Friday, August 15, 2008

Upgrading Blackberry Handhelds to new Firmware (and fixing Locked Policies)

There's a lot of reasons why you might want to upgrade your blackberry's firmware including the availability of fixes/patches and new features.

One reason I didn't expect was to fix a policy issue.

The Policy Issue
Recently we split our Domino and Blackberry servers. Yes, I know that they shouldn't have been on the one server in the first place but at the time we were a bit tight for licensing.

We ended up with Blackberry on a new server, with a completely different name, IP and Notes server name. As a result, We had to wipe all our handhelds and re-activate them on the new server.

Since hardware was in short supply, (it's a long story) the original server got wiped and we no longer had any access to the original BES.

One of our handhelds unfortunately had a higher security policy.
Guess what... those little babies can survive a handheld wipe. In fact, it's a security feature.

So, the way out is simple. Fire up the old blackberry server and push a default policy back to the device. Uh... except that the old server is gone.

It turns out that upgrading the device firmware is the only way that you can remove the policy.

So how do you upgrade the Firmware?
Simply go to the Blackberry page for the provider of your blackberry connection (in our case Telstra). You should find a download link that will take you to your provider's portal into the blackberry.com downloads area.

From here, you pick your blackberry handheld device and the firmware upgrade you're looking for and download it.

Once the download arrives (for some reason Blackberry downloads are really slow), you can simply run the executable and let it extract.

Then, you plug your handheld into the USB cable and start up your Blackberry Desktop Manager software. It will prompt to automatically backup and do the upgrade. You just have to hit a few keys and then go away for a few hours. (yep, that's right - it takes a few hours).

Eventually your device will reboot and start working - well, except for the fact that you have to reactivate it and re-personalise it. Of course, if you're like me and you keep most of that information (ringtones, wallpapers etc) on a SD card rather than on the blackberry itself, this is a synch.

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