Custom backup utility for WP7 available

With the release of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft sought to improve the Windows phone experience by making it more finger friendly, and much easier to use than previous iterations. However, in the drive to simplify, Microsoft left out one important detail: backup. Take a quick spin through the Zune software, and you won't find this option anywhere when your phone is connected. Should a hard reset of your phone be necessary, the contents of your device's memory will be lost if you haven't taken manual methods to back up your pictures, documents, etc.

An industrious user, hx4700 Killer, on the XDA-Developers forums has written a tool in .Net which allows users to back up the contents of their phone's memory (including files placed via the mass-storage enabler).


Image Source: wmpoweruser.com

According to the aforementioned user,

"This APP is a wrapper around a tool microsoft produced to perform updates to your phone via command line. Specifically the executeable "updatewp.exe" that comes from the Windows Phone Support Tools.  updatewp.exe is meant to update your phone with PKS files theoretically obtained from the device manufacturer. It will also do other things including a command line restore of a backup. 

What happens is the phone performs the backup first, once it completes the process the code terminates updatewp.exe before it goes further. In theory if you are using an update not compatible for your phone it would actually just say that and quit. However terminating the updater keeps it from ever getting that far."

In a nutshell, this tool uses the above executable to back up your WP7 device, although it was originally intended to back the device up, and then perform a software upgrade. The tool uses launches updatewp.exe with the intent of updating the device using the update packages from an HTC HD2, triggering a backup of the device to a specified location, and then terminating updatewp.exe before the actual software upgrade takes place.

As to restoring your device, just go into the Zune software (with the phone plugged in), go to Settings, then to Device (or Phone), and click Update. Text at the bottom of the window should appear, indicating the path/file used to perform the restore. If you're ready to give the tool a try, head over to the XDA-Developers thread, and download the prerequisites. As always, carefully consider the pros/cons before using these custom tools, as they may render the device unusable.

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11 Comments

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Interesting approach. I have an 8GB Zune classic (yes), and I have to wonder if the same sort of thing couldn't be applied to it. As decent as the Zune software is, I haven't found any way (for example) to back up the details for the podcasts I'm subscribed to...which is, for all intents and purposes, all I use my Zune for.

I've switched machines more than once since getting the Zune--re-setting up the same podcast subscriptions (and then manually re-marking everything I've already listened to) is always a pain.

Although, strictly speaking, I guess I'm really looking at backing up the Zune software settings, rather than the device itself.

Everything on the phone is in the cloud but is not flawless. If you wipe your phone you still have to tweak the phone to the way you had it. Setup your home screen, user name and passwords, install apps all over again. The biggest complaint I have is having to reinstall the apps all over again. If you try to use the Zune desktop software it will tell you that you already have the software even though it is not on the phone. You are stuck installing the previously installed apps from the phone and having to do one by one for many apps is a pain. Luckily I do not have to wipe my phone too often. I did in the beginning when I got a memory card and trying to get it to work. After dozens of tries I gave up and got rid of the memory card and I have never had a problem since.

Microsoft needs to add this feature to the Zune client.
Backing up my BlackBerry was a snap,every Friday after I got home that was the first thing I did. It's also great for when you get a new device,plug it in and just press restore.

Make it happen Microsoft.

To be fair, contacts are synced to the cloud, as are emails, etc. Pictures and music sync to your PC. It's only apps and SMS that need to be added.

Brody McKee said,
To be fair, contacts are synced to the cloud, as are emails, etc. Pictures and music sync to your PC. It's only apps and SMS that need to be added.

SMS Backup is what i would like.. They had it back for 6.5 but didnt carry it thro

Brody McKee said,
To be fair, contacts are synced to the cloud, as are emails, etc. Pictures and music sync to your PC. It's only apps and SMS that need to be added.

Even apps are backed up to the cloud. Reset your device, then sign in with your WL id. Your previously installed apps will start to reinstall in the background. However it will also reinstall apps that you previously uninstalled.

rfirth said,

Even apps are backed up to the cloud. Reset your device, then sign in with your WL id. Your previously installed apps will start to reinstall in the background. However it will also reinstall apps that you previously uninstalled.
The automatic restoration of prevously uninstalled apps annoys me because I have been testing some apps that I won't be using after finding them useless or not worth it.

That feature is great, but we need more control on how they are being restored so we can choose any that we don't to be installed again.

does not work for HD2 devices and I have not seen (m)any posts with success (h..p://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=14291914&postcount=28). For now it works for one. Supposedly you have to find an update file for a different phone to get it to work on an HD2.
This was just released with only a handful of people trying it. Not sure why this is posted on the first page at Neowin. Wait and see if it's successful, the report.

brent3000 said,
Just read through the forum... So far still abit buggy for backing up some devices

yeah, and it's presented everywhere as if it's a well established release that works. I am sure that wasn't the author's intention.