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Sunday, November 23, 2008

How to Upgrade AT&T Blackberry to v4.5 Device OS (Operating System)

I had been thinking about it for a couple of months. Who couldn't? The new features and upgrades to the version 4.2 of the Blackberry operating system by RIM were extremely attractive. In fact, I had loathed this 4.0 operating system on my Blackberry -- frequent locks, problems with the GPS, no HTML email, the list went on and on. At least it worked relatively well with all the email, contacts, and calendaring needs that I had -- so I lived with it.

Still, I had been really tempted to upgrade to the OS version 4.5 of the Blackberry -- even though it was not "authorized" by AT&T. (You can check the availability of your Blackberry on this liek here: https://www.blackberry.com/hhupgrade/) I had learned that you could use the version of the software available from Rogers Wireless and the upgrade would still work great even on the AT&T / Cingular network. There were some rumors that there might be problems with Blackberry Enterprise Servers (BES) like the one my device ran on, so I held out.

Why was I so jazzed about the Blackberry device software v4.5? Here's a short list:

User Interface
Refreshed Look – Enjoy messages, address book entries and a calendar that make better use of colors and fonts. They’re also laid out to more closely match the programs you use on your computer.
Email
Improved Email Layout (Rich HTML Email) – View tables, images and fonts with formatting that looks better than ever.
Remote SearchFind emails that are stored on a BlackBerry® Enterprise Server.
Attachments and Files
Edit Microsoft® Word and Microsoft PowerPoint Files – Just download the attachments and start typing!
Copy, paste, change font formatting and more.
Download and Save
Grab a file on the Internet, and save it to your smartphone to view or edit later.
Want to edit Microsoft Excel files on your BlackBerry smartphone? Visit the DataViz website to register with DataViz and download an update for Documents To Go that includes Sheet To Go.
Browser
Mobile Streaming
Access videos, music or even sports and news clips from websites with mobile streaming capabilities.
BlackBerry Maps
Local Search - Enter a search term like ‘pizza’ to view a list of places to grab a slice within a 30-km radius.
Voice Notes
Send a Voice Note – Instead of typing an email, record a Voice Note and send it as an email attachment or Multimedia Message (MMS).
Stay on Top of Your Tasks
Record your thoughts and play them back when they’re needed.
Calendar
Free/Busy Lookup – View your colleagues’ calendars on your smartphone
Those features of course were pretty compelling for me. But, not enough so that I wanted to go through all the trouble to download it, hack the Blackberry 8800 and then learn it would not work and have to resinstall everything. Not to mention that rumors were that AT&T Cingular would make the update available in September, October, and November. But, no such luck.

Then, something changed my mind. When my Blackberry could not tell if it was connected or disconnected with my BMW M3's iDrive system, it pushed me over the edge. I decided it was time to take the risk and upgrade the device software on my Blackberry to v4.5.

The following is my exact experience with it (which went well!) -- depending on your provider, how your company may run its Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), etc. -- you may have slightly different results. In the end, you should have two things before you start, #1 a copy of the current version of your Blackberry device's operating system and #2 make a complete backup of all the programs and data on your device. That way, if you get stuck you at least have something to go back to. This may also work with other Blackberry models, not just the 8800 that I have. I have listed additional devices and sources for the software in the guide for assistance.

This guide assumes that you already have the Blackberry Desktop Software installed on your machine. I performed this with Blackberry Desktop Software v4.7 on my machine as it was the most current at the time of this post.

1. You need to get the current version of the Rodgers Wireless version of the Blackberry Device Software v4.5, here are the details of the one I downloaded:
Package Version: 4.5.0.108
Consisting of:

* Applications: 4.5.0.81
* Software Platform: 2.7.0.78
* File name: 8800M_PBr4.5.0_rel108_PL2.7.0.78_A4.5.0.81_Rogers.exe
* File size: 75.17MB

Download link

Alternatively, if you have another Blackberry model -- you can download that from here:
https://www.blackberry.com/Downloads/entry.do?code=1905AEDAB9BF2477EDC068A355BBA31A


2. Once the download of the file has completed, double click the executable (8800M_PBr4.5.0_rel108_PL2.7.0.78_A4.5.0.81_Rogers.exe) and it will extract itself to your hard drive.

3. Now comes the "hack" per say. Browse to your Program Files --> Common Files --> Research in Motion --> AppLoader folder. Find the file called "vendor.xml" and rename it to "vendor.xml.old", this will make it so the v4.5 of the Blackberry device OS will load on any device (T-Mobile, AT&T, Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) once it is run. See the image below for details.

