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RIM BlackBerry how to: Back up and restore handheld data

Al Sacco | July 1, 2008
Anyone who has ever experienced the pain of losing all the data on a PC or handheld intimately knows the value of backing up personal information, whether it's an iTunes music collection, digital photo album or address book.

FRAMINGHAM, 15 JULY 2008 - BlackBerry users are in luck: The handheld data backup and restore process for Research In Motion (RIM) smartphones couldn't be simpler when you use the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software, which ships with every new RIM device. 

To get started, all you'll need is your BlackBerry device, the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager, a Microsoft Windows PC--the desktop software's not currently available to Mac users--and a USB cable to link your mobile phone and computer.

1) Download the Latest Version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager

First, you'll want to download the latest version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Manager software, which at the time of this article's time of publication is v4.5. To determine which version of Desktop Manager you're currently running, launch the program via Windows Start Menu by clicking All Programs, BlackBerry and Desktop Manager. When the program's open, hit the Help tab on the main screen and then choose About BlackBerry Desktop Manager. The software version will be listed on the General tab.

If you're not running Desktop Manager v4.5, visit RIM's site and download and install the latest version of the software.

2) Launch Desktop Manager, Connect Your BlackBerry and PC

Next, launch the desktop manager software if you haven't already done so. Follow the procedure detailed above to open the program if you didn't choose to create a desktop shortcut upon installation. When the program is running, connect your BlackBerry device to the PC via USB cord. Close any dialogue boxes that may appear when your BlackBerry is connected, including the desktop manager box that informs you it's searching for application updates.

Your BlackBerry should now be connected to the software and the word "Connected" should appear in both the top and bottom left corners of the desktop manager screen. If you're still not connected, try unplugging the device and inserting it into another USB port.

3) Backup All or Some of the Data on Your BlackBerry

Click on the Backup and Restore icon in the top right corner of the desktop manager home screen. The following screen should offer three separate options: Backup, Restore and Advanced. To save all the personal data stored in your BlackBerry's internal memory, hit the Back up tab, choose a name and location for the file and hit Save. The backup process should take about a minute, and your BlackBerry screen will display a graphic of a connected handheld and PC while it's in progress.

You can also set your BlackBerry Desktop Manager to automatically backup device data in preset intervals (5 days, 7 days, 14 days, etc.) whenever you launch the program and connect your smartphone and PC. To do so, click the Options tab beneath the Backup icon, and on the following screen fill in the box next toBack up my device data automatically every XX days. Then choose the specific data you want backed up. For instance, you can opt to back up all of your device data, or all data except messages and/or data that's synced with an organizer app. When you've selected the information you want to copy, hit OK and then click the Back up tab on the main screen.


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