Microsoft delivers an update for Windows Phone. No, not THAT update

Sometime in the next two weeks, Microsoft will deliver its first Windows Phone update, codenamed “NoDonuts” (or just “NoDo”). But today, Microsoft began rolling out a sort of pre-update, if you will, that updates the phone’s updating mechanism so that when NoDo does ship, it will go smoothly for everyone.


It gets worse. This pre-update (my term, not Microsoft’s) isn’t going out to all Windows Phone users at the same time. So some people will start seeing it today. But some will not. Most will not, I guess.

Here’s what Microsoft told me about this:

Starting today, some WP7 users might see something new on their Windows Phone: A message announcing that a software update is available.

Over the next couple of months, customers will begin to receive a couple different updates. The first is a smaller infrastructure update that will help future updates. The second will be the update you’ve probably been reading about or perhaps waiting for, the one with copy and paste.

So this pre-update is the “infrastructure” update. And the next one is NoDo. Microsoft previously said to expect NoDo in the first half of March.

Anyway, here’s what the Windows Phone blog has to say about this little mini-miracle:

Starting today, some of you might see something new on your Windows Phone: A message announcing that a software update is available. Woo hoo!

Now, before you get too excited, let me explain: This isn’t the update you’ve probably been reading about or perhaps waiting for, the one with copy and paste (but that’s coming soon). 

No, this update is a relatively small one.

Still, it’s our first—the first of many—and so I’m sure you have lots of questions. Let me try to answer the most obvious ones. If I miss something, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to respond.

What’s in this update?

This first update for Windows Phone is designed to improve the software update process itself. So while it might not sound exciting, it’s still important because it’s paving the way for all future goodie-filled updates to your phone, such as copy and paste or improved Marketplace search.

In the future, I encourage you to check out our new update history page on the Windows Phone website for a brief, plain-English summary of what each update does or what features it adds to your phone.

When will I get this update?

We’ll begin sending it out today. But to help ensure the process goes smoothly, it won’t be sent to everyone at once. So you might see an update message before your spouse, co-worker, or neighbor (or vice versa). This is a common industry practice. That said, we understand you’re eager to have the latest software on your phone, and our goal is to deliver it to you as quickly as possible.

How do I update my phone?

You’ll need to connect your phone to your computer and update it using either the Zune software for your PC or the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac (depending on which kind of computer you have).

So just install one of these programs, connect your phone to your computer via the USB cable, and then follow the on-screen instructions. I also strongly encourage you to check out our step-by-step guide for updating your phone on the Windows Phone website.

One last important word: If you’ve installed the Zune software or the Windows Phone 7 Connector in the past, you might actually need to update that program first and then use it to update your phone.  If that’s the case, you’ll know. Just follow the on-screen instructions, restart the software, and then connect your phone.

Where can I get more help?

The Windows Phone website has several how-to and troubleshooting articles about phone updates. Here’s the complete list.

I don’t see the update myself, not yet at least.

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47 Responses to Microsoft delivers an update for Windows Phone. No, not THAT update

  1. Ian says:

    Well, at least we know Microsoft can send out updates without going through the carriers.

    They should send this update to the carriers and force the ‘NoDo’ update out already.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Just guessing, but they must have some legal agreement with the carriers. Obviously, they could technically bypass them to deliver updates. In fact, any update over 20 MB in size *has* to go through the Zune software.

      • gpsarakis says:

        The carriers shouldn’t be able to block individual app updates though, right? I understand a whole OS/ROM update but if MS just wants to update parts, like say IE mobile, that should fall outside of any carrier blocks since it’s just another app.

        Wonder if you can find out more about this, it was asked at MWC when MS was showing off an early build of IE9 but will they even consider this as on option or do they want to make us wait for bigger SP like updates every 4-6 months?

      • Ian says:


        Well, I doubt that Internet Explorer in Windows Phone is an actual app… If you can’t uninstall it then Microsoft probably can’t update it unless they ship a system update to the carriers.

  2. bulldogge16 says:

    Just plugged my phone in and the Zune software updated, & once that was done it notified me of the phone update. It’s updating at the moment, it’s performing a significant backup that is taking some time to get through.

  3. mlmsilva says:

    Any thoughts on the possibility that the update system was broken from the beginning not allowing even the smallest update until fixed?

  4. I wonder if this counts a one of the “several updates over the next few months” that Balmer talked about back in early January. If so, and we can take Microsofts messages on the WP7 platform to have little to no information about refinements then I’ll bet that NoDo is the last update we’ll see before Mango. I have no faith anything else will come down the pipe to fix bugs or refine the product with things anyone can get today in a $200 off contract feature phone.

  5. soniclooking says:

    Well this makes me happy. I’m glad to see MS “talking about the updates.” This “many more” wording sounds promising. I still don’t understand how carriers can block an update to a device. I could understand if MS was sending these updates over the air to the device. But if you have to connect to Zune then the cellular network isn’t involved. I hope that MS finds a work around with this carrier blocking garbage and use Zune to update the phones.

    Of course I do keep hearing stories of ATT sales reps dissing WP7. And talking people out of buying them. I guess thats another way for a carrier to block updates..

  6. dearchap says:

    So while it might not sound exciting, it’s still important because it’s paving the way for all future goodie-filled updates to your phone, such as copy and paste or improved Marketplace search.

    I was laughing all the way through this. Is it just me or do I sense a touch of comedy in that sentence ?

  7. jptbay says:

    Just finished updating. The first of many I hope.

