How to Install or Upgrade to a New RIM BlackBerry Operating System (OS)'s BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
By Al Sacco on 16 Jul 2008 12:50 pm EDT

Research In Motion (RIM) is constantly developing and testing new software and applications for your BlackBerry.  Keeping up to date with the newest operating system (OS) software for your smartphone ensures that you have access to all the latest and greatest features and performance tweaks.  With the official release of BlackBerry OS v4.5 on the horizon—various beta, or test, versions of the software are already bouncing around the Web—we thought this would be a great time for a BlackBerry OS tutorial.

What follows is our step-by-step guide on how to upgrade your BlackBerry's OS, or install a different version, as well as how to prepare beforehand to make the process run as smoothly as possible.

To start a new operating system install, you'll need your BlackBerry, an Internet-connected PC, a USB cable and about an hour and half of free time—50 minutes or an hour for the upgrade process and 30 minutes or catch-up time afterwards.  Mac users beware: RIM doesn't currently offer the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software for Apple computers; however, industrious Mac owners running Parallels and who have a copy of Windows have been able to upgrade their BlackBerrys via Macs, though the process can be a bit clumsy.

If you've got all the necessary tools listed above, the BlackBerry OS install process should be a breeze.  Let's get started.

How to Install or Upgrade to a New BlackBerry Operating System

1) Download New BlackBerry OS Software

First things first, you'll want to download the new BlackBerry OS and save it to your PC.  To determine what OS version you're currently running, click the Options icon on your BlackBerry home screen and select About.  Your OS version will be listed as a series of numbers after a lowercase V (v4.2.2.184) on the first screen. You can also employ the Help Me screen shortcut to determine your current OS version by hitting ALT, SHIFT and the letter H.

Current BlackBerry Operatin System Software Version

To obtain the latest operating system for your BlackBerry device, first check your wireless carrier's website.  This is the best way to get official RIM OS software.  Your carrier may ask you to login to download the software, so you might need to create an online account if you haven't already done so.  Once logged in, locate the system upgrades section, check to see if there's an OS version that's more recent than the one you're currently running, and if so, download and save it to your PC's desktop.

Save the latest BBOS onto your Windows-powered computer

If you decide to download and install an unofficial version of the BlackBerry OS, you should beware that you're doing so at your own risk. Beta operating systems are not officially released for good reason: They're often full of bugs and could potentially void your warranty or worse, render your BlackBerry unusable. (Read, "How to Reload the Operating System on a Nuked BlackBerry," if you ever find yourself with a bricked 'Berry. If you do decide to install unofficial software and it's from a carrier that isn't your own, you should be sure to ditch the software's vendor XML file before beginning installation. To do so, open your PC's Program Files > Common Files > Research In Motion > AppLoader and then delete the Vendor file, which is in XML format.  If you don't delete the other vendor's file, the software won't be able to install the software on your carrier-locked device. You can visit's OS4.5 Beta forum for discussion and help should you run into issues.

2) Download and Install the Latest BlackBerry Desktop Manager Software

Next you should ensure that your PC is running the latest version of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager, which is v4.5. 

To check which version of Desktop Manager you currently have, you should launch the program via Windows Start menu > All Programs > BlackBerry > Desktop Manager. Then click the Help tab on the main screen and choose About BlackBerry Desktop Manager.  The software version will be listed on the General tab.

BlackBerry Desktop Manager version 4.5

If you're not running Desktop Manager v4.5, visit RIM's site and download and install the latest version of the software.

3) Prepare for New OS By Noting Apps, Services or Setting That Could be Affected

Installing a New BlackBerry OS will return some of your custom settings to the default options and may require you to log back into and unlock certain applications.  For instance, your font family, font style and size will revert to default settings after the OS install, so you may want to go into Options > Screen/Keyboard settings to make note of your custom settings.