It may also be in the following locations depending on your computer's setup: C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader, C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader, C:\Program Files (x86)\Research In Motion\AppLoader, C:\Program Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader, C:\Program Files\Research In Motion\Blackberry\AppLoader

Browse to your Program Files -- Common Files -- Research in Motion -- AppLoader folder.  Find the file called vendor.xml and rename it to vendor.xml.old, this will make it so the v4.5 of the Blackberry device OS will load on any device (T-Mobile, AT&T, Cingular, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) once it is run.  See the image below for details.
3. Exit the Desktop Manager software if it is running, restart and connect your device. You may get the below image, if so -- click Update Now. If you do not get this, you can also click on the "Application Loader" icon on your Desktop Manager software to start the process.

Blackberry ATT device v4.5 OS: Exit the Desktop Manager software if it is running, restart and connect your device.  You may get the below image, if so -- click Update Now.
4. The Blackberry device will connect to your boot ROM, and detect the current running module versions on your Blackberry device's operating system.

Blackberry ATT device v4.5 OS: The Blackberry device will connect to your boot ROM, and detect the current running module versions on your Blackberry device's operating system.
5. Now the Blackberry Desktop Manager will confirm the versions of the modules that will be updated and installed. Click on next to confirm these upgrades.

Blackberry ATT device v4.5 OS: Now the Blackberry Desktop Manager will confirm the versions of the modules that will be updated and installed.  Click on next to start the process that will first backup your device programs and data, then upgrade the device operating system, and then restores your data.  The process may take 15-20 minutes and may require you to interact if you have a password that locks your Blackberry like I do.
6. Now the final step, click on Finish to start the process that will first backup your device programs and data, then upgrade the device operating system, and then restores your data. The process may take 15-20 minutes and may require you to interact if you have a password that locks your Blackberry like I do.

Blackberry ATT device v4.5 OS: Now the final step, click on Finish to start the process that will first backup your device programs and data, then upgrade the device operating system, and then restores your data.  The process may take 15-20 minutes and may require you to interact if you have a password that locks your Blackberry like I do.
7. Now your Blackberry device should be ready to go. In my case, I immediately noticed major changes in both the performance and usability of the device. My Blackberry Enterprise Activation started -- but did not complete. However, I just had it re-activated on the server side and my AT&T Blackberry 8800 was ready to go with the new V4.5 OS. If you followed these steps, then yours should be ready, too!

Good luck, please let me know if it worked for you with a comment below!

This process may also work on the following devices:
BlackBerry Storm 9530
BlackBerry Bold 9000
BlackBerry Curve 8300 Series
BlackBerry Curve 8330
BlackBerry Curve 8320
BlackBerry Curve 8310
BlackBerry Curve 8300
BlackBerry Pearl 8100 Series
Blackberry 8100
Blackberry 8110
Blackberry 8120
Blackberry 8130
Blackberry 8220
BlackBerry 8800 Series
BlackBerry 8830
BlackBerry 8820
BlackBerry 8800
BlackBerry 8700 Series
BlackBerry 8700c
BlackBerry 8700g
BlackBerry 8700r
BlackBerry 8703e
BlackBerry 8705g
BlackBerry 8707g
BlackBerry 7130 Series
BlackBerry 7130c
BlackBerry 7130e
BlackBerry 7130g
BlackBerry 7100 Series
BlackBerry 7100g
BlackBerry 7100i
BlackBerry 7200 Series
BlackBerry 7250
BlackBerry 7290
BlackBerry 7520
Blackberry 7105t
Blackberry 7100x
Blackberry 7100v
Blackberry 7100t
Blackberry 7100r
Blackberry 7100i
Blackberry 7100g
Blackberry 7100
BlackBerry 6780
BlackBerry 6750
BlackBerry 6720
BlackBerry 6710
BlackBerry 6510
Blackberry 6280
BlackBerry 6230
BlackBerry 6210
BlackBerry 5810
Blackberry 7780
Blackberry 7750
Blackberry 7730
Blackberry 7520
Blackberry 7510
Blackberry 7290
Blackberry 7280
Blackberry 7270
Blackberry 7250
Blackberry 7230
Blackberry 7210
Blackberry 8707v
Blackberry 8707g
Blackberry 8707
Blackberry 8705g
Blackberry 8703e
Blackberry 8700v
Blackberry 8700r
Blackberry 8700g
Blackberry 8700f
Blackberry 8700c
Blackberry 8700
BlackBerry 8330

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

this dint work for me ... did you do anything different

Ken Hanscom said...

What portions of it did not work for you? Did you get an error message, did the upgrade start, etc? If you can provide some additional information, that I can be better equipped to help you out.

Thanks,
-Ken

Anonymous said...

I was not able to complete this as well. I am able to rename the file but when I attach to the desktop manager and check for software updates; it says that no updates are available. I am an AT&T customer and the version OS i have is 4.2. I am using a Blackberry Curve and I also downloaded the 8310 software.

