...and how you can avoid the same fate.
Any of you that follow me on Twitter know that I bricked my Lumia 920 Friday night. I didn't mean to brick my phone. These things just kind of happen. Now that I read up on what happened, I want to share with you what I wish I would have known last night.
Let's start for me setting the scene. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, decided to not allow people to merge Microsoft Accounts. This led to a problem once Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 hit the scene. I had all my MCP/MCT things, MSDN, TechNet, etc. on my work email, and I had things like Xbox Live, Zune Card, etc. on my personal email. After a month of things just not working quite right because of this, I decided I would break down and move the account on my personal account to my work account.
In a further display of infinite wisdom, Microsoft decided to require you to factory reset Windows Phone 8 to change the associate Microsoft Account. By comparison, to change migrate your Xbox Live account (lock, stock and barrel) to a new account, you go to your account on the Xbox, log into the old account, log into the new account, save move, and reboot the Xbox. It transfers everything with no fuss.
Lesson 1: Before you activate the phone, you're Microsoft account is exactly how you want it.
I factory reset the phone. I get the requisite 2 'Are You Sure?' dialogs, and it goes. During this time, the phone displays 2 rotating gears. I expected this process to take about 5 to 10 minutes, much as it had on every other device to which I'd done this. After about 3 hours, I noticed the gears went away.
Lesson 2: This could take a long time. Have a really good charge and plug in first.
Of course, 3 hours is way too long. To be fair, it could have been a little shorter. I fell asleep after 2 hours of waiting. Some online research showed that this was extreme. Most people that got a factory reset to work hand it work in a reasonable amount of time. However, there is a bug somewhere in the factory reset code that either hangs or fails to notify about completion.
Had I don't this research in advance, I would have seen that this is a vital step. If you can catch it before your battery dies, the wonder folks at Windows Phone Central published this loverly article on how to external flash the firmware with the correct stock version.
Lesson 3: Have your backup plan in place.
However, I now have a phone with a dead battery. To spoil the ending, there is nothing you can do at this point. Bug 2, which I’m about to address is terminal. You see, the phone is set to force power off before the battery is dead. This way, when you plug it in, it has enough battery to come back to life. When you're not in the OS, you don't get this protection.
Lesson 4: NEVER let your battery die.
What I ran into is what is known as the boot loop. You plug the phone in. The phone tries to boot. The boot process takes slightly more power than the charger can provide. It eats the battery and re-boots. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, this is a fatal bug. There is no (warrantee approved) way to remove the battery. Thus you can't put a working one in phone. I had successfully bricked my phone.
Fortunately, after 3 hours of
yelling at dealing with AT&T, I have a free replacement coming for the middle of next week. Until then, I'm back on the Sony Ericcson I replaced with the Lumia.
Do not think that the purpose of the post is the discredit the phone. When it's running, it's a really good phone. I just wanted to document this fatal series of events in a hope to save someone else’s phone.