Tips For Fixing Common Windows Phone 8 Issues

Christian Cawley 12-07-2013

Tips For Fixing Common Windows Phone 8 Issues muo wp9 troubleshooting intro1Windows Phone 8: a great platform that is fast, slick and responsive.


Most of the time.

Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Windows Phone, but I’m not a dogmatic follower of the Microsoft way. Windows Phone 8 is an improvement over Windows Phone 7, but while I enjoy its responsiveness, the ease with which I can perform particular tasks quickly and the way the OS syncs with SkyDrive (not to mention the quality of the camera on my Nokia Lumia 920 Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway A couple of weeks ago, Nokia introduced two new devices to the world: the Nokia Lumia 925 and the Nokia Lumia 928. The top notch of Windows Phone 8 devices, these two smartphones will only... Read More ), I’m more than aware that this is a platform with a few notable bugs.

I’ve already looked at improving battery life on Windows Phone 8 Stuck In a Recharge Loop? Use These Power Saving Windows Phone 8 Tips When I became the proud owner of a Nokia Lumia 920, I was delighted to learn that I would be the lucky beneficiary of a free wireless charging pad, apparently worth about £100. Although there... Read More , but it turns out that there are a few Windows Phone apps that can exacerbate the problem. Meanwhile I’ve experienced screen freezing and auto-brightness issues on several occasions – events that interestingly appear to be linked.

Apps that Drain Your Battery

It’s no fun having to charge your battery all the time. I’ve been in meetings with my phone switched off and found that I had to start charging it afterwards (typically using a car charger) but it seems that the fast battery drain that can occur on Windows Phone 8 isn’t just about leaving all of the connection options activated (although disabling Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile Internet and NFC 7 Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Battery Life [iPhone, Android, Other Smartphones] By far one of the most disappointing features in just about every smartphone these days is the battery life, which for most of us requires at least one charge per 24-hour period. Are you a... Read More are all good options).

Tips For Fixing Common Windows Phone 8 Issues muo wp9 troubleshooting fb


Although at present it isn’t clear why this works, uninstalling and reinstalling particular apps can help. Nokia Drive Beta has been mentioned among the culprits, along with Facebook and Skype. The best thing you can do here is reinstall the apps (be sure to back up your settings How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8 I’ve just about filled the 32 GB internal storage on my Nokia Lumia 920. Initially, I was surprised that it only took me six months, until I realised that I’ve been recording videos in HD.... Read More ), and when you’re not using them press the Back button to exit rather than hitting Start and launching another app.

You can also prevent apps from running in the background in Windows Phone 8. Head to Settings > Applications > Background tasks to begin blocking apps you wish to prevent from running in the background.

Screen Freezing? Time to Reset

The exact causes of frozen Windows Phone screens aren’t known, but fixing is simple. You just need to reset your phone when the display becomes unresponsive. Do this by holding the volume down and power buttons simultaneously for ten seconds.

When your phone reboots, you may find that you need to reset the time if you haven’t been using the automatic option. Do this by opening Settings > Date + time. You can also enable Set automatically here.



It’s always worth checking for updates, so if your screen freezes use the Settings > Phone update option to check for updates that might help to stop your phone freezing again in future. You might also check the Windows Phone Store for any app updates that might be pending – publishers of apps that have been found to cause issues might have released updates to prevent further problems.


As alluded to earlier, I’ve experienced the screen freeze and auto-brightness bugs at the same time, suggesting that the two issues might be related in some way.

Windows Phone 8 devices all have a light sensor that is used to detect the brightness of your environment and alter the screen brightness accordingly. When this fails to work, you can run into all sorts of problems, such as the screen shutting off in the middle of a call (frustrating if you need to key menu options in), or the device freezing.



The best solution here is probably to disable auto-brightness in the Settings menu, instead setting a manual alternative that suits your current light source. Finding out that the screen freezing and auto-brightness bugs might be related was an interesting realisation, and something that might hopefully be resolved by Microsoft themselves.

Random Reboots

Windows Phone 8 devices have been randomly rebooting since release, and the Portico update first released in North America in December 2012 has largely resolved these problems. Even after the update was installed, however, some users reported issues.



