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FAQ: Using Multiple BES Accounts on One Device – The How To Guide

There are many of you that are like me; you are power users that demand the best service when it comes to your BlackBerry.  Some of you may not be power users, but due to multiple jobs, may need to have access to several corporate email servers.  There are many of us who use the BES (BlackBerry Enterprise Server) service and have, until now, been limited to carrying multiple devices to access more than one BES Account.  Sure, there are workarounds such as AstraSync and NotifySync which use the ActiveSync protocol, but these are simply workarounds.  Due to programming restrictions, these programs are not native BlackBerry applications and are programmed using J2ME.  The programs often require extra systems resources including a large drain on memory.  As well, being non-native applications, these programs do not integrate well into the BlackBerry like the official BES solution does.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I am very particular when it comes to the user experience of my wireless handhelds.  I am the type of individual that doesn’t like having to use “third party applications” to accomplish tasks.  I like the ability of using the native options for everything.  This isn’t limited to accessing my email, but also includes other services such as calling long distance.  Yes, I know not everyone has the money to spend on making long distance calls straight from their phone, but these conveniences have their price…including the multiple BES solution that I am about to disclose.  Well, I have saved you all time and money and have researched and have gotten a working, viable solution to enable a multiple BES solution for one device!

***Disclaimer: The following procedure for activating more than one BES account on your BlackBerry is not sanctioned or supported by RIM, Microsoft, Lotus, Novell, or any wireless carrier that supports BES on their network.  By attempting the following, neither, it’s staff, or the aforementioned affiliates, and any affiliates that were not mentioned, will be responsible for any damage caused to your device or loss of information.

After contacting RIM several times, and contacting my BES admins, everyone insisted that activating more than one BES account on a single device would not be supported; in fact, they even stated that it wouldn’t work.  It was these responses that prompted me to do my research.  With help from the,, and communities, I have determined a workaround solution that has worked for many; and in fact, has been working for many since as early as 2004.  I do not take personal credit for developing the solution.

To perform the following, you must have the ability to rename your service books via Desktop Manager.  If you do not have this ability, the chances of success are slim to none.  Reason: The service books are named “Desktop” by default.  If one tries to activate a second BES on a device and the service books are also named “Desktop”, they will simply override the original service books, thus disabling your first BES.

Another note to consider: Only the IT Policy from the first BES account that you activate will be in use on your device.  I’d suggest activating the less restrictive BES on your device first to enable full functionality.  Another point to mention; if the IT policy from BES 2 “requires” that it be active to complete the activation, then BES 2 may not activate.  I’d assume most banks, as an example, would likely have this setup.

Step One: Activate BES 1 onto your device.  You can do this via OTA or via Desktop Manager.  Wait for confirmation that “Activation is complete”

Step Two: Connect your device to BlackBerry Desktop Manager.  Go into your advanced email settings.  Rename your service books to something other than “Desktop”. *Note: Email Settings will only appear if you chose “BlackBerry Enterprise Service” during your initial install of Desktop Manager.  You may have to reinstall if you did not select this.

Step Three: Activate BES 2 onto your device.  You can ONLY do this via Desktop Manager.  You will not get an activation confirmation as a “full activation” in the strict sense does not occur.  However, what will occur is you will see a second set of BES service books on your BlackBerry.

That’s it.  It’s as simple as that.  Theoretically, I don’t see what would prevent a user from activating a 3rd or even 4th BES account on their device following the same instructions, repeating step three.  I have heard that there is a “technical limitation” of 6 BES accounts (CMIME) on a device, but I have not tested this theory nor do I know how true this is.

One point to mention. GAL (Global Address Lookup) which is the ALP (Address Lookup Service Book) only functions for BES 2 (which is what I wanted anyways).  It looks like that upon activation of BES 2, the service book for ALP for BES 1 was removed.  I am not sure if this will be the case for everyone, but in my case, this is what I wanted anyways.  There are users that have reported that they have GAL access for all BES accounts activated.

I have not yet had any problems since activating the second BES account on my device.  Calendars are still syncing properly and recognizing where they belong.  Contacts also recognize which account they should be syncing with.  Email folders can all be accessed via the view folder feature as one would expect.

I wish you all luck in using this guide and hope that it helps you converge your services into one device!

12 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. does this also allow for 2 separate calendars to be wirelessly sync’d from the phone to separate calendars in outlook?

  2. Yes both calendars sync separately!

  3. WOW … this is huge … and it works on 4.5 devices, not just 5.0? They are supposedly supporting multiple calendars in 5.0 BES with 5.0 os, but AFAIK not with earlier devices or BES solutions. I have a client who would LOVE this … THANK YOU for this article!

  4. Haven’t tested multiple calendars on 4.5 but multiple email at the least should work. All testing was done on OS 5

  5. haha, Brian, glad my solution on FB worked for you :p

    RIM stated a LONG time ago they will work on a solution to allow this natively, still no dice.

  6. no dice even with 5.0 BES & 5.0 device software?

  7. Hence why I didn’t take all the credit 🙂

    • Just busting your chops man. Well done on the write-up.

      BES 5.0 and device 5.0 does not add any real features in this regard. The above process still works just fine. There was originally going to be something similar to Unite! and BES but for two separate BES accounts.

  8. I can confirm that this solution works. I have been using this solution for years. I have 2 BES accounts synced on my BB. Email, calendar and contacts all sync properly with each BES. One important note though, if you are having trouble downloading images for your emails or browsing the web, for your secondary BES, you need to delete the service books [BES2]IPPP and [BES2]BrowserConfig (where [BES2] is the name you have re-named your secondary BES.)

  9. 1. Activating first account on BB works well
    2. Rename service book works like charm
    3. Activating another account works – but the first account will be deactivated on BES (shown on console log)

    Do anybody know why?

  10. Could it be that the two accounts have to be on different BES?

  11. With BIS to Exchange, I get a separate icon and view of messages for only that service. If I do two BES services (get rid of BIS and activate a second BES service), will I only have one icon and one view of the combined messages from both services? Within that combined view, I realize I could create a filter and keystroke shortcut to the filter.

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