Backup and restore data using BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6

Desktop Manager 6
By Alicia Erlich on 6 Oct 2010 12:13 pm EDT

As a BlackBerry addict the most important thing to remember is to backup your personal data. You never know when you might upgrade the operating system, switch to a new device, or need to restore a nuked BlackBerry. I'm going to walk you through the process using RIM's Desktop software. It allows you to back up and restore your device data including address book, calendar, messages (SMS, MMS, and E-mail), browser bookmarks, personal preferences/settings, theme settings, etc. Keep reading for all the details on how easy it is to backup and restore your device using BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6.

Back up device data

First, you will need download and install the latest version which you can find here. When finished, bring up the program by clicking on the desktop icon. Next, connect your BlackBerry to your computer using the USB sync cable. You will receive a popup on your phone asking if you want to enable mass media storage. If you do not wish to backup the data on your SD Card then select No to continue.

Mass Storage Mode

When the Desktop Software recognizes your device you can access the backup options via two ways. You can click on Device in the upper left hand corner and scroll through the drop down menu to Back up or you can simply click on the button in the center of the screen labeled Back up now.

Desktop Manager Main Screen

A dialogue box will appear with the Back up Options. You have the choice of one of three backup types as seen below.

Backup Options

Under File Options, you can save your settings for future backups, encrypt the file, change the filename, and choose the destination folder (if different than the default)*. To begin, click on Back up and a progress bar will track the process. When complete, you can disconnect your device.
Insert image "Backup progress & Backup complete"

* For Win XP/Vista/7 users, the files are located in your documents directory in a folder labeled BlackBerry.
Furthermore, if you click on Device Options on the main screen, you can automatically back up your device on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly basis (when connected) and eliminate the need for the manual process entirely.

Device Options

So now that we've gone over how to back up the device, how do we restore it?

Restore device data

Plug your BlackBerry into your computer and click on the arrow next to Device in the upper left hand corner and select Restore. You will be asked to choose your backup file and the data to restore. The great thing here is we no longer need to browse our PC to locate the Loader / Backup files as in earlier versions of DM. One simple click is all it takes. BES users please note that corporate synced data (i.e. Address Book) may not restore unless wireless reconciliation is disabled. However, those can be recovered by IT redoing your Enterprise Activation.

If want to do a full restore select All device data and settings or if you prefer a custom restore choose Select device data and settings. If you select custom, place a checkmark next to each data type you wish to restore (i.e. Address Book, Calendar). To proceed, click on Restore.

Restoring Device

A warning box will appear that your data will be replaced. To continue click on Yes.

Restore Device
Restoring Device

When complete, click on Close and disconnect your phone.

Restoring Device

There you have it, backing up and restoring your BlackBerry. That wasn't so hard was it? Now all you need to do is remember to backup your computer!

Reader comments

Backup and restore data using BlackBerry Desktop Manager 6


This would be all well and good if I didn't get the dreaded "your computer must be connected to the internet" error... which I have not been able to fix. ...and RIM does not know how to fix.

You'd think ONE of these DM updates would fix it, but I guess that's expecting too much...

It would be a great step forward if they would at least acknowlege in the FAQ/help that this isn't always due to firewall issues. In various discussions on various fora, I have read of at least a half a dozen other potential causes. Unfortunately, I have yet to find out what the cause is in my case.

...using the Device Switch Wizard in the DM. I just follow all the steps like I'm switching devices up until after the step where I back up all 3rd party apps.

But can DM stop redirection to the handheld when it is plugged in? No? I didn't think so...

So much for the "upgrade"...

My last backup date says September 20, 2010, even though I back it up every other day. What's the deal with that?

My version of BBDM 6 says my device has never been backed up even though it backs up every day. It's a ropey piece of software.