Many third-party apps will also require you to reenter your user name and password, so you may want to make note of which apps require a login and make sure you've access to the necessary information.  For example, your Viigo RSS reader will prompt you for login information the first time you try to use it, as will Facebook for BlackBerry, your Twitter client and the Flickr app.  I also noticed that the color of my jazzy new CrackBerry launcher changed from orange to cyan…

It's a good idea to switch back to an official RIM theme if you're using a third-party option, at least at first, because some features of non-official themes won't work properly on the new OS.

And it's worth noting that applications are meant to run on specific OS version so they may not work at all after you upgrade.  The Freedom Universal Bluetooth Keyboard, which I reviewed for CrackBerry in May, functions along with an application that will only work on BlackBerry OS v4.0 through v4.2.

4) Open New BlackBerry OS and Begin Installation

After you've prepared for the changes that come along with a new BlackBerry OS, you'll want to begin the installation process.  First, close all related applications and services on your PC and launch the .exe file.  Choose Run and select the appropriate setup language.

The InstallShield Wizard for BlackBerry will then appear. You should click Next and then on the following screen choose the country in which you're currently located. Accept the terms of service and hit "Next" again.  When the install process is complete, the program will ask you if you want to start the BlackBerry Desktop software.  Fill in the check box next to this option and then hit "Finish."

Install OS4.5 onto your computer

When the Desktop Manager software opens, plug your device into the PC via USB cord.  (If for some reason, the desktop manager software does not launch after a few minutes, go to your Windows Start menu > All Programs > BlackBerry > Desktop Manager.) You'll then see a dialogue box that tells you it's searching for device application updates and a few seconds later another box will appear asking if you want to install the available upgrades. Click Update Now and a summary page will appear detailing the specific applications that will be affected.

From there, hit the Options tab beneath the Data Preservation and Device Backup heading and ensure that the Backup Device Data Automatically During the Installation Process box is checked. Then hit OK.

You can also click on the Advanced tab on the right side of the Desktop Manager screen to add or update applications that weren't included in the default list. For instance, if you deleted your BlackBerry Messenger app in the past but now want it back, you can hit Advanced and fill in the check box next to BlackBerry Messenger and the program will be installed along with your new OS.

Application Loader Updates Page

Finally, you should click Next again, and you'll see an Application Loader summary page that explains how your device will need to be wirelessly activated and registered with your carrier after the new OS is installed—don't fret, this should happen automatically—and provides a brief summary of the installation process.  Hit Finish, grab a frosty beverage and/or good book and sit back and relax while you're new OS is installed. As mentioned above, this may take awhile so don't worry if the progress bar seems to be sticking on the "Connecting to the Device" stage—one of the final steps in the upgrade process. 

Summary Page. Click Finish and let the Update begin!

If you're installing an operating system that's older than your current software, you'll want to download the OS to your PC and launch the .exe file just as described above.  But when you plug your device into your PC after opening the Desktop Manager, the app won't find any updates and you'll have to instigate the install process yourself. To do so, click the Application Loader icon on the Desktop Manager home screen and then click the Start box on the right side of the screen, beneath Update Applications. The software will then search for updates and won't be able to find any.  On the following screen, click the Advanced tab under Device Application Selection, make sure the list of applications on the next screen includes all programs you wish to include in the install and hit Next again. Choose to backup your application data on the following screen and hit Finish to begin the install.

You'll know your new OS is installed successfully when the Desktop Manager's Update Complete screen appears and your device's radio turns back on.  Shortly after the process finishes up, you should receive a message in you inbox to let you know your device is registered with your carrier's network. If you don't receive such a message, resend your device's e-mail service books.  You can send service books in two ways, using either your BlackBerry itself or your carrier's BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) page.  To send service books via BlackBerry, open your E-Mail Settings/Set-Up Internet E-mail icon, log in if prompted, and click Service Books option under the Settings heading. On the following page, send the books by hitting Service Books again.