Ken Hanscom said...

I would recommend rebooting the machine to make sure there is nothing like the device manager holding the Desktop Manager open. Also, possibly see if there are multiple vendor.xml files from your installation package.

-Ken

Charles said...

Can't thank you enough for the tip on how to upgrade!

I'm on a BB Curve 8310 from AT&T (unlocked phone)

Did the upgrade step by step ... after all the installs the phone was chugging along quite slowly and I thought I'd done something wrong. I then requested for the service books to be re-sent to the phone and it worked!

But ... I can't edit MS Word or Excel etc. Did I miss something?

During the install, I selected Core System upgrade only. Should I have selected other components?

Anyways - I have to agree with what limited 4.5 I have - it's a much better experience.

Hope someone can help me with my issue of not having the ability to edit MS Word etc.

Thanks.

Charles

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Charles.

I have not run into an issue like that on my 8800. I did not select the "Core System Upgrade Only" option, rather allowed the upgrade process to use the default, which I believe is the full system.

That would be the only point where we had any differences -- other than the devices themselves.

Hopefully that helps!

-Ken

Jessica said...

Ken-
I followed this guide step by step twice and it still failed.
I am using Desktop Manager 4.7 and I restarted my machine after renaming the file. It says my BB Curve 8310 at&t is up to date. Is there something else I should try?
Jessica

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Jessica. Can you tell me a little more what you mean by failed? Did you get a specific error message or condition that could help me understand your problem a little better?

Jessica said...

KEn-
It just tells me that my BB is up to date, that it needs no software update. I know I am running an old version and would like to use 4.5. Thank you. I work on computers for a living so this should be a piece of cake but these little devices leave me at a loss a lot.

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Jessica.

It sounds like a problem with the Vendor.xml file. Generally speaking, that will be the message you get if the .xml file has not been renamed or deleted. The upgrade software looks at the vendor file and determines that Cingular / AT&T is not supported for that upgrade and then returns the message you are experiencing.

Good luck!

-Ken

Anonymous said...

Flawless upgrade. I had no issues at all. So far my BB 8800 seems to be working without any problems.

Anonymous said...

Worked perfectly for my ATT BB 8800. When I was done, I just needed my BES admin re-activate my email ad I was set. Thank you very much.

Candiss said...

I have the curve 8310 and I have tried 50 billion times to update my software but it stops at the connecting to boot ROM causing a fatal error. Do I need to take it to a store and let them do it. By the way this is a brand new phone no third party apps are on there yet. PLEASE HELP!!!

Anonymous said...

BB device 8800, using DTM 4.7 took a long time 90mins approx from start to finish, on a UK Vodafone BES service. Also didn't have to reactivate on BES or reboot my PC. Top instructions.....

Sinfonian said...

I'm having the identical problem to Candiss. I've tried numerous times, both with and without the "hack" provided here, and each time I get as far as the "Connecting to boot ROM" sequence where it stops and gives me a "fatal error."

Any assistance with this would be greatly appreciated!

Todd Bethell said...

This does not work. My carrier is Verizon. 8830 World Edition. I have tried everything suggested to get 4.5 to load but Application Loader always insists that 4.2 is the latest version. I even tried installing just 4.5 on a fresh pc and it seems to detect from the phone that I am a Verizon customer and prevents updating. I even tried doing it without the SIMM card. I suppose RIM is contractually obligated to block Verizon customers and can identify them through the device PIN number. Any thoughts?
My final suggestion to anyone reading this is to never purchase the phone from the carrier. Verizon is evil. They have blocked all the good features to squeeze a few more pennies out of their customer. I pay $250 a month for two phone an extra business line and a data card for my laptop. That is ridiculous. The GPS is blocked, streaming audio or video is prevented from going to a blue tooth headset (SO UNLIMETED DATA IS MEANINGLESS IF THEY PURPOSELY MAKE IT SLOW AND INCONVENIENT TO USE).
toddbethell@fastscanning.com

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Todd. I totally get the frustration with Verizon. Must say that I have never owned on and glad I do not. My guide tried this out on a Cingular / AT&T phone.

From the sound of you error, it sounds like the vendor.xml file is lurking somewhere and causing the issue in not recognizing the new OS.

Best of luck!
-Ken

Anonymous said...

My curve 8330 failed the upgrade from 4.3 to 4.5. It goes exactly as you describe, then displayes "your upgrade encountered a fatal error" at the end. It never reports WHAT failed, and I have found no way past this.

Verizon, with an BB Enterprise - Exchange server.

SA says that these version are supported at Enterprise level.

Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Very helpful post. I upgraded my ancient Curve 8300 following all instructions except the "hack" (as I did not need it.) It works perfectly. As expected, I had to ask the systems admin to reactivate from the server side.

Definitely worth the effort.