App update that refuses to install? Try this

I’ve received a number of emails from Larry Kuderick, who was trying to figure out why some listed app updates he had in Windows Phone Marketplace wouldn’t complete installing. But he’s found what he believes to be the answer to this problem, and he posted it in a thread on the Windows Phone 7 forum on Microsoft’s Answers site.

I think I might have an answer.

In another thread on this topic it was recommended that you delete the app, turn off your phone, remove your battery and then re-install the app. This did NOT work for me. Even after I had uninstalled all the apps waiting for an update I still got errors when I attempted to re-down load the app. However, I did get a new error message which I was able to look up and that sent me to this thread.

In short, go to Settings/Applications and check to make sure that Internet Explorer is set to accept cookies. I had changed this a month or so back because I didn’t want tracking cookies on my phone. Once I re-enabled cookies, I shut my phone down and restarted it. I was once again able to download apps. I’m assuming that your update problem is possibly not working because your cookies are turned off.

The bummer of this is that I had two apps which I originally downloaded when they were free and when I went to re-download them, they are now paid apps. (Bing Picture Downloads and Voice Recorder). So try checking the cookies setting on Internet Explorer before performing the ‘recommended’ step above.

Thanks Larry.

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20 Responses to App update that refuses to install? Try this

  1. leviathansa says:

    Didn’t work for me. I have never disables cookies. I have found that only trial apps won’t update. Paid apps seem to update just fine. I usually just have to remove the trial app and re-download it in order for it to work properly.

  2. blkballoon925 says:

    I’ve had cookies enabled and I still encounter this. The only fix I’ve found that works on my phone is uninstalling the app, then reinstalling. The issue seems to only be related to trial apps. In fact, almost all of the trial apps I’ve had that have been updated (including Xbox LIVE games) have behaved this way when an update was released.

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  4. pyrochild says:

    Cookies on my phone are and always have been enabled, yet I still have this problem for several apps.

  5. Edward says:

    Nope. That ain’t the problem. I have always left the cookies ‘on’, and Marketplace still crashes during some updates. The phone still works after a Marketplace crash, but Marketplace itself can’t be opened again until I reboot the phone.

    It seems to be App dependent, with Apps that have a trial version being the culprit, since they are the ones that sometimes don’t update. Paid-for Apps and free Apps don’t seem to cause any upgrade lockups.

    All in all, a minor annoyance that will probably be patched sometime after I replace my current WP7 phone two years from now when the contract is up for renewal. At this rate that is when the first “upgrade” to WP7 will come out.

  6. dorianmuthig says:

    Windows Phone needs a cookie manager. Just like it needs a security certificate manager (you can install the certificates, but how do you remove them or change their trust level?)

  7. cnichols16 says:

    FYI, Adam Nathan (of Microsoft) pointed out in early December that there’s a Marketplace bug that prevents trial apps from updating.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      So no rush on fixing that, I guess. :)

    • manojkumar305 says:

      I think this is the true reason for the issue mentioned above. If Marketplace freezes while you are trying to do something, you can’t get out of the marketplace again without rebooting the phone. Once you reboot it downloads most times correctly after that.

  8. AGION1 says:

    Kuderick states that he had two apps which he had originally downloaded when they were free but when he went to re-download them they were now paid. Does this matter [for him]? I assumed that the Marketplace functioned like Apple’s and that once you “bought” an app (free or at a certain price point) you could re-download it thereafter for free, regardless. Is this not the case?

    • blkballoon925 says:

      I thought it was too, but I downloaded the Bing Image Downloader when it was free. Now it shows up in the Marketplace as though it was bought, but the app on my phone began functioning like the trial.

  9. lkuderick says:


    It doesn’t appear to be the case. If an app goes from free to paid, it apparently has the same problem that trial apps do. They can’t be updated.

    If you look at the first thread, Jorge E, a MS representative says that trial apps that do not update is not a “bug” (therefore I guess it’s a feature ). The same must apply to the apps that were once free and now become paid. If you do not have a license AND the ability to save internet cookies, the app can not be updated. In that case, the only current workaround is to delete the app and re-install it. In the case of free apps that now go to paid status, you’re out of luck. At least that’s been my experience to date. I can’t go back to prior ‘free’ state because it no longer exists in the marketplace.

    MS needs to do a better job of telling us WHY a application can not install a update. I personally really don’t have a problem with trial apps refusing to update, but when a free app changes status, we should be told that the app has changed from a free status to a paid status and offer us the ability to purchase the app or to ignore the update (either just the current one or all updates for that app). The same thing should happen for trial apps, you should get a offer to purchase the app, get the update and save your play OR to ignore the update.

    Finally, there is also apparently another way that a app update can fail. If the update is over a certain size (20MB was mentioned in a forum post) then you have to be connected to a WiFi site or Zune marketplace to get the update.

    Hope this helps clear a few things up. I doubt this is a cure all for everyone’s problems, but I’m hoping that it helps a few people understand why their apps are not updating and perhaps save a few from deleting a free app only to find that the app is now paid.

    • AGION1 says:

      Thanks for the reply (and you too blkballoon925). I’ll tell you now, I’m getting tired of this phone (more accurately, MS) real fast. I want to see some action on the part of MS. I’m a pretty loyal MS guy, but if they don’t get their act together on a lot of this stuff, I’ll break down and go back to the iPhone (despite iTunes!). A friend and I are getting a game together to put on the Marketplace. I was thinking that the best strategy for us was to put it out for free for a limited time before charging a minimal price for it…you know, to build a base. Now, with this revelation, I don’t know. MS is really dropping the ball when they have people like me questioning why the heck they jumped the gun and bought. I’m curious how many people are pretty loyal to the company but are really having second thoughts about their purchase.

      • blkballoon925 says:

        I’m a loyal customer too, but I’m not second guessing my purchase. I still love my Windows Phone very much and hate Apple and Google even more, so there really is no alternative for me. I waited a year more than I wanted to leave a non-touch screen Windows Mobile 6.1 phone and I still feel it was worth the wait, despite its flaws.

  10. lkuderick says:

    Oh, some people have also said that they have solved their update problem by taking the battery out of the phone for 20-30 mins and restarting the phone. That didn’t work for me, but it’s something to try if you haven’t tried it yet.

  11. blkballoon925 says:

    I just got an update for Bing Picture Downloader tonight and it somewhat confirms what I said before, while adding a more confusing twist:
    The application behaves like a trial, only showing one set of pictures per month. In fact, the update changed the date format for the trial from “1/1/2011” to “January 2011,” eliminating the date from which the images were shown.
    Secondly, if I slide the application bar up and choose “about” the app says “Thank you for purchasing the full version!”
    Very confusing…

  12. lkuderick says:


    It’s possible I guess that the developer manages separate code for those that have a ‘free’ license and those that have a ‘purchased’ license in this case. So you get updates as long as the app resides on your phone, but you only get the ‘trial’ application probably with no imposed time or usage limit. However, if, like me, you decide to uninstall the app, the app is no longer free. You get the trial version.

    But I suspect that all the apps that go from free to paid don’t do this, so some will get stonewalled by the update.

    Just my thoughts.

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