Last weekend I broke my Nokia 6120’s screen. I have a military phone, which is far cheaper, so I’ve decided to keep it offline. However, being the sentimental guy that I am, I did want to save all of my contacts and SMS messages (in addition to the photos, which presented less of a problem). This proved to be a bit of a challenge without the screen working.

Usually, when you connect the phone via USB, it asks if you want “PC Suite mode” or “Data Transfer mode”. The “Data Transfer” mode has the phone show up as a standard USB storage device, which allows for easy transfer of MP3 files, photos and videos to and from the phone, without any nokia-specific software. However, it only works for the external SD card, so you can’t use that to access SMS messages or contacts.

I usually only need “Data Transfer” mode, so I changed the default to that. Today I regret that decision, as it cost me a couple of hours’ work. I called the Orange hotline, and they did their best to help me, including trying to blind-guide me through the menus, which failed because the menus are actually dynamic and I didn’t have the default setup. They actually got me 90% of the way there - here’s the solution I found: Hit the red (disconnect) button, and type the Soft Reset GSM code: *#7780#. Now press the “left menu” key (not the left key, nor the menu key - the left of the two “dynamic” keys) - this part was what the Orange hotline missed, because it seemed so obvious. Then hit 12345 (this is the default “secret code”), and the left menu key again. I found this by watching a demo of the soft reset on YouTube.

At this point I used VirtualBox and the Nokia PC suite (both are free-as-in-beer) to do the heavy lifting. I now have a text file with all of my contacts, a CSV file with all of my SMS messages, and all of my images saved both to my computer and a DR site. Now I just need to upgrade my military phone (Mirs)…