Windows Phone 8 to feature improved backup functionality, cloud restore on the way?

By Tom Warren, on 27th Dec 11 11:15 pm with 48 Comments

Microsoft is planning to improve Windows Phone backup, migrate and restore functionality in the next version of Windows Phone.

The software giant is currently hiring system engineers to help create the new backup system, according to a recent job posting. The listing, spotted by WMPU, includes hints at an easy way for Windows Phone users to “seamlessly get their phone back to a good state.” Microsoft details its vision to see the company stay head of the competition for disaster recovery of mobile phones:

“Come join the Windows Phone Backup, Migrate, and Restore team. Our goal is to ensure that no matter if someone loses their phone, drops their phone in a lake, buys a new windows phone, or just has their toddler wipe their phone by entering the wrong PIN over and over, a user can quickly and seamlessly get their phone back to a good state. The features we are producing will be new for the next version of Windows Phone and will help ensure Microsoft stays ahead of the competition when it comes to disaster recovery. Come be a part of defining this area.”

The current state of Windows Phone backup is rather lacking. Microsoft’s Zune client includes the functionality to backup and restore devices fully but the feature is only triggered during device updates. A number of Windows Phone developers have created third-party applications to trigger the feature and create independent backups but Microsoft does not officially support this just yet. However, Microsoft has shipped a backup and restore feature as part of its Windows Phone Connector for Mac. The Mac client allows Windows Phone users to hit a button to simply backup the device or restore it based on the latest backup.

Microsoft’s future backup plans will likely tie-in to the next major Windows Phone update, codenamed Apollo. It’s clear from the job posting that the company wants the experience to be seamless to end users in future. The company will likely utilize its Windows Live cloud storage to support backups of data and applications for Windows Phone users. Microsoft has already started seeking customer feedback for its Windows Phone future releases. The software giant is curating feedback from end users to record the most requested features for future versions of Windows Phone. The feedback is recorded and publicly viewable for others to rate and comment on over at Microsoft’s suggestions forum. Top requests include enable all (bing)features for non US-countriesDevice Backup and Turn-by-turn GPS.

  • Ramanan

    me Gusta!! :)

  • Diego3336

    I don’t understand why they dumped the WM’s MyPhone service…

    • Seth_p

      They may reuse some code from their MyPhone service model – but I’m sure they also learned somethings from MyPhone that they’d change.

      Objective 1 + 2: get a solid user base (marketing) and getting momentum from OEM partners.
      Objective 3 + 4: extend their API (or change the architecture… Win8 kernel?) and broaden feature sets.

      That’s a little watered down breakdown, but from my experience that’s generally what they’re doing. We should see some neat stuff in the coming year!

    • Anonymous

      But you don’t get a solid user base if the feature set is poor. You need to implement your step 4 before you can expect your step 1!

    • Seth_p

      If Microsoft was a start-up they’d have a lot more flexibility – but their quite large and stuck to safe practices. One smart move was exposing the API more and more to devs, but consumers don’t get the cool apps right away (had to wait for Mango for most).  Step 4 doesn’t need to be implemented, Microsoft wants to make sure they have a solid OS and robust initial frameworkw w/ OEM partners drawing-up new designs. Only thing Microsoft can do is pitch the “that features coming!” idea to get them excited.

      This could be done better I’d imagine, they have a lot of muscle power.

  • Anonymous

    I hope they are adding screenshot functionality while they’re at it.  Preferably in Tango. 

    • Anonymous

      While we are at it, I want some of my old WP features back.  Being able to search contacts when I call by using the touchpad.  My phone automatically going to vibrate when I have something scheduled.  I’m sure there are some others that are missing.

    • Simon Paul

      Umm, you can still do that. When you are in call, just hit the home button. Then you can open up whatever you want, including the people hub.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not near as quick and easy as WP6 was..  When I went into call I could start typing the person or number and get to them quick.  I didn’t have to goto another screen, I didn’t have to hit a letter to sort contacts, I could search more than just call history…  It was A LOT quicker than it is now to find a contact.

    • Anonymous

      @bguy_1986:disqus 1000% agreed–I want the MATURED features and functionality back that were available in Windows Mobile 6.x, 5–and even Windows CE! While WindowsPhone 7 has a great new and innovative interface, the lack of common sense features that are available on every other phone including basic candybar style devices screams “WELCOME BACK TO 1998!”. One major step forward (interface), one major step backwards (functionality). Microsoft can’t just get it right, can they?

      See my list of missing features & gripes here in another post here:

    • Anonymous

      I’ll check it out!  I don’t really understand why some of these features are not on the top of the list on wp7/8 feedback page.

  • Anonymous

    WebOS’s restore feature is probably one of the most awesome things about the platform. I hope MS implements this into WP8 :)

  • JAG

    @wmpoweruser tweeted Leaked Windows Phone Roadmap gives us a peak into the future

  • MorganRW

    Wow I sure hope so. I was very dissapointed in the process of phone migration. I replaced my Focus with the Focus S. Obviously getting contacts and email over to my new phone was flawless and as easy as logging in all my accounts. Apps however were a nightmare. The only way to get apps back on my phone was to reinstall all of them one by one either through the phone or via the website that shows all my previous purchases. I was happy that I didn’t have to rebuy apps and games but this process is ridiculous. The topper to it all though was all of my game saves and progress are trapped on the old phone. While my achievements are saved and restored since they are saved at Xbox Live, I essentially am starting over at square one for Plants vs Zombies, and Ilo Milo and other such programs. WOW. I love the platform but the fact that they have ZERO way to painlessly migrate apps and their data to a new phone is just mindblowing. If this is not fixed in Apollo, I may not upgrade my phone until they do address this.

