Bricked WP7? This is how to fix it

Microsoft has had a little hiccup in its latest (and only) WP7 update, some users are reporting that their devices have been bricked. If this happens to you, and you don't want to take your phone back to AT&T to get it swapped out, Neowin user norseman has offered up how to fix your device.

Norseman says to do the following:

  • Unplug USB form computer. Charge phone or put in charger.
  • Turn off phone.
  • Turn on phone using 3 buttons - power, camera and volume up/down rocker. Keep all 3 held for 10-15 seconds. Do not release when it asks if you want to format the SD card.
  • Keep holding until it says "download mode". This will reinstall the OS.
  • If phone does not reboot in 15 mins just power it off and back on.
  • Re-setup phone, update firmware through Zune software and then re-sync your documents, music, pictures, videos, etc..

If you find yourself with a paperweight of a device, it can be a scary thought. While this bricking is being caused by an official update, if you need a phone now, this might be your best bet at saving your device.

If you have any success with this method let us know in the comments. Hopefully this will get you back up and running in no time if your device falls victim to the update bug. 

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36 Comments

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Well if you are an HTC Mozart owner and this happens to you, then take the battery out, press and hold both volume buttons, switch the phone on while still holding the two volume buttons. When instructed to verify the OEM CRC or reset to factory defaults, press the volume down button and when prompted "complete" simple restart your phone. Theres also the USB host mode which will allow you to flash anything on it Volume Down + Camera and power up

You really have to use Zune software with WP7? How are the two even related? Will the software change when MS decides to re-brand the Zune?

Well why would they introduce a new suite to manage your Windows Phone? Zune already can manage your Zune, and Windows Phone 7 has Zune built-in. Same with iPhone, it uses iTunes but really why should an iPhone use iTunes, isn't that just for iPods?

It's just how they do this type of stuff now-a-days.

was it only Omnia's that are/were affected? my Focus (Rogers Canada) took about 35 minutes (6GB stuff on it) to boot back to home screen.

According to Nexus69, uninstalling the Samsung modem drivers allowed the update to be installed on a phone that previously got the "restoration error."

Is anyone else with a bricked phone able to confirm?

I'm installing the update right now and it saved a backup, why can't this backup just be put on if zune detects that the update has failed ? Surely it can detect that the phone isn't booting up.

edit: it worked

Is there anyway this can fix my focus that have installed a wrong ROM (omnia 7 rom) on it and now it does not function properly?

KavazovAngel said,
The update screws up only Samsung devices, it can't be Microsoft's fault.

yeah, seeing as wp7 OS changes are restricted, this must have something to do with what samsung has done to wp7/their phones.

I tried doing the update three times on my Samsung Focus. It just site at 7/10 while backing up my phone, the percentage remains at zero and does nothing. The last time I tried it, it's sat for at least an hour and still nothing.

I took the battery out and restarted my phone, so far so good nothing has happened to it.

wetworker said,
I tried doing the update three times on my Samsung Focus. It just site at 7/10 while backing up my phone, the percentage remains at zero and does nothing. The last time I tried it, it's sat for at least an hour and still nothing.

I took the battery out and restarted my phone, so far so good nothing has happened to it.

Have you ever had your Focus set to tether (through the diagnostics menu)? If so, have you tried uninstalling the modem drivers?

It goes into "download mode" without having to release the buttons though. It is all automated - just hold the buttons down. Best of luck all WP7 users.

norseman said,
Why doesn't this work for you Tom W? I know this works for my Samsung Focus...

It seems to work for some people, but not all. Some people are saying that they still get the connect to PC screen even after doing a hard reset, or that it won't even let them do a hard reset (just reboots when they let go of the volume button).

JonathanMarston said,

It seems to work for some people, but not all. Some people are saying that they still get the connect to PC screen even after doing a hard reset, or that it won't even let them do a hard reset (just reboots when they let go of the volume button).

I wonder if the Zune client in these cases is Up to date. They had that mystery update to the client a week or two ago, and that turned out to be a stability update to the phone updater DLL

norseman said,
Why doesn't this work for you Tom W? I know this works for my Samsung Focus...

I am reaching out to my members to try the fix and more than one has stated this doesn't work for them.

The ROM layout of Windows Phone allows for the update to be loaded in without erasing the original ROM, as we are often used to doing during a traditional flash (erase, write, verify). Thus, the bootloader can direct the phone to boot into "Download Mode," which has the necessary code to copy the original (backup) ROM over to the location where the normal OS resides. When the phone reboots, it is unbricked.

xpxp2002 said,
The ROM layout of Windows Phone allows for the update to be loaded in without erasing the original ROM, as we are often used to doing during a traditional flash (erase, write, verify). Thus, the bootloader can direct the phone to boot into "Download Mode," which has the necessary code to copy the original (backup) ROM over to the location where the normal OS resides. When the phone reboots, it is unbricked.

So it works just like the zunes? Kool. I've reset my old zunes a few time without any issues.

I'll believe the "fix in three days" when I see it.

I haven't been prompted to install the update yet (Omnia 7) but when I do I'm not sure I will. Better to just wait for an official word from Microsoft

mad_onion said,
I'll believe the "fix in three days" when I see it.

I haven't been prompted to install the update yet (Omnia 7) but when I do I'm not sure I will. Better to just wait for an official word from Microsoft

I didn't get the update prompt until I connected my phone (Samsung Omnia 7) to my pc with Zune. Updating went fine, just don't unplug the cable until its completely done (be patient).

KRS Deamon said,

I didn't get the update prompt until I connected my phone (Samsung Omnia 7) to my pc with Zune. Updating went fine, just don't unplug the cable until its completely done (be patient).

Although it was fine for me, the problem is not due to people unplugging the cable early, I wouldn't recommend people update their phone since it is not urgent and it's a lot less hassle just waiting three days for the update.

Dead'Soul said,
3 days? Community is not slow as MS!

The community has found a way to recover unusable phones by resetting to the old firmware but MS should issue a working update that will update these phones to the new version.

A bricked phone is one without a ROM and cannot be recovered unless reflashed at the factory. What is described here is a phone with a corrupt configuration that is unable to boot and requires reset.

Riva said,
A bricked phone is one without a ROM and cannot be recovered unless reflashed at the factory. What is described here is a phone with a corrupt configuration that is unable to boot and requires reset.

Yup agreed.

Riva said,
A bricked phone is one without a ROM and cannot be recovered unless reflashed at the factory. What is described here is a phone with a corrupt configuration that is unable to boot and requires reset.

well...it's more like a bricked device is unrecoverable until someone find a way at least that's what happening in the CFW scene.

Riva said,
A bricked phone is one without a ROM and cannot be recovered unless reflashed at the factory. What is described here is a phone with a corrupt configuration that is unable to boot and requires reset.

In most scenarios a bricked device is one that is non-recoverable using any known process. This process was not known previously and therefore it was "bricked" until now.

shinji257 said,

In most scenarios a bricked device is one that is non-recoverable using any known process. This process was not known previously and therefore it was "bricked" until now.

forum.xda-developers.com bing!