In this section I will show you some things you can do to pinpoint some problems with your Blackberry, before you call technical support.
We will look at connectivity issues, and how to soft restart and factory reset your Blackberry. We will also look at how to use the Blackberry Desktop, which is a handy tool used to integrate your Blackberry with your Windows or Macintosh computer.
First of all, one of the things that really annoys me is people who call technical support, and have not tried anything on their own first. For the Blackberry, there is a very simple fix for most problems. Is your Blackberry slow or freezing, or doing something odd? This does not mean you have a technical support issue, try a soft restart first! The soft restart will fix a lot of Blackberry problems.
Depending on the model of Blackberry, there are different ways to restart. On this model, the 8800 series, a restart can be performed by pressing and holding the following key combination: Alt+Shift+Del. As per Research In Motion, any Blackberry with a QWERTY keypad can be reset in this way.
Other models that don’t have a full keypad, you will need to remove the battery for 30 seconds with the power ON. Except on models that have a SIM card (HSPA network). These models, you should NOT remove the battery, but do a full power off for about one minute.
If the restart does not work, a technician may ask you to do a Factory Reset or a device update. Both of these actions would require a device backup first, otherwise you may lose data. A backup requires the Blackberry Desktop Software, which is a free download from blackberry.com.
Once you have this on your computer, you can do many interactions between your mobile device and computer. These include, but not limited to, Backup, Synchronize, Upgrade and Media Sync.
Here is what the Blackberry Desktop (version 5.x) interface looks like:
Once you have the Blackberry Desktop, you can make a backup image of your smartphone. Just connect your device, and select Backup/Restore. With Blackberry Desktop 6.x, select Device and then Backup. I suggest doing a backup once per month, or more.
To put everything back onto the Blackberry, obviously select Restore.
To update the device software, select Application Loader and then Update Software. On Desktop 6.x, select Device and then Update.
You can also synchronize, if you have a contact management software on your computer, such as Outlook or Act. This is for local synchronization only. For wireless synchronization, your Blackberry must be connected via a Blackberry Enterprise Server. To access the BES, select Enterprise Activation from your smartphone, and enter your email address and password as provided by your company I.T. department. If you do not have BES access, wireless synchronization will not work.
If after a soft restart and software update do not work, you can Factory Reset your device. On a Blackberry, this is called a Security Wipe. This will erase all data and applications, and restore only the base software and OS. There are different ways of performing a Factory Reset, depending on your model of Blackberry. Information on how to do this can be found in the manual for your model of Blackberry. Do this only if nothing else works, or if suggested by a technician.
Next, we will cover connection problems. In most cases, not getting a connection to the network is a network problem and will usually result in technical support creating a network trouble ticket. One of the few valid calls to technical support. However, it does not hurt to check your Blackberry settings first.
From Home Screen, you can always check your service status in the top right:
There should always be signal level “bars”, and ‘1XEV’ for a device on the CDMA network, ‘GPRS’ or ‘EDGE’ for a device on the GSM network, or ‘3G’ with a Blackberry logo for devices on the HSPA network.
If you do not see this, or they are displayed is small letters, you do not have adequate connectivity.
This may be caused by a network problem, but remember, “Think outside the box”. Unless there is a wide scale outage, which would affect everyone, network problems are isolated. If you are having a sudden connectivity problem occurring everywhere, and have not done any of the following: Changed your number, SIM card, equipment, or any features on your account, it may be caused by the Blackberry itself. Try the restart, and if that does not restore your connection, check the settings. It may be possible that the connection may just simply be turned off. This is commonly called “Airplane Mode”. Usually, if the connection is off, there will be the word ‘OFF’ where the signal “bars” are usually located. Also, some models, such as the 8800 series, can operate on multiple network layers. It may be possible that one of these settings may have changed.
Go to Manage Connections from main menu:
Obviously, the first thing to look for is to make sure the Mobile Network is on, green dot. If there is a red dot, it is off, so just toggle it on. If there is a yellow dot, it is on, but not available. This is when you need to check the settings.
Select Mobile Network Options, and you will get this screen (On models that support multiple network types):
Network selection mode should always be on Automatic. The other settings should not be used unless recommended by a technician.
Network mode should be on whatever network layer your provider is using. Although it defaults to Global, this setting may not always work. You can just toggle this setting until service is restored. Usually, 1XEV is used only in North America, while GSM is used elsewhere. I don’t suggest changing it unless you are having problems, or a technician asks you.
If you are having problems with just data services, you can also just toggle Data Services off/on.
With any of the changes you make above, you should soft restart your Blackberry to ensure the changes take affect.
If after all this, you are still having connectivity issues, contact technical support. Remember, a technician may need to verify what you have already done, and may ask you to do it again. Please co-operate with technical support, they are trying to help you.
That’s all for this entry. Look for more technical tips coming soon on “Nerd Alert”.
From the desk of Paul,
Technical Support Level 2 for “A major communications company”