Save Those BlackBerry SMS Messages

The party line from both RIM (makers of the Blackberry) and Verizon was that there was no way to move SMS messages from one Blackberry to another.  The provided software from both parties only allowed backing up the contacts, email, and any related data (photos, video, etc), but they both stood hard and fast stating that those were the limits.

Unfortunately, we had a user who absolutely needed to have the SMS messages copied from their 8830 to their new Blackberry Curve, and they wouldn’t give up the old phone until the messages were moved over.

Linux to the rescue!  Using the tool called barry, we managed to perform a full backup of the 8830 and successfully restore it to another 8830.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t restore it to the Curve because barry wouldn’t recognize the curve with the version of barry that we had (0.12).  Additionally, we couldn’t modify the backup file (a tar.gz file containing directories and binary files of the messages) in any way (not even a simple untar/uncompress and immediate tar and re-compress) since barry would immediately complain about the contents.

So.. here we had a backup, but couldn’t get it on to the curve.  Some browsing through the mailing list archives for barry turned up an obscure reference to the CVS repository for another fix, so we checked out the CVS repository, built and installed, and gave it a shot.

It worked to a certain level.. It transferred 78 of the 128 SMS messages, then hung.  A second attempt (after killing off barry) got to 108 messages before hanging, and the end user was happy with the 108 messages (they included the ones they wanted to save) and we left it at that.

Wiping the blackberry was easy:

  1. Go To Options
  2. Select Security Options
  3. Select General Settings
  4. Click the Menu key and select Wipe Handheld
  5. Click Continue and follow the prompt by entering the word blackberry

The unit will then wipe itself and it will be back to factory defaults.

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