Close out the Desktop Manager, disconnect your BlackBerry and you're good.

Done - OS Successfully Updated!!!


- If you use any BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) accounts, you likely want to resend your e-mail service books even if you're device was automatically reregistered. This ensures that you're taking advantage of any related tweaks that may have been included in the software update.

- Immediately following your upgrade, you'll be prompted to log back into a number of applications but some you'll need to manually open to enter your account information.  If you have a media card installed, you'll also be asked whether or not you want to turn your BlackBerry's mass storage mode on, regardless of your previous settings. You'll also be asked if you want to run through the BlackBerry Setup Wizard.

- If you're on a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) you should check in with an IT representative before attempting to upgrade your smartphone's handheld software, because some IT policies can block or partially block a new OS install.

Reader comments

How to Install or Upgrade to a New RIM BlackBerry Operating System (OS)



I am Omkar from India ,I have purchased a pearl flip in unlocked condition 2 months back,it sports a .236 OS I want to update it to .259. is the installation procedure the same as mentioned above ? how should I deal with the carrier stuff since mine is an unlocked phone detects any carrier sim card. Secondly,when I try updating through desktop manager it says there is noe need of software update so can I still install the new .259 OS.please help

I have tried time and time again to upgrade the software. I cant get the desktop manager to locate the upgrade though. I have deleted vendor xml file and plug in phone after it has been installed. but it is not finding it! PLEASE HELP i want os 5.0 back!!!!!!!!:(

The instructions were straight forward and very easy to use. It took me about 35 mins from start to finish. My 9000 runs like a dream now!!! Kudos!!

Hello,I followed all of the steps in process of downloading 5.0-but I cannot locate the vendor file,after i double click apploader,thanks in advance,J.K.

hello all,

i recently updated my bold 9700 successfully to .442, but am now trying to update to .743. I did everything as instructed here, just like how i did mine the last update, but for some reason i cannot update my phone at all anymore. i even tried it on the .593 update, but Device manager keeps on saying that my phone has no updates at this time, and that mine is up to date, even when i have successfully installed .743 on it.

I deleted vendor.xml file as specified, and tried so many things to get my phone/device manager/apploader to detect this update, but nothing is happening!

what should I do now please? thank you!

This does not work on an unlocked 8900. OS 5.0 is recognized. But reports there is nothing to apply to my phone...Any one have any suggestions?

i am trying to do this. and i have followed all the steps completely. i get to the part where i connect my BB to the computer at the APPloader part and click unknown pin, but then when i get to the next stage it says "The Blackberry Device Software does not have Blackberry Device Software for the device that you have connected to the computer. Contact your wireless provider." i figured this was because i had cancelled my phone number on my BB and switched to an old phone when this BB stopped working. i called verizon and got my phone number on this BB again, but i cant activate it yet because my phone wont turn on until i am done with this installation. can you please help me so i can get my bb to work asap?

I have a curve 8520 - i had the App error 200. I did reload the OS and it is working fine.
However, i do not have the games or the software i had before.
I wanna know how would i go and upgrade the OS for my curve 8520.
Your advice is appreciated

well. i have a curve 8520 and hope you can advise how to upgrade my OS as i lost some application while re instaling the software due to App error 200.

many thanks

I tried to update my Pearl 8100 OS through BB and TM but they don't have anything more current than 4.2. I finally found version 4.5 on Pirate Bay which took all day to download since it's in torrent format. It was worth the wait though because it, combined with the 4.6 version of DM from the BB site, and I had the tools needed to update. The last piece of the puzzle was your step-by-steps and Voila! - it's a beautiful thing. Great site, great info, great, great, great. Mahalo to you all.

