Posey's Tips & Tricks

The Windows Phone Saga Continues

Brien discusses the feedback of his last Windows Phone column and shares his latest adventures with the platform.

In the month of September, I wrote just over two dozen articles, three whitepapers and spoke at several live events. I don't write the same volume of material every month. If anything, September was a slow month for me. However, if you use September as a baseline and extrapolate the numbers, it works out to writing about 300 articles a year (I usually write more than that). I am not telling you this as a way of boasting, but rather to make a point. I write a ton of articles, and yet I can't think of anything that I have written in the last few years that generated anywhere close to the number of e-mail messages as my column on why Microsoft isn't able to sell more Windows Phones in the USA.

I have to admit that the volume of e-mail messages that I received really surprised me. When I wrote the blog post, I wasn't even sure if anyone would care about what I had to say. The other thing that surprised me was that the vast majority of the messages that I received were from people who felt the same way that I do. Sure, there were a few haters in the bunch, but I actually had a number of people who specifically asked me to try to get in touch with the Windows Phone team in Redmond and see if I could get them to jerk a knot in the cellular service providers. To those people, let me just say that I will do what I can.

The main reason why I decided to write this follow up to last month's column is because now that I have another phone, I was able to spend some time experimenting with my old phone with no fear of the consequences. In doing so, I learned a few things.

Contrary to the impression that some people got from my last post, I didn't actually brick my old phone. When I reset the phone, I lost access to the Network Profile setting (among other things). The Network Profile setting was put in place by my cellular provider in order to configure connectivity to their network. Being that I lost access to this setting, my phone was perpetually roaming and I could only access the Internet using Wi-Fi.

Upon receiving my new phone, I have to confess that I was initially a little bit paranoid about installing the Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview. With new phones costing several hundred dollars, I wasn't in any hurry to ruin another phone if something were to go wrong. However, I saw a blog post that changed my mind. According to this particular post, the phone's manufacturer allegedly has no plans to offer the Windows Phone 8.1 update (I have since seen other blog posts that say that the manufacturer is planning to release the update next month). That motivated me to once again consider installing the Developer Preview. I just wasn't sure of how to protect myself if my phone ever needed to be reset.

Hoping to find a solution, I dug my old phone out of the closet. I tried to power it up, but the battery was dead. When I put it on the charger, the charge light never illuminated. Instead, the phone began vibrating at ten second intervals.

Since I had never encountered this situation before, I looked it up on the Internet. Apparently, it is a common problem. Nobody seemed to have a solution other than purchasing a new phone. What I discovered on my own however, was that the vibration was a side effect of letting the battery go completely dead. After about four hours on the charger the vibration stopped and my phone started charging normally. About eight hours later the phone was fully charged.

I had theorized that if I had been able to access the Network Profile settings, I would have been able to reconnect my phone to the cellular provider's network. At the time however, I hadn't been able to figure out a way to accomplish this since that particular setting had been removed from the Settings menu when I reset my phone. However, I had an idea that I wanted to try.

After booting my old phone, I entered the phrase Network Profile into Cortana. Cortana produced the expected Web search results, but I flicked my screen to the right a few times until I arrived at the Phone tab. There on the screen was a link to the illusive Network Profile setting!

Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether or not using the Network Profile setting would have fixed my problem. I had the phone deactivated, and my cell provider does not use SIM cards that can be moved from one phone to the next. Even so, I think that there is a reasonably good chance that I could have used the Network Profile settings to fix the problem.
For now, I am happy to say that the Windows Phone 8.1 preview is running smoothly on my new phone. In fact, the preview seems to work better on my new phone than it did on my old phone.

About the Author

Brien Posey is a 16-time Microsoft MVP with decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written thousands of articles and contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. In addition to his continued work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years actively training as a commercial scientist-astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow his spaceflight training on his Web site at.

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