Microsoft reveals what went wrong and right on Windows Phone 7 update

Two days after the first Windows Phone 7 update become available, and problems began surfacing for some users, Microsoft has released some details about why.

Nine of 10 Windows Phone users who were notified that the firmware update was ready installed it with no problem, according to Microsoft. For half of those who did, the two most common culprits were a bad Internet connection or not enough backup space on their PC.

A "small number" of users were affected by a "technical issue with the Windows Phone update process" that for some reason affected some Samsung phones. Microsoft still has not explained why or how. In its first public assessment of its first firmware update, and the first since the update became available two days ago, the company says it is "working to correct the problem as quickly as possible." Until then, the update remains suspended for Samsung phones, but not for other brands, such as HTC and LG.

BACKGROUND: Windows Phone 7 glitch magnified by confusion, inflexibility

The details were revealed in a post late yesterday on the Windows Phone Blog by Michael Stroh, a technical writer now with the Windows Phone group. He joined Microsoft in 2007, after a decade of writing on science and technology for a range of publications, including Popular Science and The Los Angeles Times.

Stroh leads off with a narrative technique known as "in media res," Latin for "in the middle of things," creating the setting: "It's been roughly 48 hours since we hit the send button on our first Windows Phone software update. The rooms around me are buzzing with folks monitoring the rollout, sifting carefully through incoming phone health data (from customers who provide it) and pouring [sic] over the anecdotal update reports you've been posting around the web."

Stroh strikes an upbeat tone. "Contrary to some of the gloomy headlines out there, our preliminary internal data paint a very different picture about update progress...." Ninety-percent of those who received the 'update available' alert had no problems; and 50% of those that did either had a flakey Internet connection, or didn't have enough disk space on their PC. For updates through Microsoft's online Zune store, the Windows Phone handset is cabled to the PC, and then creates a backup on the PC's hard drive of all data on the phone.

He uses rhetorical questions to contrast the "gloomy headlines" with a dose of realism. "Has the update process gone perfectly? No — but few large-scale software updates ever do, and the engineering team here was prepared."

Stroh acknowledges the human pain of technical problems. "Of course, when it's your phone that's having a problem — or you're the one waiting — it's still aggravating."

He assures readers that "we're committed to learning from our first update and improving the process. We know we have work to do, and we won't be satisfied until you are."

Ironically, when Stroh announced the original update on the same blog on Monday, he explained that this "relatively small" update "is designed to improve the software update process itself."

Microsoft is still planning a feature-laden firmware update, adding capabilities like copy & paste, within a few weeks, perhaps starting in early March.

Microsoft has created a description for Windows Phone users on how to "Make room on my computer for phone updates."

And there's now a trouble-shooting guide for firmware updates.

Users continue to help out at the Microsoft Answers' Windows Phone 7 Forums.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/johnwcoxnww

Blog RSS feed: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/2989/feed

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftsmartphoneswirelessNetworkingPhonesconsumer electronicsWindows Phone 7 update

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?