| | 01-27-11, 08:48 AM Thread Author #1
Hybrid OS Installation Guide
Lots of hybrid threads are filled with folks asking how to install hybrids, and whether they have correctly installed the various files.
This little guide is intended to help everyone understand what files are stored where on their computers, and how those files get installed to their BlackBerry.
First, whenever you install a BlackBerry OS to your computer, specific files and folders are created. On most XP machines, the BlackBerry OS files are installed to
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files
On most 64-bit Windows machines, the BlackBerry OS files are installed to
C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files
When you install an OS, a new folder is created in this location (see image below).
Inside each of these folders are more folders, and a handful of other files. The key folder for our purposes is the Java folder - that is where all of the "cod" files are located which make up the BlackBerry OS and which will be loaded to your phone as part of the installation process.
What hybrid builders do is combine different cod files from different OS versions. Plain and simple. The hard part of this process is learning which cod files are interchangeable, which ones actually have any noticeable effect on performance, and which ones cause problems. Hybrid builders and testers usually go through a long trial and error process to make these determinations and then, once we have a solid build, we release the hybrid.
Hybrids are delivered in many different ways, but ultimately what needs to happen is the new combination of cod files has to end up in the Java folder of the newest OS folder on your computer.
Usually that's not a problem, as most users only have one OS folder installed on their computers at a time. But some folks have multiple OS installations on their computers, and they might forget which OS they have loaded on their BlackBerry. That is the primary reason hybrid builders recommend uninstalling all previously installed OSes from your computer, and then installing a clean "base" OS.
So long as you know which is the "latest and greatest" OS installed on your computer, then you can easily determine which folder to install a hybrid into.
The BlackBerry Loader program will install the highest version number it finds in the Loader Files folder.
I'm a part of the BDHP team, and our installers prompt you to select the proper installation path when you're using our builds. The screenshots below show that process.
I've read many hybrid builders' recommendations on wiping your device before installing their hybrid. Personally, I don't see any real benefit to this, since the phone is wiped clean as part of the standard OS install anyway. But some users have reported benefits in following this process. To each their own, I suppose.
What I do to install a hybrid is to make sure all the new cod files are copied into the correct Java folder, make sure all vendor.xml files are deleted from the folder located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader, and then run the loader.exe file located in that same folder.
Before I install a hybrid, I make sure to keep a clean copy of the existing Java folder that I have installed on my phone. That way, if there is a problem with the hybrid, I can delete the hybridized Java folder, replace it with the previous Java folder, and "roll back" to a known working OS. An easy way to do this is to highlight the Java folder, and CTRL+drag it in the same window. You will end up with a new folder named "Copy of Java" for reversion purposes. If the hybrid doesn't work, or is unsatisfactory for any reason, just delete the Java folder and rename "Copy of Java" to "Java" and run the loader process again.
If you pay attention to the loader process, you can confirm that hybrid cods are being installed before you make any changes to your phone.
Sometimes loader will tell you you are downgrading the OS. That is not uncommon, because if even a single cod file is of a lower version number than what is installed on your phone, then you will get the downgrade message. You can choose to install the older versions - usually without any problems at all.
Once you get to the next screen, you'll see what components are going to be installed.
If you highlight one of the components and click the "Details" button, you will see a comparison of the files that are on your phone and the files you are about to install.
Scroll through that list and you will see which versions of each file are currently installed on your phone, as well as which versions are ready to be installed. If you see differences, then that is confirmation that you have properly installed the hybrid on your computer, and it is about to be installed on your BlackBerry.
1. Make a backup copy of your existing Java folder.
2. Copy the hybrid cods into the Java folder (hybrids that come in an installer package will just overwrite the cods in your Java folder automatically).
3. Run loader, selecting downgrade if prompted to do so.
4. Verify different cods are being installed during the loader process.
5. Complete the loader process, making sure to do a full backup and restore during the installation.
6. Enjoy your new OS.