Microsoft apparently pulls pre-update for Samsung users (Update: It’s true)

Well, I can see Microsoft’s first (sort of) update for Windows Phone is off to a wonderful start. In the wake of several reports of what I’m calling the “pre-update” fouling up some phones–what some people are describing as “bricking” them–Microsoft has apparently pulled the update for some users. I say apparently because Microsoft has not published this information anywhere publicly that I can find or told me about it specifically*. But according to some news sources (or is it one source, i.e. IDG News?), Microsoft has supplied the following quote:

We have identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of phones.

In response to this emerging issue, we have temporarily taken down the latest software update for Samsung phones in order to correct the issue and as soon as possible will redistribute the update.

So how bad is this bricking condition? According to some users quoted in online stories, Microsoft support has actually recommended that they exchange their phone (!!). I can’t confirm that, but I’d be surprised if a restoration (hard reset) didn’t work for most people.

To that end, Microsoft has published a guide to understanding and resolving the errors you can see while installing this non-update (which is pretty wordy for such a small install). This is a resource you’re going to want to have handy, I guess.

I’ve not seen the update personally, and since I have a Samsung Focus with me on vacation, I guess I won’t see it until they fix whatever the issue is.

And based on what we’re seeing here, I’m sure the actual first update for Windows Phone–you know, the one with cut and paste and so on–will just go swimmingly. No worries. :)

Update: It looks like my use of the word “apparently” was wise as it’s not clear that Microsoft really did pull this pre-update. Mobile Tech World is reporting that they did not pull it, for example. Regardless of what’s happening here, this episode nicely demonstrates my problem with the blogosphere: Someone reports something as a fact and then all the lookiloos jump on board, repeating it without actually checking. My hesitance on this issue is because Microsoft didn’t mention this to me. The Windows Phone PR guys are whatever they are, but this seems like the sort of thing they would in fact mention.

Update 2: A number of readers have pointed out a article that explains how to fix a bricked Samsung phone. At least two people who have emailed me claim this worked for them.

Update 3: Microsoft has confirmed the issue with me directly. Here is the quote as I received it:

“We have identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of Samsung phones. This software update remains available to customers with the exception of Samsung as we are in the process of temporarily taking down the update for those phones in order to correct the issue as soon as possible. – Microsoft spokesperson

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41 Responses to Microsoft apparently pulls pre-update for Samsung users (Update: It’s true)

  1. markuslaff says:

    Isn’t this just wonderful… seems like no phones on AT&T have been updated yet, which is almost just as bad.

    I hope they resolve these issues for the big updates.
    (Focus owner with his cramping fingers crossed)

    • cpdjoe says:

      A couple people with focuses have gotten the updates. Some worked, some didn’t. However, those r at&t phones so at&t users have been getting the updates, it probably just hasn’t gotten to u yet

  2. dkb1898 says:

    “will just go swimmingly. No worries. :)” – I sense your confidence in WP7 is at an all time high, as is mine!

  3. drummerboygreg says:

    If it’s any consolation, I have an LG Optimus 7 and I don’t have the update yet either. Mind you, I’m in Canada and we always seem to get tech things later than everyone else in the world!

  4. dkb1898 says:

    If Apple brought back the Mac and PC guy, they could have a field day with this!

    Mac Guy: “Why are you using your Phone to hold down paper PC”
    PC Guy: “My update for my phone didn’t work, but it’s going to be great when they fix it”
    Mac Guy: “Ohh yeah, must have some nice features, what does it have?”
    PC Guy: “Well it’s an update that’s going to allow for another update…It’s going to be great”
    Mac Guy: “Looking confused, so it’s the next update after this update that’s going to be great”
    PC Guy: “Looking dejected, sighs….no, the next update is going to fix this update, which makes updates easier”
    Mac Guy: “OK!”

    • roteague says:

      Goes both ways. Apple had it’s own problems bricking phones in the beginning. Android as well. One of the headaches associated with allowing these type of updates.

      • dkb1898 says:

        I think the bricking of the iPhone was only for hacked phones, same could be said about Android. I own the Samsung Focus, I’m no Apple fan, though I do enjoy a few Google products (Search and Browser). This is NOT the publicity they need!

