Here's a HOW-TO describing the different flavors of reset available in various PalmOS devices.
The reason it takes a while to get the general preference screen after a soft reset is that the OS notifies every app on your device that a soft reset has occurred. That allows each program to reinitialize. There are two cases where you don't want that to happen. One is if you want to delete a system file or other file that's normally open in the OS and won't let you delete it as a result. Since that app won't be initialized, it won't be active after the reset and you can freely delete it. The second is if some app is crashing your system in an endless chain of soft resets. This reset will keep all apps inactive until you manually start them after the reset is complete. This way, you can work your way through the apps and see which one is causing the problem. It could be as simple as a corrupt preference database for an app. This takes some patience in troubleshooting, but always start with what you did last and work your way back through your last changes in reverse order.Link (via Mobilewhack)