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February 19, 2009

How to Update Your Magellan Maestro 4350's Software: A Step-By-Step Walkthrough

Magellan Maestro 4350 Review

As with any GPS, it's important to keep the software and maps up-to-date in order to ensure the best possible performance. Magellan recently released a free major software update to the Maestro 4350 that all owners should definitely install. The update improves routing, reliability, and adds some nice new features.

Here's the step-by-step instructions on how to update your Maestro 4350.

You should periodically connect the Maestro 4350 to a PC (sorry Macintosh users -- Magellan only releases updates for Windows machines) and check for any available updates.

Magellan has released desktop software that makes it easy to download and install the latest firmware and map updates. The "Content Manager" application is available for free via Magellan's website.

To check for available updates, open your web browser and go to www.magellangps.com, find your GPS model, and then click on Support.

Magellan's Website, Product Support Page
Figure 1: Magellan's Website, Product Support Page

Magellan has released desktop software, cryptically called the "Content Manager Toolbox", that automatically checks the software version of your GPS, and downloads and installs any available updates.

In order to check for updates, you'll need to download and install Magellan's Content Manager Toolbox.

Thankfully Magellan doesn't require registration to download updates for the 4350 (you DO have to register and login to download updates for the 4250, however).

Download Content Manager Toolbox
Figure 2: Download Content Manager Toolbox

Click on the download link and save the file to the desktop or somewhere where it will be easy to find.

Downloaded Software
Figure 3: Downloaded Software

Locate the program you downloaded in the previous step, and launch it.

Welcome to the Magellan Content Manager Setup
Figure 4: Welcome to the Magellan Content Manager Setup

Click 'Next' to begin installing the Content Manager program on your PC.

Choose Install Location
Figure 5: Choose Install Location

Either accept the default location to install the program, or manually choose a different install path (unless you have a reason to change this, most people should just leave the default and click next".

Note: the path shown in the figure above includes "(x86)". This is because I installed the software on a PC running Windows Vista x64. 32-bit versions of Windows will not have the "(x86)" in the path.

Figure 6: Installing

Installing the software takes a minute or two...

Install Complete
Figure 7: Install Complete

Once Magellan's Content Manager finishes installing, click 'Finish'.

Connect the Maestro 4350 to the PC using the included USB cable, and wait for Windows to finish detecting the new USB device. Then launch Content Manager.

Connection Failed Error Message
Figure 8: Connection Failed Error Message

If you see the "Connection failed" error message, shown above, then you may have launched the program before connecting the GPS to the PC, or before Windows has finished detecting it. Make sure you can see the GPS in "My Computer" (it should appear like any other USB storage device), and then launch Content Manager again.

New Profile
Figure 9: New Profile

Content Manager prompts you to setup a profile for the new GPS. This only needs to be done once for each new GPS you connect to the software You don't need to change any values here. Just click 'OK' to continue..

Warning! Backup Needed
Figure 10: Warning! Backup Needed

Magellan highly recommends creating a full backup of the GPS before installing any updates. I also highly recommend taking the 15 minutes or so required to make a full backup, as this provides a recovery option in case things go south during or after the update.

Seriously folks - I know many applications out there suggest you backup before proceeding, but this is one case where you really, really should do a backup. I've heard many tales of batteries dying during an update, or cables getting knocked lose, or any number of other things that can happen mid-update, rendering the GPS unusable. With a complete backup, you'll be able to restore easily without having to contact Magellan's infamously bad customer support, and possibly send in your GPS for repair.