Reboot Loop in Windows Phone 7 Devices

attlogoCan near-full memory cause a reboot loop? This is the question I only could partially answer after I ran into a brick wall with my Samsung Focus. Mind you, I am still happy with it and at&t resolved the issue for me.

This is something that is still keeping me puzzled, it happened Saturday a few weeks ago and I’ve been mulling it over trying to make some sense out of it. This is the closest to a semi-valid pattern I could come up with, but in my opinion, there are still too many variables open, so don’t make any assumptions.

I almost filled up the 8 Gbytes on my Windows Phone. No big deal, right? I never quite took over all the available storage, I had about 1 Gbyte left when I checked on my phone. Add to that, I was out and about most of that Saturday and using storage intensive apps (maps, facebook, etc). Nothing quite out of the ordinary, not enough to use up the Gbyte I had left on my phone with cached information from web services…

SamsungFocusThen all of a sudden, when I am using the maps app, my phone reboots itself. Odd… I think, and wait until my phone restarts and try to get into the maps app again, it all looks normal… but when the maps app starts to show the higher resolution map; while aerial view was on and it was obviously downloading the image, my phone reboots itself again.

Now, I am starting to get frustrated with the phone, so I start thinking "what was the last thing I installed? There must be some kind of conflict"… so I keep trying to get back into the maps app, and now the phone jumps into an endless loop:

Samsung logo… Reboot… Samsung logo… Reboot…

I try removing the battery (which had close to a full charge), try powering up the phone, and I get the reboot loop:

Samsung logo… Reboot… Samsung logo… Reboot…

I try removing the battery and the SIM card. Power up the phone again, no luck:

Samsung logo… Reboot… Samsung logo… Reboot…

Try to cold boot into factory settings, and still no luck:

Samsung logo… Reboot… Samsung logo… Reboot…

I give up… I cannot use the phone now. Got to get to an at&t store before they close… get to one, but they tell me that they cannot do anything… they say that I should go to an at&t authorized service center. It’s on my way home. I rushed in there before closing time. They were really helpful, but they could not do anything for me (or didn’t know how to).

Obviously, it’s been less than a year and the phone is still under warranty, so I would get a replacement for an equivalent phone (they had another Focus), so I get a new one.

When I get home, I get to reinstall most of the applications I had on it, take the opportunity to clean up and not install some apps that I wasn’t using anyway.

I didn’t want to leave it just like that… I needed to get my explanation for this incident. Start researching and one thing lead to the next and I wound up in a website that had lots of users complaining about the exact same reboot loop. Not everyone seemed to have a Samsung Focus, but they all had WP7. Hmmm… I’m on to something.

Now, like most forums on the web, there are all kinds of users posting information… most people asking about their own problem and most everyone posting what worked for them as if it were the solution for everyone’s problems. In any case, there seems to be too many variations of this issue, but the common denominator I could find was that everyone was getting close to capacity on their WP7 and ran into this endless reboot loop. Users who had their phones unlocked for development could get into one of the menus on reboot and reset to factory settings… with some rate of success.

All of a sudden it dawns on me, the previous week, after I copied the last batch of music files into the phone at the end of the day, my phone had (weird enough) rebooted itself about three times… how could I not connect the dots in the afternoon!

Anyway, I really hope Microsoft comes up with a solution in one of their maintenance updates for Windows Phone. In the mean time, I decided not to install a big chunk of my music, and started using a free music streaming service (last.fm [HERE] as an alternative).

Like I said before, I am still happy with my phone, the service is great, the UI is still awesome, but Microsoft needs to start releasing bug fixes for these phones faster.

ILoveWindowsPhone


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About Diego Samuilov

Editor in Chief/Founder Diego Samuilov is an executive, consultant, IT strategist and book, e-book and web published author. Diego has worked in Microsoft’s environments since 1990. Since then, he has successfully filled many positions related to the Software Development lifecycle. Having worked as a developer, analyst, technical lead, project lead, auditor and, since 1996 a project manager, manager, director and VP in the Software Development, Server, Desktop and Mobile environments. Diego is very passionate about the software development process, which has played a great part in his skills development. Since the introduction of the first ever PDA (the Apple Newton MessagePad) in 1994 and Windows CE in 1998 he has pioneered and pushed the envelope in the field of mobile software development. He has developed many solutions used in mobile markets, desktop and server environments. He participates in public and private developer community events. He actively collaborates with the community at support forums and blogs. Diego is the author of "Windows Phone for Everyone" available [HERE].
  • Anonymous

    thanks for this.  i just got this issue and now realize i copied a good chunk of music onto the phone a few days ago.  i love the phone and UI, but issues like this are almost unforgiveable

  • I have not heard anything from the other manufacturers which leads me to believe that this might be a Samsung-related issue.