Windows Phone Follies

Last week, my company finally decided I was important enough to shell out for a smart phone.

I ended up with an HTC Imagio with Windows 6.5.

I’ve had some growing pains with it. I’ve been having trouble getting it to sync correctly and I can’t get Microsoft Zune software to work with it for some reason.

Other than that it works pretty well.

I downloaded and installed a couple of apps using the Marketplace software that came installed on the phone. It worked great until a couple of days ago. I could still browse the available apps, but when I tried to download something, I’d get an error message: “Marketplace could not connect to the Windows Live ID service. Please try again later.”

I was able to log into windows live from my computer, and even could log into the web site from my phone, but the Marketplace app just kept giving me that error.

I did some searching and found this thread on the Microsoft Answers forum.

Basically, plenty of other people have been having this same problem since at least April. Interestingly, the very first reply was from someone from Microsoft, assuring us:

Hi,

We’re aware of this problem and we’re working on it.

In 8 more pages of comments on that forum, there is no further followup from Microsoft and, obviously, they have not fixed the problem.

After five more pages (and over a month) of people having the same problem and begging for a solution, a helpful poster (not Microsoft) responded with this:

Thank you Arup Chaki for this fix! To fix the problem you need to reinstall MyPhone. Follow below.

1. go to http://myphone.microsoft.com/install from your phone.
2. Tap on start download and follow the rest of the process.
3. The application will ask you to reboot the phone and just follow it.
4. Open My Phone from your phone and log in

Several people posted that the technique worked for them, so I gave it a try. Much to my dismay, when I went to the linked website, I got this helpful message from Microsoft.

If you click on the link for more information, basically it says “sorry buddy, you’re SOL”.

Sigh.

After some more searching, I did find out that the app is still available for download, even though it’s no longer supported. It can be found here

I downloaded and reinstalled the myphone app, and, Viola!, Marketplace is now working again.

Don’t ask me why.

And no thanks to Microsoft.

I can say unequivocally that if this is the level of customer support that I can expect from Microsoft on their Phone products, I won’t be buying one. If the one I have hadn’t been provided by my company, I’d take it back and get a refund.

There’s simply no excuse for this kind of neglect and I’m just glad I was able to find someone helpful to assist in figuring it out, because Microsoft sure wasn’t worth a bucket of warm spit on this issue.

Buyer beware.

UPDATE: Shortly after posting this, my phone stopped working. I could get online, check e-mail, etc, but when I tried to use my phone as an actual…you know…phone, it would error out. It did helpfully offer to send an error report every time it refused to work.

Sigh

I ended up having to do a hard reset (which, of course kills all user data and resets the phone to factory defaults). This worked and my phone now works as a phone again, but now windows Marketplace refuses to work again. I guess they really don’t want to sell me any apps for my phone after all. I’m just going to uninstall the stupid thing and leave the phone as-is. Although I must ask: What’s the point in having a phone they bill as a “pocket PC” when the software that comes on it doesn’t work and you can’t install any new software without fear of killing the phone?

I’m seriously considering giving this stupid “smart” thing back and asking for my old dumb phone back again.

Freaking ridiculous.

3 thoughts on “Windows Phone Follies

  1. Last week? If you have to go with a Windows phone, you should see if you still have the option to trade up to something with Windows Phone 7. I bet they're going to stop supporting 6.5 within the next year.

    Microsoft's tech support has been pretty much useless for decades. I once spent 2 hours on the phone with them trying to get Win '95 to install on my computer with no luck. I found out from one of my professors the next day that the BIOS had to be updated for it to work. My BIOS version was one of the first questions the tech support guy had asked, yet he never caught the problem.

    That call cost me around $40 on my phone bill, took 2 hours of my life when it should have lasted less than 10 minutes, and still never solved the problem. The BIOS update was actually included on one of the CDs all the engineering students got as part of the program.

    It looks like they haven't gotten any better. If you don't have to go with a Windows phone, I'd suggest Android, iPhone, or Blackberry (in that order of preference).

  2. I hate to say it but I am going to go ahead and get the iPhone 4 and be done with it. From what I have read, I will be happier in the long run and have less headaches trying to do whatever I may want to do with a smart phone.

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