Windows Phone 7 "mass storage" mode discovered

Here's one we didn't see coming: Enabling USB Storage for Windows Phone 7 has been uncovered and detailed over at WPCentral, showing that the phone can indeed be used as a USB drive for manually copying data without using the Zune software.

The hack, which is as simple modifying registry keys, allows the user to use the phone on the local machine as a "mass storage device" so they can manually load music and pictures onto the phone. Essentially, modifying the keys allows the device to operate in "Legacy Mode" and another enables it to be shown in the shell. After modifying the registry keys, you must shut the Zune client to allow files to be manually added.

It's worth noting that even if you manually put the music or pictures in the corresponding folders, the phone won't actually read them, essentially rendering the hack useless, but at least we can move files, right? The files you see above are protected Zune Pass files, but even when other files are entered into the structure that are compatible, the phone doesn't read them. The news follows hot on the heels of the Windows Phone 7 USB tethering being uncovered built into the OS last week.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Ballmer opens 7th Microsoft Store in Bellevue

Next Story

If you can't beat'em, join'em; MySpace surrenders to Facebook

29 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

The files aren't "locked" in any way by the phone so you can't play them, it's like the iPod. when iTunes (or zune) interacts with the device it creates entries into the phones library or index of files, if the phone doesn't know about a file's existence it can't be played

norseman said,

There are 18 ringtones that come with the Samsung Focus. You can use any of them. I don't think you can use CUSTOM ringtones yet. I have a Samsung Focus and am loving it!

You should have gone for the HD7. There are no less than 93 built-in ringtones plus 10 additional alerts to choose from for txt messages, voicemail etc.

dotf said,
Forget that noise, can I manually replace the default ringtone?

There are 18 ringtones that come with the Samsung Focus. You can use any of them. I don't think you can use CUSTOM ringtones yet. I have a Samsung Focus and am loving it!

norseman said,

There are 18 ringtones that come with the Samsung Focus. You can use any of them. I don't think you can use CUSTOM ringtones yet. I have a Samsung Focus and am loving it!

W00t that's the one I was going to get too. As soon as they're available in my region.

"Zune converts the files to a specific locked down WMA format, that only Windows Phone 7 can read."

This part, not so accurate...

The files are usually kept in the original format as long as the proper audio or video codec is supported on the device, which includes everything form XVid/Divx to MP3.

As for the files not being recognized, this has to do with the indexing system that tracks the media contents on the device. So if the files are placed on the FS, they are not added to the OS index.

The content on the device would be visible but protected as the device is using the SD security features, this does not mean the WMA files are specially encrypted.

thenetavenger said,
"Zune converts the files to a specific locked down WMA format, that only Windows Phone 7 can read."

This part, not so accurate...

The files are usually kept in the original format as long as the proper audio or video codec is supported on the device, which includes everything form XVid/Divx to MP3.

As for the files not being recognized, this has to do with the indexing system that tracks the media contents on the device. So if the files are placed on the FS, they are not added to the OS index.

The content on the device would be visible but protected as the device is using the SD security features, this does not mean the WMA files are specially encrypted.


Fixed

Zune doesn't transcode or encode your music when you put it on your phone (that would take way too much time). Those songs you have up there are probably Zune pass music.

Music that hasn't been dragged on probably can't be played as at sync time, the file locations are added to the Zune's data library on the phone, and then organised in a Artist-Album hierarchy and a .alb file created for each album, which are all required for the Zune to recognise the music. Dragging & Dropping does none of this, so even if you put the file there, Zune isn't going to know about it.

~Johnny said,
Zune doesn't transcode or encode your music when you put it on your phone (that would take way too much time). Those songs you have up there are probably Zune pass music.

Music that hasn't been dragged on probably can't be played as at sync time, the file locations are added to the Zune's data library on the phone, and then organised in a Artist-Album hierarchy and a .alb file created for each album, which are all required for the Zune to recognise the music. Dragging & Dropping does none of this, so even if you put the file there, Zune isn't going to know about it.

This is correct.

