Lumia 920 day 11: brick city

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for AT&T’s return service (and irked at myself for leaving my MacBook Pro charger in Huntsville– thus the brevity of this entry. Low battery concentrates the mind…)

On Windows Phone devices, Windows Live IDs (WLID), now better known as Microsoft accounts. are the master accounts used to control access to Microsoft services. You have to link a WLID to the phone to buy or update apps. Once you put a WLID on the phone, the only way to change the associated WLID is to wipe the phone to factory settings and start over. Because (long boring historical discussion elided), I had to change the e-mail address on my WLID. The Xbox, Skype, and Windows Phone Marketplace aspects of this change went smoothly (although the change itself was damn near impossible to effect; I ended up having to get a friend who works at MS to open an internal support case.) Tim did the same thing recently and found that even his Surface took the change without issue.

My phone, however, did not, so I had to reset it and put in the new WLID. I did this last night… only to find that the 920 apparently has a bug that bricks it when you do a hard reset. Ooooops.

I understand the existence of software bugs; Lord knows I’ve suffered through my share of them on iOS. I put the phone aside, took it to the AT&T store in Alexandria, Louisiana, and was immediately given a replacement with no fuss– the staff were super helpful and friendly.

Now, a brief digression: at the AT&T store I saw the HTC 8X for the first time. Wow! What a great-looking phone: it’s the same width and height as the 920 but much thinner and lighter. I may give the 920 the boot and get an 8X instead, despite its inferior camera and smaller onboard storage.

Anyway: I took the replacement phone home and started trying to restore its settings. All of my old text messages and photos seem to have synced back from the cloud, but app settings, and the apps themselves, have not. This Paul Thurrott article says that the “App List + Settings” backup “includes Internet Explorer Favorites, the list of installed apps, and ‘most’ device settings.” I haven’t seen any evidence of it restoring those things but maybe I’m just being impatient; I’ll wait a bit longer. SMS messages synced automatically and immediately, but maybe apps take longer? One thing that doesn’t seem to be included in sync at all is the arrangement of tiles on the home screen; that’s an unfortunate omission given that I had finally gotten everything put the way I wanted it!

Last night, before the WLID change, I’d tried to use the Windows Phone connector for Mac OS to back up the phone, but it crashed each time I plugged the phone in. This morning, when I plugged the new phone in, sync worked flawlessly. I lived through the flakiness of iTunes sync for many years, and I’m not happy about having to relive it, especially because the WP connector is only supported through Microsoft’s forums.

The 920 camera is superb; I’ll post some photos I’ve taken with it once things settle down here a bit. 


Filed under Reviews, UC&C

4 responses to “Lumia 920 day 11: brick city

  1. Paul, note it says “the list of installed apps.” In my limited but quite possibly salient experience, you don’t get the apps back on your phone automatically after a hard reset. However, when you go back to Marketplace, it doesn’t charge you to install them again. (Basically, it knows what you’ve paid for.)

  2. robichaux

    That much hasn’t changed; when you go to Marketplace and re-“buy” an app you’ve already bought, it doesn’t charge you again. What I want, though, is for it to automatically replace the apps that were previously installed, as iOS devices do.

  3. tom meunier

    My experience was that when I went to and selected purchase history from the download, it presented me with a list. Each app had a “reinstall” link next to it, and I just ticked them off and they appeared on my phone. I preferred this, as I previously owned some crummy apps that I’d rather not have auto-installed everywhere. (Gosh I’m becoming a fanboy. Someone save me)

    • robichaux

      I had the same experience, Tom. What I was hoping for was that a restore would put all the apps, and their settings, back on the phone the way they were at the time of backup. That doesn’t seem to be what happened.

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