Motorola ES400 – How to Power Down and Reset


So to continue this series of blogs about resets and persistence we’re just going to take a look at the rugged PDA resets you can do with one of the most common Semi rugged PDA’s on the market right here.  If you want to see a lot more FAQ’s like this or even request one form us then just come and ask us here.  The Motorola ES400 is a great little semi rugged PDA and there are a few ways to reset the device, all with increasing severity.  We list them all here:


Hibernate (Unattended Mode)

es400 power

To put the device to sleep, simply press the power button.  This puts the device into a very low state unattended mode that is very close to being totally off in terms of power usage.









Power Down

Hibernate (Unattended Mode)

To turn off the ES400, simply press and hold the power button until you see the screen to the left.  Press the “Power Off” button on the screen when and the ES400 will be totally powered down as if the battery had been taken out.








Soft Reset

Soft Reset

Press the power button and the  1 and 9 keys on the keypad and hold them all down at the same time.  The device will soft reset itself which deals with any glitches or application running issues you might have.  A soft rest doe snot not delete or reset any of the device’s settings or installed applications, think of it as rebooting your laptop.  You’ll know if the device is soft rebooting because the Motorola Boot screen will have “OS-Reboot!” in tiny words near the bottom of the screen.







Hard Reset

Motorola call this a Clean Boot and this is how you get your Rugged PDA back to factory, default settings.  Motorola have 2 ways of hard rebooting their devices:

Clean Boot with Application Wipe

1. Unzip the contents of the clean and wipe ZIP file, found here:, to the root folder of an SD card
2. Place the SD card in the device to be upgraded
3. Place the device to be upgrade an A/C power
4. Navigate to the SD Card and invoke the program STARTUPDLDR.EXE


1. Unzip the contents of clean and wipe ZIP file to the ES400 temp folder
2. Place the device to be upgrade an A/C power
3. Navigate to the temp folder and invoke the program STARTUPDLDR.EXE

The update will take about 1 minute to complete.  Please do not remove the device from A/C power during this time.

Clean boot without application wipe

You use the exact same method as above but using a different set of files, found here:

If your Device is locked

lastly I wanted to add to this post what happens if the device is PIN locked or won’t go into Windows Mobile for some reason.  We get devices back from loans all the time here with all kinds of software on them that lock us out of the device.  This means you can’t get to the StartUPLDR file to initiate a clean.  Cheers to Thomas in the comments below for pointing this out to me!

What you need to do in this case you do is get the device into its boot mode.  You do this by performing a soft reset, but when you see the boot load screen you must quickly press the power button and camera button together.  It takes a few times sometimes to get the timing right.  This will then force the device to look for the SD card and it will clean it down to an out of box state.

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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64 Responses

  1. Chris

    Do you know if you can power off an MC65? The current stock we have sees this option removed although it is present in the same ES400 power down menu?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Chris

      I wish you had bought your devices from us ;-)!! The MC65 and ES400 have had a tonne of updates since launching and have been a pain in the ‘A’ at times. I was not aware of this myself but will pass this on to the team to take a look into it. Everyone else is adding this functionality to their Rugged PDA’s so taking it away is not what we would expect from Moto. A windows Mobile device actually does not recognise a total power off state and it is down to how the Manufacturer implements certain pinvokable functions on the device. We’ll see if we can come up with a similiar app here that does the same job but it will depend on the core functionality still being there. I will be happy to share this with you if it works.

      Will get back to here when we know more..

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Chris

      I just got round to this last night with an MC65 that is updated to the latest firmware as far as I know. The power off functionality is still there. You give the power button a long press and the top option on a power down splash screen is to turn of the device. Is that what you were looking for Chris?


  2. Thomas

    How to “invoke” the program STARTUPDLDR.EXE when the device is not even booting?
    Since today it’s just a red light on the left top corner when plugged to AC – but no way to turn it on.

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Thomas

      You normally handle this like you would a locked up device. You reboot the ES400, quickly hold down the 1+9 keys to go into boot mode and it will then clean and boot using the SD card method. If the device will not power up then t looks like the device itslef is scuppered.

      Where did you buy it?

      A thumbs up would be much appreciated!

      • Thomas

        *thumbs up*

        Thank you very much for your answer.

        As my device is not even booting up it seems like it’s scuppered. (just strange as the device is 3 days old).
        …sometimes i come to the booting screen where it says
        ACOUSTIC VER10 Checksum …. and then it’s freezing.