I am Zune owner, and tried a hack similar to this 2-3 years ago, the files added by user aren't encoded (unless they are 320Kbps +, which is very rare) but Files are renamed to some random name, and that name and along with location is logged in Zune software/app.

Files added directly to memory, wouldn't be indexed and will not work. Still can be used as USB Drive, and I don't think it's worth it.

Yeah I don't know whose smart idea it was to think that Microsoft and Apple lock down their devices to be synced only with the software they provide for no reason at all. Obviously you cannot just unlock something like this and then simply drag and drop and have it magically work lol. The software obviously does all of what you mentioned, and for a reason.

Electric Jolt said,
Yeah I don't know whose smart idea it was to think that Microsoft and Apple lock down their devices to be synced only with the software they provide for no reason at all. Obviously you cannot just unlock something like this and then simply drag and drop and have it magically work lol. The software obviously does all of what you mentioned, and for a reason.

First at all the iPhone is seen as a mass storage and in fact I was able to connect it to the USB port of my car and play the stored music with the cari audio system. The Zune, yes I had one, did not and that is the reason I gave it away.
This seems to be a MS peculiarity because I was unable to play music stored on my HD 2 too.

What I am curious to understand is: what is the reason MS would encrypt my MP3 files stored on the computer in order to be played with the Zune? While before installing the Zune software I made a complete backup of all my music..... just to be safe, the player did not change the files extention, they are all *.mp3 ones. Does it encrypt them only when they are transferred to the phone? And again why?

Fritzly said,
What I am curious to understand is: what is the reason MS would encrypt my MP3 files stored on the computer in order to be played with the Zune? While before installing the Zune software I made a complete backup of all my music..... just to be safe, the player did not change the files extention, they are all *.mp3 ones. Does it encrypt them only when they are transferred to the phone? And again why?

They do not encrypt or modify your files - that's an inaccuracy in the article.

Fritzly said,
First at all the iPhone is seen as a mass storage and in fact I was able to connect it to the USB port of my car and play the stored music with the cari audio system. The Zune, yes I had one, did not and that is the reason I gave it away.
Most cars with USB ports have paid to license the Apple format to be able to "just work" with the iPod/iPhone line up.

The iPhone/iPod touch in particular have not been able to be loaded like a USB drive since the beginning. Normal iPods are, or at least used to be, different, and they could be read directly from the file system. I've owned a couple iPods as well as the iPod touch (1st gen and 2nd gen) as well as an iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. I also own a Zune HD and Samsung Focus now.

pickypg said,
Most cars with USB ports have paid to license the Apple format to be able to "just work" with the iPod/iPhone line up.

The iPhone/iPod touch in particular have not been able to be loaded like a USB drive since the beginning. Normal iPods are, or at least used to be, different, and they could be read directly from the file system. I've owned a couple iPods as well as the iPod touch (1st gen and 2nd gen) as well as an iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. I also own a Zune HD and Samsung Focus now.


Thanks for the information; interesting that companies are willing to pay Apple but not MS to have clients experience this "Just work.
Btw how is your Focus? I just returned the HD7 and ordered a Focus so I would be very interested to hear your comments.
TIA

omnicoder said,
Since you can easily compare a locked and unlocked version the file it should be simple to make a convertor.
I dont think they would be such big fools... generally locked files are encrypted too, else it will take hardly minutes to find and remove the lock using the method mentioned by you.

Pauleh said,
Well, I'm sure there'll be a little app that'll convert between locked and unlocked wma files soon.

better yet, a media player app which can play any file (that you can play on your computer) directly?

carmatic said,

better yet, a media player app which can play any file (that you can play on your computer) directly?

Or you could just use zune?

Pauleh said,
Well, I'm sure there'll be a little app that'll convert between locked and unlocked wma files soon.

Noone's cracked protected WMA yet... they won't now either

Actually it was cracked a long time ago. A program called Fairuse4wm creates an exact copy of a protected WMA file but minus the protection. It was used mostly on Napster. I don't know if it still works though.