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Everything you need to know about Windows Phone 8 (FAQ)

OP thals1992

3rd October 2013, 03:01 AM   |  #1  
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A lot of people are flooding the WP8 sub-forums by asking questions that haven't exactly been answered in a straightforward manner. This is my first stab at this and this post will grow over time.
  • What are some pros and cons of using Windows Phones?
    I'll just refer you to this post over at Windows Phone Central. The person who wrote this had an HTC 8X, and had made it before YouTube was an app, so a few things might be dated about it, but its still essentially the same when it comes to the user experience.
    Pros and Cons with Windows Phone 8
  • How do I "unbrand" my device?
    By installing a region generic ROM for the same device.
    Here's a tutorial for the HTC 8X - [Guide] Unbrand HTC 8X
    Here's a tutorial for the Lumia 920 - [Tutorial] Unbrand (flash) Nokia Windows Phone 8
    Note: Once you flash the Rogers Dev ROM, you can't go back to your factory ROM.
  • How do I enable BitLocker on my device?
    You can have your company administrator enable it.
    You can also enable it using an Office 365 subscription. More details will be added soon.
  • Once I install a ROM or InteropUnlock my phone will I still get updates?
    It will still receive updates, but it will be as often as either the other carrier pushes updates or as the manufacturer pushes generic model updates. If you chose to jump on the Developer OS Preview(Beta Update) train, you'll receive updates directly from Microsoft months before your manufacturer will push an update and even faster than your cellular carrier can push an update.
  • Does my device work internationally? Can I use a different carrier with my current device?
    It depends if you device shares the same cellular bands. You also might need your phone SIM unlocked. You can either call the original carrier of the device if its branded and tell them you need it unlocked for international travel or pay for a SIM unlocking service.
  • Will LTE work if I leave my home country/Will LTE work with another carrier?
    LTE (E-UTRA in most implementations) is a different standard to GSM and CDMA. It has features that allow it to work with GSM and CDMA hardware, but its essentially a new beast. LTE have their own frequency blocks in most regions (it can also share the same bands as 3G, but lets not go there) and operates independent of the "3G" networks, so if you want LTE to work, you'll also need 3G and 2G bands to work as well.
    To start, lets say we have a Lumia 928.

    It has the following:
    • LTE network bands: 4 (1700 MHz - block f), 13 (700 MHz - block c) Verizon says that it needs a firmware update to enable the 4th band
    • WCDMA network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1900 MHz, 2100 MHz this will usually be the same as GSM
    • CDMA network bands: BC0, BC1 (we can safely ignore this; these are the main bands that others will use, but there might still be an exception to this.)
    • GSM network: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz
    So, if I wanted to use this with a GSM carrier and LTE, I need to find a carrier that uses LTE band 13.
    That limits me to Open Mobile (Triad 700) in Puerto Rico, Entel Bolivia in Bolivia, and Digicel Cayman in the Cayman Islands. That's just the Americas.
    In Asia, I can use MTS Uzbekistan and UCell in Uzbekistan. That's all the places that share LTE band 13 and the 700 MHz c block. When ever LTE band 4 is enabled on the device, I have a plethora of other carrier I can use in the US alone and three of the main carriers in Canada ( Bell, Rogers Wireless, and Telus)
    Check the tables here to make sure they share the same LTE band and frequency. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY!Well, at least better than mine anyways...
  • My phone apps have stopped updating/I have WP 8.1.1, but no Denim.

    You have two options.
    1. Install SysApp Pusher and check for updates.
    2. Flash a ROM for your device using the respective tools.
    3. If your device is a Lumia, you might not have the Denim(8.1.1) firmware. They are still pushing out Cyan(8.1) to certain devices and Denim is expected in 2015.
      Note: Not all devices have public/leaked ROMs yet. The Samsung ATIV S 899M, the ATIV Odyssey, the ATIV Neo, and the HTC 8S, 8XT, and OneM8 are all the current offenders.
  • Where can I get a ROM for my device if its available?
    Check your device specific forum if its available.
    If your device is manufactured by Nokia, go to seidea.com and either download the latest Nokia Product Tool or Nokia Software Updater. This tool will have the Latest ROM for your specific device and you can run a few hardware tests on it as well. You can also follow the tutorial in the WP8 Dev and Hacking section as well.

    If your device is manufactured by Samsung, having a ROM for your specific device will be hit or miss. The ATIV S (SGH-T899M model) and the ATIV Odyssey (SCH-I930 model) does not have a public ROM. The I-8750 has several ROMs available. If you need to know more, just visit the WP8 Dev and Hacking section.

