Installing BlackBerry Desktop on Vista

I got myself a BlackBerry, which I’ve never had before. It came with a software CD, but although the model I got is rather new (BlackBerry 8800), the software was an older version and I was immediately suspicious of its compatibility with Vista. The first thing I noticed when I tried to install it nevertheless is that the installer is unbelievably slow – meaning it has long periods of doing nothing at all. Between the splash screen that comes up in the beginning and the point where the first wizard dialog of the actual installation process comes up, at least two minutes went by.

Much more importantly, the installation failed anyway. After what seems like a lot of wizard pages and an eternity of waiting time, I got an error message saying “Error 2738. Could not access VBScript runtime for custom action.“ I went to RIM to get the latest version of the software, as I assumed the problem had to do with Vista. Yet another horribly slow process – they required me to register with my shoe size to be allowed to download updated software, the session timed out several times so I had to restart the whole process, their web site is not compatible with Firefox, the download process sometimes runs in circles, bringing up the user registration page more than once, and they list three different files as part of the 4.2 SP 1 release, which turned out to point to the same download after all, once I’d worked my way through the exhausting download process three times. Way to go, RIM!

In the end I finally had the new version downloaded and I was glad to find that the copyright year in the splashscreen actually showed the software to be newer than what I already had – the version is given as 4.2.1 in both cases. Nothing changed with the horrible speed – or lack thereof, actually – and the result was also the same: Error 2738.

At this point I went to research some information about this, and I followed BlackBerry specific references first. Apparently a number of people have had this problem in the past, but the information I could find was largely from Vista pre-release days, and it didn’t amount to much either. Performing a clean uninstallation was one hint I got, but there wasn’t a single piece of the information on my system that I was supposed to delete. RIM themselves have an entry in a FAQ list of theirs, pointing to a knowledge base article that turned out to be no longer available. In the end I found the reason for the issue, as well as the (then obvious) solution explained in an MSDN forum. I’m replicating Jamie Hollingworth’s info here, in case the forum article shouldn’t be there any more later:

Vista for some reason dosnt register VBScript. What you have to do is first of all find where vbscript.dll is, mine was in C:\Windows\System32, but I think it changes dependant on your version. Next you need to go to start -> accessories and the right click on command prompt and click “run as administrator”, next type cd C:\Windows\System32 (replace the dir if its differnt for you) and then type regsvr32 vbscript.dll. It should then confirm that vbscript has been registered and everything should work.

Thank you, Jamie, that works nicely! Now I finally have the software installed, it seems to work just fine. One more funny thing I noticed: even before I tried installing any of the software, I just plugged in the BlackBerry to see what would happen. A driver was installed that made me think there was actually something BlackBerry specific about it – something about the name, I don’t remember precisely. In any case, there was a drive installed on my system for a removable media, which I thought would probably be the SD card slot that the BlackBerry has. I don’t have a card in it so far, so I couldn’t verify that.

Now, the interesting thing is that while that driver seemed to be working, I saw a message on the screen of the BlackBerry: your USB port doesn’t deliver enough power, yada yada, there’s probably something wrong with your driver installation or the port you’re using to connect to your computer. Eh? Interesting… now that I have the software package installed correctly, that message is gone, but together with it the removable media drive is gone as well. Hm.

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