THE DEFINITIVE HYBRID OS GUIDE.
Welcome! This is a small undertaking that I hope will grow as more people provide feedback.
Before going any further, I have to say this:
THIS GUIDE CONTAINS INFORMATION THAT MAY HARM YOUR BLACKBERRY DEVICE. I AM IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGE CAUSED BY OR RELATING TO THIS GUIDE.
SO, THINK. THEN THINK AGAIN. THEN ACT. THEN GO CRY SOMEWHERE ELSE IF YOU DO IT WRONG.
Ok, Cruise Control for Cool is now off!
Let’s start off with a FAQ.
1) What is a hybrid?
- To understand what a hybrid is, you need to know why we have hybrids. Hybrids happen because RIM often does some things better in certain OS builds than with other builds. For example, build 100 will have a faster web browser, but build 234 will be better for overall memory.
- The definition of a hybrid is just that - a mix and match of various OS files. The best parts of all the different OS builds from the current generation are combined together into a SUPER build. To keep running with the above example: A hybrid would combine the faster browser’s files of build 100 with the better memory management files of build 234 while leaving out the crappy memory files and the slower browser from the respective builds.
2) So why should I load a hybrid?
- Well, there are many reasons to load a hybrid, but they can all be summed up this way: “crème of the crop.” The best features of each of the latest OS builds are combined into *one* elite Operating System just for your device!
3) This sounds unofficial, ghetto, and hacked together! What are the risks?
- Yes, a hybrid is, by definition, “hacked together”. However, you need to know that not all hybrids are created equally. Some are of a far higher quality and go through far more testing than others. Some are more “hacked” together and some are more “smoothly blended” together.
Of course, there are a few risks that stem from the very nature of hybridization. Please keep in mind that the SPECIFIC COMBINATION of software in your hybrid has not been tested by RIM. As such, they cannot guarantee the stability of this software. The hybrid maker usually does a good job of testing all their software, but the many benefits of hybrid OS’s are not backed by any guarantee. You load a hybrid at your own risk!
4) Builds? Platform Versions? App Versions?
- Build numbers are just ways of keeping track of the SPECIFIC software versions. A platform indicates the radio files in use by the system and App versions are for the core apps and system apps running on your blackberry.
5) Where do I get them?
- All over the internet! Practically every BB forum has somebody that makes hybrids for devices. There are many public builds put together by individuals (or very small teams), but often people will make their own hybrids. Lyricidal and Willyboy6 are two VERY well-known makers. There are, of course, many others.
6) Are they safe?
- Well, yes and no. As stated above, there are risks. Generally speaking, though, the risk is minimal. It is almost impossible to brick a blackberry beyond recovery with software alone! I have bricked many different devices many times over, and have always been able to recover.
7) You’ve sold me! I want to load a hybrid! How do I do it?!
- Great! Glad to hear you have decided to try out this new world of performance. Remember though: there are risks and I cannot be held responsible for your actions.
If you still want to proceed, read on below:
Download all necessary software!
- Every hybrid has a BASE OS that you need to have. Read your hybrid makers instructions carefully to make sure you have the correct BASE build.
- BBSAK. This is a very handy little tool that lets us do all sorts of things with our BlackBerries; we will need it to make a complete backup of the device in case something goes wrong. (BBSAK: BlackBerry Swiss Army Knife – Free GUI Alternative to JL_Cmder | BerryReview.com
- Shrink a os. This tool will let us further customize our install (Shrink-A-OS - F.A.Q.
- CCLeaner. CrapCleaner is a wonderful little utility that all windows users should be familiar with; it is used to clean up the crap that uninstallers leave behind. (CCleaner - Slim
- The hybrid files themselves (duh!)
2) This step is optional, but VERY HIGHLY recommended!
