How I Used My BlackBerry Z30 to Recover My Dead Laptop


We all have experienced this sick feeling of a dead computer at some point. The system will not boot. You’re sunk. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

The other day my laptop hard drive was making “ticking” sounds and would not boot. I thought all was lost, but I removed the HD and decided to order a replacement drive on line. Ah well, such is life.

This time, I got lucky though… twice. The replacement drive arrived and I went to work.

The first lucky event is that I coaxed the 750gb drive into booting one last time. At that point I quickly created a bootable CD using the Seagate DiscWizard software. DiscWizard is a cut down version of a popular backup/restore program known as Acronis. This version however works only on Seagate and Maxtor drives. You can find it here.

OK, so far so good… Next, I decided to create a disk image of a fresh Win7 installation I had previously put on the defective drive. My destination for that backup disk image was a trusty external USB HD I’ve owned for a while now.

With plenty of space available on that USB drive, I proceeded to create the backup image.

Guess what? The external drive failed during the save as well. Like Eric Clapton said… “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”. Good old Cream, I must be born under a bad sign.
But then it hit me, all is not lost!

I have 64gb storage available to me as a USB storage device! I use it every day, and it’s on my favorite thing, my phone… the Z30!

USB Mass storage
USB Mass storage

I plugged my Z30 into the PC and in Settings/Storage and Access turned on “USB Mass Storage”. Immediately my hobbled laptop had another drive.
Seagate DiscWizard saw my new “drive”, so I started the disk image again.


DiscWizard happily created the drive image in a directory called “My Backups/My Partitions” on my Z30 SD card. In actual fact, the software created 4 files because the SD card is formatted in FAT32 which can handle a maximum file size of 4gb each.

I rebooted with the recovery media CD and the replacement hard drive installed and restored the whole Win7 drive with the image made on my Z30. I now have a fully functioning laptop again.

Thanks BlackBerry, and I didn’t need an “app for that”.


Dave Matthews here. I'm a phone guy by trade supplying VOIP systems for business and industry. BlackBerry devices, playing PRS guitars in my band, golf, and RC flight are my current passions.

  • That’s wild Canuck. Great story. Try that with a crApple!

    BBRY devices are for people who get things done; work hard and play hard. Very cool.

  • ray689

    What no app? That can’t be…how can anyone do anything without an app?

  • Bigglybobblyboo

    It sounds so obvious but it’s easily missed in the panic… of course! I have a 64GB drive!

    Very similar to forgetting that you have a 3G or 4G dongle in your phone when your Internet goes down…

  • Anthony

    “if it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all” is a borrowed phrase from blues players Eric Clapton idolized. :O

    • Canuckvoip

      This is true Anthony. Thanks for clearing that up!

  • shanerredflag

    Nice improvisation…and great explanation. thank you. locco_smiley_10

  • MePiikan LzBolaz

    With the changes that have been made up to now, you should consider backing up you SD card and formating it on the z30. Being that it’s a card, it will be formatted to ExFAT instead of FAT32. This is the recent standard for large memory cards.

    When first came out there were some issues with a new 64gb card but if you has an existing one it worked fine. There was a work around to switch the card to FAT32 on your PC which did the job.

    ExFAT removes the 4gb cap…

    • MePiikan. Forgive me, but you’re saying we should format our SD cards from our BB10 device rather than our Windows PC?

    • Canuckvoip

      Great info. I thought 10.3 was bringing ExFat and didn’t realize 10.2 had it.
      Thanks MePiikan

  • veeru789

    Wow. Amazing.

  • wkrgr

    I’m lusting for that UTB sticker. Can’t be the only one. :D

    • wkrgr

      Oh, and yeah, BlackBerry is like the Swiss Army Knife of phones.

  • jrohland

    My niece BBMed me with a plea to repair her computer. Long story short, it could only be booted in safe mode. Like you, I put my Z30 in Mass Storage mode, plugged it in to her laptop and backed up her files to my 128 GB media card. Replaced her hard drive with an SSD, Installed Windows, reloaded her data and some apps. Her laptop is working beautifully. And with an SSD drive it’s fast and much more reliable.

    The Z30 is an IT techs dream.