App Review: SoftReset–A Silver Bullet?

SoftReset (BlackBerry Pearl 8130 application)In folklore, a silver bullet can kill all kinds of nasty things like werewolves, witches, and vampires. We BlackBerry owners need a silver bullet to kill problems like:

  • low memory
  • frozen applications
  • email malfunctions
  • sluggish or quirky phone performance
  • installed themes not showing up

A common recommendation is to “pull the battery” (meaning remove it, wait, then replace it). But what about wear-and-tear from doing that over-and-over? And what if my phone is in a protective skin that must be removed? Surely there must be a better way? There is–and it’s soooo simple!

[NOTE: In the near future, there is expected to be a new BlackBerry Operating System (OS) release: OS version 4.5 (4.3.1 while in beta). A fairly recent warning has been posted on the SoftReset web site that says SoftReset will not work with this release.  If you aren't sure which version OS you have, do Options > About, and look for a version number in the first few lines. For example, mine reads v4.3.0.97.]

One of my most highly-recommended applications for the BlackBerry is SoftReset by Alan Penner of Once installed, you are just a few easy clicks away from NOT having to pull your battery. There are both over-the-air (OTA) and download links for SoftReset. [If you don't mind typing a long URL for an OTA download, use your BlackBerry Browser to "Go To..."]

How It Works

After installing SoftReset, locate its icon on the Home Screen (or wherever you might have moved it).

SoftReset application icon












Click the SoftReset icon. You’ll see the screen below:

SoftReset reset button













Depending on your installed theme, colors and fonts may vary. In my case, the big Reset button is red. Click the Reset button.SoftReset reset in progress












After a brief moment, you’ll get the screen below. Honestly, I don’t understand what the message “The device is required to reset to complete module installation or removal. Notice 1 of 5″ is all about. I ignore it. And do NOT click Reset Later. I don’t know what that’s about, either, but when I’ve tried it, something bad happened (I don’t exactly remember–maybe the phone locked up). Instead, click Reset Now.

SoftReset reset now












For about the next 2 minutes, your phone will be rebooting. The sequence will go something like this (times are approximate):

  1. Screen goes dark but LED is on and red. About 15 seconds elapses.
  2. LED goes dark for a brief moment.
  3. Screen goes white with tumbling hour glass. About 60 seconds elapses.
  4. Screen shows start-up picture (for me, a Verizon logo) for a few seconds.
  5. Home Screen appears with message, “Verifying Security Software.”  A thermometer-type progress bar shows the percentage complete for verification. Eventually reaches 100%. About two minutes has elapsed.
  6. Press the Escape key to clear the 100% message off the screen. If you don’t it seems to just sit there.
  7. The phone is back to normal but may respond a little slowly until some background activity completes, but that should be only for some seconds.


SoftReset can be used any time you might consider doing a battery pull. There’s nothing better to immediately free up some memory, although it won’t solve the problem of what’s causing memory to disappear. But it can buy you time to investigate why memory is disappearing.

If your phone is acting strange and you suspect it’s a malfunction or software bug, it’s so easy to try SoftReset and see if that clears up the wierd behavior. But be aware that if you were in the middle of composing a message, memo, or similar, that work will be lost if you can’t send or save it before doing SoftReset.

Donate for SoftResetAlan Penner accepts donations for SoftReset but highly recommends that before you donate you TRY the software, accept how it WORKS, and forget about asking for SUPPORT (he offers NO support at all ever). Personally, I encourage you to donate if SoftReset works for you. We need to reward people who create cool stuff for us.  Donate here:

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About the author

This entry was contributed by Kelly Carter
84 entries have been written by this author.

56 comments on this post

Scott says:
May 4, 2008 - 12:05:45

Great tip. I just downloaded softreset and tried it out. I went from 16.3 GB to 18.1 of free space. I also had cleared my browser, text messages, phone mesages and call log before doing the test to try to get a true picture of how the softreset can free up some memory. Oh by the way, it seems like I did not have to do step 6, the message went away on its own and I did not have to hit clear. Thanks Kelly.

bigfetch says:
May 4, 2008 - 02:05:18

I will also vouch for SoftReset. I have used it quite a few times myself. It just never felt right to have to pull out the battery, you know? SoftReset fills a gap in the Pearl’s OS that should have been filled by RIM to begin with.