        I honestly think WP7 is on it’s way to becoming the next Vista! Lots of promise, poor execution…bring in Sinopsky, don’t wait for WP8. By then the competition will be too entrenched if it isn’t already.

  5. cpdjoe says:

    Let me ask u this Paul. I have a focus as well, when u see the update ready for ur phone will u get the update or wait since u have the focus? A couple in the previous post had their focus update fine.

  6. joshhood says:

    I got the update late last night here in the UK – Samsung Omnia 7 with no issues.

  7. Pingback: Microsoft's Windows Phone 7: When bad things happen to good phones | ZDNet

  8. danny2p says:

    So how bad is this bricking condition? According to some users quoted in online stories, Microsoft support has actually recommended that they exchange their phone (!!). I can’t confirm that, but I’d be surprised if a restoration (hard reset) didn’t work for most people.

    My colleague @Qboid has this issue, and I can confirm, a hard-reset does not fix it. The phone always starts with a “Connect to PC” image, and the Zune software says it is unable to update the phone, and there is no restore point to go back to.

    He’s also tried putting it into the “Download Mode” mentioned online, however that doen’t work (he gets the SD format screen, but no matter how long he holds it, no “Download Mode”).

    Virgin (his network operator) have shipped him a new phone and asked him to return it. Between them, Samsung and MS, nobody has any suggestions other than to swap the phone. More alarmingly, Virgin and Samsung seem to know nothing about the update, or even what the “Zune software” is.

    I love the WP7 OS, but I’m starting to have serious doubts now. I’m on the verge of abandoning the WP7 game I’m working on in favour of coding it for the iPhone – and I’m one of the world’s biggest VS/C# fanboys, who hates Objective-C! :/

  9. luxsphinx says:

    Well, I’m going to look at this in a positive light, its a dim light but light nonetheless. At least Microsoft is working on this instead of ignoring the problem like many companies do (including Microsoft on other things). Also, isn’t the risk of problems like this part of the reason that updates are rolled out slowly rather than all at once? I make things lighter on the servers, yes, but it also allows for problem management. If the update comes my way, I’ll give it a chance even though I have a Focus.

    I wonder if this has any connection to people putting non-approved SD cards in their phones or adding them later? Since some Focus owners have updated alright, maybe it is the combination of Samsung and another factor like the SD cards.

  10. Pingback: Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7: When bad things happen to good phones « Breaking News « Theory Report

  11. Edward says:

    I really like my Samsung Focus, and really have no regrets for buying it. Say what you may, but the interface IMHO is much better than the iPhone or specially anything Android.

    No update announced on my phone. From what I understand, the update has been pulled for Samsung phones, but not others. The problem seems to affect phones with very early firmware. Mine is at JJ1, which is one of the earliest and reportedly the most affected by the problem (story of my life).

    If anything, I blame the problem on Samsung, not Microsoft. Samsung knows what firmware versions are out there, it’s their firmware on their phone, and should have tested against all firmware versions before telling Microsoft that it is OK to send out the upgrade. Imagine BIOS on a traditional computer… it’s up to the computer seller to test an OS on systems that they sell and support, under various existing BIOS, and tell Microsoft if there is a problem. It’s Microsoft’s problem and reputation being ruined now, but someone at Samsung didn’t do proper QA on the upgrade that was provided.

    • dkb1898 says:

      You can’t blame Samsung, the WP team knew they were designing an OS to work across manufacturers that could be updated without issues. They could easily have had a Firmware certification process in place, that tested firmware and provided strong API’s. If your going to update a device across manufacturers and compete with a company that makes their own hardware (Apple), you better have everything down solid.

      On a side note, my Kindle update to software version 3.1 last night. What did I have to do…turned it on, read a little…in the background it downloaded the update and when I put it in sleep mode and came back hours later, it was updated. Graceful!!!

      Again a case of knowing your hardware well! If your going to allow any manufacturer to make a phone, you better have a way to test the foundation, and you better test against ALL firmware!

  12. roberthleeii says:

    i was excited to get an update even if it did nothing :(

  13. jaipo says:

    My omnia 7 was updated this evening, no issues, in UK on Three.

