If you have been a regular reader of BBGeeks.com over the past couple of months, you will have noticed that we have been making a concerted effort to profile as many new software titles and 3rd party applications as possible. We have encouraged you to download many games and productivity bundles in an effort to show you how to maximize the potential of that awesome device you carry with you all day long. Something we have not touched on up until now has been the backing up of said 3rd party applications so that you can recover in the event that your BlackBerry goes to sleep on you and requires a complete system wipe and restore.
How to Backup and Restore Your 3rd party Applications
So you have your BlackBerry and it is full of 3rd party apps that you have downloaded from the BBGeeks Store or other resources across the web. You also have the BlackBerry Desktop Manager installed and have noticed that it has a handy function named “Backup and Restore”. This function will only backup your BlackBerry data and will unfortunately leave all your 3rd party apps vulnerable to loss. There is however, a solution/work around to this maddening problem. It involves a specific process that is completed as part of the back up and restore function. The trick is to not complete the process. Essentially what I will be showing you is how to begin a full system back up and then capture the files that are being backed up from a temp file that the BlackBerry Desktop Manager creates during the process. It sounds kind of complicated, but I promise you it works and is easier than it sounds.
Required Software and Hardware
The first thing you need to have is a BlackBerry and a bunch of 3rd party applications you wish to back up. Clearly you have these things or you would not be reading this article =) You must also have a PC (sorry this will not work on a Mac). The last item you will need is a USB cable to connect your BlackBerry device to your PC.
As far as software goes, you will only need the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. I suggest that you download version 4.2 and get the added Service packs for it as well. (SP2) Click here for instructions on how to download and install the BlackBerry desktop Manager files to your PC.
Getting The Job Done
The first step of the process is to connect your BlackBerry to your PC and launch the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. Step 2:
With the BlackBerry Desktop Manager open and running, click on the button that reads “Switch Device Wizard”. Once the switch device dialog box is visible, click on the button named “Switch BlackBerry Devices”. Step 3:
When you are presented with the switch BlackBerry devices dialog box click the button labeled “Next” and then select the USB: Your PIN option. Click the Next button and enter in your BlackBerry password if prompted. If you don’t know your BlackBerry password, try entering the word “password” without the quotes. Step 4:
You will be presented with a list of items you are able to backup. Make sure that only the “Third Party Applications” option is checked off, leaving “Include Messages” and “User Data Settings” unchecked. Click the Next button. Step 5:
Once the Desktop Manager has completed it’s back up of your third party applications, it is VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT CLICK THE NEXT or CANCEL buttons. Leave the screen that you see alone and then complete the remaining steps below. Step 6:
Do a search on your PC for files and folders that are labeled with your BlackBerry PIN number (the backup process has created a temp folder on your PC that is named using your BlackBerry PIN). NOTE: It is important to note that the temp folder is recognized as a hidden folder by your PC so you will have to make sure that you are searching the hidden folders as well. To search your PC for the temp folder, simply open Windows Explorer and type in %temp% to find all temp folders. Look for the one named with your PIN and copy the folder to a new location on your PC. Step 7:
Go back to the “Switch Device” window that we left open in Step 5 and cancel the process. Be sure that you have copy/pasted the temp folder to a new location on your PC because it will be erased from its original location at this point. Your Backup is now complete!
Restoring Your 3rd party Applications
- Plug in your new BlackBerry (must have an OS loaded onto it) via USB to your PC
- Launch the Application Loader and click the Add button in the top right
- Navigate to the spot where you saved the copied version of the backup folder from Step 6 above
- Double click the file named YOURPIN.alx. The Application Loader will recognize the file like any other .alx file and load the backed up 3rd party applications onto your new device.
There you have it folks. A step by step guide on how to back up all of your precious third party applications in case of BlackBerry disaster!
UPDATE for Desktop Manager 4.7
This update comes courtesy of Crucial_Xtreme 1) Plug in your device and Open Desktop Manager > Select “Device Switch Wizard” 2) Device Switch Wizard > BlackBerry devices 3) Be sure that ONLY 3rd Party Applications is checked then Select “Next” 4) Desktop Manager will back up 3rd party apps, when finished DO NOT select Next or Cancel!!! 5) Search your computer Files & Folders and make sure to search HIDDEN FILES & FOLDERS for a folder with the same name as your PIN and a .alx file. 6) Move the folder and the .alx file to your desktop for easy access. 7) Go back to the Desktop Manager and cancel the process.
How to find the PIN folder on Windows Vista machines
- Click Start Circle then Help & Support
- Enter “Search Folder”
- Click on “Find a file or folder”
- Click on “To find a file or folder using the Search folder”
- Click on “Click to open search”
- Click on the expand arrow next to “Advanced Search”
- Click on “Location” and use Local Disk C: (usually!)
- Enter the PIN of your BB under “Name”
- Make sure the box is checked next to “Include non-indexed, hidden, and system files”
Instead of completing the whole navigation process above you can also find the file here: