Factory reset for the BlackBerry PlayBook also fixes bricked devices

Desktop Software error - this is normal and expected
By Joseph Holder on 31 Dec 2011 03:17 pm EST

There are a number of reasons to give your BlackBerry PlayBook a "factory" reset. Chief among them: preparing your BlackBerry for rooting, downgrading your OS, and fixing a bricked/nuked tablet. It's fairly obvious when your BlackBerry tablet has bricked. Is your BlackBerry Playbook continuously rebooting? Does the LED double-flash when turned off? Like flash flash pause? Can't use your BlackBerry tablet? Yep, it sounds like you've got yourself a bricked PlayBook. It's easy to fix.

Before beginning, I should note that this process will completely wipe all of the data from your PlayBook. If you're planning on downgrading the OS or rooting your PlayBook, you should first create a backup of your tablet's contents. Personally, I skip this step because none of the data on my device is irreplaceable. If your situation is otherwise, make sure you make a backup copy. Of course, if your PlayBook is bricked, I hope you already made backups, because there's no way to recover that data at this point. Sorry.

To reset your PlayBook, you'll need the latest version of BlackBerry Desktop Software, a micro USB cable, a computer, and - of course - your PlayBook. Start Desktop Software on your computer and turn off your PlayBook. Yes, turn it off. Use the USB cable to connect your PlayBook to the computer and wait. After a moment, you should get an error message saying Desktop Software cannot connect to your PlayBook.

Click the "Update" button that's in the middle of the other two buttons, follow the on-screen instructions, and wait. Desktop Software will take care of downloading the OS and installing it to your PlayBook. The process could take up to an hour; make sure you keep your PlayBook connected until told it is safe to disconnect. Once finished, you'll be required to choose languages, set the time, sign in with your BlackBerry ID, and make final updates to the operating system - just like you did when you first received your tablet. After you're done, you'll once again have a working BlackBerry PlayBook.

Reader comments

Factory reset for the BlackBerry PlayBook also fixes bricked devices



I did this last night, with RIM on the phone. The OS version that downloaded and installed on my Play book is

I assumed it would download the latest 1.x version. The RIM Tech was confused and it did the same for him when he tried to re-install the O/S on the unit he was using.

So, he opened a ticket and said he'd get back to me on Monday the 2nd. Now, I was re-installing because some of my apps, particularly App World weren't behaving properly. Now, everything works fine.

Thoughts? The tech at RIM did tell me "we've been told 2.x will release sooner than expected" and he claimed the units they gave the techs was running a Release Candidate. I've grown to trust the techs at RIM, I hope this one isn't blowing smoke.

The problem is that you tried to reset your PlayBook during the 24 hour period after signing up for the 2.0 beta. I ran into this problem a lot, just wait until the 24 hour period is past.  Then factory rest just like you did before.  The problem is that Reset -> Beta is not a valid upgrade path.  You'll have to wait until you can go Reset -> Consumer -> Beta.

I check several times daily for a software update. I'm excited to see the official release of OS 2.0. I tried the beta, was somewhat happy with it, but it is just that.... a beta. Some features were still buggy and the Android Player was way to complicated to try to figure out on my own lol.

i think i will try this. My pb seems much more buggy, slow and requiring reboots than my bb phone. Maybe tbis will help.

nuked my BlackBerry torch, so I already lnew and followed these instructions, then it nuked AGIAN, and finay after 2 os re-loads the e-mail does not work because its still on the software that nuked, sending it off to blackberry!!!

This didn't work for my Verizon Bold 9930. Got as far as JVM Initialization error and goes into continuous reboot mode. RIM has no solution, sadly enough. Called Verizon to have another phone shipped.

Worked great on a 32 GB PlayBook that wouldn't turn on right out of the box. Got the old steady red LED then the flashing green LED. Tried everything to get it going but this did the trick. Thanks CrackBerry!!!

GIVE THIS A TRY for Playbooks...

Our BB Playbook appeared to be bricked (wouldn't turn on, red LED would blink, blink, pause, blink blink. We tried charging it for two days, and just about everything else, and it just wouldn't get going. We read the following instructions on the web and it fixed it right away!

1. Find the original AC adapter that came with the Playbook (not the USB charger).
2. Make sure the AC adapter is plugged in correctly into the outlet (if you have it flipped the wrong way, it won't charge the Playbook).
3. Plug the AC adapter into the Playbook.
4. Hold the power button on the Playbook for a count of 10 seconds and then let go.
5. Wait about a minute and see if the red LED flashes have stopped and if the Playbook has started charging.