I don't think DM6 backs up onboard data for bold 9700? I had a few pictures and ringtones saved on onboard memory. A restore didn't bring back those files. I didn't do a full restore though.

anybody else having problems backing up 100% of their stuff? ever since i upgraded to os 6 for my 9650 when i backed up my stuff with .222 and upgraded to .280 my autotexts weren't saved and neither were my folder settings so i had to clean up my home screen again and it took a half hour :(

I had a similar problem with the confirmation message.After reading the article above I realized that if I configured an incomplete custom backup excluding profiles, it might confirm a successful operation.Gues what ? It did-leaving on my screen the date of the successful backup.

I've had no problems backing up my 9700 or my daughter's 8520 also I've updated both our devices to the latest OS upgrade offered for our BB's using DM 6.0 All went well and all the applications & themes were restored too. I am completely happy with this version.

New version will apparently backup and will definitely sync, but the last sync and last backup dates never change for my 9700.

Performing a full restore using DM6 for my VzW Tour was the only route to success for me when my Bluetooth driver had become corrupted.
It took a while to complete everything but well worth it. All of my audio devices (boombox, car stereo & headphones)depend on Bluetooth and my Tour is my sole Bluetooth music source with all of my music.

Have had no problems with DM6 and backing up and restoring on my BB Torch 9800, as, after all, it was designed for OS6, as well as other OS's. All I had backed up was restored properly when I went to AT&T's new .246 OS6. Nothing left out. DM6 even found the version Rogers put out of OS6, before AT&T put out theirs. I have no complaints about this DM, and those with problems, check your Computers as well as how you use DM6.

if i have a bb 9000 and i upgrade to a bb 9700. the data that i back up from the 9000 can i restore that to the 9700? i know for apps i have to reinstall but what about emails, sms, mms, contacts, and so on.

DM6 can't find the DM5 back ups and won't allow manual entry of the correct file location. There went my email settings, contacts, saved info, etc etc.

This article works well if your backing up the same BB or have no troubles restoring your backup, which I did.

I worked out a workaround with ( which I used to get my contacts and some important files out my ipd with. It was free to try out, but I had to pay in the end. I'd rather that than lose my contacts though. Then I synced the contacts back by importing them to Gmail ( and syncing back to my BB using GMail sync which you can text a link to your BB here (

I got my first Blackberry, a Storm, about two years ago. It has been replaced twice since then due to unresolvable problems with the OS. Some of my stress was relieved by using the RIM backup application. Along the way one thing continuously bothered me: Why did RIM design their software with no option for a user to export anything in a human-readable format? BlackBerry Desktop Manager performs well, but is essentially a one-trick-pony.

Another issue that is common to all cellular phones as far as I can tell, is that device memory is exclusively used for all messaging. No manufacturer has yet to enable microSD storage of messaging, altho with the Android types, there is now hope of rooting the phone and installing an app to do that.

Meanwhile - no, you don't actually "own" the message data on your phone, because you generally can not export it to your PC, or even access it in any useful way except with the native app on your phone. This is especially true with RIM software.

Problem solved! I recently became sufficiently fed up with this scenario to google around a bit. I found several apps that mitigate the RIM lock to some extent, but there is only one app that really does it ALL. Elcomsoft Blackberry Backup Explorer not only allows you to export SMS, MMS, calendar data, notes and pretty much anything else that the Desktop Manager backs up, but you can choose any of about 20 different formats, like CSV, XLS, PDF, XML and more. It's a fabulous app, works flawlessly (unless you try to export in a format that won;t work for the data), and you can export all of the stuff in one click!

Ever seen a thread where some poor sap wants to export MMS from his phone and the typical response is "Just email it to yourself"? Really? ONE message at a time? Not even message threads with a single contact? Is that NUTS or what?? Well, we are no longer captives of RIM's refusal to treat end users as human beings. They can take their hallowed "security" BS and stick it up a dark crack! :) :)

when i'm selectively trying to restore some data on my torch using DM 6.0 certain data fields are "shadowed" and are not user selectable.

What worries me is the "address book all" is shaded...does this mean my contacts won't be restored?