So I am running a BlackBerry 8700 with an OS of 4.1.xxx and I am in need of an upgrade. I am comfortable with my 8700 so it is not a hardware upgrade which is required, but rather an update of my OS to the most recent available version. I have never attempted to modify anything on my BlackBerry up to this point, with the exception of adding and removing various applications. I am nervous about losing all of my data and settings when I get into the guts of this device and start switching things around. Will I lose it all? Will I brick my BlackBerry and have to take it in to be serviced? I invite you now to join me on my mission to upgrade my BlackBerry OS. If you too are interested in upgrading your BlackBerry insides, please follow along. I am sure we will find all the answers we need.
The Beginning: A search for a new OS
My first step along the path to an upgraded OS is to do a quick search of the Research In Motion website to see if they offer any step by step instructions for the process. My initial instinct is to click on the “Support & Services” tab to see what is available. Upon first glance I notice a few options are jumping right off the page at me: Get Product Documentation – user guides and more, Log in to the BlackBerry Technical Knowledge Center, and Download Blackerry Device Software. While all three of the above options look promising, I think I will start with the “Download BlackBerry Device Software” link. I think there is a great possibility that the files I require will be accessible in this area, and where there is a download link, there are usually installation instructions close by. When I click on the link to download BlackBerry Device Software, I see a drop down which is asking me to select a product. Upon closer inspection of this list, I see no mention of OS files of any kind. I guess I will have to try another option. As I scan the software download page, I notice a link in the left navigation which says “Downloads“. Clicking this link proves to be a smart choice. I now see options to download: BlackBerry Device and Desktop Software, BlackBerry Enterprise Server Software, and Games and Applications. Since I am not running a BES and have no interest in games and applications at the moment, I think I will click the BlackBerry Device and Desktop Software link to see where it takes me. I immediately know that I am in the right spot. All the text on this page talks about upgrading your device software and a link to “Service Provider Download Sites” is prominently featured. Clicking on that link takes me exactly where I needed to go.
Downloading the correct software for your upgrade
While on the Service Provider download page I am instructed to select the link which corresponds to my current provider. A couple scrolls of the mouse wheel reveals a Rogers Wireless Inc. option available under the North America heading. NOTE: If you are following along on this journey, it is at this point where you will select your own Service Provider out of the list of links. Once I have clicked through to the Rogers Wireless Inc. software download page I am asked to select a product from an available drop down list. I easily located my 8700 r in the list and clicked through to see what types of files are available. Inside the provider specific download page I find the installation instructions I was looking for and a number of links to various OS versions supported by Rogers. After seeing what is available I have chosen to download the BlackBerry Handheld Software V126.96.36.199(Multilanguage) files. Looks like I have to fill out a form – thanks RIM! After entering my various bits of information for RIM I clicked the “Next” button. Oh, a Terms Of Service agreement. Yes I agree! Next. There it is! I can now download my BlackBerry Handheld Software V188.8.131.52 (Multilanguage) (62.058Mb)! NOTE: Before you proceed any further you will need to ensure that you have the latest version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager installed on your PC.
Backing up your data before the upgrade!
After doing a bit of reading on the subject, I have decided that it is a good idea to perform a manual backup of all my data BEFORE performing the OS upgrade. Apparently, the Desktop Manager has a history of not being able to complete the automated backup on every attempt. Therefore I will now do a manual backup – follow along! Step One: Plug the BlackBerry into your PC via USB cable (enter password if prompted) Step Two: Launch the BlackBerry Desktop Manager and double-click on “Backup and Restore”.
Step Three: On the screen that appears, select the “backup” option. Step Four: In the save window that appears, name the backup file in a descriptive manner and set the destination to the desired location on your hard drive. Step Five: Click the Save button. A visual indicator will show you the progress as the process completes. NOTE: It is very important that you DO NOT unplug your BlackBerry during this process. Depending on how much information you have stored on your BlackBerry, it could take up to 10 minutes to complete.
Installing your new BlackBerry OS
After saving the appropriate installation files to my desktop, I double clicked the .exe icon and proceeded to follow the instructions provided by the install wizard. The process is complete and I should now have a freshly upgraded OS right? Nope. Closer inspection of my BlackBerry (options – about) reveal that I am still running 4.1.xxx. I have a feeling I need to run the BlackBery Desktop Manager. Sure enough, when I initialize the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, a new window pops up which displays “Available Application Updates”. I chose to update by clicking on the “Update Now” button. At the next step I am provided the opportunity to perform an automatic backup of all my data. Despite the fact that I have already completed the manual backup as described above, I choose to allow the Desktop Manager software to back up my data once again. (Lets see for ourselves if the backup is completed.) A dialog box appears which shows all the currently installed applications as well as the available upgrades. I notice that I can save a significant amount of space on my BlackBerry by removing all of the extra language support. In the event that I require this functionality in the future, I will find an appropriate application when needed, or re-install the new OS files.
I have a new OS!
The process has been completed, my OS has been upgraded and all of my previous data was kept intact. Overall it took approximately 30 to 40 minutes of my time to download all of the required files to my desktop and install them onto my BlackBerry 8700. If you have been following along, I hope this guide has been of some help. Good luck with your upgrades! If you have run into any difficulties with this process, and found a solution, please leave some detail in the comments in an effort to help out others who may be having the same troubles.