    If your device is manufactured by HTC, chances are your out of luck. There are only two ROMs available and you can follow the tutorial in the HTC Windows Phone 8X Development and Hacking section. NOTE:The only ROMs available are European, it might not work on other devices designed for your region.
    If your device is manufactured by Huawei, keep checking the WP8 Dev and Hacking section... I know very little about the W1, let alone the W2.
  • How do I install apps from other OEMs?
    1. Install SysApp Pusher
    2. Use either reker's proxy, or use [EXE] [1.7.5] Store OEM Changer
      NOTE: THIS ONLY WORK ON WINDOWS PHONE 8.0
  • Can I install Android on a WP8 device?
    no.... These devices are extremely tight security wise and it is very improbable that someone would code an emulator.
    Note: Work is being done on the HTC OneM8 w/Windows because the hardware is exactly the same as the Android version.
  • Can I get WP8 on an Android device?
    NO. WP8 is pre-complied for the device that it was aimed for.
    EDIT: News from WPCentral has noted that MS is working with HTC to have dual-boot devices between Android and Windows Phone. AFAIK, most of our WP dev hacking team barely know anything about Android or even how it works. Microsoft and HTC in talks for more devices. We could see hardware with both Android and Windows Phone installed
    Note: Work is being done on the HTC OneM8, because the hardware is exactly the same as the Windows Phone version.
  • What's this interop-unlock thingy? How do I get it?
    It's a hurdle for deploying xaps or .appx files that require additional permissions that aren't normally available to developers.
    To get Interop-Unlock, you need either a Samsung ATIV S, an ATIV S Neo (AT&T's model is untested), or an ATIV Odyssey.
    HTC, Nokia, and Huawei devices aren't supported at this time, due to things how specific the Interop-Unlock mod is. It requires the Diagnostic app from Samsung, and IT WILL NOT DEPLOY to other OEMs, unless the respective permissions are removed, but then its useless anyways.
    If you have a Samsung ATIV S, ATIV S Neo, or ATIV Odyssey on WP8.0 GDR2, deploy [XAP] Interop Unlock Helper app for Samsung WP8 phones AFTER you dev-unlock the phone.
    If your Samsung is running 8.0 GDR3 or WP8.1, use a custom ROM.
  • I want a custom rom! Where's the download at?
    There are three custom ROMs for the ATIV S, and a custom ROM builder for ATIV S Neo, and the ATIV S Odyssey.
    The ATIV S ROMs are from WindowsMania, @spavlin, and @-W_O_L_F-.
    There's a tool to build your own ROM for the ATIV S, ATIV S Neo, and the ATIV Odyssey, using WOLF's MBN Creator and the Fake ROM.
    The only devices to not have custom ROMs are any phones that shipped with Windows Phone 8.1, the ATIV SE, and all HTC devices.
  • How can I help unlocking different devices like the Lumia's?
    The first thing I can recommend that you could do is to understand a bit about programming. The biggest thing is that you can at least READ code, whether is in .NET, C, C#, or C++, or even Native Code. (We need this the most along with people who have a grasp on Assembly!)

    The second thing I'd recommend to do, is to obtain a ROM for your device. Make sure its the right Product number, or the same edition of your device. That will be helpful if your phone dies and gets the spinning gears of death.
    Then, I'd obtain a tool to extract/mount your rom to be able to peer through various files that would be of use, along with a tool to flash it to your device.

    The third thing I'd recommend is to obtain a decompiler and a good app that does comparisons between two files. @GoodDayToDie recommends Reflector or JustDecompile. I use dotPeek, because I don't need it to run in tandem with Visual Studio.

    The fourth and final thing I'd recommend is to learn some low level stuff. Whether that's how to analyze USB traffic, how to code in assembly, or just simply learning how to use a network packet sniffer. Packet sniffing isn't too difficult to pick up.

    If you do happen to do some of these recommendations, it will be useful outside of Windows Phone, but for "hacking" in general and useful if you need a job where you could use this kind of knowledge.
  • How do you install .xap files?
    It depends where you got it from.
    If its from the marketplace/store, it can only be installed from a MicroSD.