I did everything in this post correctly.. But when i click Next to install it all on my BB i get this message: "Invalid Configuation, The application "Email Setup Application" cannot be loaded because some required files are not available." It doesnt like be click next to just install without it, i have to go back or cancel.. How do i fix this so i can install the OS on my BB. Please help quick!! Thanks.

i need help with this i have an unlocked torch and im using tmobile...i cant get my internet to work someone please help me!!!!!

could I actually back up my BB and install/ copy it on my new BB. like trasfer it to one BB to another? thanks.

I would like to update the OS of my blackberry bold 9000 but it says i dont hv enough memory. I've already deleted almost all the apps on my device but the memory still deosn't meet the requirement of the update. What should I do? Thanks.

I just upgraded my wife's bb curve 8330 with 4.5 through the desktop manager last night cause i didn't read this in time b4 i did it and now she doesn't have any kind of (bis) or (bes) or any internet what so ever. She had internet b4 i plugged her phone in2 the computer and i just downloaded the newest version of the desktop manager b4 i installed 4.5 on her phone. so needless 2 say i'm a little frazzled now and our phones were flashed to our service carrier and i dont think they can help me out with this cause they just started selling bb's (our phones were on there service b4 they started selling them). Is there anything u or someone can do or help me out with, to get her internet back up and running? thanx in advance.

I was trying to upgrade my software to os6 in t mobile.
I have no idea what went wrong during installation but my phone has stopped working.
it is not starting up only the red light is blinking.

Can you do this with the torch aswell?
Or maybe downgrading then upgrading back to the same version?
Cause i have the font error problem on my homescreen don't know how to fix it properly.
Also does all my BBM contacts get backed up?

hey im from Barbados and trying to install OS 5...already wipe the device clean and using DM trying to connect..but for some reason its telling me "THERE ARE NO BLACKBERRY SOFTWARE UPDATES AVAILABLE" but I am still at the white screen with "error 507'.....

When I try to run it through the application loader I get the message, "The Blackberry Desktop Software does not have Blackberry Device Softeware for the device that you have connected to the computer"

Im using Blackberry Bold 9000

Can anyone help.....THANKSSSS!!!!

i'm a newbie, what does it mean by "you need to reactivate your device wirelessly" after i up grade the os,can anyone pls tell me..... thannks .....

reload software 552 & symbole on handset 8900 blackberry can't do anything, i've tried through app loder, through nuke but, no result still same error.. please suggest what to do?

WAHOOO.....Thank you so very much! I spent all evening trying to fix my Blackberry Curve 8310-the home screen was blank. Then I found these directions and it fixed it! I'm so excited! Thank you very much! I just downloaded the Blackberry desktop thingy you said to download and it walked me thru all the rest. I didn't have to go hunt for any of it....THANK YOU AGAIN FOR VERY VERY MUCH!

I have a BB 8120, with v4.3, and i can't upgrade to 4.5. I did everything i know, i deleted the vendor file, i tried to boot loader with battery off and it allways shows the PIN it doesn't say unkown. I tried to load the blackbery.alx for 4.5 OS ,from device application selection and nothing happens. Is there nothing i can do to upgrade my phone ?

It would be great if you guys could update this for Desktop Software v6. I'm trying to install an update from another carrier and the latest version of Desktop Software doesn't have the same buttons as described here.

Hi all.
I am from Pakistan and i have blackberry 8900 curve.I have currently OS v 4.6.1 installed on my cell phone.I want to install latest OS which is v 5.I have followed above mentioned steps in the same way as instructed but after searching a dialogue box appear which was telling that "NO software update available".From view other versions i selected v 5 to install but there was an error saying "is only available to users with an active BlackBerry subscription".
I want to ask that is it necessary to have active blackberry services for updating of OS?
Is there anyother way to update my OS except registering to blackberry services?
How may i update my OS now?
I am from Pakistan and i my carrier is Ufone.Please help me in this regard..Waiting for your reply.

I have a Blackberry Storm (9530) with OS Is there a more optimum OS for my Blackberry and is it worth upgrading?