        I bought the device in germany…I just came across your company due to this blog 😉

      • Thomas

        …i could manage it and get it back running. I’d like to tell you what i did because this is a good article:

        Device was not booting. It stoppen already on the first screen (the one with the motorola screen where it’s saying “boot os”)

        1: When the screen was freezing i pushed the power button and 1+9 to restart.
        2: After that i immediatly pushed the power button and camera button (on the right side of the phone) again –> this brings the phone into update mode.
        3: then i update my phone with sd update

        now it works again

        thanks for your help

      • ruggedandmobile

        Hi Thomas

        Aha! I see now, and you just pointed out a glaring hole in the post there. I have updated it now to deal with when the device is locked and getting to the StartupLdr.exe file is not possible. We get devices in this state all the time when they come back from customer loans and I should have remebered this!

  3. frank

    i was having a similar issue with locking up….followed the instructions for re booting but now the phone is stuck on a update loader screen

  4. Bill

    I have all the weird symptoms, Unit will not boot, Updater screen comes up but never loads. Our company has about 300 of these units and have had lots of problems. This particular ES400 will not boot past the initial boot screen. I took both SIMMS from this unit and put them into my ES400 and loaded the STARTUPDLDR.EXE file. It still does nothing. So far I have had lots of luck you reading what you have posted here and greatly appreciate you notes. Can you help me with this one? Do I load that STARTUPDLDR.EXE on the Storage Card? It also states the Battery Too Low, Shutdown Device even though it is plugged into a AC Charger

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Bill

      So sorry to hear about these issues, we do see these a fair bit, in fact we had a lot of issues with our own demo/loan stock Of earlier ES400’s and the battery issue.

      When ES400’s are sick, they will not boot up or reset in the manner you have described, it usually means a trip back to Moto for repair.

      One thing you can try is to update the OS. Go to the website and take a look there. Moto usually require a service pack having been bought now to get hold of these or access within a month of purchase. However i am sure after buying 300 you shuld be able to get some joy.

      May i ask where and when you bought these from as your reseller should really be helping you, this is basic stuff for them. Are you based in the UK or Europe at all as we could help more if so, contact us on if you’d like to talk directly us.


  5. Bill

    Hey Dave. Well all the phone were purchased in the USA. Im sure I can send it back since we have an account. One last question. I tool the SD card out of this non operating phone and loaded the exe. start up file. When I reboot the phone and hold the 1+9 and camera, the phone goes into the updater but stays in that screen. It never boots from the SD. Should I put it somewhere else on the card where it can boot from?


    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Bill

      There is a method where you place the files in the Temp folder on the device instead, you can see if that works but I think this one needs to go back to Moto to be honest. Good luck with it!

  6. Knowle

    We have more then 300 of them and have sent each of them back in at least 3 times for this same issue.

  7. Havardo

    Hi Bill, and thank you for a great article,
    I completed a full reset and got stuck in the screen align dialog on startup. This is most likely due to a small damage on the digitizer:(. I managed to get around the perpetual screen align dialog by running the remote screen alignment app that is available out there. However, I wondered if any other ES400 owners could share the CalibrationData value from registry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINEHARDWAREDEVICEMAPTOUCH. I have tried some values from other VGA screens, but with dismal results. I know the values are unique to each device, but currently the touch screen is bananas.
    I will hopefully save me having to get a new device or digitizer… Thanks..

      • ruggedandmobile

        Hi Havardo

        We have some of these too and have been testing them! Be careful to buy the right ones as there is another Chinese ES400 out there! Also be very careful with static when you do this as the ES400 is very suscpetible to static. Lastly be aware that these are not Moto parts, we bought some with ES400/Moto branding on them which makes them illegal and we can;t use these here. If they don’t print the logo and name on them they’re fine though. If you’re a business you need to know this, if not then good luck to you! We have not had any poriblems with the digitisers yet so they must be decent enough quality.

  8. Malcolm

    Do you know how to switch off the Predictive Text on the ES400? It’s really annoying me and I can’t find anyting on the device to do this.

  9. sameh shakaa

    hello i wnat to reset my ES400 but without clearing any data i know how to boot clean without clearing application data but my data are not in the application folder can i make a boot clean or any way to get my data

    please help me

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Sameh

      Unfrotunately there is no way you can keep anytihng installed in the standard memory. The way round this is to either install your apps into the application memory area, but this is not really advicsed. The best way is to learn the Motorola SDK and to create applications that will auto unpack and run when you hard reset a device. This allows you to hard reset devices in the field without having to re-install everything on them.

