Update on the TomTom update failure

by Volker Weber

I received one message from TomTom support:

An xml error is normally an error that occurs in the "Downloads" folder from TomTom HOME. The best thing to do in order to resolve this error is to delete the entire downloads folder from TomTom HOME. This folder can be found by going to the configuration settings within TomTom HOME and checking the location of where items are downloaded.

No word on why TomTom Home tells me I disconnected when I did not. No word on why it needs to be connected in the first place. But I found it myself: when the Mac mounts or unmounts a device, TomTom Home believes it was affected. Have to make sure the user does not copy to a different device, right? So shut down Time Machine and do not plug or unplug any devices in the hours it takes TomTom Home to download from its servers.

Well, I had six maps on my computer, three of which were old versions so I removed those. Now I have three current ones. The first two belong on the GO 940 LIVE, the third one on a ONE 31:


Please note the remark on the third map:

This item cannot be installed on this device because of content restrictions.

That is DRM at work. A perfectly licensed map, crippled by DRM. Why is that an issue? Simple: The first two maps don't fit into the internal storage of the GO 940 LIVE. They did before the update, but they don't after the fact. So I installed the North America map to a memory card in the device:


TomTom Home recognizes both internal and external storage. The GO 940 LIVE does not. So it has two maps but it won't use the map on the SD card. F&cked up again. I could easily fit the first and third map on the internal storage, but TomTom would not let me although I own all three of them.

Repeat after me: DRM is bad for the customer.

Final update: It does not matter if TomTom Home discovers the memory card or not. It only matters if the device finds it. Neither the device, nor TomTom home tells you if anything is wrong with the format or the partition scheme.

So I put the MicroSD card into my Belkin universal media reader, moved all maps from the card to my Mac, then erased the card, created a single partition with the MBR scheme, formatted it as FAT and then moved the files back to the card. Bingo: now both TomTom Home and the TomTom GO can recognize the card and the map on it.

That only took four days and a new MicroSD card.


DRM is bad for the customer.

Net/net, DRM places businesses in an adversarial relationship with their customers and that is never good. Those who would steal value will find a way to do so, and those who would pay for it will be aggravated. Piracy isn't down because the RIAA sue folks into the stone age, it's because you can buy what you want at a fair cost (Amazon MP3s in my case, but iTunes's DRM-free option is a big step forward too).

For maps, this whole razor/blade model is insanity. If I pay good money for an electronic device, additional function should be an incremental cost, not a raping. THAT'S why bittorent has all the maps; if they were ~$20 people would just buy them because stealing would be too much hassle.

Arthur Fontaine, 2009-08-30

Also having a TomTom issue at the moment:
When you make a (paid) update to your map, the device usually hangs in a reboot loop. The resolution is to delete a certain file. This file contains your favourites, home and settings. This 'solution' is even listed on the TomTom support pages as an official way to solve it.

So TomTom thinks I will input all my favourites and settings by hand every three months? Seriously?

Hubert Stettner, 2009-08-31

The worst thing for TomTom is that not everyone can analyse and workaround problems like vowe did here.
The gross of the customers would be completly frustrated.

What is so special on the Belkin Card Reader that I would pay $49 for it??
I never had problems with my cheap chinese card readers.

Patrick Bohr, 2009-08-31

that´s why TomTom sport the red "hands-off" sign.

Armin Roth, 2009-08-31

Patrick, I am a sucker for shiny stuff that works well, even if there is less shiny stuff that might do the job.

Volker Weber, 2009-08-31


thanks for putting all this on your blog.

Here's my recent experience with TomTom / map updates etc.:

I just got back from a trip to California. Before leaving Germany, I bought a US map through TomTom HOME but couldn't complete the download and install process (my TomTom ONE's internal memory was already clogged up with my European map, backup plus download took longer than I expected).

I ended up buying a US TomTom ONE at OfficeDepot and asked TomTom support for a refund (for the map, not the new device!), which they declined as I expected anyway. But it appears there's no way to restart the installation once it's been interrupted - very much similar to your case. Now I'm seriously considering to cancel the credit card payment for the map (there's actually a cancellation reason "item not received"), as I don't see a way to at least get the map I paid for.

If it wasn't for the best user interface on the market, I'd have turned my back on TomTom long ago due to all the hassle I've had already.

Martin Switaiski, 2009-08-31

Oh, and I also do get the same message as vowe when trying to re-download the map through HOME's map update feature:

"TomTom HOME has cancelled the action that was in progress because you disconnected your navigation device." - which I never did as the device was sitting there all the time and I wasn't even fiddling with any mounted drives!

This really must be the worst experience I've ever had with an otherwise great system.

Martin Switaiski, 2009-08-31

Keep on hitting that download. It eventually will pull down all of the map. It's just a matter of days ...

Volker Weber, 2009-08-31

I had problems on my TomTom 930 after downloading the latest Western Europe map from my subscription. While it installed, I got an XML error right at the end of installation. I used their support mechanism to ask for help. After a day or so delay, I got back a cut-and-paste with complex, risky instructions that involved deleting all my maps from the device and the computer and going online.

Fortunately the slowness of their support meant I was saved from more PC-style support hell. Next day there was an update to TomTom HOME and when I attempted to install the map, it went in first time. Looks like they had a bug in HOME, but were not honest enough to admit it to a customer, preferring to expose me to extreme risk with my expensive purchase.

This is not the first time I have found TomTom support to be slow and unhelpful, the functioning of the device to treat me with hostility and their ugly DRM-based subscription mechanism to leave me in the dark. I do hope someone competes with them using OpenStreetMap...

Simon Phipps, 2009-08-31

Hallo Volker,

nachdem mein Becker-Navi vor knapp einem Jahr den Geist aufgegeben hat, bin ich wieder zu meiner beliebten Methode; ich nenne sie mal hier: frage den Atlas-Passanten-Hybrid; zurückgekehrt und vermisse mein Navi eigentlich gar nicht. Sogar das allseits beliebte TMC-"ätsch-bätsch"-bist-trotzdem-in-den-Stau-gefahren-Spiel nervt nicht mehr so. Man wird irgendwie ruhiger und kommt trotzdem immer pünktlich an.

Puh, dass ich sowas mit meinen 27 Jahren schon schreibe... ;-)

Schönen Gruß aus Polen

Mathias Ziolo, 2009-08-31

Ja, soviel Vernunft in so jungem Alter ist erschreckend. :-)

Volker Weber, 2009-08-31

I have the same problems with Tomtom and their DRM.

This is my first Tomtom (for some days) and my last.

Thanks for the Bittorent tip!
And yes, I have already payed (to much) for the maps.

Succes with your Tomtoms, there are better out there.

Jan Klaassen, 2010-06-05

Old vowe.net archive pages

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