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FAQ: Duplicate Desktop or Unknown Contact List Databases Found in Contact Options

Problems-solutions Recently I have been hearing this problem happening over and over again. It seems to target users who have some sort of contact sync setup whether it be BES, Gmail contact sync over BIS, or some other contact sync app like Google Sync. When it happened to me I found that the simple contact book reset and reload over BES worked fine. Another friend of mine had the issue with the new BIS contact sync with Gmail and this solution worked for them.

It turns out that there is a third category of users who just have totally screwed up contact lists on their BlackBerry. They will have a second contact list show up in Address Book->Options usually called UNKNOWN or a duplicate Desktop. If you look at that same device from Desktop Manager in the advanced backup view you will see two contact databases: Address Book & Address Book – All. If you try to sync with outlook or get the contacts off the device any other way you will find that it will not sync your actual address book since your BlackBerry stupidly puts all the contacts in Address Book – All.

With a little research I found that this is actually a KNOWN issue with RIM and they have a couple of workarounds in these two Knowledge base articles:

The problem I ran into is that all of the proposed workarounds listed below did not work…

  1. Resending service books or deleting duplicate service books - Failed
  2. Reset the calendar and contact list and have it reload from the BES – Not an option for those who do not have a BES
  3. Backup the device, Wipe it, and reactivate it on the BES – Did not work right and reloaded the Address Book – All
  4. Use a test BlackBerry to delete all data and reload using a nifty method mixed with exporting the contacts to a file and reloading them. It failed miserably and requires a second device.

ABC BlackBerry Editor SOOOO…. My friend and I decided to get a bit creative and modify the steps in this Knowledgebase article.

  1. We did a backup of the whole device using desktop manager
  2. We then opened up the backup in desktop manager in the advanced restore mode and deleted ALL the databases from the backup EXCEPT for Address Book – All.
  3. We then downloaded the free ABC Amber BlackBerry editor which lets you edit BlackBerry backup IPD files
  4. Then we opened the IPD backup we created earlier in ABC Amber BlackBerry Editor and saved it as another IPD file. For some reason this new file puts the contacts in the correct Address Book database instead of Address Book – All.
  5. We then did a selective restore of that address book to our BlackBerry from that newly saved IPD file

And IT WORKED! We still have a second Address Book – All but that could easily be fixed by wiping and reloading the BlackBerry. Let us know if this helps!

6 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. Not saying I’ve tried this myself, but couldn’t you use BBSAK to pull the contacts database over to your PC, then delete from device, then use DM to restore them “proper”?

  2. I encountered this issue sometime ago and I found another solution on this. I used tool called Databackup by S4BB. I did backup the all the databases’ entries by using Databackup to the SD card. With DM I clean/delete the duplicated address book databases. Then I restored the data into new empty address book. Easy and less painful as it’s not involving editing the IPD.

    Note: S4BB’s Databackup is still free to the time I write this comment. Hopefully it stays like that.

  3. ABC BlackBerry editor did not work for me. It does not allow me to remove one of multiple contact lists, it only displays all contacts from all contact lists allowing me to edit contact details and does not merge the two lists. With over 3000 contacts, only some of which are duplicate, deleting each contact separately is not good resolution.

    BBSAK did not work either, that only backed up 3rd party application data, not the address book/contact lists.

    And S4BB sat there initializing (doing nothing) for 4 hours and froze my device.

    Going to try BlackBerry’s solution, until they FINALLY and SOON build in the option to Merge Contact Lists in DM. And if they don’t, I’ll give my BlackBerry to Goodwill and buy an Android.

  4. ABC BlackBerry editor approach did not work for me either.

  5. First of all, I need to say THANK YOU. After almost two hours surfing the web and the different solving options that never worked.
    This one definetly worked. But you need two extra steps with another solution I found in other blogs.
    If you have let’s say 3 contact lists (Address book/ options) the last one is the one used for the sync with desktop manager. So BEFORE the step here is suggested wipe the other contact lists on your address book.
    Before doing this check which of the 3 contact lists is the one you only want to keep. How to know? when you click on it you see how many contacts it has. If you have 500, and it shows 1000, means is the duplicated one.
    When you are there and type “Rset” the first option is for the first contact list.
    Let’s say my first contact list is the one correct.
    So when I type “rset” and the question about wiping comes out, press “NO”.
    Then it will look like the window stay there unmoved, but is the same question but for the second contact list, in this case I said YES, and for the third one I said YES too.
    I only kept the first one which I identified was the correct.
    Then I do the backup “address book-all” like here in the blogg was explained, all the steps…. download the ABC software. And IT IS TRUE when you open on there, and then save it, it is not corrupted anymore. So then you on the desktop messenger go to restore / select options, and select the file you saved from ABC hopefully you saved it with other name so you can find it.
    Then, you just do the sync, and PROBLEM SOLVED. YOu don’t have duplicates anymore

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