Getting Palm Desktop to work for regular users

Tested with Palm4.1SP03

How to make palm desktop work as normal user. From now on, the user which wants to run Palm Desktop without Administrator permissions will be called "normal user".

Note: You will be messing with the Windows registry which is somewhat dangerous. Do all of the following at your own risk. It's a good idea to "Export" the whole registry first so that you have a backup copy in case something goes wrong.

The short story for advanced users

Note: most of the trouble comes in getting the Classes keys into your normal user's account. You want to be careful that you don't screw up existing classes. But to individually select every Palm class is a big pain.

Palm.exe also uses: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes, but this should already be setup correctly.

The long story for novice users

To fix the registry for the normal user, to run Palm Desktop:
  1. login to the Administrator account
  2. Run Palm Desktop
  3. Close Palm Desktop
  4. Run 'regedit.exe'
    1. Click on the folder icon for "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes"
    2. Click on the menu "Registry->Export Registry File..."
    3. Under "Export range", select "Selected branch"
    4. Export to the filename "palmclasses.reg"
    5. Click on the folder icon for "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\U.S. Robotics"
    6. Click on the menu "Registry->Export Registry File..."
    7. Under "Export range", select "Selected branch"
    8. Export to the filename "palmbase.reg"
  5. logout of the Administrator account
  6. login to the account you want to be able to run the Palm Desktop from (normal user)
  7. Run 'regedit.exe'
    1. Click on the menu "Registry->Export Registry File..."
    2. Under "Export range", select "All"
    3. Export to the filename "myregistry.reg"
    4. Click on the menu "Registry->Import Registry File..."
    5. Select filename "palmclasses.reg"
    6. Click on the menu "Registry->Import Registry File..."
    7. Select filename "palmbase.reg"
    8. Click on the folder icon for "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\U.S. Robotics\Pilot Desktop\Core"
    9. In the righthand window pane, double-click on "Path"
    10. In the dialog box that opens, write in a directory that exists and that you can read and write to. This will be where your Palm data is stored.
If you did something wrong, or something besides the Palm Desktop is now broken, you can double click on the icon for "myregistry.reg", answer "Yes" to the dialog box, and your old registry values should be put back into your registry.

How did I figure this out?

I exported the whole registry as text (Save as type "Win9x/NT4 Registration Files (REGEDIT4) to force text.) I then installed Palm Desktop as administrator. I then exported the whole registry again to a different file the same way. Then, I performed a unix-style "diff" between the old and new registry, and noted which entries had changed as a result of the Palm install.

This is a good general strategy to figure out what parts of the registry you need to fix for stupid programs that don't understand how to deal with multiple users.