Update for Windows Phone 7 firmware causing problems for some users.

Some phones hang, others get bricked

Well, this is embarrassing. The just announced minor software update for Windows Phone 7, intended to make the software update process itself work smoothly, apparently is making it work not-so-smoothly, at least for some users. 

At worst, something in the update process appears to "brick" some phones, making them unusable. In other cases, apparently more common, the update process simply stalls, and never completes.

Currently the @WinPhoneSupport thread on Twitter is recommending a number of steps to user: confirm that they have on their PC the latest Zune software, which was recently updated itself in anticipation of the new firmware; take out the battery, wait for a minute, then re-install the battery and run the update again; do a hard reset of their Windows Phone, and go ahead with the update; and if the phone has bricked, take it back to the retail store from when it came, and get a replacement.

Several users are reporting that the step-by-step update process bogs down and hangs at Step 7, according to posts in a thread at Microsoft Answers. Many of those reporting problems say they have a Samsung Focus or Samsung Omnia 7 phone. Other users of these same phones report no problem running the update. Reports are being filed by users in the U.S., in Europe, and even one from Singapore.

The WinPhoneSupport staff are also reminding anxious users that downloading the update is purely optional, and up to the enduser alone.

Currently, Microsoft's official statement on the problems is: "“We are investigating reports related to the Windows Phone update process and will provide additional information and guidance as it becomes available.”

The new firmware load, the first for Windows Phone devices, was intended to add unnamed improvements to "keeps working smoothly" for future, more substantive OS updates, according to Microsoft's sparse blog posts and documentation.

Microsoft has posted instructions on how to update the relevant section of the Zune PC software.

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