Windows 10 For Phones, Technical Preview Available! What You Need To Know!

Since the Windows 10 Technical Preview for phones was announced back at Microsoft’s 21/1 event, release dates and further details of which devices would be able to run the pre release software have been sketchy and speculative to say the least. Earlier to day, Gabriel Aul, who is heading the preview program went live with details on Twitter, and confirmed that the preview would be available today. You can install it now… BUT there’s further info you need to consider before you do!

Is the Windows 10 for Phone Technical Preview for You?

This is not nothing like the Windows Phone 8 preview for developers program, it will not be serving up a ready to go version of the Windows 10 software for your phone. It is pre beta, pre alpha even. If you depend on your phone for your daily needs, and want it to be trouble free, then the Win10 Tech Preview is probably not for you. Microsoft themselves put it

This is the earliest publicly available preview we’ve ever done for Windows on phones. This preview is still very much under development and you’re going to see some rough edges. We’re sharing it with you so you can be with us at every step, and provide your feedback to help make this the best release ever—because it’s the one made for you. You will encounter bugs. You will see experiences that are clearly just not done yet, and UX that lacks polish at this point. DON’T WORRY! It will improve as we go and new features, stability and performance improvements, and more polished UX will come at each step.

This is nothing like a regular update, and if you aren’t sure you’re up to it, look away now, because there’s is some pretty tempting stuff included, but you must be prepared to put in the hard yards to reap the benefits.

Known Issues and Workarounds in the Windows 10 for Phones Technical Preview!

SO here is where Microsoft is happy to share the not quite right parts of the OS that have been crucially identified to be detrimental to the user experience, but can be compensated for with little tricks.

Existing alarms will not be migrated to Windows 10.      Reset alarms after upgrade

Wi-Fi settings don’t roam when phone is upgraded to Windows 10.     Manually set Wi-Fi settings when on Windows 10

VPN not available in current Windows 10 builds.    Setting will fail to launch. Coming in a future update

Additional language keyboards may not be present and may not be able to install on US builds after upgrading to Windows 10.
Reopen the Windows Insider app and re-select Insider Fast/Slow again. The download of keyboard packages will then work

Photos app will fail to launch periodically when attempting to add a photo attachment to an email, OneNote or Facebook item.
Try again. Succeeds after a few attempts.

Quiet Hours is missing the automatic rule that enables Quiet hours during calendar appointments marked busy.     Also the setting “Anyone breaks through if they call 2 times in 3 minutes” us unchecked but enabled.

Apps are not displayed in Battery saver after the upgrade.

Access Point Names (APNs) in recovery images can fall out of date. For some phones/networks, this will block the cellular data and MMS capabilities of a phone when recovering back to the base image.

Before using the Windows Mobile Recovery Tool to recover, record the specific APN settings on your phone.  Set manually once phone restored

Cellular data not working while roaming, despite enabling data roaming
The setting doesn’t work the first time it’s enabled. Turning off and then turning on again will enable data while roaming

Using a Bluetooth headset while playing back video results in low frame rate for video, due to a bug in the interaction between video playback and Bluetooth.
Use wired headset for listening to audio when playing videos.

Sync to Microsoft Band doesn’t work after updating to Windows 10. If you have your phone synced to Microsoft band, it will not pair after the update to Windows 10.
After upgrade to Windows 10, go to Bluetooth settings, un-pair the Microsoft Band device and re-pair it.

DataSense resets data use history on upgrade to Windows 10.
No workaround. Will calculate correctly after the reset.

Trying to set lock screen picture will fail at times.     Re-attempt the operation.

After upgrade, tapping on “Playlist” from start screen or from within Music App fails to play music. Playlists are greyed out.

Cortana tile and settings are missing on the start screen after upgrade.
Go to app list and re-pin the tile

That is no small list of initial bugs, which probably means that you can expect a lot more to show up that haven’t been identified yet, you have to decide what you can deal with and proceed with caution.

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Who Can Get The Windows 10 for Phone Technical Preview?

Here we have what seems to be the most controversial part of the program release at this point. Up until now there has been some speculation that not all phones would be able to run the Technical Preview, with many a voiced concern that 512 MB devices would miss the boat. In something reminiscent of the Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 debacle. While many a reassurance has been given that this is not the case, this mornings release of the preview is limited to a range of what people consider mid level Lumia devices.

We are starting with a limited set of devices supported for this first preview. Windows 10 will drive innovation across screens of all sizes and we will have new hardware from Microsoft and our partners, including new flagship phones. The majority of Lumia phones, from our most advanced to the most affordable, can be upgraded to Windows 10.  That said, for this technical preview, we need to start with a small subset of devices in order to isolate OS issues from hardware or board support package issues so we can stabilize the platform. This is a normal part of the engineering process, but you would not have seen it in the past because we haven’t done a public preview before

So at this point if you have the Lumia 630, 635, 636, 638, 730, 830, you can use the Windows Insider software on your phone to install Windows 10. It can be found in the Windows Phone Store Here.

Why not the higher end models, Lumia 930, 1520, 1020, well it’s not that they won’t get the update eventually, Microsoft has just decided to use a smaller group or subset of Lumia devices for this initial release, and for some long term technical reasons

Some context on why we chose these and not higher end phones like the 930/Icon or 1520: We have a feature that will be coming soon called “partition stitching” which will allow us to adjust the OS partition dynamically to create room for the install process to be able to update the OS in-place. Until this comes in, we needed devices which were configured by mobile operators with sufficiently sized OS partitions to allow the in-place upgrade, and many of the bigger phones have very tight OS partitions.

What If You Have Real Issues With the Technical Preview?

No real problem there, if you cannot manage your phone, or if there are too many issues, you were just happy to play with the preview for a few days to see what stage it is at, there is no issue to roll back using the Windows Recovery Tool. This was essential for most users to have a way to restore their phones to whatever the current OS it was before the preview install. Restoring though is the equivalent of a hard reset, you will be given the option to restore from a backup.

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Remember this hasn’t been done before, Microsoft is crowdsourcing it’s pre release testing in the hope of bringing its consumers a better product at a much increased pace. Calm Down and remember that you will get the chance to test this out on your phone, whatever it may be soonish.

Check out Microsoft’s announcement and further details here. Also I urge you to read the comments on that post. This is not a general release, if your phone is not in the first release it is because there were issues that were too great at this point to make it out to you today. There’s more to come, but if you thought this was going to make your life any easier, or don’t have a second phone to run the preview on, then I would suggest that this might not be for you. Have a look at some of the features posted in a Video by @joebelfiore to accompany the release.

Also check out these Microsoft help and support pages.

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