May 4, 2008 - 09:05:33

Interesting about step 6. I thought it used to do that for me, too. I changed themes before writing the article and I’m wondering if that made the difference.

May 4, 2008 - 09:05:50

I agree that the OS should come with its own reset. Pulling the battery–a procedure actually endorsed on the RIM web site–is absolutely absurd. That’s what marketing guys call a “feature” but the engineers call a “bug.”

Bobby Campbell says:
May 5, 2008 - 05:05:17

Just curious: Why not do a “Cap + Alt + Del” which has reset Blackberry devices for awhile now.

Doesn’t that end up with the same result as pulling the battery?

May 5, 2008 - 05:05:09

That works on a BlackBerry with a full keyboard, but not with the Pearl. There is no keystroke or combination that does a reset on the Pearl–an oversight in my opinion.

Caroline says:
May 5, 2008 - 07:05:37

I’m having a problem with my media card connecting to the Media Manager. It keeps saying activate mass storage mode on the device when it is in fact activated (I think it is at least). Would a battery pull or a soft reset fix this?

May 5, 2008 - 10:05:23

Do Options > Media Card, and see if you have Mass Storage Mode turned on, and Auto Enable to Yes. I don’t think you need to do battery pull or reset.

Caroline says:
May 5, 2008 - 11:05:57

Thanks Kelly. I was doing that but it wouldn’t work and I kept getting mad and then I restarted it and it worked fine. Weird how rebooting always fixes everything with computers!

May 6, 2008 - 09:05:31

If a reset fixed it, then something strange was going on.

Kim says:
May 7, 2008 - 08:05:55

Hi Kelly !

1. I am new to BB & I just got my P8130 yesturday and so far so good ! Thanks to your site ! I’m not having any problems but thought that it would be wise to put the soft reset on my BBP. Ive tried to do the OTA as you suggested by typing in the URL into my BB browser but I am getting the HTTP Error 404: Not found code. I also tried to go directly to the site and do it from there as well but got the same thing. any suggestions ?

2. Also….okay no laughing allowed but if Vcast isn’t available how in the world am I supposed to put music on here ? That frustrates me cuz I had alot of songs on my previous phone via Vcast it’s like money wasted ! I don’t have any music downloaded on my computer so what would be the most cost effective (damn near free) way to do so ?

3. Last question I swear they just keep coming ! :) I used my BBP for my alarm this morning It was so darn loud it scared the you know what outta me ! But the actual ring like when I get a message or a call is quiet low how can I adjust that ? Especially the alarm !

Sorry for all the questions ! Thanks os much this is a great site !

May 7, 2008 - 09:05:28

Welcome to the Pearl bandwagon. Don’t feel silly asking questions. That’s where we all started from.

1. I double-checked and the link to SoftReset does work. Either there was a temporary server problem on that web site or you mistyped something. Here is the link again:

2. No problem not having VCast. You should buy a media card (MicroSD, 1 to 4GB). You can load music onto the media card at least two ways: (1) use Desktop Manager’s Media Manager to copy music onto it, or (2) after you’ve inserted the card into the phone and it has been automatically formatted, you can plug the card into your computer and just copy music to it like it was a flash drive. You may need some kind of adapter to plug it into your computer, however.

3. To make adjustments on your ringing, you need to learn about Profiles. There’s an icon on your Home Screen for that. Open that, scroll way down and select Advanced. You can edit a profile (like Loud) and make all kinds of changes. It’s overly complicated but you should start poking around in there. I’ll say now it’s hard to get a ringtone as loud as you might want compared to other phones. Many complain about that.


John says:
May 7, 2008 - 10:05:52

Ok i am considering bying a blackberry pearl 8100 for many of its amazing featured but i have heard alot of things that make me thinks of running in the other direction

1) It wears out quick. Such as the keyboard becoming crappy or it looks worn out in only a couple of months

2) flimsyness (dont know if its a real word but you get the picture)

3) what are the charges for email and internet on average

4) and is it worth buying for somone who wants to have it for a good long while

John says:
May 7, 2008 - 10:05:56

also is there a fee for the google maps features?