  10. Marx

    Hi. I must configure some Motorola ES400 for my colleagues. With previous HTC Diamond2 with WinMob 6.5 it was easy to “move up” the shortcuts with the context menu that appeared. I do that with connections shortcut inside settings->connections->connections.
    But in Moto ES400 rom the things changed. It doesn’t appear the context menu but simply you drag-and-drop up the schortcut. But if you want that shortcut to be up with some folder level… you can’t (or i didn’t find the way).
    I simpy want in Moto ES400 that the connections shortcut inside the settings “folder” to appear up in the first menu that starts with windows logo button.
    Is there a solution to that?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Not sure what you mean Marx to be honest coould you give me a bit more help on what you’re trying to do. One tip is to use MyMobiler (Go search on google) its a free remote control over active sync tool that often makes configuring PDA’s a dream.

  11. Chrisnott

    Thanks Guys! I have just managed to get an MC65 to boot to the SD card and update the OS. I found the button that kicks it into update mode on the LEFT (when the screen if facing you) just below the aerial……

  12. pete hughes

    Hi, I’m trying to perform a Clean boot without application wipe on a locked device. I can get into boot mode, but it cant find the pkgs.lst from the SD. how should the SD be formatted? am i right in thinking i just dump the downloaded files onto the SD?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Pete

      All Windows Mobile SD Cards should be formatted using FAT32. If you can find another device to do this on thats great, otherwise make sure you use this option on your desktop. Then you need to get the right set of files from Motorola. There are the clean only and clean and wipe file sets. You just unzip these onto the SD card. There’s an instruction file inside the ZIP.

      Let me know how you get on Pete.

  13. Jack

    Left button below the aerial just worked for me as well on an MC65 (the one with the yellow/orange mark)! We’ve been sending our devices back to Motorola to get them to hard reset them when we can’t get into the OS, I’m surprised they haven’t told us how to do this already!

  14. Javier Santin

    I have a problem with incompatible image, I put the archives into a SD and start with the update loader pressing power button and camera at the same time but when update loader starts don’t do anything.
    Any idea,

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Javier

      It sounds like your mainboard has an issue or the SD card reader has broken. Can you boot the device up i nto wiondows at all? If not then the only thing left to do is send the device back. We can look at it if its out of warranty, take a look at Please be aware of the fees though. A mainboard should be about £240 to replace.

  15. RoverT

    I have an ES400 stuck on boot screen with the following error message. “The software image is incompatible with this device”. Tried the SD card update process but get stuck on Update screen. No way to press OK 🙁

    Also rebooted into diagnostics menu (press and hold 1,9 and power for a few seconds)

    No luck. Any suggestions?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Unfortunately it sounds like your device needs to go in for repair Rover. If it can’t boot up and the hard resets don;t work its usually somehting to do with the mainboard or SD card reader. Not sure if you’re UK based, is what you need though if its out of warranty. Otherwise you need to send it back to Moto through your reseller.

  16. thanks

    my es400 has AppCenter installed on it. the phone is on lockdown. any suggestions on how to get around appcenter so i can unlock a few more features of the pda?

    • ruggedandmobile

      You can use the hard reset and clean application. You won’t be able to run the application manually as you won’t be able to get out of AppCentre, so you will need to put the files on the SD card and hard reset it it to run the clean down as in the blog. You can get the files form the website.

  17. 794dman

    Hello Guys, I have a question on the Ram of the es400. I have 5 units and when I received my last unit (used) I noticed it had a ram size of 512mb. If the specs read 256mb for the es400 how is it possible this one unit had 512mb. Ya I said had because when I flashed the system with the latest update it reset the Ram back to stock of 256mb. Also is there a fix for the self-reboot issue. Thank you. Harry

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi there, The ES400 has only ever had 256MB RAM in the UK/EMEA so not sure what you have there! The self boot issue is also something we’ve never heard of here. Where did you buy the phone? might need sending back.

  18. 794dman

    Ya I bought them in Calif, I just picked up another three units and two of are the same way 512mb made in 2012. Can it be that when the system gets to a point where it needs more it will automatically adjust upward? Just a thought. Harry

    • ruggedandmobile

      The devices only physically have 256MB RAM so i’m not sure why they are reporting 512. Are you sure you;r enot mixing up the ROM with RAM?

  19. Enias

    My motorola ES400 says image software is not incompatible with device and stays on Os boot!,so what could be the cause and problem.

