ScoutPalDB -- Initial Installation Instructions, in Written Form

Complete written instructions are below, for those who prefer to follow detailed written instructions, but we encourage everyone to watch ScoutPalDB Set up videos 1, 2, and 3 first, to get an overview of what needs to happen during the following steps.

You'll install and configure the program in these written steps 1 through 4.  In the remaining steps you'll learn how to configure and use a bar code scanner, and how to keep your database updated. Before proceeding, you'll need to know the fundamentals of operating your Windows Mobile Pocket PC PDA and your computer; please refer to the user guide that came with your PDA to learn its basic operation. For example, you need to know how to turn it on and off, how to tap the screen to make choices, how to use its on-screen keyboard to enter and edit text and numbers, how to do a soft-reset and how to start and close programs.  You'll also need to know the fundamentals of operating your computer to browse to a web page, how to download a file, where to find a file on your computer after a download completes, and how to copy and paste files and folders from one location to another.  If you don't know how to do internet downloads, or where to find downloaded files, or how to copy and paste files and folders, you can click here to learn more.

Some advanced users may be able to use the summarized steps as initially shown below, but most will use step-by-step-by-step detailed instructions.  Click here to reveal all the details for each step on this page.  Print this page out so that you can check off each step, one-by-one, as you proceed.  (Click here to alternately show or hide all the details)

A typical setup should take 30 minutes or less to complete.  But if you are simply unable to proceed, please contact ScoutPal support, and we'll do the best we can to help you.  We can talk you through any rough spots, and we can even do remote hands-on support.  We also offer mail-in setup services as a last resort, or if it is more convenient for you.

  1. Establish and Confirm that you have a way to put files and folders into the PDA's storage card:
    1. The easiest, most reliable, and fastest way to do this is to use a storage card reader attached to your Windows computer. See details...
    2. If you don't have a card reader you will need to fall back to using slow and unreliable Microsoft Windows sync software. The sync software provides a way to copy files and folders to the PDA's storage card while the card is in the PDA.  Once again, this method is NOT recommended, especially since card readers are so fast, cheap, versatile, and easy to use. After connecting the PDA with its sync cable, you can "explore" it and open its storage card (named "SD Card" or "Storage Card" or similar) and copy files and folders to the card. The exact procedure to do this will depend on your computer's operating system:

  2. Download and get an extracted copy of the SPDB2 folder on the storage card. How you do this will depend on your Windows computer equipment.

    Help with the next two written steps 3&4: Watch the "Setup ScoutPalDB: Step 2" video that that matches your PDA's operating system
     and/or follow the steps as shown in a slideshow

  4. On your PDA:  Check to be sure the storage card is in the PDA, and do a soft-reset. After the soft-reset completes, use the PDA's File Explorer to navigate to the card. Open the SPDB2 folder, then open the CAB folder, then tap on the .NET and ScoutPal DB setup programs inside the CAB folder.  (For .NET setup, tap the one that matches your PDA's operating system:  WM2003 or WM5-6.) See details...
  5. Start ScoutPalDB on the PDA, then tap the word Settings on the bottom of the screen, then do these two things:
    1. Tap the Database tab, then tap the [Find It for me] button; it will normally set the path to the Database File Location automatically.  If the [Find It for me] button returns question marks (???) anywhere in the location field this will later cause an error message like "database open failed" or "Can't open the database file" or "The database can't be opened at this location".  So read and follow the detailed instructions below and correct the path now .
    2. Tap on the Unlock tab, then (on your computer) go to to get your Key to unlock the program.

      Tap [OK],
      if the unlock key was not entered correctly, you will get an error and you will need to tap Settings again to correct the key.
    3. Optional Fetch tab: allows you to specify your ScoutPal ID/password and optionally enable a Fetch button.  The Fetch button function will additionally return ScoutPal Live results after a database seek. This Fetch option can only work if and when the PDA can browse the live internet: for example, through a carrier-activated PDA/phone, or through a separate phone with data (web) services that can share its web connection via WiFi Hotspot or Bluetooth Dial-Up-Networking (DUN).
    4. Optional Misc tab:
      • You can specify a default font size, within the limits of your PDA. (Templates can override this setting.)
      • Autoseek is intended only for users without a scanner who will be manually typing in only 10 digit ISBNs, not EAN-13 ("978" codes) or UPCs.
      • The Scan errors on screen option suppresses pop-ups for scan errors like smudged bar codes that generate invalid checksums. It's there for those that prefer that mode of operation: use with caution as you will not get a positive alert of a failed scan.

    See details...


