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With a BlackBerry, how do I back up and restore data?

With a BlackBerry, you can use the Backup and Restore tool in Desktop Manager to save files from your BlackBerry device to your computer or to restore saved files to your device. UITS recommends backing up your data before updating your BlackBerry's software.

Besides providing data protection, backing up also allows you to edit your Address Book and text files using your desktop computer rather than your device.

The Backup and Restore tool allows you to make full backups or selective backups, in which you select which databases on your device to back up. Similarly, you can choose to restore a backup completely or selectively restore only some databases. Additionally, you can configure an automatic backup.

On this page:


Full backup

To make a full backup of your BlackBerry on your computer:

  1. Cradle your device. If you have a password enabled, enter it so your device will connect to the desktop.

  2. Open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and double-click the Backup and Restore icon to bring up the Backup and Restore dialog box.

  3. If you wish to back up everything on your handheld, click Backup... . The default filename format is Backup-(today's date).ipd, for example, Backup-(2008-01-23).ipd. If you create more than one full backup in a day, an incrementing number will be inserted after the date. Select the desired filename and location, and then click Save.

Selective backup

To create a selective backup:

  1. Cradle your device. If you have a password enabled, enter it so your device will connect to the desktop.

  2. Open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and double-click the Backup and Restore icon to bring up the Backup and Restore dialog box.

  3. Click Advanced... . In the Backup/Restore dialog box that appears, you can select individual databases to back up from your BlackBerry by selecting them in the "Handheld Databases" box on the right and then clicking the left arrow button to copy them to the "Desktop File Databases" box on the left.

  4. You can also use the Backup/Restore dialog box to edit your Address Book on your desktop computer.
  5. Once you have selected all the databases to back up, from the File menu, select Save or Save As... to save them to an .ipd backup file.

Full restore

To fully restore a backup:

  1. Cradle your device. If you have a password enabled, enter it so your device will connect to the desktop.

  2. Open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and double-click the Backup and Restore icon to bring up the Backup and Restore dialog box.

  3. Click Restore. In the Select file for Full Restore dialog box, find your backup file and select it. Click Open.

  4. Before restoring the backup, you should see a warning that the backup will overwrite the information currently stored in the listed databases on your device. Click Yes to continue.

Selective restore

To selectively restore some databases from a backup file:

  1. Cradle your device. If you have a password enabled, enter it so your device will connect to the desktop.

  2. Open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and double-click the Backup and Restore icon to bring up the Backup and Restore dialog box.

  3. Click Advanced... . From the File menu, select Open... . In the Open dialog box, find your backup file and select it. Click Open.

  4. You can select individual databases to restore from your backup file to your BlackBerry by selecting them in the "Desktop File Databases" box on the left and then clicking the right arrow button to copy them to the "Handheld Databases" box on the right. Each time you restore a database that is present on your device, you will be prompted to confirm that you want to overwrite the device version. Click Yes.

Automatic backup

To configure your desktop to automatically back up your device on a regular schedule:

  1. Open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, and click Backup and Restore. In the Backup and Restore dialog box, click Options... .

  2. In the Backup and Restore Options dialog box, check Automatically backup my handheld every 7 days. In the text box, replace 7 with the number of days you want to wait between automatic backups.

  3. Under "When automatically backing up my handheld:", select whether to back up all handheld data or to back up all but certain kinds of data. You can choose to not back up email and/or data that will be synchronized using desktop PIM applications, such as your Calendar and Tasks.

  4. Click OK. Your BlackBerry device will be backed up automatically when you plug it into the cradle according to the schedule you specified.

Automatic backup with BlackBerry Enterprise Server 4.1

Using BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) 4.1, limited backup and restore functions are performed by the BES server on a scheduled basis to ensure that your settings are preserved in case your device is lost or fails. This functionality, which is enabled by default and controlled by the BES, allows backups of device settings (e.g., icon positions, font settings, browser bookmarks). This backup process is limited and does not back up third-party applications, pictures, or mail messages on the device. To ensure that all data on the handheld is backed up to the desktop, UITS recommends that you continue backing up your device via the cradle.

Note: The BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) service will be retired by January 1, 2015; see About the BES retirement. As of January 1, 2013, no new BES accounts are being created. UITS recommends you replace your BlackBerry with a device that is ActiveSync compatible. To learn more about ActiveSync, see What is Exchange ActiveSync?

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Last modified on January 29, 2013.

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