Blackberry VSMTools – modifying branding files

About year ago I got my first Blackberry device. Of course I did some research of what we can do with it. I mean of course, more than RiM allow us to do.

First I’ve got my phone debranded. That involves uploading branding file to device. When I did that, I started to wonder if I could edit or create my own branding file with my own splashscreen image or other data changed. I found some VSM file format description (but incomplete). I did my own research (including software disassembling) and finally I created VSMTools. It’s an easy-to-use command line tools which allow you to extract, edit or create your own VSM file.

vsmtools06.rar¬†is my tool to extract, edit and create branding VSM files. I’ve also documented VSM file structure. I got it all except sign section. VSM files are digitally signed and as far as I know it is done by RSA-SHA1 private key and the public key (which I covered in this document). It is used to check the file integrity. I can’t tell any more about the sign mechanism, if you do have any information about that, please contact me. Sign section may be not present in VSM. Blackberry 8800 accept unsigned files, but maybe some newer devices don’t.


Some usefull links related with VSM files: topic about hacking VSM files on GSM Forum, VSM resources description in BlackBerry API.

My old Siemens patches

Siemens SL45i (or SL45, SL42 – it’s the same phone) is – in my opinion – the best cellphone of it’s time. I spend a lot of time reversing it’s software and try to making it better by developing patches. Scene of patching this phone was very busy, hundred of patches was developed. In some point, RizaPN, most recognizable patchmaker created “Binary File Access” – patch that allow us to load and run executable files from memory card. I’ve developed some of that files, even wrote a simple game. I collected all patches which I still have. Some of them are missing, so it is not complete pack, but the most important ones are present. If you have any of my missing patches – please contact me.

Some of the most productive patchmakers which I’d like to recall are: RizaPN, lalo.lerry, mamaich, Chaos, DeadManS, rc-flitzer, ValeraVi, vBart and many others. Thank you guys.

My patches for Siemens SL45i – pack of V-Klay patches contains Thermometer v1.2, MP3 indicators v3.1, Fast animated logo, Green button function, Playlist MP3 instead, Buttons Animation, Band selection and Auto OC. Some of them are documented with assembler source code.

My apps for Siemens SL45i Рpack of binary executable files (bin) contains Archer (simply arcade game), Playlist Converter, Thermometer v1.1 and OC Info. With sources.

Siemens SX1 – I developed several flash patches between March and December of 2007. This patches are in sxpr format – it is APatcher format. Just to see files you could use Microsoft Word, Wordpad or OpenOffice Writer. This files contain some Wordpad formatting so it is not convenient to open them in notepad.

My patches for Siemens SX1 – all my patches are collected in single archive. The most complex one (date and profile name in mainscreen) contain assembler source. List of patches in archive: Disable Low Battery Message and sound, Don’t change backlight level in camera, Change camera standby timer, Change camera standby timer v2, Disable Selected profile message, Don’t display profile name in mainscreen, Display date and profile name symbol in mainscreen, Don’t show OpLogo picture, Display date and profile name symbol in mainscreen v2, Don’t show profiles in shutdown menu.


I’ve finally decided to use some open-source CMS instead coding my own. The reason is that I never had enough time to finish that project. That new version of my site will be regularly updated (I hope so). I will write here about my computer related hobbies: reverse engineering, programming, building electronic devices, etc.

First version of this site was published on Yahoo Geocities many years ago (about 2001 or 2002) and was entirely devoted to my Siemens SL45i patches. I published the whole pack for common good.

Few years later I’ve moved forward, going to Siemens SX1 – next great Siemens with patchable software. About 2006 I’ve moved my site into new server (thanks to MrK and Mac – admins ofp and, changed whole design and released some SX1 patches (I publish them too).

Now site is located on my private server turned into blog. I hope it will motivate me to write here more often, and maybe to finish some project for which I have no time nor determination to complete.

About me

My real name is Mike Szymaniak and I live in Poznan, Poland. I study IT at Poznan University of Technology. I work soldering circuit boards, I also fix cellphones for living (mainly hardware).

My native language is Polish and I am fully aware that I commit many mistakes writing English, I promise to do my best.

My email: sc0typl[at], GG: 6561102