RIM BlackBerry tip: Hard v. soft resets

Taking out the battery is not the only way to reset your BlackBerry.

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Anyone who's spent even a small amount of time using a Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone probably knows the ol' battery pull trick: Whenever your BlackBerry starts misbehaving, just pop off that battery cover, wedge your finger beneath the power pack, remove and reinsert it, and, voila!, your smartphone will (usually) be running like new again.

That's because removing a BlackBerry's battery severs the device from its power source, resetting the network connection and rebooting the handheld operating system (OS). However, you can choose from a few different kinds of BlackBerry resets - soft, double-soft and hard - and it pays to know when each is appropriate.

Our past BlackBerry Tips of the Week have included performance advice on how to determine your BlackBerry memory usage at any given point, free up device memory, extend battery life and more. This week, we'll show you the basics of BlackBerry resets, just in case our smartphone performance tips don't fully resolve your issues.

BlackBerry Soft Resets

The soft reset, the most basic BlackBerry reset, is typically used to re-establish a connection between your smartphone and PC.

So, for instance, if you're attempting to connect to your PC to transfer files using the BlackBerry Desktop manager software, but the program keeps freezing or losing your connection, a soft reset may be in order.

Soft resets also stop and restart all the software applications running on your BlackBerry, so if you've come across a problem that you believe is related to an application and not the device itself, you'll want to do a soft reset.

To perform a soft reset on any recent BlackBerry except the Pearl 81xx series, hit your device's ALT, Right Shift/CAP and DEL keys simultaneously. Your BlackBerry display then goes black, your LED indicator turns red for a number of seconds and the reboot process commences. It can take a few minutes for your device to reboot, so be patient. (If you're a BlackBerry Pearl user seeking a way to soft reset your device, check out the SoftReset application .)

It's also a good idea to back up all the data on your BlackBerry before attempting any sort of reset. For more on BlackBerry backup, read "How to Back Up and Restore BlackBerry Handheld Data."

Double Soft Resets for Your BlackBerry

In addition to the simple soft reset described above, BlackBerry users experiencing device performance issues can also choose to execute a "double soft reset," according to BlackBerryFAQ.com. We're not one hundred percent sure of how a double soft reset is different than a single soft reset, but apparently it's "nearly the equivalent" of a hard reset, which not only stops all applications running on a BlackBerry and reconnects it to a PC, but also resets the network connection and can help resolve more complex hardware and software issues.

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