For us, it took to the count of 7 when the red LED flashes stopped and it seemed like the Playbook was powering off. Then the LED changed to the yellow-greenish color. That color started faded in and out slowly as when Playbooks are charging from a dead battery. We let it charge all night long and it powered up just fine in the morning. Thank goodness, no lost data!!!

We also read that some people suspect that the red LED blink, blink, pause was due to an older OS that requires the Playbook to be turned on in order to be charging and you need to update the OS. Only time will tell if this will happen to us again. Good luck to everyone!

Thanks for the valuable info...so far not a good experience...updated OTA and then afterwards would not find my wireless and timed out....I'm trying your method but the download over the last 45 minutes has progressed only about 3-6% wow talk about dial up speeds!!! anyway we'll see I have to take my own advice and be patient ha....yeah that's a laff on me!! thanks again ....

Have a bricked Playbook, tried the method and I keep getting "No Updates Available" and no OS is downloaded or installed

hello help pls, i just both this playbook i have same problem , i did this method but during tablet installing software it seems it doesnt continue, it still loading but the loading bar seems not moving. what can i do.. help pls..


My BB 9930 died on me one night as I was charging it. It was all fine and dandy before its battery drained completely, and I had to charge it. I charged it using the wall charger only to have it "brick" on me- i.e. its red LED light would light up as if to reboot, but would go off, leaving a black screen in its wake. I was devastated. I tried searching for solutions all over Crackberry straight after it happened but to no avail. I kept it stashed away for about 2 months before I decided to try fixing it again today. Lo and behold, this method worked for me! I am a happy trooper.!

Any advice about what to do if your device keeps turning itself on when you try this?
Newest version of Desktop Software installed.
PB turned off from the battery indicator on the screen, not with the power switch.
No device connected, DS not running.

Start DS.
Plug in PB.
Message about device driver install from Win7.
Then the PB powers up on it's on resulting in no option to Update OS.

LOL. Never fails. Unplug PB, hold power switch until it powers off, plug back in, immediately get message to Update. :)

Thanks but this doesn't work for me. After about 30 minutes it says "no updates available" and I still have tons of problems with a half-succeeded rooting that I can't seem to get rid of... no way to reinstall the firmware, thus no way to downgrade it. Damn you RIM.

Hello, I followed the instructions exactly, however, at the near end of the process, it said it failed to connect to the device to reboot and suggested I enter my password on the device itself. But I already entered the password before the whole repairing process began on the PC which was okay.

The problem is I can't turn it on and enter the password, it's completely dead so I'm stuck. I've already tried using 2 different computers and I did not disturb the entire process. I just want to bring it back to life to be used.

Same issue as you. I have two Playbooks with one of them bricked and can't update because it asks for my password at the end and nope, can't open it to do so. Also have a Curge 3G that died today. Been a loyal BB user for many years but I'm at the end of my loyalty. I'm gonna toss both Playbooks in the garbage and both BB phones.

I'm done.

I have a playbook that just went black for no reason. I have tried to charge it but no luck. Nothing turns on.

Can someone please help me?


Hi, i accidently wiped clean my playbook software and now on startup only blackberry playbook shows and nothing else,can u help me please .

So here's my problem... I do the factory reset, and then I get a message that says I may need to enter a password on the device, but when I try to turn it on and enter the password... Red Light, and 5 yellow lights. Nothing. Any ideas?

I recently encountered the "black screen of death". The only thing that seems to be functioning is a red LED light. I've tried to reboot using + and/or - along with the power button but got no response. So its lead me to your post. I followed your instruction, but when I plug in my playbook, I don't seem to get the error message saying "Desktop Software cannot connect to your PlayBook". I know my DM is function fine because I can use it with my 9900 bold phone.
I'm really stuck and miss my playbook. Any thoughts?

Hello all.. I need help!
Was in the process of adding blackberry desktop to a new computer (Windows 8); program went in fine but the Playbook was still connected and now it says that the playbook is not finished downloading its program and does not show that it can connect to PC?.
The PC says this "Setup hasn't been completed for the connected Blackberry Playbook Tablet. Disconnect your device and finish setting it up (or complete setup) then reconnect it to your computer."
It is stuck in the pick country mode but I can't pick a country because the keyboard does not work and there is no options on the drop down menu.
The Playbook has a Blue setup screen with "Agrreement" on the top. then a blank Country Box with blank drop down. Then it says "Unable to display the Blackberry ID Agreement. Please select your Country and language then try again"
It is definitely stuck in the screen.. tried restarting in different button configurations but it is stuck no matter what is done.. Does this need to go back to Blackberry or would some tech at Bestbuy know how to fix this?
Please, any help would be greatly appreciated.

I would have deleted this but can't find a delete? At any rate. got the Blackberry going again but it reset it and lost all the info, pictures and so forth.. oh well. at least it is still working. Thanks.