Unlocking the Nextar GPS W3G-01

Many years ago I had picked up a cheap Nextar GPS. The included software was pretty bad, and in search for a better solution I figured out how to install custom software on the device. This use to be by far the most popular page on my old site. At this point many sites have copied my original guide, allowing the useful info to stay alive. In my opinion, as old as this device is, GPS software is still commonly designed for low spec devices like this. Even today you could throw in some new software and maps and you’d be ready to go.

The device itself has a smaller screen along with an incredibly loud speaker which can be turned down if needed.

Here is the original guide:

Unlocking the Nextar GPS W3G-01


for those that need it:
GPS “nmea” on
com port 6
serial port 2
baud 9600

After finding out that many GPS units actually run Windows CE at its core I decided to get the cheapest GPS unit I could find and unlock it.
Normally you only have access to the GPS software provided by the manufacturer. In an unlocked unit you have access to any software available for the windows CE environment. Including, but not limited to GPS navigation, multimedia playback, and games.

The Nextar W3G-01 is different then the W3G. Searching online through forums and web pages yielded very little information. Here I hope to provide my own research, along with basic information on how to unlock this unit. Be aware that this will probably void your warranty.

Operating System: Windows CE 4.2
Processor: Intel PXA255 300MHz
RAM: 64 MB
Internal Storage: 1 GB
Battery: Built-in Lithium 1200 mAH
Screen: 3.5″ 320×240 touchscreen LCD
SD/MMC card reader
3.5mm headphone jack

Note: the Operating System is read only, any settings or changes made to the core operating system will be reset on reboot)


1. Download and install ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center

2. Turn GPS unit on, wait for the unit to fully boot then plug in via a USB port


3. Device center should automatically open, find it in the start menu


4. Select: Connect without setting up your device -> File Management -> Browse the content of your device


5. Go into Flash_Storage


6. Find and open AUTORUN.INF


7. Delete all contents and replace with “navigation = \Windows\explorer.exe” without quotes.
This will allow the unit to directly start up in the Windows 4.2 desktop environment. This command can be edited to start an application from an SD card or from internal memory. for example “navigation = \MMC_Storage\gps\navigator.exe” would start the program “navigator.exe” from an SD memory card under a folder named gps.


8. Save to Desktop or any easily accesible location on your computer.
(You will not be able to save directly to the GPS navigator from notepad)


9. Find the saved file and drag and drop it back to Flash_Storage. Allow windows to write over the existing file.


10. Done! now you have an unlocked unit. Play around with your unlocked Nextar W3G-01. Browse the web for applications and how-to guides. Have fun!


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