    • ruggedandmobile

      I think you have the wrong image software. You can download it from, search for ES400 OS builds. You can send it in here and we can do it but it will cost you a repair and diagnostic fee. Just let me know if you do.

  20. Graham

    MC 65 will not connect to internet after completing all setting time and time agian ?? tried sim in another phone with same setting conects !!!!!! ANY ideas ????

  21. Paul


    Very kind of you to be providing all this help!

    I have a keyboard issue with my company ES400 running WM6.5. After working fine for several months, the keyboard response suddenly became extremely slow, the delay between keytouch and the character appearing being almost a second and a half. I haven’t changed any settings as far as I’m aware, any ideas? (I’ve tried a soft reset and battery pull)

    • ruggedandmobile

      Sounds like a memory issue to me. I would hard reset the ES400 and i’d also check the OS build and update it to the latest build, you can get that from the Motorola support portal. Failing that it would probably needs repairing.

  22. Basavaraju

    ES400 is not reboot. It is stuck and displays OS Re-Boot !.
    Can any help me to solve this.

    • ruggedandmobile

      You need to update the ES400 with the latest ROM, see comments above on where to get that. The ES400 will probably then boot up but you may find that one of the chips (usually phone) isn’t working and won’t connect. if that happens then you need to get it repaired.

  23. intensevybz

    I cannot Find Rom to download .. can someone give me a link to download

    • ruggedandmobile

      You need to download it form the website. Updates change frequently so you need to search for it in the support area.

  24. david


    I download the files you mentioned earlier, the phone start to do the hard reset, finished sucefully but it never ask me to select language when its starts…
    I really need to change to portuguese…

    Can you help me?
    Thank you.

    • ruggedandmobile

      We’re a UK company so everything we do is for UK English here. You can go to the Motorola support site mentioned in this thread but we don’t have access to many of the language ROMs so you need to go back to where you bought your device from and get their help.

  25. Philip

    I agree with Paul: Very kind of you to be providing all this help!
    I am trying to find the .exe file associated with the Lock icon (i.e. the file that runs when you tap on that icon or choose it from the Power menu). I’d like to map it to a hard key, but Lockswitch.exe and LockscreenBG.exe aren’t it. I can’t find any info on the Internet. Do you know how I would do this, please?

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Philip

      Thanks for that. We’re the number 1 experts with Pidion in the UK and we like to give back as much as we can. If this is what we give away for free, just imagine what our customers get?

      I think you need to explore the SDK for the device. It has key mappings in, I can’t remember off the top of my head if it has them for the BM170, but as for the lock event, i’m not sure about that. You might be able to find something in the WM statuss notification object on the power status of the device too.

      • Philip

        Yeah, I was vague about it even after much searching. Just a question: Where would I find the Software Development Kit for the ES400? I have a feeling that the lock function is called from the icon via an API of some sort, but surely even that could be mapped to a hard key?
        I’ll check out the WM status notification, thanks.

  26. darkeduard

    align screen problem
    I try to follow the instructions to dial in the center and repeat again
    can you help me please

  27. Taras Bredel

    Does anyone have a solution when the boot hangs or writes out “Charger disabled”?
    Have tried to flash rom from SD Card sucessfully, but it still is not able to load.

    I got a lot of ES400 in that state

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Taras, Yes we see a lot of this. Again go through the routine, clean/wipe if no joy, update to latest ROM, if still no joy then it’s probably a hardware issue and requires a mainboard. I’d actually double check the battery and charger are OK too though as you can get issues with charging like this if they’re worn out or faulty. if you need to get them repaired fast.

  28. Frank Wathion

    HI there,

    I have an ES400 that does not boot, so i followed the instructions from the post. After is performed the clean boot my device still does not want to boot.

    It displays the the screen containing the message “Do Clean Boot!” a few second then the screen turns black.

    When i boot using the 1and9 combination system gives the message checksum is ….. screen then turns black.

    What can i do to fix this problem

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Frank, this sounds like it has a hardware issue and needs repairing. Its pretty simple really with the ES400, If a device doesn’t boot after a clean/reset then its likely down to a chip issue or the mainboard. I’d try updating the OS to the latest version, you have to get that form the website and you might have to contact your reseller if you can’t download it. This might get it booting but not working properly. All the chips are fused onto the mainboard of Motorola kit so it’ll need a new mainboard. We can do that for you if you like, we charge £200 for a 5 day repair service using genuine parts.

  29. mozelle

    hi there we have an Motorola es 400 that screen is on lock, but with the touch screen it doesn’t want to open the lock – slide icon