Today I tried to install a new app called Social Beat on my Blackberry Tour 9630. Verizon had “conveniently” pushed a link to my device. I’ve been doing a lot of social networking and the app seemed like it had promise. I started the install and then set my phone down to work on something else. When I looked at my phone again it had the white screen with a clock that I am used to seeing when I reboot the device. New applications frequently require a reboot, so I didn’t think anything was wrong despite the fact that it didn’t require me to approve of the reboot like it normally does. Within a few minutes the clock was replaced by a new icon and “Reload Software:552″, AKA the Blackberry “blue screen of death”.
A battery pull usually solves most issues on the device, but that didn’t work this time. After a little research I learned that the problem was either that I had run out of memory, or that my current OS was not compatible with the new app. I found very few posts from people who had successfully resolved the issue. Most people recommended wiping the device and starting over. This would not be a big deal if I had been backing up like I know I should. Unfortunately I have never backed up my Blackberry. When things work the way they should it is so easy to forget to prepare for disaster. I had tasks, memos, bookmarks, text messages and email drafts that I can never replace. Nothing of extreme value, but lots of things that are important to me. I went to a Verizon store and they were willing to give me a new Blackberry, but could not help me fix the issue or recover any of my data. The guy I spoke with didn’t offer much hope either. He told me he has had to replace three Blackberries and has never been able to revive one from this condition. The Blackberry help forums all seemed to say that it was dead and that all I could do was start over. Crackberry.com is a fantastic resource, and the only place I found any hope. Some said that they had been able to remove the app that caused the problem by using the DesktopManager, roboot and be good as new. I could hardly wait to get home and give it a try. DesktopManager would not recognize the device, but I was able to get it to access and update the application list. Things seemed promising, but it kept crashing during the device initialization stage. Finally I tried downgrading the OS, and then upgrading back to the most recent version. It said that it would backup my information along the way, so thing were looking up. I was excited to see the progress bar at the bottom of the screen after the upgrade and optimistic that I had accomplished my goal after three hours of trying. Sadly that was not the case. I did revive my Blackberry from the dead, but somehow along the way all of my settings and information saved in the device memory were lost. I still have everything on my SIM card and on my memory card, but I could have easily put both of those cards in a brand new Blackberry (without the scratches that mine has) and saved a lot of time. Fortunately I use Gmail and Google Sync so I still have all of my contacts and calendar events. I suppose I didn’t really lose anything TOO important this time, but it has been very frustrating and disappointing. Hopefully I learned my lesson, and with any luck I can save someone else from going through the same experience. We have all heard it too many times, but remember: Electronic devices can and do fail. Protect your data from loss. Backup often. If I were you, I would do it right now.
I’m off to reinstall my favorite apps and adjust all of my settings.
I do not recommend the Social Beat app.
I do recommend Google Sync.
I highly recommend backing up your data, including your cell phone contact list!