Windows Phone 8.1 Backup won’t run? Check OneDrive is authenticated successfully

Over recent months, the Windows Phone I use for work (a Nokia Lumia 625) has become progressively more unreliable. Initially, there was just the odd random reboot which also reset the date and time to the out of the box values. Then, I found it was becoming unresponsive several times daily – and there was no pattern to it that would suggest any one application was at fault. The only fix was to hold the power button for at least 10 seconds, after which would perform a soft reset (needing the date and time to be set each time). On one occasion it even hung when I went straight from a reboot to the Date and Time settings without running any other apps!

After a call to our mobile operator’s service desk, I arranged a handset swap but that meant I needed to back up my phone. Windows Phone is pretty good in that regard, in that my configuration settings, applications, etc. are linked to my Microsoft account (depending on the Backup settings). Unfortunately though, the backup hadn’t run successfully for a month – which seemed to co-incide with the time I accidentally killed the DHCP server at home…

Windows Phone can’t be configured with static IP (at least not until the next release) so I tried backing up over 3G and 4G networks, and even using a neighbour’s Wi-Fi, but it kept failing.  Googling was turning up posts about changing my lock screen image but that made no difference so I decided to build a new DHCP server to try and restore the configuration that had worked previously.  Nope. No luck there either Eventually, I found a post that suggested checking the OneDrive app was authenticated.  Sure enough, the app had updated and I needed to log in again. With OneDrive up and running, the Backup also jumped into life. Result. A day or so later, with the new handset delivered by courier, logging into my Microsoft account allowed the phone to be restored.    

I had to supply passwords for mail accounts, etc. and all of the apps need to be authenticated again but that’s not really a problem.  Internet Sharing settings needed to be edited and the Bluetooth pairing with my car needed to be recreated too but by and large the configuration settings migrated to the new handset (as did all of my text messages and call history). I’m sure there will be other things I need to fix (and I lost the images on the first handset as they weren’t included in the backup) but at least my phone doesn’t keep rebooting!

Short takes: text editing; Windows Phone; and recovering deleted images…

More snippets from the life of a geek playing at being a manager in the IT industry…

Replacing text with a carriage return/line feed in Windows Notepad

It’s a long story but I needed to find out how many people are in our department, at a level above me.  My manager is on holiday, so I couldn’t ask him. Instead, I drafted an email to the whole department, expanded the distribution list and then counted the names…

Of course I didn’t quite do it like that… I pasted the list into a text file (which I thought I’d import to Excel as a CSV and then count the number of rows). That didn’t work out (I got 111 columns instead and I lost count shortly after AA, AB, AC, etc.) so I tried replacing the “; ” with line feeds in Notepad. Notepad can’t do that, but Word canCtrl+H will open the find and replace dialogue and using ^p as the string for the replacement will insert a new paragraph mark. 111 replacements were made (hence 111 names).

Changing the voicemail number on my Windows Phone

One of the issues with my iPhone is that I can’t change the voicemail number from 901 (O2 – the network my phone thinks it’s on) to 443 (Giffgaff – the MVNO that my account is actually with).  I’ve jailbroken and hacked around with config files but it doesn’t work on iOS 7.0.4.

Thankfully, my Nokia Lumia 625 (running Windows Phone 8) is a little more flexible.  When new, it asked me what the voicemail number I needed was.  In the absence of any information from my service provider (EE), I googled and found information that suggested it was +447953222222. My IT department later suggested I should use +447973100123 and changing it is as simple as hitting the ... in the phone app and entering settings, then changing the voicemail number.  As my messages are still intact, I guess that both numbers actually end up in the same location…

Turning off Twitter’s lock screen updates on Windows Phone

Talking of Windows Phone, when I installed the Twitter app it asked if I wanted to see selected tweets on my lock screen.  It seemed like a good idea at first, until I realised I couldn’t actually click on them.  Turning off the Twitter lock screen updates was difficult to hunt down – it’s not set via the Twitter app settings but in the lock screen settings, as Jamie Thomson (@jamiet) and Craig Hawker (@craighawker) highlighted to me.  Thanks guys.

Recovering deleted images from a camera flash drive

Of course, any of us who work in IT know that we automatically get to provide a family IT support service.  I shouldn’t complain because, after my parents in-law paid for someone to do some work on their PC I was horrified to see that he had removed Microsoft Security Essentials and added AVG (which I had removed because it kept nagging to upgrade to a paid version), installed a load of unnecessary software (Defraggler, Firefox, etc.).  My “keep it simple, stupid” approach to septuagenarian IT had been destroyed by someone who wanted to inflict his way of computing on others.

Anyway, back to the point…

…My Mother in-law was disappointed to find she was missing some images on her digital camera.  She swears the camera did it by itself (I suggest it was user error) but, critically, no new pictures had been taken since.  Following advice from PC Advisor, I used a free application called Recuva to restore the deleted files on the memory card (ironically, from the same software company that creates Defraggler, the tool I said was unnecessary a little earlier).  It was beautifully simple, although I was unable to get Windows to recognise the camera as a drive (it does depend on the camera) and had to mess around with card readers instead.