Hi if anyone can help me regarding the Aploader like i tried everything take out the battery usb and next and such but everytime i do it with my bold it always say USB-UNKNOWN then after that it just keeps saying error and when i put my battery sometimes my USB-UNKNOWN pin disappears?
does anyone know how to connect it like i used jl_cmder to wipe it then apploader for my first bold it worked i got to make it work but my other bold just doesnt seem to recognize my pin and i really dont know why i even try the desktop manager too and it says PIN 0 is my motherboard for the phone broken? is there anyway i can fix this problem? Thanks in advance

Hi if anyone can help me regarding the Aploader like i tried everything take out the battery usb and next and such but everytime i do it with my bold it always say USB-UNKNOWN then after that it just keeps saying error and when i put my battery sometimes my USB-UNKNOWN pin disappears?
does anyone know how to connect it like i used jl_cmder to wipe it then apploader for my first bold it worked i got to make it work but my other bold just doesnt seem to recognize my pin and i really dont know why i even try the desktop manager too and it says PIN 0 is my motherboard for the phone broken? is there anyway i can fix this problem? Thanks in advance

hey guys when i connected my bb in a pc desktop sofware found loads of updates and i clicked next and then after a while it said fatal error and it does not work at all. Have been trying to update it many times but when i do that it just stays in loading device software and the cursor does not move. ps help

i have a 8330 and i just upgraded to the os 5, now most of it upgraded but the icons on main screen. Is there a way to change that too? i went back to desktop mgr and it said no other updates were available.

Im using Vodafone IN Blackberry 9300 which is locked to use only indian vodafone SIM.. ... Can i be able to install Vodafone UK os in my mobile? i didnt unlock the phone yet..

m using BB9700 and blackberry bold9700 not working even skype and yahoo,hotmail messanger.......what to do......

needs to be updated... also would be nice if there was a step by step useing mac and the new desktop software for mac

Quick question . After you finished upgrading to a new OS , do you have to reinstall all 3 rd party apps again ?.

i have a telefonica movistar blackberry curve 8520 which is unlocked. i recently downloaded the latest os from the telefonica website, when i install it, will my phone be locked again to their network, and if yes what should i do if i am to install the os but dont want my phone locked to that network..? thanks in advance

I can't continue with the OS installation. It says Application loader is open. I dint have anything on my PC that's open except for the one I'm about to install. What could be the problem?

When I pay for bis service, the amount will be deducted from my credt ie service charges but I am unable to use the bis service and for example I don't get a big edge (ie EDGE) I went on to format my fone by still same problem, I want to knw how to solve this problem because I can't use my bbm, facebook mobile and other freebes that comes with blackberry. Pls if I download ugrade directly to my fone will it is my id pls I need help because I can't use my bis.

I have a Bold 9700(Rogers) which I factory unlocked while leaving USA. It's running on OS 6.6.666 and yesterday I download OS 6.6.668 from Orange-UK and by removing vendor file tried to install on my nuked BB but my Desktop manager gives error "The desktop manager does not support this version and this will not be installed on your device". I tried to update the desktop manager but it is already latest version.
I downloaded OS from Orange-UK and istalled it on BB it worked fine but the wallpaper was still rogers and again if when I tried to install 6.6.668 it gives the same error. I've tried everythin but still same problem
Please help....

The person that's using my bb as a former phone has an I'd and password is unknow to me trying get him is void, and whenever I wanted to download through bb mesenger it requested the I'd and password and I don't know it, how can I do this and get rid of this password and I'd and create my own?

Been trying to update from 7.0 to 7.1 following above directions but get a window that says
"The Blackberry Desktop Software does not have the Blackberry Device Software for the device that you have connected to the computer. contact your wireless provider or system administrator"

Basically when it should go to the window with the list of applications to tick for the new OS the above pops up instead in a greyed out window.

Is there any way I can upgrade? OS 7.0 doesn't have mobile hotspot.....and it seems Telstra doesn't want me to have it!!