  14. Pingback: Microsoft apparently pulls pre-update for Samsung users | Windows … | Penny Stocks

  15. squeakstar says:

    What network you on dude? Same phone on T-Mobile here, and wondering how T-Mobile in the UK are going to be plodders handling updates or eager beavers?

  16. davidwbrooks says:

    From the KB article: “Make sure that you are using the USB cable which was included with your phone. Do not use a USB hub or ports on the front of your computer.”

    What’s wrong with the ports on the front of my computer? I have an old-ish box and all 3 rear ports are in use. Is it because it would be easier for me to accidentally knock the plug out?

    • fallenclient says:

      USB Hubs and Front USB ports can be under powered and/or USB 1 even if you have USB 2 ports on the back of your machine. I would recommend you unplug a device from the back and plug your phone in at the back.

      • blkballoon925 says:

        I’ve even seen the opposite. I bought a computer about 8 years ago that had USB 2.0 on the front for things like digital cameras and flash drives, while the back ports were 1.1. That was a pain, for I had an external HD that I should have been able to plug in the back, but I had to find out the hard… I mean, slow way.

  17. Pingback: “Bricking it” – WP7 and its continuing tale of woe. « OpenBytes

  18. Pingback: Hot Mess Alert: Windows Phone 7 | joelyhryte

  19. Pingback: Hot Mess Alert: Windows Phone 7 | Extranet Factoring

  20. bpsmicro says:

    The USB ports on the front of your computer are generally part of an internal hub, which connects via a cable to a “real” USB port on your motherboard.
    So when you see statements like this, what they really mean is they want you to use a “direct” USB port right on the motherboard itself, which has no extra “stuff” in between.
    Personally, I think that “requirement” is a pretty generic one, just like every installer tells you to turn off your virus scanner. The chances of that *really* being a factor is probably tiny (to non-existent), but they like to eliminate all the usual suspects along the way.

    I’m lucky. I have a Focus (on Rogers), and I did the update Monday evening with nary a glitch. Like the “data leak” issue, my bet is that there’s something specific to the errant devices that I don’t have, and now MS gets to play 20 questions while trying to narrow it down.

  21. jimmyfal says:

    Between Mary Jo Foley and you this is all reminding me of the dumb non – issue with Apples antenna.

    10% of Samsung phones were messed up because of the update, so what. Big problem if you own one of those phones I guess, go get another one in the mean time and wait till they fix it.

    For everyone else and Mary JO who is “waiting out” version 1.0. You don’t have to wait. It’s already a great phone with hardly any real bad issues.

    I big fat non event that they will fix soon.

    Yawn… keep farming for readers guys. It’s probably working.


    • Paul Thurrott says:

      The “dumb non-issue” with the iPhone 4 antenna is in fact a very real hardware flaw. Other phone makers learned years ago not to put the antenna on the outside, where attenuation can too easily occur between the metal and the user’s hand.

      But whatever. I’m not sure what you mean by “farming for readers.” This is a free blog for which I get absolutely nothing. It’s here to support Windows Phone users. So … keep yawning, tough guy. And I’ll keep supporting Windows Phone users.

  22. I hate to be a pessimist but it may already be over for the platform. Too little too late, and a major screw up it is.

  23. Hal says:

    I am on Orange in the UK with a Mozart and still dont have it. I heard a rumour they might be blocking it…

  24. Pingback: Hot Mess Alert: Windows Phone 7 | My Windows Phone

  25. I have a Samsung Focus and it just got pushed down to me tonight when I connected. I am on Rogers in Canada.

  26. lzandman says:

    And while reading all these comments I updated my iPad to iOS 4.3 in under 15 minutes (including the download itself) !!

    • Paul Thurrott says:

      Just curious, did a carrier try to block this update? :)

    • lzandman says:

      Oh, and finally able to restore the iPad’s original Rotation Lock feature. Man, was I waiting for that. In fact, I think I have to cry…

      That’s too much emotion for me: total disappointment about Windows Phone update and total joy for the iPad update ;-)

      • lzandman says:

        Oops, posted these comments under the wrong article… Will repost them under your latest one…

  27. Pingback: Windows Phone needs to “Shit or get off the pot” « Ponderings of a Developer

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