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13. Back Up Your Device

If this is your first foray into using a handheld device that handles a variety of electronic communications, you might not immediately see the importance of backing up your device's data. There just isn't that big of a need for backing up data on a traditional mobile phone. But the BlackBerry 7100 isn't a traditional mobile phone, and you will eventually store enough data on your device to make a backup a good idea—if not a necessity.

Depending on the sensitivity of your mobile data and how much it changes, backing up your device might or might not be a priority to you. Just keep in mind that we usually only appreciate a backup when it's too late. So, think in terms of prevention when it comes to preserving your data, and try to back up your device a little more frequently than you think might be necessary. Typical backup scheduling scenarios range from daily to monthly, although the latter option is really pushing it in terms of putting your data at risk.

13. Back Up Your Device

Open the Backup and Restore Window

With your BlackBerry device plugged in to your desktop PC and turned on, click the Start button on the Windows taskbar of your desktop PC to open the main Windows system menu. Then select All Programs, BlackBerry, Desktop Manager. The BlackBerry Desktop Manager application appears.

Double-click the Backup and Restore icon in the BlackBerry Desktop Manager. The Backup and Restore window appears.

Initiate a Full Backup

Click the Backup button to get started fully backing up your BlackBerry device. The Select file for Full Backup window appears and prompts you for the name of the file to which the backup is stored.

Specify the Backup File

Navigate to a suitable folder on your desktop PC, and then click the Save button to accept the default backup filename. Feel free to change the filename to some other name if you choose, but keep in mind that you should include the backup date in the filename as is done in the default name.


You might want to create a special folder on your desktop PC to store your BlackBerry backup files. That way, you'll have them all in one place should you ever need to restore the device from a specific date.

After you accept the backup filename, the backup proceeds and stores a full backup of your device in the specified file on your desktop PC. This file can then be used at any time in the future to restore your device to the current state; see 14 Restore Your Device.

The Options button in the Backup and Restore window enables you to configure automatic backup options, which are useful because they make backups a regularly occurring event without you having to remember. When you click the Options button, the Backup and Restore Options window appears.

Configure an Automatic Backup

To set up the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for automatic backup, check the Automatically backup my handheld every option. The default backup time frame is seven days, which simply means your device will be backed up once a week. You can tweak this setting to suit your own specific needs, but seven days is probably a reasonable backup time frame for most users. One scenario in which you might want to use a shorter time frame is if the data on your device changes a great deal from day to day. In this case, you might shorten the backup time frame to every two days, or maybe even daily.


Don't forget that every time you back up your device, a unique backup file is created on your desktop PC. This isn't a problem, but it can mean that a lot of files pile up if you back up very frequently. For this reason, consider cleaning up your backup folder every so often to eliminate older backup files you no longer need.

When performing an automatic backup, you have the option of excluding email messages and synchronized PIM data. The idea behind excluding this information from a backup is that you likely already have a copy of it on your desktop PC due to synchronization. Even so, unless you find that your backup files are taking up too much space on your desktop PC, it's safer to select the first option, Backup all handheld application data, so all the data on your device is included in automatic backups.

Click the OK button to accept the automatic backup settings. In the future, the BlackBerry Desktop Manager will automatically back up your device according to the specified backup schedule.

In addition to performing a full backup, in some instances you might need to take greater control over your backup files. Click the Advanced button to open the Backup/Restore window.

Back Up Specific Information Only

Although a full backup of your device is recommended in most instances to safely save device data, there might be special circumstances where you want to back up only a specific piece of information. For example, maybe you want to clear out your device and start over with nothing more than your address book data. In this case, you want to back up only the contacts from the address book. Or maybe you've added a new web browser bookmark you want to back up, so you need to quickly update the latest backup file with the bookmark data. Both of these scenarios are possible in the Backup/Restore window.

The Backup/Restore window appears to be a list of general options for fine-tuning how a backup is carried out. While this is true to some extent, what you're really looking at is the current PIM data on your device next to the data stored in the backup file for today. The right pane in the Backup/Restore window shows the data on your device that is available for backup, whereas the left pane shows the data that has been backed up to today's backup file. If you haven't performed a backup today, the left pane of the window is empty to indicate that no data has been backed up yet. If you've just performed a full backup today, the left pane matches the right pane.


As you might suspect, the Backup/Restore window also enables you to restore data to your device from a backup file. To find out exactly how this is done, see 14 Restore Your Device. Similarly, you can use the Backup/Restore window to clear data from your device. See 15 Clear Personal Data from Your Device to find out how.

To perform a selective backup of a certain piece of information, click the entry in the right pane and then click the Backup button (the large left arrow) between the panes. You can use this technique to selectively back up a subset of the device data to a limited backup file. Or, if you've already performed a full backup, you can use the same technique to update a particular piece of information. Using the address book example from earlier, if you want to create a backup file containing only your contacts, just click Address Book in the right pane and then click the Backup button. This assumes that you haven't already performed a full backup; if you have, the address book information will simply be updated in the backup file.


To select more than one piece of information for backup, hold down the Ctrl key on your desktop keyboard while clicking the entries in the right pane of the Backup/Restore window.


If information on your device changes while you have the Backup/Restore window open, click the Refresh button to update the right pane so the changes are reflected.

Click the Close button to exit the Backup/Restore window and return to the main Backup and Restore window. If you're prompted to save changes before exiting this window, click Yes to accept the changes. To return to the main BlackBerry Desktop Manager window, click the Close button once more.

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