BlackBerry 101: How to install an official (or leaked) BlackBerry operating system

Official or leaked OS?
By Joseph Holder on 21 Mar 2011 03:23 pm EDT

This article will explain in detail the proper steps for installing a leaked or official Operating System on your BlackBerry. If these steps are not understood and followed in the correct order, you could lose data or break your BlackBerry. Careful reading of the article and the steps involved will prevent that.

Research in Motion is constantly working to improve your BlackBerry experience. Once the BlackBerry is in your hand, the only way to do this is with updates to the core files in your smartphone. RIM does this by creating software updates. Through the normal and official channels, your carrier will spend some time (months, even) to decide if the update is stable. Once your carrier approves the update, it is made available through them and becomes an official update. Only official updates are supported by your carrier's call and service centers.

So that's the Official way to get an update for your BlackBerry. Leaked OS's are entirely different stories. Some leaked OS's are updates that have been submitted for carrier approval. Others are ones that haven't even made it to that level yet. They sometimes include glitches like poor call quality. And sometimes they don't. Sometimes, you never know what you're going to get with an OS. Still, there are an adventuresome few who take the challenge. After all, being the first to experience new features and improvements has its own special kind of thrill.

Whether you're adventuresome or cautions, the way in which you put your update on your BlackBerry is exactly the same. It's a rather simple process that takes less than an hour to fully complete; and BlackBerry Desktop Software does the majority of the work.

How do I get my update?

Official updates can generally be found through your carrier's website. OS updates are specific in which BlackBerry they will support. For example, an update for the Style would not run very well on a Torch. Find the proper update for your BlackBerry and download the executable file. Some carriers will require you to use Desktop Software to download and install the update. In that case, go ahead and start Desktop Software, attach your BlackBerry via USB and wait for us here.

My eager brothers and sisters wanting to install a leaked OS will need to get their installation files a bit differently. We have one or two resources here at CrackBerry to help you out. All you'll need is the downloadable installation program, just like the official users up there.

Once you have that update, be it official or leaked, you'll install it just the same.

Getting ready to install

Remove any previous versions

Before you go installing that update to your computer, you'll need to remove any previous updates. Now, I haven't owned an Apple product since the Apple IIc, and honestly I haven't used a Mac since before the G4. I hear the experience is much improved. The point being is that these instructions will apply only to Windows users. Sorry Mac users, I just don't have one.

Windows users will need to pay a visit to the control panel, where you can select Add/Remove Programs or simply Programs. From the list of applications provided, you want to remove/uninstall any previous versions of a BlackBerry operating system. Some may tell you this step is unneeded, but I always like to make it as easy as possible for my OS to install.

Once any and all pervious OS updates have been uninstalled, you can go ahead and install your latest download. Open your downloaded update file on your computer and follow the instructions to install it. When complete, you should be prompted to open up Desktop Software.


Before completing any update to your BlackBerry, you should back up your personal data. You'll do another backup during the install proceedure; still, you can never have too many backups. You may want to back up your 3rd party apps (i.e, the apps that don't come pre-installed) as well. Installing the update as we are in this guide, your applications should remain untouched.

PRO Tip: Check your applications to see if they have a Backup/Restore option. Application settings and data can get lost in the shuffle of an OS update. Use the feature to save your those settings. Once the update is complete, you can use the same feature to restore them.

The files on your media card (microSD card) should be remain unaffected.

Starting the upgrade.

BlackBerry Desktop Software 

Make sure Desktop Software is open and your BlackBerry is connected via USB. Once connected to your BlackBerry, chances are that BlackBerry Desktop Software will automatically begin the update process. If not, it will have recognized that an update is available. Click the Update Now button to begin the update.

At the begging of the update, you will asked to backup your device's data once again. Since there's no such thing as too many backups, I suggest letting the program do just that. Allowing it to do this backup will allow the program to restore your data, too.