  • Simplycani

    off Topic .. but Nokia trying its best to promote WP7 ..

  • Bryan Lopez

    Microsoft need to be able to offer TOTAL Back and Restore (including Text Messages) for Windows Phones. Also, this must be included in Windows 8 otherwise they will be playing catch up again.

    I find it hard to understand why the largest software company in the world along with an R&D budget in the billions every year cannot come up with something as basic as this. You can point the finger and blame everybody, but at the end of the day Ballmer has to bear the brunt. Yes, he may not be a technocrat but something as simple and IMPORTANT as losing your phone or having your computer crash only to be in a situation that you now have to deal with currnet Microsoft products is so very outdated.

    Total Backup and Restore should be a given on Windows 8 and the next Windows Phone update!

    • Anonymous

      Oh yes everything is a given because YOU said so. You obviously don’t understand anything about running software projects.

    • Anonymous

      He has a point though, I just reset my phone because I thought the twitter sync in the People hub was broken ( It wasn’t, I am new to twitter so I missunderstood how it was supposed to work in the first place.  Fail on my part…).  But because of this I had to of course go through the whole process of getting all my accounts synced, settings the way I like them and redownload all my applications again manually. 

      It was a huge pain to say the least.  For a platform that claims to make everything easy (which it mostly excels at otherwise), they really screwed this one critical part up. 

      Full restore to cloud, maybe not.  But saving/syncing settings to the live account should be there already.  And for applications, a way to mass-reinstall them in some way should also be there. 

    • Anonymous

      Stop being a child.

    • Anonymous

      @ArrowSmith:disqus That’s uncalled for.  Explain yourself.  

    • Anonymous

      I could not agree more; we had it with WM and it is inexcusable that after more than one year I cannot backup my SMS.

    • Guest

      It’s just that WP isn’t an evolution from the WM codebase, they started over. So features that were there in the past would need to be reimplemented. As far as I can see, they are implementing those features as fast as they can, but they implement the most important ones (to them) first.

  • Evan Wischik

    I agree, an easier backup method would be welcomed. Updating a phone as previosuly mentioned requires each App to be individually restored! Overall the Windows phone OS is sweet. This coming from a former user of an iphone 3GS.

  • AC

    They should rather improve the functionality as a phone, like sending / receiving business cards , and announcing anniversaries  of the contacts, two basic functions that normal phones had already 10 years ago.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Tom.. what is going to happen to this website when you leave? have you decided what you gonna do with it? Some of us are willing to help.  let us know. regards

  • Jitutechnology

    Thank God, now there will be more backup times!!

  • Kaizad Avari

    Any improvements in the OS are welcome…….
    Really hope MS gets WP really kickin’……!!! :D

  • Anonymous

    Well at least this is another reason to skip WP7 and wait for WP8! This and better hardware.

    • Windows8User

      ArrowSmith . why dont you leave Winrumors and stop making kinda rude comments.. stop this..

    • Guest

      Stop the only thing that gives his life meaning? You must be joking. Without trolling, pathetic as it is, he has nothing. 

  • Tyler McFerson

    I believe that they should expand upon Xbox Live functionality, such as turn-based gaming, allow a form of “metroified” folders on the home screen, and obviously screenshots. I also dream of a day where Microsoft has apps in the iOS App Store and Android Market that help you easily transition over to Windows Phone with discounts on apps already bought in the App Store, contact moving, notes, Camera roll, ad naseum…

  • Justfortherecord

    Microsoft should still work on seamless integration and back up with all migration projects heading into the future. Average consumers wont care much about whats under the hood so much that it does what we just expounded previously in all the comments in break neck speed and with relative discomfort or non at all. 

  • TheReal

    I see @arrowsmith is up to his old tricks again. 

  • Ramanan

    where are you Tom??? :’( :’(

    • Seth_p

      Alive and well at The Verge /Microsoft
      As far as WinRumors… may it RIP

    • Anonymous

      This is a great shame, but it was good while it lasted

  • Banks

    so i guess winrumors is effectively dead?

    there has been a lot of news on other ms sites, but zero on this one… guess i can remove it from my bookmarks

    • MicroDailyRumors just in case you’re interested with a rumors site

    • BigChiefSmokem

      Speaking of which, this is farewell to WinRumors from my bookmarks as well. Nice while it lasted. I won’t be quite be bookmarking the Verge though, rather just use TechMeme from now on for all the tech news.

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t let Winrumors fad away like this. It was the best tech site, The Verge isn’t as nice. If you won’t look after Winrumors anymore please let someone else do it. This comment section is full of people who would like to help.

    • Anonymous

      Completely agree, used to check it through out the day, the best place for Microsoft news without any nonsense. The Verge for me is all over the place and I just do not want to visit it. Please Tom, get a good replacement or keep the site alive.

  • James W

    save yourself a troubles, get an android :)

    • Frank

      It doesn’t work bro. I tried Android and sucked really bad. Now the iPhone is a different story, that this works awesome. Unfortunately it got boring and the screen is too small and now I’m a WP7 user and I like it better than both Android and iOS. It is still behind on some stuff but that doesn’t make me switch back to iOS.

    • James W

      android is amazing, applications are amazing, huge user base of developers, its user friendly, it doesn’t look like some corporate machine like WP7 or iOS.
      And the price is better then WP7 or iphone, for example SGsII, it’s amazing smartphone with huge screen, and hd camera, while iphone didn’t had one, until Samsung pushed their as.. to the wall.

  • Tushar Agarwal

    Windows Phone 8 looks impressive, feature packed and has an attractive UI. Will definitely get one after i am done with my android phone.

  • Hosting company

    This is a smart blog.You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much passion. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses.