Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Manually Upgrading a Blackberry Pearl to 4.5, BIS & BES

I have a Blackberry 8100 Pearl, it’s a great phone and I use it for both my corporate email via BES and my personal email via BIS so I have everything I need coming to one place (if you don’t know how to do this your BB will probably have an e-mail setup wizard where you can attach a number of different email services to your carrier’s BIS – on newer devices BIS and BES can co-exist, IIRC there used to be a specific BIS /or/ BES firmware – this no longer seems to be the case).

Because its attached-to/”owned” by a corporate BES I cannot install the normal 4.5 OS upgrades from my carrier myself as the Blackberry desktop software refuses to allow the 4.5 upgrade and says I have to have an administrator do it on my behalf or provide it over the air (OTA). Now, they are busy chaps and have better things to do and I really wanted HTML email support on my BB ASAP so a bit of unsupported DIY was in order;

Note: I actually did this during the xmas break so this is re-constructed from my memory – remember you do this at your own risk, particularly if your BB is supported by your internal IS department.. don’t make their lives difficult if you don’t know how to help yourself – Also, I don’t profess to be a Blackberry expert but I know enough to get by and work things out.

    • I located the downloadable OS upgrade from my carrier
    • I did a full backup of up my blackberry using the BB desktop software
    • As my own Blackberry desktop software recognises my BB as being owned by a BES it won’t allow the upgrade via USB to the new firmware.
    • I found a 2nd computer and installed the Blackberry desktop suite 4.7 but didn’t pair it up with my Blackberry {yet}
    • I did a wipe of my BB handheld (via the Options/Security Options/General Settings UI. – warning this does wipe everything and took about 2hrs on my BB – note on mine it didn’t erase the contents on my microSD memory card; your mileage may vary and if  you enforce encryption on external cards via policy then you may be unable to access the contents so best to back it up as well. in my case it has just a few un-important photographs from the camera stored on it.
    • At this point I plugged the clean BB Pearl into the 2nd computer and paired it and upgraded the firmware from 4.2 to 4.5, which was pretty straightforward but took a couple of hours to complete.
    • Once upgraded it was a clean BB, for reasons I don’t quite understand it tried to do an enterprise activation but failed, I restored my backup over the top of the clean phone and all my apps and data came back and the BES enterprise activation succeeded.
    • I now had HTML email support via BES (as the back-end supported it)
    • to get HTML email support for my personal email account via BIS I had to use the provisioning applet to have my carrier re-send the BIS service books, once complete it worked perfectly (more discussion on this here)

Once completed I garnished with a fresh looking theme from here, and it’s been more stable than ever since and I have nice, HTML formatted email rather than a mess of URL’s!

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