen) select PHOTOS app then your pictures should be in the “CAPTURED” section

    or if you want to go to the actual files in file manager they will be in DRIVE: (C:, D:, or F:) where ever you set in settings. then IMAGES then CAMARA then it creates folders based on the DATE check the latest date folder you latest photos will be in there.

  20. Sh0cX
    June 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I spent ages looking up on how to fix my Nokia n97 after it locked up and would not turn on. It just went as far as the Nokia logo screen and no further. I was going to hard reset it when i came across an article where the guy had said to leave it off for a day and it will come back. I tried it but it did not work. So i decided to remove everything that would hold a charger e.g Battery, Sim card and Memory card. I left the phone and the parts up for a few days and came back and inserted the charger then the battery, the phone went to the nokia screen and after 5 mins it restarted and worked. So try this method before hard reset, you could be lucky.

  21. aqib
    November 14, 2010 at 5:43 am

    melrath…love u man love u …it works for me

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