Formatting Nokia N97



Formatting sometimes is a very essential thing. In case you installed some bad application in it and your mobile started acting weird. Or you want to free up the memory in C drive.

But N97 is a very advanced multimedia computer and it came with dozens of preinstalled goodies, some of which are very costly. So what are you supposed to do?


I faced the similar problem and was surprised to find that there was no article written about it anywhere, even the Nokia care people weren’t much helpful. :(
So I took the risk and did it and now I can tell you how to do it.

There are two kinds of format options – Soft format and Hard format.
Before you do any of the formatting it’s good to back up your contacts, calendar and notes in PC suit or ovi suit and you can even sync then online to ovi site. Do not backup anything else, it messes up the settings. Assuming that you have backed up your data, lets proceed to the next step.

soft format – The soft format merely restores the factory settings and cleans up the C memory a bit. This can be used if you want to free up the c memory but isn’t much helpful if there’s some problem in your mobile because of virus or half baked applications. For the soft format go to – Settings-Phone-Phone mgmt.- and click on factory settings and enter your lock code (usually 12345). It’s done. Now restore or sync back your data. In this type of format you won’t be loosing any of your applications or games.

Scr000005 Scr000006

Scr000007 Scr000008

Hard Format – this one is a bit more sophisticated than the last one. I suggest that you first format the mass memory as it might have some apps installed in the mass memory that’s causing the problem. (Be warned here… You will lose all your data, so connect the N97 to the PC in mass memory mode and manually cut paste everything you need) For formatting the mass memory go to File Manager-Mass Memory and select Format Mass Memory. It takes some time so wait….


After it’s over switch off your N97 and hold three keys – Shift, Space & Back keys simultaneously (see image below) and press power button. Hold the keys till you get the screen to choose the country. It done. Now restore or sync back your data. After this your N97 will be as good as new.


Sadly in this type of format you’ll lose all your preinstalled apps and games and some of the apps are very hard to find. (I still haven’t got System Status back (help?) and lost marble maze game, which my mom likes very much but I can’t buy it because it’s costly) I contacted Nokia Care about it and they also confirmed that there was no way to get back the apps and games, whereas there is a nice page full of apps and games for Nokia 5800 Xpress Music . I tried to install some of those apps in N97 but unfortunately they were locked for Nokia 5800 and won’t run in N97 (Garr…) so do the hard format only if you or your N97 are in neck deep trouble. :)

I had to buy Guitar Rock Tour again –

If you have any doubts, feel free to ask about it in the comments.

  • Xuzhenyanxu

    hi man…if i do hard format in my N97…no one cant see the pictures which i stored in mass memory before???…if i gave to repair in some shop…they can see the pictures or videos i stored in memory before???
    or what about soft format???they can see those after soft format???

  • Anonymous

    Yes. They can see the photos and videos even if you do that hard reset. A hard and soft reset only make changes to the memory of phone. It does not do anything to the memory card. Format the memory card to erase the photos and videos etc. 

  • Shifty_boy_gts

    i dont have the exact same problem its just that my mass memory has been corrupted is there anyway i can get back all my pics and music or are they all gone

  • Anonymous

    They are most probably gone because your memory card is corrupted. You can try to format it and connect it to a computer and use some recovery software to get your media files back.

  • Avilaxpati

    I also have same problem if you get any solution so contact me. i am waiting…

  • Cheema Jashandeep

    hi, freinds
    mine n97’s touch screen has stopped , i had connected my phone through phoenix service software, and it freed phone memory upto 70 mb, now only keypad is working, how could i solve my problem

  • Anonymous

    weird problem. try formatting like I have written in the post. 

  • Meherabhilash

    wen i open the factory settings,my phone is asking to End all Active Calls and Coonections…so how do End all the Active calls and Connections..and what is Active Calls

  • Meherabhilash

    does it really work..??

  • Anonymous

    active calls and connections mean the GPS, EDGE, 3G data you are using and the calls you are on. Just use Offline/flight mode before you start the format process. 

  • kit

    hallo… i have problem with my N97… i cannot connect to any WI-FI. help me… i already reset everything… updated… but still the same problem..

  • kit

    pls… help me how to connect in to WIFI.. and sometimes hang… sometimes restart… thanks

  • Sreehari27

    Hi Dude i am also having a seroiuz problem with ma 97 When I am opening the Photos and while scrolling througt it my fone is getting stucked same condition foe video also about threee thousand pictures i am having in different different folders most of them are taken by the mobile cam all of them are full 5mp size also i am having 200 hd video songs.What is the actual problem???Is it a virus problem????Can u plz help me out bozz?Every time i need to remove the battery for making the fone to useful condition it is very hard to do this

  • Anonymous

    it seems that there is memory problem and there could be virus problem too. Connect your phone to the computer the export all the photos and videos to your PC. then do a soft reset of your phone. It should definitely solve the hanging problem. Don’t fill your N97 with so many stuff, that is one of the main problem of your phone slowing down. 

  • Sajidbsc

    thanks for you help i just formatted my n97 when screen was blanck.

  • Prajit

    HI, Please confirm should I aslo have to format the phone memory  . As II still can see the contacts in my phone after formating the mass memory .

  • Anonymous

    yes. you have to format the phone memory too. Formatting just the mass memory would not remove the contents stored in the phone memory. 

  • Nitin Handa

    How cam i install Linkedin, Twitter and G talk in Nokia N97?

  • Nitin Handa

    Every min. a message is shown on the screen of my Nokia N97 – Memory Full, Delete some data from C. Because of this, i am not able to receive sms and emails. I want to set my emails and messages on Mass Memory, how can i do that? Pls suggest.

  • Anonymous

    Go to Ovi store and search for the apps. You can install it directly from there. 

  • Anonymous

    Go to messages.. In the settings there is an option to change the storage from phone memory to mass memory. 

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  • Austral_mac

    same problem …any help ???

  • Anonymous

    you have to use the three button push method in this case that would work. Good luck.

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  • Mrityunjay Nigam

    thats greattttt before formatting i was not able to send messages easily but now its like super fasttttt thanks Vinitneo :)

  • vinitneo

    Happy to be of help. 

  • Ash Jay

    when i connect my phone to pc ‘mass memory mode’ didnt come up.. what do i do?

  • vinitneo

    You have to select mass memory mode in your phone too. otherwise it will not come up in PC

  • Bright

    I for got my lock code, please how can I change it…my N97, Bc I want to format my phone , I am having problem with c memory that is my phone is remains 1.2mb. Pls help me

  • vinitneo

    Use the method in which you have to first switch off your phone then press three keys together — left shift key, the spacebar key, the back key and then press the power button.

    This is explained in the post. Read it.

  • viky


    Thanks a lot for your post. I have now successfully formatted both phone and mass memory and my phone memory 60.3MB is back.

  • vinitneo

    Happy to be of help.

  • John

    New firmware Nokia N97 release 2014!! Clear CFW with all necessary bugfixes but no pollution inside. Many
    customizations can be added and removed after flasing, so no need to
    hardcode it within firmware

  • John

    new firmware N97 release 2014! Clear CFW with all necessary bugfixes but no pollution inside. Many
    customizations can be added and removed after flasing, so no need to
    hardcode it within firmware