Home > 5th Edition, Nokia, Nseries, S60, Symbian > How to: Escaping the Nokia N97 hard-reset (tips and tricks)

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

n97 b

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.

  1. Boboy
    March 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Hey guys.I want to share my N97 mini as well.The so called ‘best phone’ of Nokia for the time being.I had the same problem mentioned by you guys over and over again.
    1. the phone wont start
    2. the $$$$ Blue nokia logo just wont go away and start my phone
    *Do not Hard restart your phone just yet.
    Solution is:
    1.What i did was like the mentioned steps above.batery out,in mmc out etc.
    2.Then i came across ‘Animes N97 geek’ comment..
    3.*I inserted my previous’s phone MMc.and my super N97 Starts.OMG!its was magic to see the handshaking once more(sarcastic).Then,i took out my previous phone’s mmc n inserted my N97 mini’s mmc.The phone started to BRICK once more.Damn..
    4.*my last advise is after the phone has started by doing step no.3.Do not insert ur N97 mmc.plis throw it away or Reformat it first.

  2. BdG
    March 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    The WSOD problem reared its ugly head again today after installing some 3rd party stuff off Ovi. (It had gone away since my last fw update)
    With little hope started trolling google results again searching for some new solution. Lo & behold: The charger boot-up method (Andy version!) worked for me too.

    Many thanks to Hitex & everyone else.

  3. Calv
    March 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I had all these problems and still managed to get the phone going. but…. it progressively got harder to get started til…. of course I couldn’t get it started at all. after a hard reset i proceeded to re-install the 120 games from my mass memory. got curious and turned it off. had to hard reset it again. now i’ve got half way thru re-installing and keep turning it of periodically to find the bastard game that is causing it. Surely……………there is an antivirus that can find this for me ? Its a real pain customising it again and again.

  4. March 28, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Thankyou guys,one n all

  5. silvia
    April 2, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    hitex TNX!!! I LOVE YOU!! a kiss from Madrid!

  6. Sanjeev
    April 15, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Man you are genius. I was just thinking of giving hard reset and was searching net for same that I came across your tips. Taking the memory card out and restarting served the purpose.

  7. Kershan
    April 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hey Hitex,

    I was extremely sceptical about your solution but decided to give it a bash…Lo and behold it worked! 🙂 You sir, are the man!

    Thanks for making me not fling my mobile into the dustbin and get something non-Nokia.

    I’ve saved this URL to my favourites…good bunch of guys on this site…very helpful.

    • April 22, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Hi Kershan,

      I know that this solution is weird, but it seems to work prety well 🙂
      Its nice to hear, that it helped to you too 🙂


  8. n97 user
    April 27, 2010 at 7:33 am

    HI All..

    How do you think n97 mini vibrator is, i feel the side button has more power of vibration then the phone kept on silent.

    DO we have any software to solve this?

  9. n97 user
    April 27, 2010 at 7:35 am

    HI All..

    How do you think n97 mini vibrator is, i feel the side button has more power of vibration then the phone kept on silent.

    DO we have any software to solve this?

    Please help with this…

  10. Musty
    May 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    OMG, Hitex, ur instruction just helped me revive my Nokia 97. Thanx a lot!!

  11. abdul
    May 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    hitex its not working for me?? . do i have to put the charger back in

    • hitex
      May 23, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      Yes, you have to put the charger in just after standart power on vibration.

  12. abdul
    May 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    hitex. so i put the charger in . the screen will lit up, then take it out, after a few seconds the screen will turn black. do i have to pree the power button as soon as it turns black.

    • hitex
      May 23, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      Yes, you have to power it on again as soon as screen turns black. When you feel vibration, just put the charger in again and wait.

  13. abdul
    May 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    and how long to i have to wait for after i do the final step

  14. abdul
    May 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    its just stays on the nokia screen forever

  15. abdul
    May 23, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    thank you so much hitex. you are a life saver . im am so greatfull. thank you . you should get a prize for what you have discovered the best solution to the nokia hard reset problem

    • hitex
      May 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      You are welcome, abdul.

  16. Jules
    May 26, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Hey Hitex… you’re already getting a lot of love, but I just wanted to add my respect for your method which saved me hours of frustration with my N97mini (old firmware because locked to Orange Switzerland).

    Everyone else, the WSOD has only ever appeared for me after I have installed a whole lot of new applications/updates in one go and, possibly significantly, only when one of those new applications automatically takes over the phone at startup (this time it was a new version of Nokia messaging). My theory is that it is a problem the OS has with starting up directly after something with a “run this special software on next restart” command. Anyone else noticed this? It could, of course, have been something else I installed. Particularly interested if you also got a “different” startup to normal after using Hitex’ method which might reveal the same thing.

    Useless by Nokia… thank god for this blog and thanks again Hitex!

  17. Curly
    June 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Help! I locked the screen with the side lock then quickly unlocked it again as i forgot to check time, and my mini hated this!! Screen just black, i have glowing of green, red and white buttons, but nothing on the screen? tried taking battery out, plus card then put it all back in, turn on, get the vibration and nokia sound but still black screen? Anyone had this?

  18. ozzy
    September 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

    it works. thanks a lot. the only problem i had is the chinese characters coz the phone happens to be made in china.:).. but definitely it works. thanks a lot.

  19. ali
    September 15, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    When I turn my N97 on it remains on the white screen with the nokia logo. It will not boot and it will not turn off again. It remains unresponsive until the battery runs out or is removed. When this happens it turns off, obviously. I charge the phone and the same thing happens. I have tried removing the sim card, sd card, and battery. Plugging it into a charger, into a computer via usb. Nothing. I cannot input a code because I cannot access the dialer. Can anyone help me here?

    • September 16, 2010 at 5:48 am

      Try method posted in 15th post. Home it helps.

  20. Niveditha
    September 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you sooo much Hitex. Even the hard reset didnt work for me but your method worked after 3 attempts 😀 But is there anyway I can avoid the white screen of death coming up next time?

  21. vj
    October 4, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hitex’s solution was working however i tried to do a factory reset of the phone since then even HITEX’s solution is not working . Anyone plz provide a solution

  22. shaai
    October 16, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    i couldn’t even start my n97.. which shows dark screens like a animated scene.. dark screen with lines and again it does get switch off.. how to fix my phone.. somebody please help me… 😦

  23. shaai
    October 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    hi… 😦
    i couldn’t even start my n97.. which shows dark screens like a animated scene.. dark screen with lines and again it does get switch off.. how to fix my phone.. somebody please help me… 😦

    i gave it to a fast fix service place to fix but they said they couldn’t ..then what to do… someone please help me on this…..

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