How to Use BlackBerry Desktop Manager

Updating BlackBerry Applications Via RIM Desktop Manager

Depending on when you first downloaded and installed the existing applications on your BlackBerry smartphone, or when they were installed before your device was shipped, there may be updates available.

If you're using the latest version of BlackBerry Desktop Manager -- at the time that this article was written, the latest version available on RIM's site is 4.5 -- the software will automatically search for updates as soon as you open the program and connect your device.

If you want to search for updates manually, simply open the Application Loader component of Desktop Manager and on the right side of the following screen, beneath the words "Update Applications," click Start . The program will then check your BlackBerry for device configuration and attempt to locate any updates. If any are available, they'll be listed on the following screen. To install the updates, click the Next box and follow the directions. The update process can take a while, so don't fret if it's been 10 minutes or so and nothing appears to be happening. (Note: Desktop Manager may not find available updates to third-party applications, so the best way to ensure that all of your apps are update is to occasionally check the software vendors' websites.)

Installing New BlackBerry Software Using RIM Desktop Manager

As mentioned above, you'll need your BlackBerry, an Internet-connected PC and a compatible USB charging cable to install new mobile software using RIM's Desktop Manager.

To start, you should download and save the new software you wish to install on your BlackBerry to your PC's hard drive. The application, be it a game, theme or otherwise, will likely come in a "zipped," or archived, file, so you'll need to unpack its contents using a program like BitZipper or WinRAR, both of which are available for free trial. Save the contents of the zipped file in another folder on your hard drive. Within the new folder, you should see two different files, one with the extension ".cod" and another with an ".alx" extension. The zipped software may also include a text file with installation instruction or something of the like.

After unzipping your software, launch Desktop Manager and connect the BlackBerry to your PC using the USB cable. When Desktop Manager recognizes your device -- the status bar at the bottom of the screen will say "Connected" and list your smartphone PIN -- you should open the Application Loader . On the left side of the screen, beneath the words "Add/Remove Applications" click Start .

After searching for your device configuration, Desktop Manager will then display a list of all the software currently on your BlackBerry. From there, you should click the Browse button, to locate the new software you wish to install. Navigate to the file with the unpacked contents of your zipped file, select the ".alx" file and choose Open . Then you'll be returned to the screen that displays all the software on your device, but this time around, you'll find the new software within that list. Make sure the checkbox next to the new software is filled, and then hit Next .

The following screen shows a list of the files being added or removed, and if the information is accurate, hit Finish and the installation process begins. Again, don't worry if it seems to be taking a long time and Desktop Manager says only "Connecting to Device." It can take a number of minutes to install the new software. When the process is done, a new screen will appear that says "Update Complete: The Loading Operation Was Successful."

Finally, you should launch the application, enter in an activation code, if necessary -- purchased software often requires such an unlock code -- and you're all set.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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