A minor catastrophe struck on Thursday. After getting some breakfast in the city, I took the subway back to Queens. Once we came above ground I checked my BlackBerry, only to find it stuck in a reboot cycle. After fidgeting with it for a while, a logo with a battery and a lightning bolt appeared. So I did what most BlackBerry geeks would do: I pulled the battery. But as in many situations, it did nothing. The phone would go through the boot sequence and hang up on the carrier logo screen, frozen. From there I could only hope that someone had either written about the issue, or else posted about it on a message board. That yielded a quick match: apparently there is an issue with third party themes while rebooting with unread messages. It’s not clear how widespread the problem is, but if you have a third party theme and you reset your device with unread messages in your inbox, you can cause your device to hang on the carrier logo screen. I have a third party theme, so this seemed like the solution. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the trick. The instructions say to hold down the End button while on the carrier logo screen, which will power down the phone. But when I pressed and held the button on that screen, it did nothing. That was greatly disheartening. I though I had found the exact situation and the exact solution, but it didn’t work out. It was back to Google for me. I tried plugging the phone into my Mac, but it wouldn’t recognize the device. No matter what I tried — rebooting the device while connected, pulling the battery while hooked up (though not connected) — I could not get past the carrier logo screen. My Mac, with BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac, wasn’t going to be of much help. As I learned in another tutorial, I’d probably need a PC. I had family in town for the weekend, so I knew I could use the PC at my parents’ house. So I switched my account and BIS to my old 8830 and dealt with the device for the weekend. Not that it’s bad. My only complaint about the device, really, is that it doesn’t have a standard headphone jack. I mean, who designed that? Horribly annoying, especially because it meant no Pandora on the train ride home. Once home I hooked up the phone to Desktop Manager I got some responsiveness. I tried to re-load the OS, thinking that might be the issue, but it would always get stuck at one point or another. After it was clear that Desktop Manager wouldn’t work, I followed the BlackBerry 101 instructions and tried to connect through App Loader. This worked to an extent, but I never got the PIN:unknown screen (nor was I in a reboot cycle), so I couldn’t follow the instructions exactly as printed. Here I decided to combine the two ideas. Once App Loader listed my apps, I deleted all my third party themes. A few minutes later, I was past the Verizon screen and back into my BlackBerry. It was quite a miracle, but not perfect. The device ran slow and froze frequently. That meant one thing: back it up and wipe it. I did just that, and once I re-downloaded my theme I was in business. The BlackBerry is back and good as new. A dead BlackBerry is a scary proposition. It can mean lost data and lost communication. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available online to help you with most any problem you have. If you have any BlackBerry problems like the one I had, you can email me at jpawlikowski at bbgeeks dot com, and I’ll see if we can track down a potential solution.