Mick says:
May 7, 2008 - 11:05:40

1) Is the blackberry flimsy??
2)Does it wear out after a few months use??
3)what are the average prices for internet, email, and google maps?
4) it is worth it for me to get because i want to have it for a long amount of time?

May 7, 2008 - 01:05:36

1. I haven’t seen any sign at all that my Pearl is going to wear out soon. It seems to be very well-built. I’ve read of problems with the trackball getting dirty. Probably depends on whether you throw it in a pocket or purse where it gets exposed to contaminants.

2. I don’t think my Pearl is flimsy at all.

3. My Verizon plan includes a “Web and Email” package for the BlackBerry that adds about $30-40 dollars a month. It’s not truly an unlimited plan but I can’t imagine ever exceeding its limits.

4. If you really plan to utilize the email and Internet features, then a BlackBerry is a good choice. I have some young readers who don’t really do email (by phone) choose the Pearl because it’s “cool,” but I don’t really think it was a good choice for them–far too complicated when all you need is a camera phone that plays music and does text messaging.

For me, I’m very satisfied that my Pearl will last for me. I’m on a 2-year upgrade plan with Verizon, and I’m sure it will keep me happy for that long. Whether I try to push it past then, only time will tell.

I’m especially happy with the voice quality and almost never having dropped calls–compared to my previous cell phones. I love that I can install applications like my regular computer because the BlackBerry has an actual operating system like a “real” computer.

Lastly, there are no fees for Google Maps. Totally free.
Hope all that helps.


Leigh in Jersey says:
May 7, 2008 - 01:05:10


Regarding the message “The device is required to reset to complete module installation or removal. Notice 1 of 5″…

That seems to be the functionality built into the OS that SoftReset uses to actually initiate the reset. Some other applications (such as GoogleSync) have shown that prompt after installation, just as regular Windows programs will often prompt you to reboot after installation.

It would certainly make sense to have the ability to perform the reset available under Advanced Options–I’ve never understood why even the “Full Power Off” option doesn’t shut down the device enough to clear the memory!


p.s. Love the blog–it’s been super helpful to have all this information organized! I’d consider myself a Blackberry power user as I’ve had a lot of experience with various BB’s from T-Mobile like the 7230, 7100T, 8100 (the original Pearl) and the 8120 (the revised Pearl that is similar to the 8130.)

Being a Verizon subscriber for years now, it’s fantastic to finally enjoy all the advantages of a Blackberry on a network where I get reliable service!

John says:
May 7, 2008 - 01:05:46

Thanks and that answered ALOT for me but i have acouple more for the blackberry guru (lol)

i am a college student and right now i have a normal phone but think that the maps email and everything that i find on the blackberry pearl would be perfect for what i want to od it would enable me to do more as a college student on the go all the time who wont have as much free time… is this a phone you would reccomend for me??

Kim says:
May 7, 2008 - 03:05:21

Thanks so much ! It worked perfectly ! Perhaps I miss typed or it just wasn’t working earlier !
I agree adjusting the ring settings is WAAAAy too complicated ! What was that all about ! I wish the side volume adjusters did double duty, adjust ear volume during a call, as well as the ring volume ! Too much like right I suppose !
I must say that would be my only issue so far ! I’m trying to get as aquainted as possible to my BBP as I will need it for my job the company got them for our sales team & expects all of us to be good to go by Monday ! :) We’ll see about that !
I also found that suretype wasn’t so bad ! I was hesitant as I came from having a full qwerty on my last phone ! but i’m liking having everything at my finger tips ! I have found that some of my emails are delayed by like 10 mins. or so ! any suggestions ? I have plenty of memory & of course a memory card.

May 7, 2008 - 06:05:21

@Leigh in Jersey,
Thanks for shedding light on that mysterious (to me) message inside SoftReset. Remembering I’m still a BB newbie (since late November 2007), feel free to share with me any wisdom you’ve gained in past years with a BB.

May 7, 2008 - 06:05:57

I work at a university and understand college students pretty well. I think you could make great use of a BlackBerry as a student. At our university, we require students to use an official university email account for important messages, but most students prefer a personal account they had before college. So, being able to access multiple email accounts on your phone would be one advantage. Your college may have mobile-friendly web sites, too, or conventional sites that render well in the BlackBerry browser. If any of your profs do podcasts, you might be able to listen to or view those on your BlackBerry. Lots of uses.