If your phone has a removable battery, you might try removing and replacing following a random reboot of your Windows Phone, but if this doesn’t work or isn’t possible then a factory reset is probably your best option. Note that this will mean the loss of your personal data, apps and settings, so you will need to take steps to back them up How To Backup Media, Apps & Settings On Windows Phone 8 I’ve just about filled the 32 GB internal storage on my Nokia Lumia 920. Initially, I was surprised that it only took me six months, until I realised that I’ve been recording videos in HD.... Read More .

You can do this via Settings > About > Reset your phone, tapping Yes to confirm.

Conclusion: Windows Phone 8: Imperfect with Easy Fixes

As I have only experienced two cases of random reboots in the six months I’ve been using Windows Phone 8, I was surprised to learn that this was a widespread issue. However it seems that these bugs can be attributed to apps misbehaving, rather than a general underlying issue with the operating system.

There is, it seems, a pattern of similar problems across all mobile platforms. Although it is fortunate that factory resets and uninstalling apps can resolve these issues, let’s hope that in future this is a situation that is overcome with better platform, hardware and app design.

In the meantime, you should have everything you need right here to deal with the vast majority of Windows Phone 8 issues.

Related topics: Smartphone Repair, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.

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  1. Anonymous
    June 30, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Am using Lumia 520, each time am making calls all receiving calls the screen refuses to lock. This happened just about about 2 weeks ago. please how can I fix this problem?

    • Christian Cawley
      July 2, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Probably with a factory reset. Unless you have an app set to provide information to the liocked screen which might be interfering,.

  2. Palisa
    January 3, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Having problems with my windows phone; smses from a single source automatically closing,as soon as i open, without me accessing the text message. I have tried rebooting the phone, and i know ressetting the phone will erase all the texts resulting in me not accessing the texts that were sent earlier. If anyone could help, what could be the problem and its solution?

    • Christian Cawley
      July 2, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Could the messages be at fault? Can they be read on a diffeerent phone?

  3. april morris
    December 31, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    I have a window phone so does my husband. We are having issues with the charger port. Were annoying. I'm having to wrap the cors and pray it works. HELP!

    • Christian Cawley
      July 2, 2015 at 8:05 am

      Charger port issues can usually only be resolved by sending the device to be reparied.

  4. John
    December 2, 2013 at 7:13 am

    My lumia 520 won't change lock-screen background or the color of tiles. I'm trying for a couple of days and nothing...i go in settings - lock-screen - background - photo - change photo, i choose the foto an then..i go to the lock-screen and nothing..blank...

  5. Claudia
    November 25, 2013 at 5:40 am

    I reset my phone and as normal it turned back on saying Nokia and then the next slide said the name of the phone company seconds later my screen turned into a low blue black color... Ever since that i have took off the battery and put it back on and nothing seems to work. i need help!

  6. Ganesh
    October 9, 2013 at 9:13 am

    nokia lumina 520 is very bad phone every time show resume.... than after showdown .how to solve the prob ple give any suggestion

    October 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    And the woeful handling of music and pictures. Just Google duplicated files. Fed up with transferring music and finding 2,3 even 4 copies of each track on my phone. A universal WP8 problem, going by the number of forum posts. The camera has started doing it now, as well, just for variety. Take a pic, two copies appear in camera roll. What a farce. WP8 NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

    September 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

    where is the FILE BROWSER / EXPLORER ?
    why cannot I record my calls?
    what Nonsense OS is WP8?

  9. Alex
    September 29, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    :) I'm sure, I just bought an lumia 520! but I found a solution....Bluetooth transfer's ok now! but still that option doesn't exist...

  10. Alex
    September 26, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I don't find the button (option) to transfer contacts from sim card! It simply does not exist in People>Settings>...! what can i do?

    • Christian C
      September 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Alex

      Not sure why you can't see this. Are you using Windows Phone 8?

  11. sabeer
    September 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    my lumia 520 not connected with zune softwear

    • Christian C
      September 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Lumia 520 is a Windows Phone 8 device. Zune is not required for Windows Phone 8 (sadly).

  12. Peter
    September 13, 2013 at 5:31 am

    I love my lumina 920 but have a current problem with my contacts getting scrambled. Some of the contacts have the wrong name and a different contacts picture and phone numbers etc for several other contacts. The solution was to reset....which then put the phone in a permanent state of resetting. Got a replacement and the same issue happened. I eliminated face book and for now that got rid of the issue but it would be nice to be able to have that active/linked to my contact in People as well. If this issue keeps up I won't be loving my phone for too much longer. I can't seem to find anyone who knows anything buy...hit the reset button and start all over!

