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Updating OS on Multiple Devices and adding 3rd Party App Install
 
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:55 AM
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Default Updating OS on Multiple Devices and adding 3rd Party App Install

Recently I was asked to deploy 20 new TMobile 8320's to our department. Of course, everyone wanted all the new stuff like Documents To Go, HTML email, and some other 3rd party apps that we use on a regular basis. Now, when I ordered these TMobile hadn't released OS 4.5 and they all came with OS 4.2.2.180. That means an OS update on all the devices was necessary. Also, this was a good time to clean up the OS and remove unneeded modules before handing them out.

So, I was faced with updating the OS and preinstalling the 3rd party apps on 20 devices so that I didn't get 100 phone calls asking me where to get Google Maps and BBWeather, and Sheet To Go--blah blah blah. I wanted all the latest versions of the apps I'd already installed OTA on my own device.

I realize that most of you BES Admins would simply wrap up your desired 3rd party apps into a software config and push them out wirelessly. Since not all of us have this luxury, here is what I did. I wanted to basically clone my device and hand them out to everyone ready to go with the apps they needed.

Before starting, I recommend charging up at least 3 batteries, either from the new devices or if you have some spares, use those. If you have spares that allows you to keep the new ones in the boxes and not mess with them.

1. Install the OS you want on the devices to your PC (remove vendor.xml if necessary.) Then follow the instructions here for cleaning up the OS before loading. I realize that it takes a few extra minutes but you can save your users some precious memory space by just doing this one time and it will load that way on all the devices.

2. Make a 3rd party app backup of the device to clone. In my case, my device also had 3rd party apps that I did NOT want everyone to have so once I finished the 3rd party app backup process I simply removed the cod files from the backup (they don't have .cod extensions but they are essentially .cod's.) that I didn't want on the new devices.

3. Since the 3rd party app backup included my up to date free version of Docs To Go, I didn't need/want the version included with the OS. So I renamed the DocumentsToGo.alx to DocumentsToGo.old. This is something you should do anytime you upgrade a 4.5 OS to a new 4.5 OS if Docs To Go has been upgraded on the device. You can find this DocumentsToGo.alx file in the same location as the BlackBerry.alx file as described in the post in step one.

4. Once the OS is installed on the PC, and the 3rd party backup is made simply put a charged battery in the device and a media card(and I highly recommend a memory card. 2-4Gb cards can be bought on NewEgg.com for only a few dollars each and will save you many hours of support phone calls down the road) and then plug in the device and run Loader.exe found in c:\program files\common files\research in motion\apploader. Using Loader.exe instead of Desktop Manager speeds up the process quite a bit.

Select the apps you want installed. Use the "Add" button to add the pin.alx file from the 3rd party app backup. This only needs to be done on the first device. Subsequent loads will pick up the apps automatically. Begin the loader process. If the devices are new (as mine were) you don't need to make the automatic backup. I recommend using a few charged up batteries to use in the devices while you're upgrading. Then remove them when each device is finished and put in the next device in line. This way the new batteries stay in the boxes ready to go.

(Edit: Thanks to Sith_Apprentice in post #2 below for adding that multiple devices can be updated at once. You can open as many instances of Loader.exe as you have USB ports. Just don't use a hub.)

5. When the loading process is complete, disconnect the device and set it aside for the 20 minute reboot. Then plug in the next device and begin the same process. Once the first device is rebooted, format the media card and then remove the battery and put in the next device in line. As you can see below, I have one device rebooting (sitting on the laptop) and another device loading (in the stand to the right.)







6. Simply repeat this process until they're all done. When you're done you should have the OS you want on each device as well as the apps you want on them when you hand them out. Once you do a few you'll see how quick and easy it goes.



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Updating OS on Multiple Devices and adding 3rd Party App Install-img00168.jpg   Updating OS on Multiple Devices and adding 3rd Party App Install-img00169.jpg  

Last edited by John Clark; 01-12-2009 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:58 PM
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you can update as many devices as you want at the same time. I used all the ports on my PC and updated 6 at the time time. Just use loader.exe, launch as many copies of the app as you want, and start them at the same time. about an hour later (including backup/restore) all 6 were done. I am looking at updating over 300 devices in 4 days with 3 computers the process shouldnt be too bad
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:59 PM
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No, it never even dawned on me to try that! I did this a while back and Mr. E asked if I'd post this. Now I'm chumped!!
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:01 PM
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I cant think of another way to get 300 devices from 4.x OS to 4.5 OS
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:10 PM
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Hmmm...I always thought it was just one at a time. I need to start thinking outside the box.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:57 PM
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Anyone have a USB hub and want to try adding that and see if the devices are recognized?
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:01 PM
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Ok, now I do know the answer to that! Loader.exe does NOT like hubs.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:03 PM
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Fair enough, thats too bad.
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:43 PM
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This is more commonly referred to as the 'Filling Station' upgrade method. RIM used to really talk about this a lot when OS 4.0 was released, although I honestly haven't heard it mentioned in the last 3 years.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:31 AM
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yeah, I'd never even heard of it.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:37 PM
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aren't a lot of usb ports on a computer just from an "internal" usb hub? Unless loader exe doesn't like the Internal hub to external hub...
Now I'm going to try every external hub I have cause I only have 3 usb ports and if I can load 8 BB's at a time that would save me hours.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:09 AM
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External hubs usually cause errors during the loading process. It's a known issue with loading the OS to a BB. Personally, I've never tried one but....
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Clark View Post
External hubs usually cause errors during the loading process. It's a known issue with loading the OS to a BB. Personally, I've never tried one but....
I use mine all the time without issue. My hub is externally powered (D-Link DUB-H7)
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
RIM used to really talk about this a lot when OS 4.0 was released, although I honestly haven't heard it mentioned in the last 3 years.
Same here. I actually forgot about it, but it'll be a useful one for the future.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. E View Post
I use mine all the time without issue. My hub is externally powered (D-Link DUB-H7)
Maybe it's an issue with hubs that aren't externally powered. Most people don't use externally powered hubs.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Clark View Post
Maybe it's an issue with hubs that aren't externally powered. Most people don't use externally powered hubs.
I have logitech hubs that didn't come with external power but they optionally do accept it. maybe later today I can try them with and without power and see if that makes a difference in whether they work or not.
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Old 02-09-2009, 12:17 PM
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Thanks for posting this! The secret is out about Verizon's 4.5 and now all my users want to upgrade. Although, since we are a groupwise 6.5 shop, they won't see the benefits of HTML email. I've got about 40 to do in the next coming weeks, argh!
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:17 PM
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I've been using these helpful instructions for a few months now. These have been a lifesaver for upgrading devices to 4.5. Thanks John!
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:34 PM
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I will be using this technique next week, when I have 30 devices to upgrade in 2 days.
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