    If the app was originally generated from the Windows Phone Dev Studio, you can directly download it from your phone's browser.
    • Go to the aetx url provided by MS.
    • Download the app either by the QR code or the direct url given in the email.
    If its from your employer, you will either need to follow the same steps above (get the .aetx file and download the xap), or enter your company email and password in the settings menu for "Company apps."
    If its from xda-developers or somewhere you know its a developer app and not a store app, then make sure you have the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Application Deployment tool installed. IMHO, use Windows Phone Power Tools.
    NOTE: You can also deploy WPDS apps this way if you choose to do so.
  • How do I developer unlock my device?
    Get ready, lots of things are going to get thrown at you!.
    1. Purchase a MS developer subscription or use a free subscription from Dreamspark. Dreamspark is only available if your college, university, or trade school offers it. You can also sign up for a dreamspark account via an ISIC Card.
      NOTE: If you don't have a developer account, you can skip the step above, but you can only have 2 apps installed at a time. If you've had a Dreamspark dev account for a while, you can only have 3 apps deployed to a phone, new ones have a limit of 10 apps. If you have a full Developer account by purchasing one from MS, you can install 10 apps.
      NOTE 2: The subscription now is a perpetual license. You don't have to renew if you do decide to pay for a developer account.
    2. Download the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK or install Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows (includes the WP8.1 SDK built-in.)
      • NOTE: The WP8.1 SDK is distributed slightly differently. It is included inside of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. It works on Windows 8.1 x86 and x64. The 8.1 Emulators and the 8.1.1 Emulators are now separate downloads which requires Windows 8.1 x64 Pro with a computer that supports SLAT.
      • WP8.0 SDK only works on Windows 8.0 Pro x64 and Windows 8.1 Pro x64. It can be installed to Windows 7 x64 with a modified installer. Get the file from the first post here --> Tutorial: Install Windows Phone 8.0 SDK on Windows 7 the Easy Way and follow the steps below!
        1. Extract the ISO, using 7zip or WinRAR, or use anything that can extract ISO files for that matter.
        2. Replace "WPexpress_full.exe" with the modified file from the OP.
        3. Run the modified installer and follow its instructions.
        4. Install Visual Studio 2012 Update 4.
      • If your running Windows 7 x86, or Windows 8.0 x86, or simply don't want the WHOLE SDK, try Windows Phone 8 & 8.1 SDK Tools Lite v1.2 by Arnold Vink. You can follow the steps in the link, but keep in mind that this only installs the deployment tools and the developer unlock tools. Visual Studio and the emulators will not be installed.
      • The official WP8 SDK and the 8.1 emulator packages could complain about your computer not being SLAT compatible. This is only referring to the WP8, 8.1, or 8.1.1 emulator requiring Hyper-V to run. The WP8 SDK can ignore the requirement, it will only install the WP7 emulator; the WP8.0 and later emulators won't.
    3. Acquire and enter your product key once the Windows Phone SDK is installed. (You just need to enter your email account stuff to get a key. Its free after all! )
    4. Launch the Developer unlock tool that was installed with the SDK.
    5. Enter your email address that your MS developer account was attached to along with your password.
    6. If you followed these steps properly your phone has been developer unlocked.
    7. The last step is to launch the deployment tool, select the xap, plug the phone in, unlock the screen, and click Deploy. (Note: Some people prefer to use Windows Phone Power Tools. It has more features than the one that ships with the SDK.)
That's all I can think of. Reply below, if you can think of anything else!
Last edited by thals1992; 24th November 2014 at 01:34 AM. Reason: finally updated and cleaned some of this mess.
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4th October 2013, 09:15 AM   |  #2  
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Good, but I'd point out that dev-unlock is now supposed to be possible with any arbitrary Microsoft Account (Live ID). It's got a two-app limit and doesn't allow submitting to the Store, but it'll work if you just need a single homebrew app... or if you are installing an interop-unlock app, which will wipe that limit anyhow.
6th October 2013, 02:54 PM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodDayToDie

Good, but I'd point out that dev-unlock is now supposed to be possible with any arbitrary Microsoft Account (Live ID). It's got a two-app limit and doesn't allow submitting to the Store, but it'll work if you just need a single homebrew app... or if you are installing an interop-unlock app, which will wipe that limit anyhow.

just wondering if you have a source for that?

ive had a look but have been unable to find anything, of course its possibly a UK/US regional difference but just in case anyone else was wondering.

To be honest, paying the 15 a YEAR is a small price to pay even if its not free and may even encourage people to do something with it...
6th October 2013, 09:24 PM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dazza9075

just wondering if you have a source for that?

ive had a look but have been unable to find anything, of course its possibly a UK/US regional difference but just in case anyone else was wondering.

To be honest, paying the 15 a YEAR is a small price to pay even if its not free and may even encourage people to do something with it...


I thought it was the Windows Phone Studio announcement over at Windows Blog. I could be wrong though.
8th October 2013, 04:31 PM   |  #5  
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Just install the SDK, connect your phone, open the developer unlock application installed with the SDK, enter your Microsoft Account details and it should unlock your phone, no matter if you have a paid account or not.
15th October 2013, 04:38 PM   |  #6  
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Okay, I've added more content regarding Interop and full unlocks. I've added the bit about dev-unlocking without a dev account. I still think its worth it for those of us who don't have Samsung ATIV or ATIV varients, to use dreamspark or actually buy a year subscription. Consider this a thread bump.
24th October 2013, 07:50 PM   |  #7  
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I updated the OP, but there isn't much more I can add right now. I'm hoping I can get a moderator to come by and sticky this thread.

Also, does anyone know of a few things that should be added? I was thinking about doing some adding a thing about SIM unlocks, but its kinda trivial.

EDIT: Added the proxy stuff and unbranding your lumia and htc 8x.
Last edited by thals1992; 25th October 2013 at 04:36 PM.
8th December 2013, 08:21 AM   |  #8  
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I added carrier swapping and flashing ROMs to the OP.
9th December 2013, 07:40 PM   |  #9  
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Nice faq, just a quick question.

I've a lumia 625, so i don't even know if i have the ability to side load apps even if i get a developer account. But just wondering if this "2xap" limit is 2 in total or 2 at a time?
9th December 2013, 08:43 PM   |  #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syraphin

Nice faq, just a quick question.

I've a lumia 625, so i don't even know if i have the ability to side load apps even if i get a developer account. But just wondering if this "2xap" limit is 2 in total or 2 at a time?

2 at a time.

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