1. Lex24's Avatar
    NOTE: The post was reviewed and edited after BlackBerry BBOS servers were shutdown on 2022-Jan-05.

    Over the years the information about backing up third party apps for a BBOS device has been posted in multiple threads in different subforums. Some of the solutions provided have by now been outdated. Here is an update, as of November, 2019.

    All the testing was done on the dedicated Windows XP machine with clean XP installed and then updated until April of 2019. The procedures described below should also work on a Windows 7 computer, but the directory paths will be different.

    1) Install the following Windows applications on the computer:

    a) BlackBerry Desktop Software v7.1.0.41 (Bundle 42)
    File: 710_b042_multilanguage.exe

    Download link:


    Backup link #1:


    Backup link #2: please see the bottom of the post.

    System requirements

    Windows XP-SP3
    - .Net v3.5 SP1
    - VCPP 2008 Redist SP1 (vcredist_x86.exe)
    Windows 7
    - .Net v4.5.2 (seems ok)
    - VCPP 2008 Redist SP1

    b) BBHTool for Windows XP or Windows 7

    WinXP: v2.4.9.7a

    File: BBHToolv2.4.9.7a.zip
    Size: 3,796,867 bytes
    MD5: f61192f59bc84419b46ddc36f6e79f5b

    BBH-Tool v2.4.9.7a - Downloads - BlackBerryOS.com

    Win7: v2.5 Final

    File: BBHTool-pub.zip
    Size: 3,803,194 bytes
    MD5: 273365a68d22603a9e5bfd187d263e33


    The direct download link above was extracted from the third paragraph on Shuswaps's web page here:

    The Bold Explorer

    In case the links go dead the list of alternative links is provided at the bottom of the post.

    2) Backing Up Third Party Apps with BB Desktop Software

    - connect BlackBerry to the computer
    - start Desktop Software
    - go to: Device - Switch Devices - click on the image of your phone
    - uncheck Device Data and only select Third Party Applications - click Next
    - wait until the back up process is finished
    - when you see "Connect your new BlackBerry device" prompt click Cancel
    - go to: C:\Documents and Settings\user-name\Local Settings\Temp
    - there will be a new subfolder with the same name as your BB PIN
    - copy that subfolder to another permanent directory of your choice
    - exit Desktop Software
    - at this point, depending on Windows configuration, the contents of the Temp folder might get automatically deleted
    - turn on mobile network connection on BB (it gets turned off when Switch Devices is used)

    Here are some screenshots:









    As shown on the last screenshot the folder contains one ALX and multiple COD files. In the days of OS7 there was usually only one cod file generated for each third party app, the only exception in this case is FileScout (with two files).With earlier OSes there were often multiple cod files generated for each app. There is also one native BB app in the folder, Application Resource Monitor (four cod files). Some cod files are actually archives that contain more cod files compressed insidie. Opera Mini's cod file is an example of such an archive and can be opened with 7-zip:


    3) Restoring Third Party Apps with BB Desktop Software - Not Recommended

    While this is a popular method to install third party apps it has two bugs (explained below) which have never been fixed by RIM.

    - connect BlackBerry to the computer
    - do NOT start Desktop Software
    - go to: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader
    - click on file Loader.exe to start Application Loader Wizard and follow the prompts to enter PIN, etc.
    - click on Add button and point to ALX file in the backup directory created in #2 above
    - select apps you want to restore




    a) bug #1
    After you click on Add button and point to ALX file (first screenshot) the window with languages, BlackBerry Maps, Password Keeper, etc. will be replaced with another window showing third party apps. Problem: it is not possible to go back to the first window, it's just gone, even after you restart the Desktop Software and reboot the computer. Several reboots, CCleaner sweeps and other wizardry might eventually resolve the issue but it is highly unpredictable.

    b) bug #2
    The last two screenshots indicate another problem. If an app which was originally bundled with the OS has been later upgraded (using BlackBerry World) the Desktop Software insists on downgrading it or removing it altogether (there is no option to set the Action to "none"). This happens when a device OS (like v7.1.0.1098 b2931, etc.) is installed on the computer. For some reason the Desktop Software prioritizes the version of the app present in the OS's directory on the computer. The only workaround seems to be to run the restore job from another machine (or from another instance of Windows on a different partition) which does not have any device OS installed. Here are two screenshots taken from such a machine:



    As a result, I just don't use this method to restore third party apps and restore them one by one from SD card instead (see #4 below).

    Another argument in favour of installing apps from SD card are all the messages popping up after an app has been installed (BBM pop-up, licence agreement pop-up, permissions pop-up, etc.). There is no mechanism available to suppress all those messages when installing multiple apps with a single click using BB Desktop Software. When the phone is booting-up after apps' installation the messages are initially queued in the memory and when released they start popping up all at the same time. This is far from being optimal, even if the installation process is eventually completed without problems.

    4) Restoring Third Party Apps from SD Card - Recommended

    When using SD Card method all apps are installed separately, one by one, and any upgrades of apps originally bundled with the OS are irrelevant.

    - BlackBerry can be either connected or disconnected from the computer, it doesn't matter
    - on the computer, in the directory of your choice create a separate subfolder for each app you want to backup
    - start BBHTool
    - ignore Java Runtime error (it may pop-up in WinXP)
    - go to: Create-A-JAD tab
    - enter App Name, Description, Version and Vendor (anything can be entered here, but it's a good practice to be accurate)
    - file name: any name is ok, I just copy/paste the name of COD file
    - file type: OTA (.jad)
    - save to: select app's folder
    - click on Add COD Files and select the file(s) (don't drag & drop, it's extremely unreliable)
    - leave all remaining boxes unchecked
    - click on Create It
    - file ".htaccess" created in app's folder is not needed and can be safely deleted
    - the contents of JAD file can be viewed in WordPad, Notepad, etc.

    - connect BlackBerry to the computer
    - copy folders created for all apps to SD card
    - in BlackBerry start Files app (or any other file manager)
    - locate app's folder - click on JAD file - click Download

    JAD files can be viewed and edited with any text editor. The only critical part are the lines referencing cod file and its size in bytes.










    PS: It is also possible to generate ALX and COD files for third party apps using BBHTool, BBSAK, or BB Boss (instead of using BB Desktop Software as explained in #2 above). Of those three applications, BBHTool is most up-to-date and BB Boss is the oldest. File backups created by those programs often contain more native BB apps (the ones bundled with the OS) than backups created with BB Desktop Software. I have compared the size of several cod files created by those three utilities and the file size was always the same. It also matched the size of cod files created by BB Desktop Software. I have never tested the restore process using cod files created by any of these applications and only use BBHTool to create jad files (as explained in #4 above).

    a) BBHTool backup
    - go to: Phone Tools tab - Connect - Backup
    - all files are saved in the Backup subfolder inside the main BBHTool directory
    - both cod and jad files are created for each app
    - problem: cod files are ok but jad files are incomplete and won't work (with neither XP or W7 version of BBHTool)

    b) BBSAK backup
    - go to: Backup Apps
    - all files are saved in the Backup subfolder inside the main BBSAK directory

    c) BB Boss backup
    - go to: Phone File System - Connect To Phone
    - files are saved in the Backup directory of your choice.

    BBSAK website:

    BlackBerry Swiss Army Knife

    BB Boss can be found on CB:


    Alternative download links to all the files listed in the post can be found here:

    Last edited by Lex24; 01-24-22 at 09:40 PM.
    11-02-19 02:39 PM

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