Clean all OS packages off your system. Start with add/remove programs in the control panel and finish up with CCleaner. Specific instructions on how to use CCLeaner will not be covered here as it is a pretty simple program with plenty of well written tutorials available online. With CCleaner, make sure you clean out the registry as well. If in doubt, please make backups! Restart your computer and make sure you close out of BB desktop manager if you have it set to start up automatically. To make sure BBDM is closed, use task manager.
Use BBSAK to make a complete backup of all the COD’s and 3rd party apps on your phone. Detailed instructions on how to do this are *all over* the web and will not be covered here.
Now that all other OS packages are off your computer, install the pre requisite BASE OS.
5) This step is optional, but VERY HIGHLY recommended!
After the base is installed, make a copy of the OS files. This will serve as a backup just in case something goes wrong. IF you make this backup, you will not need to resort to reinstalling the OS package installer; you can just copy back the virgin files you set aside at the beginning of this step. NOTE: I did infact screw up while putting this guide together! Because I performed this optional backup it took just seconds to copy the virgin files back and revert my mistake. Take the 60 seconds it takes to copy the files so you can save yourself several minutes if you must reinstall the OS package.
- For most users, their OS package will be installed to 1 of two places, depending on operating system type:
1) C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files
2) C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\Shared\Loader Files
Again, I highly recommend that you make a copy of the OS Package folder for safe keeping!
Extract the hybrid. Usually, the hybrid maker will have an auto extract utility that overwrites the files from your base with the hybrid files. If this is not the case, you may want to create a folder and manually extract the files and then copy them over to the base directory. IF you’re doing it correctly, windows should ask you if you want to overwrite some files. Be sure to select YES. IF you do not overwrite the base files, your hybrid will not be installed.
Assuming everything went according to plan, you will now have a Java folder that is ready to install onto your device. Now, you can launch the loader.exe now if you’d prefer to just install the OS as is, or you can continue below to further customize your OS. You may want to continue reading though, as many hybrid makers put additional software in their packages.
Once the hybrid files have overwritten the base files, you will want to customize the OS. This tool is often included by hybrid packagers so end users – like you – can get the best experience possible. As stated above, many hybrid packagers like to throw in custom web shortcuts or other apps into their builds. I don’t like this crap being put on my phone, so I use shrinkos to remove it.
If you’re hybrid packager does not include a copy of shrinkos, download it now. It is now time to put shrinkos inside the OS files directory. Note: the shrinkos program does not go INTO the Java folder… it goes into the same folder that the Java folder resides in!
Run shrink os and select the components you do not want. Be sure to follow your hybrid packager’s instructions as they often stipulate that certain things MUST NOT be removed. If your packager did not state something had to be left in, you can probably remove it. However, it is very easy to break certain things with your phone if you are not careful with what you remove. If in doubt, keep it in!
- I always use Shrink-A-OS to remove the languages, themes, and other features that I do not use. This often includes the software the many hybrid makers will also package in. WIllyboy seems to be a fan of packaging the latest ubertwitter and some other junk.
- Lastly, there is one extra step you can do to trim any extra fat from your OS. The link below is a bit out dated, but still relevant:
- Trimming the last bits out!
LOADER.EXE. Yep! It’s time to load your OS! Be sure you made a backup as per the instructions in step 3. Loader.exe will be in one of two places:
1) C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader
2) C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader
Launch the loader and proceed as you normally would. NOTE: you may get a warning about the files on your device being NEWER than the ones you want to install. Make sure you tell loader.exe you want to downgrade and install the files anyways!
Other things: Some hybrid packagers will automatically delete vender.xml, but some will not. Double check that it has been deleted!
ENJOY YOUR NEW HYBRID.
Keep in mind that it may take up to 48 hours (and a few battery pulls) to get your device up and running. The BB os can take time to settle in and cache a few things. Once this is complete, you should notice some of the best battery life and speed you’ve ever seen on a device.
Got a question? PM me or post below!
Thanks for reading!
1.0 - Initial release.
1.6.47 - Lots of clarification, spelling and formatting fixes. Fixed a few broken links and cleaned it up so it is not easier to read.