Workaround discovered for Windows Phone 7.5 disappearing keyboard issue

By Tom Warren, on 20th Oct 11 10:41 pm with 21 Comments

Windows Phone 7.5 background agents

A workaround has been discovered to prevent the Windows Phone 7.5 keyboard from disappearing.

Microsoft confirmed on Monday that it is currently investigating reports of the Windows Phone 7.5 keyboard disappearing. A number of users have reported that the Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” keyboard disappears during regular use of the phone. A thread on the XDA-developers forum contains 40 replies of users complaining about the issue. “The keyboard just drops when I’m texting,” notes one poster. “It’s almost as if the screen was registering another touch on the messaging hub making it the keyboard drop. I don’t really know, but it was annoying.”

One French Windows Phone developer has discovered the root of the problem. The disappearing keyboard appears to be related to Windows Phone’s “background agents”. Greg Fonta created a video of the issue (see below) to prove it was related to a new Windows Phone 7.5 feature. Scheduled Tasks or Background Agents allow an application to execute code in the background, even when the application is not running in the foreground. HTC devices include a background agent for the Hub and a number of third party applications utilise the support to update Live Tiles and other parts of applications. WMPU reports that disabling individual background tasks appears to fix the issue.

Windows Phone 7.5 users can disable the tasks by navigating to Settings>System>Applications>Background tasks, and switching off tasks on a per application basis. WinRumors has reached out to Microsoft to clarify whether the technique is a recommended workaround.

  • http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~fillup/ Phil Turnbull

    Nice one. So it was just luck, or not enough texting/emailing that I haven’t seen the bug yet!

  • Jonnielasvegas

    I get the keyboard bug still, with absolutely nothing running in the background. So I think it goes deeper than that. It may work for some users, or be a temporary fix, but not for either of my WP7′s. Hopefully MS finds a solution soon.

    • Gabriel

      who’s the manufacturer of your phone??? Could it be specific to particular manufacturers or versions of a device? Like Samsung has a version 1.3 & 1.4; no problems at all with my Samsung v1.3

  • Gabriel

    Samsung focus; my primary means of communication is texting & email & posting on this site daily; i haven’t seen the issue. Could it be specific manufacturer devices????

    • Myles

      I have the Focus as well and occasionally notice the keyboard bug but not nearly enough to become annoying.

    • Anonymous

      Same here. I don’t use the HD7s as often and I certainly don’t text from them. Could be an isolated HTC thing. Samsung Focus is not displaying this problem at this point.

    • http://twitter.com/RobertCFP Robert Wade

      Same with me.  I’ve only had the keyboard disappear a couple of times.  Absolutely NO lagging, even when I’m wirelessly syncing with Zune.  It was fast before Mango, but now it’s even faster.  Samsung FTW!

  • Tom

    So this is the phone version of focus-stealing?

  • Anonymous

    i know this is off-topic, well not really but it also relates to the background tasks on Mango. This has happened to me twice already after waking up in the morning and checking my phone (HTC Mozart on Mango) — the phone has become super laggy. Laggy in which the animation and scrolling is lagging hard. To fix the issue, what  I did was turned off all the background tasks and the phone went back to normal. I’m not sure which app caused it but it was really lagging.

    Anyone experience this too? 

    • https://profiles.google.com/christopher.gull/ CG

      Yes, although I don’t know if similar to your case, I’ve discovered a funny issue where when the battery has been fully charged and but not unplugged, the UI becomes laggy. I fix this by unplugging the phone. If you plug it back in it doesn’t lag. This didn’t happen on NoDo.

    • Minh Le

      Have you checked to see if Zune (Music+Videos Hub) is syncing with your computer? That has been the only time when I have experienced any lag in WP7. I am not sure if Mango has changed how often it syncs with the desktop, but I observed that it tries to sync more often than before.

    • https://profiles.google.com/christopher.gull/ CG

      My computer doesn’t run when I sleep, so that’s not the problem for me anyway.

  • Anonymous

    Another example of why OEMs should not be allowed to modify the OS. This is why Apple controls hardware + software to give the user the best experience with no compromises.

    • http://twitter.com/MichielPapp Michiel Papp

      and make you a mindles slave to wathever they say your phone should look like. I preffer something i can customize and tamper with a little. And look at nokia, they can offer their tweaking in the form of the excellent navigation. And i got loads of upgrades on my htc over a wp7 from another vendor.  It’s the different flavours that make the world.

    • Soul of a Robot

      It’s nothing to do with OEM modifications, all third party apps that use background agents cause this… whether they’re from the Marketplace or installed by default; the bug is with the way the system handles background agents from anywhere not how HTC uses them.

    • Anonymous

      So you’re saying Mango is a piece of dung.

    • Collins

      These are complicated systems. Even the smartest of us can not prevent multitasking related errors like this from slipping through QA. If it is truly related to OEM background agents, then the OEM’s need to fix this ASAP. MS will need to find a way to prevent such scenarios from reoccurring, but that will take a lot of though, some time and an OS update. Anyhow, calling WP7 a piece of dung because of this is certainly over reacting.

  • Anonymous

    Why does this video claim that “Visual Studio is kinda buggy”? It’s pretty damn solid and it’s not like his video shows it doing anything wrong. Does he mean “laggy”, perhaps? But then it’s hardly like it’s slow when deploying to a device anyway.

    • Entegy

      Maybe. It seems English isn’t his first language, but that’s kinda irrelevant to the video at hand.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

    Aside for The Weather Channel, all of the background agents on my phone (19) are marked that they cannot be disabled. What are we supposed to do about those?

    Some of these make no sense: Dictionary.com, Poynt, rGov Congress, Timer… Why would any of these apps even need background agents, let alone agents that the operating system refuses to turn off?

  • Mike

    Has anyone experienced the keyboard not capitalizing the first letter when you first go to type something?