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Sunday, August 19, 2012

How to Solve 90% of BlackBerry Problems

As I’ve stated many times before, I’m a high school computer technology teacher.  In South Africa, BlackBerry is currently the most awesome thing among most teenagers.  Having been a BlackBerry user since before it was mainstream (yes, I could be a hipster if I wanted to!) I know quite a bit about the phone and its inner workings.  So when the kids come to me with BlackBerry issues, I can almost always get it sorted out one way or another.  This often makes me seem more awesome than I actually am (though I truly am awesome, I don’t deny it!)

I have found that most BlackBerry issues (including the cases where the phone is stuck in a reboot cycle and won’t finish, or sometimes won’t even come on at all) can be solved simply by updating the firmware.  This sounds extremely difficult, and many technicians will have you believe that it is, since they will charge you around R300 or more to do it, and then you will have to “send in your phone” for around 2 weeks.  But in reality I regularly do it for the kids at school, it takes me no more than an hour, and I usually don’t even charge them a cent.  No specialist equipment required.  And this is how I do it:

First, here’s what you need:

  1. A PC.  I have a quad core gamer’s PC running Windows 7 Ultimate, but it works just as well on my laptop running a Celeron CPU and Windows 7 Home Basic.  So you don’t need a powerhouse.
  2. Your BlackBerry phone’s USB cable.  You get this with your phone, but it’s pretty standard these days.
  3. An internet connection.  I have an uncapped connection at home, but you should make sure that you have at least about 250MB of data available (you will probably need less, though).
  4. The BlackBerry Desktop Software (can be downloaded here; at present it’s around 120MB).  If you have an older BlackBerry you may have the software on your phone’s SD Card or a CD that you got with it, but newer versions don’t come with the software included, and I would recommend rather getting the latest software anyway.

Before we begin, let me just state that if you choose to follow these instructions, you do so at your own risk, and I take no responsibility for any damages or losses incurred, blah blah blah.  You know the story.


So once you have everything that you need, it’s time to get going.  First, connect your phone to the PC using the USB cable, and make sure that you are connected to the internet.  Then you can fire up the BlackBerry Desktop Software.


Now you have to give your PC some time.  Though the software opens fairly quickly, it’s going to take a while to detect and properly install and configure your phone.  I suggest that you go and make a cup of coffee or something. 

You will know that it’s ready when you click on the “Device” menu at the top and the “Update” option is available:


Go ahead and click on “Update”.  The software will go online and search for updates to the operating system itself.  If it finds an update, it will give you the opportunity to install it (it will backup all of your data first and restore it after the update is complete; the entire process should take around 1 hour).  If there are no updates available, you will see the following screen:


At this point it’s your choice if you want to enter your email address.  I’ve done it before, but I’ve never been informed of any updates, so it’s probably a waste of time.  I might be wrong.  The important thing, though, is to click on “View other versions”.  That will open a screen similar to this:


If you keep the “currently installed” version selected, and click on “Install”, it won’t update anything, but it will still backup all of your data and reinstall your current operating system, effectively solving many software-related issues, including the “not booting up” problem.


There’s another less drastic thing that could be done to solve some (less major) issues: an application update.  Usually you will be notified by BlackBerry App World when updates to your normal apps are available.  But sometimes you have non-App World apps installed, or your Core Applications may need an update.  If that is the case, again fire up Desktop Software with your phone connected to the PC and with an active internet connection.  Then go to the top left of the screen and click on “Applications”.  After a few minutes you will see a screen that looks something like this:


In this screen you can see that the BlackBerry 6.0.0 Core Applications component had an update available (indicated by the red star, and also in “Application Summary” at the bottom of the screen).  So when you click “Apply” it will download the update from the internet and install it on your phone.  This solves many issues, including the “Your phone is in need of a BlackBerry Identity update” message.  After you run this, you shouldn’t have that problem anymore!

Well, boys and girls, I hope I helped someone here today.  Now that I made this information available for free, I will be charging to provide this service, and it will take 2 weeks, so learners of Primrose High, be warned!

Anyway, until next time, be blessed!


  1. Dear Lotta

    The answer is simpler than that... Just go Galaxy S3. You will be WOW-d.

    Since my Samsung V200, to the Nokia Communicator, to the Palm Treo, to the Blackberry 9800, I have no other comment but to say WOW!

  2. Agreed; I'm using a Samsung Galaxy myself these days. (Though nothing as classy as the S3... YET!) But this post wasn't really to debate the whole BlackBerry vs Android vs iPhone thing. The fact is that BlackBerry is still a really big thing in SA, and this post will at least help those people who still struggle with some issues! ;-)