If you were one of the early adopters of the BlackBerry Storm 9530 from Verizon Wireless, you may have noticed that your Storm had a few quirks. It’s no secret that the 9530 was released a tad early, even after all the delays, before its software was truly “ready for prime time.”
Well, on December 5, 2008, Verizon Wireless released an update to the Storm 9530 operating system (OS), or Device Software, to move it from version 126.96.36.199 to 188.8.131.52. For BlackBerry newBBies who have never upgraded an OS, let’s see how easily that’s done:
First, you really should determine what version your OS is by doing Options > About. See below that mine was at version 184.108.40.206. At some date, Verizon will begin issuing Storms with 220.127.116.11 (and eventually, even newer versions). So make sure you understand your before and after versions, else you may end up downgrading your OS.
The basic steps of the upgrade/update (those words are interchangeable here) are very simple:
- Backup your Storm
- Download the OS
- Install the OS on your computer
- Install the OS on your Storm
Let’s Do the Update
Step 0: Install Desktop Manager
OK, there’s really a step that should have preceded all this, but you may not have performed it: Installing the Desktop Manager software that came with your BlackBerry Storm. The version that you received should have been version 4.7. An older version might work perfectly well, but I recommend you use the version issued with your Storm, just to be safe.
I won’t detail that installation here. Just find the CD labeled BlackBerry User Tools (not the disk labeled “BlackBerry Storm 9530 smartphone,” with VCast and VZAccess on it), pop it into your CD or DVD drive, and follow the instructions to do an installation.
Step 1: Backup Your Storm!
If you haven’t already learned this lesson–now is the time. Develop a habit of regularly backing up your BlackBerry. Why? So you can restore your phone (to the original or a replacement) if anything goes wrong.
- Connect your BlackBerry to your computer using the appropriate USB cable and let your computer detect your phone. NOTE: The USB connector on the Storm is different than previous BlackBerry models, and is different from the USB connector used with many digital cameras, media players, etc. This is unfortunate, but that’s how it is.
- Open Desktop Manager and let it detect your phone.
- Use the Backup and Restore feature to backup your phone (see the screenshots below).
Select Backup and Restore.
Select Back up.
Save your Storm backup file to a safe place that you will remember.
Click Save. For your enlightenment, you may want to try to follow the progress to see all the things that get backed up (e.g., Address Book).
It only takes a very few minutes to complete the backup (although it depends on how large your Address Book is, how many 3rd-party applications you have installed, etc.)
Now, promise yourself that you’ll keep up this habit. I recommend doing a full backup weekly, keeping a backlog of at least 4-6 weekly backup files. Why? You may suffer damage or loss (e.g., accidental deletions from your Address Book) and not discover it for several weeks. You’ll need an older backup file to recover from a late-discovered loss. OK–back to the update…
Step 2: Download the Device Software (OS)
For Verizon Wireless, OS updates are downloaded from http://vzw.smithmicro.com/blackberry/. Browse to there and make the following selections:
Select Personal Email. [If yours is a corporate phone and you use a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), stop now. You must contact your BES Administrator for a software upgrade.]
Select BlackBerry 9530 and enter your phone number (I don’t think it’s used, it’s just checked to verify that it’s a valid Verizon phone number). Note that there are directions for a “web-based upgrade” for users who don’t have Desktop Manager installed. I don’t recommend this type of upgrade; I recommend you have and use Desktop Manager for its overall usefulness. Do NOT click “Upgrade.” Please read on…
Instead, scroll down and click Download Now.
In the resulting dialog box, select Save. Pay attention where it’s saved to–you’ll need to find the file to install it on your computer. I usually recommend saving files to the Desktop because it’s so much easier to find them there–but make your own choice.
Notice that the name of the file reveals the OS version number (18.104.22.168) and the carrier (Verizon). Note that it’s a fairly large file (102MB), so will take a while to download depending on your Internet speed.
Step 3: Install the Device Software (OS) on Your Computer
Are you wondering why the OS must be installed on your computer? Why not just install it directly to the phone? Well, when you install it on your computer, what is saved on your computer are dozens of modules, including BlackBerry standard applications and foreign language support. If you choose to, or accidentally, delete one of those modules, having it on your computer allows you to restore it later using the Desktop Manager’s Application Loader. So, you need the full collection of OS modules permanently residing on your computer for potential future maintenance of your phone.
Now you need to remember where you saved that big download file. Locate it and click it.
Choose your language (e.g., English).
The installation to the computer begins.
Give the process a few minutes.
And you’re done. Click Finish.
You may be curious where the OS got installed to. On a typical Windows computer (in my case below, Vista 64-bit), it gets installed to a folder with a name like this:
c:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files\
Step 4: Install the Device Software (OS) on Your Storm
Finally, we get to our ultimate goal: installing the OS on the Storm. Start your Desktop Manager (version 4.7 recommended since that’s what was issued with new Storms at the time of this writing) and let it detect your phone.
When it detects and interrogates your phone, and then checks to see what OS(es) is installed on your computer, Desktop Manager realizes that an update is available and gives you the option to Update Now. Do it!
Here is a closer view of the dialog box that reveals that OS version 4.7 (termed System Software, Core Applications, etc.) is what the update will be.
The installation to the phone begins.
Application Loader prepares the update. Click Next.
You are warned that your device will need reactivation after the update. (For Verizon Wireless, that is done by calling *228 and selecting option 1.)
You are notified that applications and their data will be backed up to the computer, deleted from the phone, then restored after the update.
The process moves forward…
…and keeps going…
At one point, the phone reboots itself. You’ll see the LED glow red for a while. This takes a few minutes to complete.
Apps and data are restored.
And your update is complete!
Disconnect your phone from the computer, and your screen will guide you through a few steps. Here are a few (I may not have them in the correct order–sorry):
Agree to the license for the new OS version.
I chose Yes here.
I skipped the setup wizard (clicked Close).
Just to be sure, do Options > About and check that your update gave you the desired version:
Remember that we were warned that our phone would need to be reactivated? Well, somehow my Storm reactivated itself–I’m not sure how. I didn’t have to dial *228 and select Option 1. I don’t know if your Storm will behave the same or not. I’d like to hear back from readers on this.
All-in-all, the above took about 30 minutes. Before beginning an update, make sure you allocate enough time to see it through to the end.
I hope you find that an OS upgrade, done carefully, is not difficult at all. It’s important to read this article in advance to prepare, be careful to make the correct choices along the way, and not let the process get interrupted.