Waiting with my BB

Once the backup is complete, Desktop Software takes it from there. Your OS is updated, your BlackBerry

will flash, and then your BlackBerry will appear to simply sit there, doing nothing. This is completely normal; do not attempt to disconnect your BlackBerry. This part of the process can take up to 30 minutes while the final bits and pieces of the update are slotted into place.

Once your BlackBerry starts, the data you backed up at the beginning will be restored. You'll get all your email, settings, and contacts back where they were. You'll now need to agree to several license agreements; undoubtedly, several apps will be clamoring to get their permissions approved. Once that's squared away, there's only one final piece remaining. Once your BlackBerry has successfully connected to the network, you'll get an email saying your device is registered with the network. Once you get that, you're all set.

This article actually started out as two, one for installing the official Operating System for your carrier and another for installing leaked OS's. As you can see, the process for both is quite similar. It all comes down to choosing where to get your update. Do you keep your BlackBerry loaded with the latest in carrier-supported software? Or do you walk on the wild side with the absolute latest BlackBerry OS. After all, it's merely a matter of choosing where to begin.

Further Study:

BlackBerry 302: A complete wipe and clean install of your BlackBerry OS
BlackBerry First Steps: Operating systems - official, leaked, and unofficial
10 Things You Should Know About Using a BlackBerry!

Reader comments

BlackBerry 101: How to install an official (or leaked) BlackBerry operating system


Good video. If this is for official or leaked versions of an OS, should there have been mention of deleting the vendor file, in the case of a official file installation from another carrier? Doesn't it matter if you are using the method in the video?

That's the next OS help how-to.  With an Official update to your BlackBerry issued by your carrier, you won't need to remove the vendor.xml file.  You already have the appropriate one.  Leaked OS's contain a blank vendor.xml file.  You'd only have to delete the .xml file if you're trying to install an OS that's been officially released by another carrier (not your own).

I take it this article is for the newbie wanting to do it the official way through the Desktop Manager and all that? Because the article you wrote, "BlackBerry 302: A complete wipe and clean install of your BlackBerry OS", that was published on this site on Feb. 7, 2011, was a lot more informative -- to the point that I even bookmarked it just for easy reference.

The link to that article is here:

And that's good. I appreciate that.

But I would definitely mention your last article in this one -- if you haven't already, and I just missed it. Maybe someone who is a bit more advanced or willing to learn can revisit that 302 article, or maybe those who missed it the first time can see it. That way, you get the best of both worlds without alienating anyone. :)

The same thing here to i prefer the classic way wit BBSK ;) for me seem to be a much more clean install.

But this article is good to for ppl who like to upgrade by their DM.

Good Article @Joseph Holder ! but 302 for me looks better ;)

When I was a newbie on the site, someone posted how to update an OS through AppLoader and I found that way easier than Desktop Manager. I've now memorized the steps and can complete the process in a half an hour. It might be worth it to make a video on updating the OS through AppLoader for those who prefer to use that. Or, even better, make an article comparing all the methods you can use to update an OS and the pros and cons(maybe why one method is better for new users and why other methods are better for experience users) Just some suggestions.

BBSAK made my life hell for a couple of hours last month by 1) not recognizing the new OS I installed on my computer, and then 2) would not reinstall my apps after I so carefully backed them up. I'm skittish to use it again, so I'm going back to this method.

i tried doing this on my curve 3g but after i click "get update" it says whether i want to back up my data so i click yes then shortly after i get this message Error trying to update "One or more modules could not be resolved"...... what does this meen?

Not possible buddy sorry, these guys failed to leave that one out..

except i havent used a mac since the apple II, cool yo

honestly, i'm a bit surprised that the article included installing a leaked os in a 101-level tutorial. i always thought 101's were normally reserved for standard bb procedures and "tips & tricks".

not that i'm complaining or anything. i'd like to see more people embrace the mod mentality with their hard-earned devices. what good is any tool if you don't take every opportunity to maximize its use?