May 7, 2008 - 06:05:40

Glad you’re having some success.

So, your employer expects you to have mastered your BB by Monday?! That’s a tall order. Well, I hope this site (plus readers and myself) can help you compete with your coworkers and make you look like the smartest of the pack!

About email delays, I think it’s more often the fault of the particular email server being used. Many people report Gmail has very little delay whereas other email servers can be delayed for several minutes. My employer’s email server is a bit slow in processing messages.

If you and your coworkers are getting new phones, you’re probably all going to be faced with transferring contacts from somewhere else into you new phones. Be sure to read my article on doing that with Excel.

Stay in touch.

Mike says:
May 8, 2008 - 09:05:10

Hey can you save text documents without paying for email function?…such as creating an email just forthe purpose of saving a word document to it then not sending it so you dont ge charged?

May 8, 2008 - 12:05:16

I’m not clear what you’re wanting to do. Sounds like you might just want to compose a memo using the MemoPad app.

Mike says:
May 8, 2008 - 05:05:53

well…ok i want to save word documents on my blackberry without paying for email

May 8, 2008 - 08:05:23

You can use your BlackBerry just like a USB flash drive (using its USB cable), using the mass storage mode. I think if you can find a way to pay for email, you’ll really enjoy having it, especially with a BlackBerry.

Mike says:
May 8, 2008 - 10:05:06

OK you have been of so much help to me so first thanks a ton… but I have been contemplating between the 8100 and the 8120 do you think it would be worth the extra money to go for the 8120 with its added WiFi capabilities? Thus making me not have to pay for an internet package that i would only use occasionally

May 9, 2008 - 08:05:00

Personally, I would want the WiFi capabilities. Having a Pearl without being able to send/receive email or surf the web seems like a wrong choice of phone.

toby says:
May 12, 2008 - 10:05:59

Love the soft reset!

Curt says:
May 15, 2008 - 10:05:53

Downloaded soft reset with no problem, when I click the reset icon it shows the reset /cancel button, as instructed when I click on reset a pop up windom comes up and says:

Uncaught exception:java.lang.ille galargument exception

it then has an ok to click, I click it and nothing happens.

any ideas?


Curt says:
May 15, 2008 - 10:05:59

Also, when I look at the status my file free size ranges from 0-203,003 bytes.

When I look at the database sizes the one that really jumps out at me is the content store: 28/4524.5K .

That seems awful high to me compared to your example in another section.

again , thanks for any help

May 16, 2008 - 09:05:23

I’m assuming you read my article about memory problems since you clearly have a serious one. I’ve tried to find a definitive explanation of what precisely is meant by “content store” but have not found anything convincing. (RIM defines it as “Contains pictures and other content stored on the device.” Which says almost nothing.) My value for Content Store (26/536.1K) has not changed on my phone for a looooong time, after numerous changes in downloaded apps, messages, calendar, etc. My value seems about “average” compared to other folks. Can you identify anything on your phone that might account for such a high number? For example, is your camera saving photos/movies to Device Memory instead of Media Card?

I think you have to assume for the moment that the problem you’re having with SoftReset is related to your memory problem, so you probably should continue working on that. For now, a battery pull will have to suffice instead of SoftReset.

Don’t necessarily conclude that your Content Store is the culprit. Are there apps or themes you’ve downloaded that are easily reinstalled if you temporarily delete them? If so, you might want to trim down your memory use as much as possible and add things back gradually to see when things go wrong. BTW–the Viigo app is the only one that has ever caused me a “catastrophic problem” (I wrote an article on that). Also, surprisingly, themes can be much larger than apps.

Make sure you back up (using Desktop Manager) everything first, and do additional backups fairly regularly to make it easier to restore back at a point where you were happy.

Please stay in touch because this is a dilemma many readers have to deal with.

Matt says:
May 17, 2008 - 07:05:03

Hi Kelly,

Ever since I got my 8130 in February I’ve learned a whole lot from your blog. I just wanted to say thanks!

