Windows 8 Tip: Syncing a Windows Phone or Zune Device

With both Windows and Windows Phone changing fairly dramatically with this year’s major updates, some users are concerned or confused about how they’ll accomplish common tasks. Key among these is PC-to-device sync: Microsoft will deliver a new sync client and new PC-free functionality with Windows Phone 8 this year, but many are wondering how they can sync their existing Windows Phone 7.x and Zune devices.

The confusion is understandable. Back in February, an internal Microsoft video describing many Windows Phone 8 features leaked, resulting in my tell-all article Windows Phone 8 Preview. In that video, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said that the software giant would be replacing the Zune PC software, which is currently used to sync music, podcasts, videos, photos, and/or apps and games between your PC and a Windows Phone or Zune device. This has led, naturally, to questions about whether this new sync client was part of Windows 8, whether it was available already, and whether it would be made available for users of older, non-Windows Phone 8 devices.

So let’s examine what he really said first.

“We’re building a dedicated Windows 8 application that’s intended as a companion for Windows Phone,” Mr. Belfiore said in the leaked video. “This is intended as a replacement for the Zune client we have today and instead, from Windows 8, you’ll manage your phone that way. It’s a way of connecting your phone to all of your Windows 8 application experiences. You’ll be able to do things like browse into your phone, take a screenshot, and paste it into an email. It will be natural and powerful and really show how the combination of these two devices is really great together.”

From this statement, it’s likely that Joe meant “Metro-style app” each time he said “application.” It seems that this client will only be made available to Windows 8 users, that it will only work with Windows Phone 8 devices, and that it will ship alongside Windows Phone 8, and not be included in Windows 8 itself.

Regardless, no such client exists today in the Windows 8 Release Preview. So, how does one sync a Windows Phone 7.x or Zune device with Windows 8, you ask?

Simple: You use the Zune PC software, just as you do on Windows 7. It is acquired the same way (via a free download from, works the same way, and will let you access your soon-to-be-legacy devices on Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system going forward. Nothing has changed.

Yep, Zune still works fine on Windows 8.

Some of these are just too easy. :)


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