    IMPORTANT: Read the guidelines for identifying and scanning/entering book bar codes and UPC's at


  7. Scanner Settings:
    1. Scanners are simply input devices, just like a keyboard. All they do is send bar code digits into your PDA just as if you had tapped them in from a keyboard. Scanner support is an issue that is not connected with ScoutPalDB. Your scanner needs to be set up so that it can send bar code digits into any program that is running on the PDA.
    2. Consult the documentation that came with your bar code scanner to learn how to modify its settings and set it up to trigger a scan.  Your scanner must be set up correctly and be able to scan a bar code into any PDA text entry field before it can be used with ScoutPalDB. To check the operation of your scanner, tap Start/Programs and try to scan a bar code into the Contacts or Notes program. If you can't get the scanner to operate, review the scanner documentation and/or contact the scanner manufacturer.
    3. For your convenience, you will find drivers for Socket and ROV scanners in the CAB folder, just tap on the appropriate setup file.
      • If you have a Socket CF or SD scanner, after you install the driver, use the PDA "Buttons" setting to make one of the physical PDA buttons be your scan button. (For example, you can use the "voice record" button that's on the left side of most PDA's)  Watch a video of the Socket Scanner driver setup procedure
        1. Tap Start/Settings/Buttons.
        2. Choose a button from the first list "1. Select a button"
        3. Now tap the list under "2. Assign a program", scroll down the list, and choose the program "SocketScan".  (Be absolutely sure that you choose "SocketScan", and not some other Socket program.)
    4. Scanner drivers typically have a configurable scan suffix.  An "enter" command suffix will trigger ScoutPalDB to do the database seek after each scan, just like tapping the "enter" key after manually typing in an ISBN.  An "enter" command is often the default scanner driver setting, but you should check it anyway.  If you have a Socket scanner that is properly installed, you will see a scanner icon on the bottom-right of your Pocket PC's "Today" (or "Home") screen. Tap and hold the scanner icon to popup the Socket scanner's configuration menu.  With most scanner drivers, the "enter" command is specified as "\r" or "\n". (Other scanner drivers may use "{enter}" or something similar.)  If you don't need to hear a click each time a scan comes in, change the suffix to "\t "  (tab space.)  If your PDA has internet connectivity, and you want to change the default scan action to be "Fetch" (live lookups) instead of "Seek", set the scanner driver suffix to be exactly this: "\t \t\t " (tab space tab tab space.)

  9. After-Installation Notes:
    1. You must keep the database file updated every week. If you download directly (instead of using the Easy Updater), it's important that "2" or "spdb2" is entered in the DB2 code field.  The database update procedure is subject to change and improvement.  Changes will be announced on the download page and/or the updater's first screen, so please always take a moment to read it, before starting a download.
    2. IMPORTANT:  After each update, ensure that your PDA will recognize the new data on the card:
      1. Soft-reset the PDA after inserting the card.  With newer PDA's, this step may be unnecessary, but it never hurts to do it.
      2. Start the ScoutPalDB program, then tap "Settings" (at the bottom of the screen), tap the Database tab, tap the [Find it for me] button, tap the [OK] button.
      3. In summary: Soft-reset, start ScoutPalDB, tap "Settings / Database / Find / OK" ... You're ready to scout!
    3. Visit the ScoutPalDB2 Feature Notes page for info on configuring error messages.
    4. The database is derived from a list of millions and millions of ISBN's and UPC's provided to ScoutPal under license from  The database is updated as often as possible, the latest updates are usually published Monday and Friday morning, but you can download an update at any time.
    5. There may be unforeseen delays to database updates as new features and items are added.  The date of the current database update is posted on the database download page.
    6. If your PDA has an internet connection (as with a Pocket PC phone, or through a WiFi connection, or through a Bluetooth connection to a web-enabled Bluetooth cell phone) you can optionally add and use a "Fetch" button for ScoutPal Live search results.  "Fetch" searches bring you live, up-to-the-minute latest prices from Amazon, as well as of the other ScoutPal Live features like edition lists, searches, formula results, etc etc.  (Tap the word Settings at the bottom of the ScoutPalDB main screen, then enable Fetch by entering your ScoutPalD and Password.)
    7. Customizable open-source result templates can be downloaded at:  Templates provide a way for you to customize the format of your lookup results, and can add logic that will alert you if/when a book meets your specific criteria of price and sales rank.  Templates are open-source, allowing the ScoutPal user community to add great new features to ScoutPalDB for the benefit of all. The flexibility and additional features that can come with open-source is limited only by the imagination and ingenuity of contributing ScoutPalDB users.
    8. Future premium releases of ScoutPalDB may have advanced features.
    9. ScoutPalDB2 is BETA software, and is subject to program updates. Be sure that you understand the limitations of BETA software before you use ScoutPalDB.