Windows Phone 8.1 Device Migration (Backup & Restore)

Wow. I am very impressed with the work Microsoft has done in this regard. If my phone goes through the wash, or in my case, through the air propelled by an excited child, all I lose is the phone, i.e. a few hundred bucks. All I need to do is get a new phone, plug in my credentials (a few times for some apps) and everything is back as it was. And I mean everything:

  • Current installed apps all automatically installed
  • Start screen fully restored
  • Settings galore, even custom ringtones that I’m not even using but had added at some time are available
  • Bluetooth pairings, WiFi networks
  • Text messages
  • Connected accounts, i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Built-in Podcast subscriptions and which episodes were marked played
  • NextGen reader settings and feed data was all correct

Did I say everything? There were 2 things I noticed missing:

  • Nokia Mix Radio mixes. This isn’t strictly WP fault, but since it is first party I expect better.
  • Cortana Reminders. It is in Beta so I can excuse it for now. But I hope this is resolved and syncs with desktop in Windows 10 Cortana.

One weird bit of behavior I had was the Phone Name. It was coming up on as below:


What’s that? That’s my new Nokia Lumia 930 named Nokia Lumia 820. As was my previous now broken Lumia 820. To correct this name took a little searching. Plug your phone into a PC and rename it in file explorer like you would a USB Key.

This is the same sync behavior we see in Windows 8.1 between PCs. It will be interesting to see how this integrates with Windows 10 to make it all feel like multiple portals into my one cloud account. Make sure that you have backup enabled, otherwise you’ll have to do it all manually when changing phones.