In regards to the “restart later” option, when I first found the application on the forums some months back, the creator explained that selecting this option creates a file. I forget the specific name but it is at the top of the list when you go to options > advanced options > applications
So when you wanted to actually restart, you go to the above window and delete that file which triggers soft reset to reset.

The thread that explains this should still be on somewhere. Hope this helps.

May 17, 2008 - 07:05:49

Thanks for the explanation. I searched and found the page that pretty much gives the vital history on SoftReset and those mysterious messages:

Curt says:
May 18, 2008 - 09:05:25

Thanks for the reply Kelly,

ok,on the above issue,after I wrote you that night I just went ahead and turned my blackberry off for the evening. In the morn I powered it back up and tried the soft reset again and it took. I went ahead and followed your procedures above and my file free bytes is now running approx 8-9 million bytes. I know,I know….. not very scientific but it worked.

but my database size for content store still shows 28/4524.5K. I dont think this is normal,but I dont know. I’m only comparing to the picture you had of this in another area of your blog. As far as applications Kelly I’ve loaded in Google maps,Opera Mini and Fox news along with the above soft reset, so really I dont think Ive added that much since purchasing my Blackberry.Now………………………. as I write this I wonder if the size of this file is because of the music I have downloaded. I have downloaded quite a bit of music on my media card. Would the media card use register on this particular database file???

Thanks for your help. I’m no techie so your blog has been of immense value to me.


May 18, 2008 - 01:05:30

Nothing wrong with your troubleshooting technique, scientific or not.

I don’t think files on the Media Card show up in database sizes. I’m wondering if you’re being fooled about what’s being stored on your Media Card versus Device Memory. Do Media > (press Menu key) > Explore, and search through both those memories and see if you don’t find stuff in Device Memory that you thought was on the memory card. Let me if you find anything interesting.

Paul Shea says:
May 22, 2008 - 06:05:27

My Pearl’s screen just stopped working today. I can receive incoming calls , but cannot make outgoing calls.. nothing comes up on my screen. I tried the battery pull… when i put it back in the red light stays on for about 15 seconds then goes out.. the screen then flashes black to black, if that makes sense.. a glimmer so to speak. there is no light on my trackball, and when i hit talk and talk again to redial the last number, notihng happens..

I can receive emails, texts, etc.

does anyone know of any solutions or heard of this before?


May 22, 2008 - 09:05:35

Sounds like a hardware failure. Can you hold a key to speed dial to place a call (1 for voicemail will suffice)? If everything seems to work except the display, I’ll bet the display has gone bad. Sorry.

Julie says:
Jun 18, 2008 - 11:06:18

Everyone seems to be getting help and i’ve had tons of problems with my previous 8130 but i really like it regardless. Anyway my phone now has turned itself off, and when it attempts to turn on only the red light stays on.

The hourglass comes for about 2 seconds and then shuts back to black. Then back to white hourglass, then black . Nothings working does anyone know what i should do? I’m not trying to go and get another phone

Jun 19, 2008 - 08:06:27

If you haven’t tried a battery pull (remove battery, wait, replace battery, wait for recovery), that’s ALWAYS worth a try. But if you’ve tried that…

What comes to mind are these possibilities, in increasing order of painfulness:

1. Your battery is bad. Your phone circuitry can’t operate correctly at extremely low charge, so it’s behaving flaky.

2. Your phone’s operating system (OS, also known as Device Software or Handheld Software) is corrupted. You would need to wipe your phone’s OS and reload it.

3. Your phone is defective and needs to be replaced.

I’m late to work so have to end here. Let me know what you think or any action you take.

Stephanie says:
Jun 19, 2008 - 09:06:16

My volume button is not working. i could only put the volume down but can’t put it up. and now i could barely hear people when they call me. What should i do?

Jun 19, 2008 - 01:06:06

That sounds like a defective volume button (well, the electronics behind the button). I’m afraid you might have to get your phone replaced as the only fix. If you do, demand a new phone, not a refurbished phone.

Sully says:
Jun 20, 2008 - 11:06:06

The Verizon rep. just told me applications like Viigo and Google Mobile Maps must be downloaded to the device memory. Can these applications be downloaded to the media card? If so, how? Thanks.


