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FAQ: Options for Rebooting A BlackBerry – Hard & Soft Reset

Problems-solutions Over the years there have been quite a few options for performing a hard or soft reset of your BlackBerry. In case you don’t know the difference between a hard and soft reset I will describe it. A soft reset is when you request a reset from the BlackBerry OS by performing the functions below. This does not always perform a full reboot. A hard reset is sometimes necessary and simply involves removing the battery from your BlackBerry and replacing it.

In case you were wondering why you would need or want to reboot/reset your BlackBerry you need to understand what it does. The "Turn Power Off" icon and power button on your BlackBerry does not reboot device. It just hibernates the device to standby mode; if something is messed up with your device such as it running slow or hanging, "Turn power off" won’t solve the problem. You usually need to solve such problems by rebooting the device, which allows the Java Virtual Machine on your Blackberry to release any leaked memory and kill zombie processes. Below are some options for rebooting your device that were collected and submitted by our reader w13738:

  • Pull out battery (hard reset) – this reboots device for sure. However things can get ugly if you have to do it on the go. I have seen a guy doing this when walking into an elevator, he dropped the back cover, and it stuck in the door of the elevator…
  • alt-del-shift (soft reset) – only available to those with QWERTY keyboard so that excludes Storm & Pearl users. Hold your device’s ALT, Right Shift/CAP and DEL keys simultaneously. The LED indicator on top turns red and the reboot process begins. It should usually finish rebooting within 1-5 minutes.
  • Soft reboot applications. There are a few apps out there that can perform a soft reset for you in case you do not have a QWERTY device or need something simpler.
    1. Quick pull. I think this is the oldest one. It works very well on old devices, but seems not working well on new devices (OS 5.0), so there are many negative reviews on AppWorld since OS 5.0 has been released, seems it sometimes work sometimes does not. I tested on my two devices, it works OK on my 8310 but not storm with OS 5.0. Quickpull offers a free version with advertisement; but since I am having a corporate device, I don’t want to try because I don’t want unknown data traffic get recorded on the companies gateway. This one offers a nice feature – schedule, which reboot your phone everyday at scheduled time.
      Paid version:
    2. A+ Reset. It works on both of my devices. It offers a 7 day free trial. It has a unique feature I don’t see on any other reset app, which is one key press reboot. I end up set one side key as shortcut to reboot. I like this feature because sometimes the display does not respond, Press a key to reset always work well. I had to pay $2.99 to buy this app. This one offers the schedule feature too, which
      reboot your phone everyday at scheduled time.
      Free trial:
      Paid version:
    3. RestartMe. This one is not stable; and I think it tries to offer you too much advertisement, which make it awful slow. And it works on one of my device but not the other one. It offers a free version but I think nobody wants to keep this app. There are tons of negative reviews on the AppWorld for this app.
      Free with Advertisement:
    4. PBTaskManager. This one works on my 8310. But does not work on my Storm, it seems try to download and install something. I am suspecting it is also trying to collect my device information, so have a little bit concern about it. It is too expensive ($6.99) as it also offers features like lock device, password, etc. I tried those features, don’t feel particular useful to me, but you might be
      Paid version:

Let us know if you use any other method for rebooting your BlackBerry!

9 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. I have yet to hear of any explanation as to why a soft-reset “doesn’t always perform a full reboot.” Visibly, it does the exact same thing as a battery pull: It loads the OS from the ground up. Running apps are no longer running, and you get the max amount of free memory back. Frankly I believe this is just an urban legend that everyone keeps propagating with no data to back it up, and it frustrates the hell out of me.

  2. To clear the wrong usage of words soft reset defined technically means stand by in computer language. Therfore by soft reset he should say holding the mute key (top right). Hard reset would he defined as using quick pull or in my case quick launch.

  3. Agree with the above. This is completely incorrect. Alt-Shift-Del is a hard reboot, at least the way a hard reboot was explained just above. It (and the apps as well) performs exactly the same function as a battery pull.

    Also, once this topic is being discussed, it would be good to mention the difference between “Turn Off” (or Power Button) and “Full Power Off.” I would say that “Full Power Off” is more like Hibernate and “Turn Off” or Power Button are more like Sleep. The main difference is: alarms, events, task reminders, etc. will wake the device out of “Turn Off” mode. A “Full Power Off” will put the device in a state such that those events will be ignored.

  4. alt-del-shift (soft reset) is not the same as a hard reboot… not every single time. sometimes it will act like a simple soft boot with a quick reload without clearing anything. The key I’ve discovered to truly make it the same as a battery pull is to do it a second time when you have the white screen & hourglass, as this always performs the full boot.

    • Is this something you’ve experienced yourself directly? I’ve heard this story before, but once I poked more it was all hearsay and 3rd-party rumors. If it was, what exactly did you see/experience that suggested it didn’t “clear anything”?

  5. LOL. This is one area that was at least consistent back in my Palm days. There were only two things you could do: reset or a hard reset. A reset (or soft reset) is basically a powering down and reboot of your device, as you would do by shutting down and restarting your desktop. You clear the heap and ram, but keep all data and third-party apps. A hard reset is equivalent to putting it back in factory state, wiping all data and third-party apps.

    With the Blackberry, there’s so much confusion. There’s a battery pull, soft reset, hard reset, power-button shutoff (which is really some sort of standby), wipe, security, wipe, BBSAK wipe, etc… It’s maddening.

    Basically, anything that retains my data and apps, is a soft reset. There is no hard reset, but there is a wipe. Although a battery pull sometimes is all the good things of a soft reset and none of the bad things of a wipe. Sorry to confuse you all. =)


  6. Quicklaunch has a Reboot device option as well as Meterberry…

  7. The keyboard invoked “soft reset” (whatever you want to call it) is not the same reset of the device as a battery pull, nor is it the same reset that is invoked by apps like QuickPull. For lack of a better term, there is some “pre-loading” of parts of the OS that the keyboard initiated “soft reset” skips.

    FWIW, QuickPull (the free version) works perfectly fine on both my Tour and my Storm running OS 5. Yes, when OS 5 first came out QuickPull had problems with it but those were long ago solved.

  8. To answer the question about other reset methods, I use QuickLaunch. I use to use QuickPull, but after getting (and loving) QuickLaunch, which does so much more, QuickPull seemed a waste of space.

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