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Tips for Moving to a New Windows Phone

With the Nokia 900 finally arriving this week, a lot of Windows Phone users are looking to upgrade and are interested in advice about the best way to migrate contacts and other information. Fortunately, Microsoft has stepped in with a well-time guide of their own. And I have a few ideas of my own.

"You’re maybe a little apprehensive about how you’ll get contacts, apps, photos, and other precious cargo off your old phone and onto the new one," Microsoft's Michael Stroh writes in a post to the Windows Phone Blog. "Here’s a cheat sheet for getting the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible."

The post details some key ways that you can move apps, contacts, email, and digital media content from device to device, though it's not always as seamless as one might hope. (And certainly, Windows Phone doesn't [yet?] provide any iCloud-like centralized cloud service for this sort of thing.)

One bit of advice I'd offer up in addition to this is to try the Reinstaller app, which is available from the Windows Phone Marketplace. This is a lot easier than using the web-based Marketplace interface to "push" purchased and downloaded apps to the new phone, and it works right on the device.

What I'd worry about most from the old phone are photos, which will need to be synced manually via USB to a PC. Until Microsoft offers a way to sync photos over the air and automatically, you'll need to do this from time to time.

What you can't do--again, yet--is replicate app settings. So, for example, that progress you made in Plants vs. Zombies won't carry over. Solutions for that are forthcoming. Also, I'm not aware of ways to copy over data like SMS/MMS messages. 

Finally, as a general concept, I'd just point out that Windows Phone's cloud-based way of doing things, where you're access contacts, email, calendar data, social networking info, and the like, from the cloud means that getting most of that stuff back on the new phone involves no more than configuring a few accounts. That was the entire point behind not allowing it to sync to PC apps like Outlook. And in Windows Phone 8, Microsoft will be cutting the cord completely and allowing a Windows Phone to work completely without the PC.

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