  8. besharp26 says:

    I wonder if they are releasing this update in order to ensure that the carries cannot block NoDo.

  9. Interesting…It’s also been revealed that Sprint is officially announcing a new device (the HTC Pro) on Thursday. We’re almost there. First NoDo, then Sprint and VZ and then general adoption of Windows Phone as the next major platform to compete with iOS and Android.

    Microsoft, please fix the Marketplace crashing bugs and i’ll be set.

  10. Im glad that Microsoft are finally pushing out updates, even if it is a pre-update update.
    Now, any bets on if the “NoDo” update will actually turn up in the first half of March?

  11. Info Dave says:

    Half empty? Half full? When Microsoft said there would be a WP7 update in Q1 2011, the commenters started saying January almost immediately. That didn’t happen. Now we need an update in order to do the update. We’ll see how that works out.

    No Donuts has been shortened to NoDo. That leaves a negative connotation on my brain. NoDo becomes NoCanDo very quickly. Let’s spell it out.

    WP7 is a consumer phone, yet SkyDrive is broke, while Sharepoint works. I can see it from a technical standpoint, but not from a marketing standpoint. Marketplace is broke. That’s makes no sense to anyone wanting to make money.

    For your sake Paul, I hope this ship is righted quickly.

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Well, not so much for my sake. I’m trying to think of this from the perspective of the broader user base. In which case, I too hope this thing is righted quickly. :)

  12. crashfellow says:

    I’ve just read some people are having bricked phone issues with it if you have a Samsung Windows 7 Phone.

    Now i have a samsung omnia 7 in Australia and I updated the official phone firmware (not windows phone 7 OS) and i haven’t had this bricked phone problem.

    Could that have prevented this issue from happening to me?

  13. frechp says:

    Hi Paul. Did you get the “updater update” to work on your Focus? I’m stuck on step 7 of 10 (Backup). Zune says 100% complete, but phone seems frozen. I have a similar setup, i.e. Focus + microSD from Patriot. Hope you didn’t dare the update on vacation. ;)

  14. Mark Rogers says:

    The update bricked my phone. Now I have to wait 3-5 days for a new one.

  15. Pingback: Pre-update for Windows Phone is out - WPCentricWPCentric

  16. jptbay says:

    My Samsung Focus updated fine. There was a long delay at the end of step 7 where it said 100% complete for a long period of time before moving to step #8. Had me a bit worried for a while.

    I’m glad I was patient and didn’t cancel the update. I might have ended up with a brick. Phew!

  17. Just got done updating my Focus without any issues. I just got the update running and walked away. I always get worried with the updates, but it kept chugging alone and was done in about 20 minutes. No issues at all.

  18. Paul, you’re going to love this, it looks like the carriers may actually be able to block this update. Of course in this case, it may be the right thing to do to block this useless update.

    “Some Mobile Operators have the right to skip one update if they wish.
    However, they can’t skip the next one, which would be an acumulative update and would include the previous one.

    So if your mobile operator decided to block this one, you will be getting the early March one (which will include the Feb one too)”

  19. blinknfg41 says:

    Hey, just thought of a quick wp7 question. I was reading this article (linked from

    And a Microsoft support moderator suggests that the pre-nodo update can be blocked by carriers but since they can only block 1 some users will get both the pre-nodo/nodo update in early March, combined. Most of this we already know, which gets me to my question.

    Do you MS will strong arm carriers like this by releasing a “small infrastructure update” right before a major one, which will require them to immediately issue it as they have already skipped one?

    • dkb1898 says:

      They would have to have a leading and a trailing small update. Otherwise the carrier could choose to install the first small update, and skip the big one. Can you imagine if that happened in this case!

  20. My Omnia 7 has been well and truly bricked. It followed the same pattern of freezing during the update, so I followed the advice of unplugging it, removing the battery and rebooting, which seemed to work okay. All of three minutes later, as I was about to start up a game, the screen went black, then briefly vibrated, and then the ‘Samsung Omnia 7’ splash screen appeared… and since then, the phone hasn’t booted any further than that.

    I’ve tried the hard reset option – but when I select the option to format, it simply reboots the phone and hangs again at the splash screen. I’ve also tried booting it into ‘Download Mode’, which apparently forces the ROM to reflash itself and reinstall, but it simply hangs on the Download Mode screen for a couple of hours, despite saying the operation will last ten minutes.

    So I spoke to my carrier, T-Mobile UK; they’re washing their hands of this, saying this isn’t their update and I should speak to Microsoft. After much fuss, they eventually told me that I should take the phone to a T-Mobile store, and the phone would be processed as a manufacturer warranty claim; this means T-Mo will send the phone back to Samsung who will do tests/assessments/whatever-the-hell-else before deciding whether or not it can be fixed or if I should get a replacement handset. I’m told that this process will take “4-6 weeks”.

    Microsoft have told me that there’s nothing they can do about it, but that my carrier should provide a replacement handset. My carrier has told me that they won’t provide a replacement handset unless I’ve taken out insurance with them, so it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to service my hardware. And I’ve just spoken to Samsung who have said that this is not something that they can issue a replacement handset for automatically, as they didn’t issue the software themselves – so I’ll have to wait for them to post a courier bag out to me, then I have to send my phone back with a write-up of the problem with my phone (!!) along with proof of purchase.

    This is a nightmare.

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  22. wgimenes says:

    HTC Trophy updated today on Vodafone UK.

    No glitches. Took around 10 minutes.

    Now, for the real update, right?

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