Jun 20, 2008 - 04:06:59

Verizon is correct. Apps can run only from Device Memory. Media Cards are good only for storing media files (or email attachments). So, unfortunately, Media Card memory is NOT an expansion of Device Memory.

Scott says:
Jun 21, 2008 - 01:06:42

Hello Kelly,
You seem to know quite a bit about BB and I am hoping you can help me. I just got a BB for the first time last week and I have to admit it is very complex compared to a normal cell phone, that’s ok. I’m up for the challenge and find it rather fun, but there is one thing that is really getting to me. When ever I get a phone call my phone lights up and shows me who is calling. When I get a text message the screen stays black and I have to actually push a key to see who the message is from, etc….is there a way to set this BB 8120 to light up when receiving a text message?
Thank you in advance for your time.

Jun 21, 2008 - 10:06:01

My phone behaves the same way. I played with some ideas but couldn’t come up with anything that worked. What you’re asking for makes perfect sense. Maybe that feature will come in a future OS version.

Thanks for your question.

Kristell says:
Jul 6, 2008 - 02:07:25

Hi Kelly,

My menu for ringtones is limited. I set my phone to full screen if that’s suppose to make some kind of difference. The option of download ringtones doesn’t come up. Do you know what I could do to fix this? I appreciate it!

Jul 6, 2008 - 07:07:28

Do Media > Ringtones > All Ringtones. You should see a several screens of sounds: Alarms, Notifiers, Ringers, and Tunes. You’re right, there aren’t that many. And there is not option to download ringtones. That might be provided by a special web page from your carrier. Or you can surf the web to sites where you can download ringtones. I’m guessing your previous phone was set up to do that from the phone menu. I don’t think BlackBerrys normally have it that way. Mine doesn’t.

But you can install ringtones. I usually download them onto my computer, then copy them to my phone’s media card. There is a folder just for ringtones where you copy them to. If you don’t have a media card, you have to use the Desktop Manager’s Media Manager to copy ringtones to Device Memory. You really should get a media card for songs, videos, and ringtones.

Anthony Chavez says:
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:09:32

I was having much trouble downloading this app via desktop manager. So i gave up on that and decided to download it via OTA. HOwever, i went to this “Geek and Proud” Site, and the link for the OTA download, is exactly the same as that of the “Desktop Install” download. Is there an alternate site/link I can use to send it OTA? Please, if you can provide information on how to send it the OTA, i would greatly appreciate it…

Sep 24, 2008 - 09:09:31

I beg to differ, but the OTA install is a .jad file, as it should be. The other link is labeled Zipped alx/cod (desktop install). I verified that each download is exactly what it says it is, and they are NOT the same. Use your phone’s browser to go to the download page, and click the OTA Install link. It should work as advertised. If not, please tell me what kind of error message you see.

louie says:
Nov 3, 2008 - 12:11:29

When I set the BB browser to desktop view it expands the webpage to a larger width forcing me to scroll horizontally. My friends BB does not do this, the page stays within the width of the screen, how do I force the width to stay within the screen? Thanks

Nov 3, 2008 - 02:11:24

Which model BB are you (and your friend) using?

In the browser, do Menu > (Page View or Column View). Try both views and see which you like the best.

Bobbie Cloud says:
Feb 8, 2009 - 10:02:04


My less than one year old Blackberry Pearl got a “FATAL ERROR” when trying to update to OS 4.5. Verizon thankfully just replaced my dead blackberry with a new one with OS 4.5 already on it. I LOVED softreset on my old blackberry and was going to put it on my new one until I saw your note above. IS that warning still valid? Has anything been done to change soft reset so it works with 4.5 I REALLY like that application and if it doesn’t work with the OS is there anything else you know that does.



Feb 8, 2009 - 09:02:38

There is an app named QuickPull that I have not used and know very little about, but is claimed to work with OS 4.5. It’s a free download from here: If you decide to try it, please let me know what you think of it.

Nick says:
Feb 10, 2009 - 04:02:40

Does the soft reset app work on the BB Curve 8330? I used to use it on my pearl and found it very helpful.

Feb 10, 2009 - 10:02:16

It will not work if the Curve has OS version 4.5 or newer. I have not needed to reset my Curve like I did my Pearl, so I never installed SoftReset on my Curve (even before I upgraded to OS 4.5).

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