It used to be rather simple to install a leaked version of a BlackBerry OS. These updated leaked versions of BlackBerry Operating System software are often leaked by mobile phone companies so that people like me and many others will install them, like a beta install, so they can get feedback on what’s working and what’s NOT working. In many instances, these leaked OS’s are fine. Occasionally, you might find that there are “memory leaks” which is a fancy way of saying that certain apps installed with the OS do not properly use the allotted memory, but for the most part, they work just fine. In fact, a BlackBerry Leaked OS usually has new features not available in your mobile phone companies currently available release (compared to the one readily available from their website, the RIM web site, or just already installed on your new phone).
To install these a BlackBerry Leaked OS you had to search for one for your specific model. The OS is specific to the type of phone you have. So you can’t install OS 7.1 for a BlackBerry Torch 9810 on a BlackBerry Bold 9900. But once you find the file you are looking for (usually from sites like Crackberry or N4BB where they link you to a file share site like MegaUpload, MediaFire, SendSpace, etc), you simply download the file, and install it onto your computer.
I am the system admin and BlackBerry Support Specialist where I work. I manage many different BlackBerry Users with different BlackBerry Models and different Operating Systems. Trying out a new “leaked” OS seems like a daily occurrence for me and as I said it used to be easy.
- Download the OS File as I stated above (usually an EXE file but sometimes it’s a zipped file that you have to unpack first)
- Run the EXE file which installs the OS files onto your computer
- Plug you BlackBerry into your computer with the USB cable
- Run Desktop Manager which finds the new OS and asks you if you want to Upgrade.
- You say yes (making sure that the “backup the phone first” box is checked
- And that was it.
Later on, you had to delete the file called “vendor.xml” which is located in the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader folder. That’s right, simply deleting it would make it all work just fine. Very easy.
When that stopped working you had to disconnect from the Internet (in addition to deleting the Vendor.XML file) so that the BlackBerry Desktop Software (formerly Desktop Manager) would find the Updated OS. Now, you have two “vendor.xml” files to delete. On Windows 7 the additional file is in the C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Research In Motion\BlackBerry\Loader XML folder. O Windows XP the additional file is in c:\documents and settings\XXXXX (user name)\Application Data\Research in Motion\BlackBerry\Loader XML\. You must delete BOTH vendor.xml files in order for BlackBerry Desktop Software to recognize the newly installed Leaked OS.
To install the newly downloaded OS onto your device. It’s not just a matter of downloading it, you have to INSTALL the OS onto your computer. That’s true whether or not it’s a leaked OS or not. Installing the OS puts the files in places/folders on your computer where the BlackBerry Desktop Software (BDS) can find them. THEN run (BDS). Sometimes, that new leaked OS you just download and then installed, still won’t be recognized by BDS as a viable OS to upgrade to. By default, BDS wants to check the Internet (your carrier’s web site where “official” OS files are) to see if an upgrade is available. That’s what happens when you use the menu to “update” your device. To Force BDS to see the newly installed local installation of a leaked OS, you have to disconnect from the Internet – you need to disable your wi-fi and/or unplug your netowrk cable, THEN run BDS and it will look locally for new OS files. You will see a little red star next to the OS version and you can then click the Update button whereby a pop up box will appear and you can select this new leaked OS you downloaded/installed.
Here’s what I don’t understand: These “unofficial” OS versions are “leaked” on purpose. This is a way for vendors and RIM to get real world feedback en masse from the more technical BlackBerry users out there who know what they are doing. It gives users like me a chance to sample the new features, give feedback on forums, and see how things like Battery Life are improved or not with the new OS. It’s a vital feature to the BlackBerry OS process at large. So why do they (and by that I mean RIM, AT&T, Verizon, and every other phone vendor) make it more and more difficult to install these Operating Systems. Those of us that work with these leaked OS’s KNOW that we can’t call our mobile phone company with a BlackBerry problem if we have a leaked OS on it because they won’t help you. So it’s not like we don’t know that it’s an “AS IS” kind of thing when you are installing a leaked OS.
RIM/BlackBerry has a Beta Program where, if you sign up, you can be a Beta Tester for new apps and upgrades before they are released to the public. But I’ve NEVER seen beta testing of Operating System upgrades in that program. I am a member. So what’s the deal? I don’t know. Without people like us testing these leaked Operating Systems in the real world, companies like RIM, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile would not get real world feedback that they can use to make corrections and modifications before releasing them to the general BlackBerry user population. If anyone knows? Please share.
The bottom line is this: There are mobile phone companies out there, not in the US but around the world, who release the “leaked” BlackBerry operating systems as final, even though in the US, they are considered unofficial leaked versions. Leaked version typically never end up to be the final version in the US. It’s people like me and the thousand of other technical folks out there willing to install these leaked operating systems on BlackBerrys that help to make the BlackBerry product line better, each and every day. It’s time RIM and the mobile phone companies came out of the closet, to admit what is really going on with leaked operating systems, give credit where credit is due, and provide a simpler way for us to beta test these suckers.