    • Christian C
      September 27, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Interesting, Peter. I haven't come across this myself. Are you experiencing the problem still, or have you found a solution?

    • Peter
      September 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      The solution from AT and T was to do a full reset. When I did that the phone locked up in a permanent "gears rolling" mode and could not be stopped no matter what AT and T told me to do. I had to get a replacement phone. Once I downloaded all me info and reset all my accounts the problem was still there. I then (on my own) deleted all accounts and added them one at a time. It seemed that when I linked in my facebook account it started the problem. I unlinked my face book account and all was well. I waited a week and tried again linking face book and now all is well ---at least for now. I will say that ATandT was 0 help.

  13. Gracious Banda
    September 9, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    My query is about the OS running on LUMIA 620; Why is it that if I respond to an e-mail and would like to attach a document like office doc or pdf etc, the Windows Phone OS only gives me option of attaching photos, videos, podcasts. I thought a windows phone ought to come with Documents File Manager on board? Is Windows8 for WP not a flop?? If the primary reason for developing a Windows Phone was for ease of Mobile Office (work), then am sorry to say that this is far from a user friendly OS. Symbian Belle was far much better. I love Nokia devices but Windows Phone 620 has been a first disappointment (OS is not user friendly)!

    • Christian C
      September 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Hmm. If you want to email a document, you open Office, then the document you want, then tap share to send the Word, Excel or PowerPoint doc via whichever method you want.

      It's fast and easy.

      I'm not sure what you mean by "OS is not user friendly" - perhaps you've been spoiled (literally) by other mobile operating systems that are genuinely not use friendly and place barriers in your way to completing tasks efficiently...

    • Yud!
      January 7, 2015 at 10:58 am

      Yup this is one of the major problems sticking with windows phone. Although, If you want to attach the the multiple files to an e-mail you might wanna use this File Attacher( app. It allows you to first attach all the types of file you want to attach then integrates them with a new email.

  14. Kay
    August 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I'm just reporting what is happening to my particular phone. I've been using windows for a while and had a windows phone from way back when they first started. I was looking forward to my new Nokia Lumia 920. It was fine, and then the problems started. First it started freezing while I was in the middle of a call, making me pay extra money for minutes I didn't use. Then it would randomly restart itself. Eventually, after factory resetting and trying to update, my first phone froze in the middle of updating and I had to get it replaced with a refurbished phone. Then, the battery starting shorting out on phone #2. Got that replaced. Now I'm on phone three and it has literally died. It will not respond to charging or resets. With this phone, I literally have no music, apps or anything that could cause it to drain and die. I am super careful about charging it. I don't overcharge it, because I wanted to eliminate as many culprits as possible and it can hurt the phone being charged repeatedly. I've eliminated every common culprit, but now all I have to show for it is a dead phone (phone number 3).

    Any suggestions? At this point, I'm so sick of going to the device support center. I may end up sucking up the fee and buying something else. I really loved the windows phone, but this is turning into a nightmare.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Hi Kay

      That is certainly not the standard behaviour for a Lumia 920. TO begin with, it sounds as though devices two and three are the same. I would suggest taking this to the top as that device is capable of so much more and I feel that the customer service you're getting is not fit for purpose. Demand a brand new phone, straight from the factory.

  15. bob
    August 25, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Perhaps too positive, no mention of the difficulty in getting your pictures and contacts off this phone or the how everything you do just about is reported back to Microsoft/Google including your every movement tracked, If you value your privacy purchasing this phone is a massive mistake.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Bob, all phones a privacy blackholes. To single out a Windows Phone is ignorant of this fact. Surely you can't have forgotten the iPhone?

      • bob
        August 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

        It is not my intention to single out any phone other than the one I purchased.

        as for my ignorance yes I was. If I had any idea just how intrusive this phone is I would never have purchased it.

        as for iPhones, same same does not excuse this appalling intrusion into my personal life by any company.

        You may find this acceptable, many do. I on the other hand do not.

  16. eferr
    July 18, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Interesting article. My samsung rebooted only once in two months so I never gave it a thought before now. It must be samsung tweaked the light sensor since the phone never actually crashed (though yes, the sudden change in brightness can be frustrating)