written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/25/2011
If you go for too long without restarting your BlackBerry, you may eventually experience the dreaded white screen of death. Here's info on how to fix it and prevent future WSOD errors.
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This past weekend, I left my BlackBerry smartphone unattended for about an hour and came back to find it had locked up. The background of the screen had turned white and it was displaying some kind of nondescript error message with some numbers. No matter what I pressed, none of the buttons would respond and I couldn’t get the phone to turn on or off.
What my BlackBerry phone had experienced is called the WSOD, or White Screen of Death. The name comes from the infamous BSOD, or Blue Screen of Death, that is associated with Microsoft Windows crashing. Just like a BSOD in Windows, the WSOD on my BlackBerry meant that my phone had, for lack of a better term, crashed.
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What Causes the WSOD?
Your BlackBerry is basically a miniature computer. It runs programs, stores data, plays sound and video, and much more. Just like any computer, it needs to be restarted every once in a while. What happens is little issues called memory leaks can make your phone eventually reach the point that it can’t handle any more information and it locks up. By rebooting the phone, just like with a computer, it flushes out the memory and helps to prevent overload.
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How to Fix a BB White Screen Error
The only way to fix the BlackBerry WSOD is to remove the battery for a few seconds, then put it back in. If you’re like me and use a tough BlackBerry case that isn’t very easy to remove, the act of popping the battery is pretty bothersome. I’ve seen a variety of ‘battery pull’ type applications for the BlackBerry and actually tried one of them, but nothing seems to work as well as manually removing the battery. Don’t be alarmed if it takes your phone a while to boot back up after a battery pull. My BlackBerry Curve 8330 takes about three minutes to restart.
When I bought my BlackBerry, it wasn’t until after I had signed all the papers and was about to walk out of the store until the clerk at the cellular phone store kindly informed me that I would need to pop my battery out about once a week. I thought she was joking, but apparently this is just something that some BlackBerry users have to do in order to keep their phones working properly. I sure hope Research in Motion gets this problem figured out soon, otherwise I am switching to a different kind of phone as soon as my contract runs out. (Update: When it came time for contract renewal, I ditched my BB in favor of the Samsung Galaxy S and have never been happier.)
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The most recommended way to prevent your BlackBerry from having the white screen of death is to do like the clerk said and pop the battery out about once a week. It’s a pain, but necessary. If you don’t and your phone crashes like mine did, you could miss an important phone call, email, or text message and not even realize it.
You should also install the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software on your PC and regularly connect your phone in order to get the latest software and firmware updates. These updated versions often contain fixes for whatever was making your BlackBerry get the white screens. Be sure to back up all your contacts and data before updating, because you could lose everything if the process fails or is interrupted.
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Author's personal experience with the BlackBerry Curve 8330.