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Upgrading to WP 7.8 with Navifirm and Nokia Care Suite

Alright, the title might be a bit misleading – in fact this tutorial can be used for any firmware upgrade in general, not just for 7.8. So anyway, you have a Windows Phone 7 device and you’re too impatient to wait for the official 7.8 update. Good news: you don’t have to. Here’s all the information you need to do it on your own. But first of all, let’s get over the must-have disclaimer:

I don’t take responsibility for anything written here. This prodecure may render your phone useless. You do everything at your own risk.

Ingredients:

  • a Windows Phone device
  • Navifirm
  • Nokia Care Suite

I think that’s about it. You can download the latest Navifirm release from Symbian Toys. Nokia Care Suite is available on Softpedia. It may not be the very latest release but once you have it installed, you can upgrade to the latest via its built-in updater.

But first off, please note that this procedure practically resets your phone. Your pictures, your contacts, your messages, applications, settings, everything… will be lost! As for pictures, music and other multimedia content, you can use Zune. As for contacts, go to Live Contacts and export your contacts via Manage / Export. Later you can restore them from this same site, if needed.

Also note that it’s not possible to downgrade once you upgraded. You can only install the current version or anything newer, but not older ones.

Now download and start Navifirm. Select your handset and download the firmware you need. If you have a country variant for you, that’s good, but if you don’t, that’s not a problem either. For example, my handset is locked to T-Mobile Hungary and I downloaded the Danish version highlighted on the screenshot below.

After you’re ready, install the Nokia Care Suite. Make sure to unplug your phone from the USB connector, otherwise it may not be recognized on that connecter afterwards. You can reconnect your device to the PC after installing and setting up NCS.

You need to have the Visual C++ 2005 redistributables to install NCS. The problem is, the link NCS gives you is wrong. It will still complain after you install that version. Here’s the correct one. Now you can proceed with the NCS installation.

When the initial NCS installation finished, run NCS as admin and click on Updates on the bottom left. If you don’t run it as admin, it will tell you that you don’t have the required privileges to perform an upgrade. After you successfully upgraded and everything’s up-to-date, you should see something like this:

Now make NCS recognize your device. Plug it into a free USB slot and start Product Support Tool For Store from NCS. If everything’s fine, you’ll see something like this:

But initially it will probably not work. In that case, install the WinUSB driver from C:\Program Files (x86)\Nokia\Nokia Care Suite\Drivers. Then reconnect your phone and restart NCS and PSTFS. If needed, use the refresh button on the top right.

When your phone’s finally recognized by PSTFS, note 3 things in the Phone information pane on the right:

  • type designator
  • product code
  • software status

At this point Software Status will most likely say you’re up-to-date, but this will change later. Create a directory for your firmware files. I’ll use C:\Users\myusername\navifirm\Products. Inside that folder, create a new folder which corresponds to the type designator, in my case C:\Users\myusername\navifirm\Products\RM-803. Copy the files you downloaded with Navifirm to this folder. In my case, it looks like this:

Now you need to rename 3 files to correspond to your certain handset’s product code. For me the product code is 059N2Q4 but these files use the 059N769 product code (the .dcp, .vpl and .bin files). Simply rename them to use your product code. After the rename, it will look like this:

Now your files are good, but you still need to point PSTFS to this folder. Go to File / Preferences / Data package and add the C:\Users\myusername\navifirm folder to the list. It will automatically append the Products part:

Press OK. Now make sure PSTFS uses the local firmware repo instead of the download server. Click on the Earth logo on the bottom right and click on Work Offline. The Earth logo will go greyscale.

Now press the refresh button on the top left, or even restart NCS and PSTFS. Then Software Status in the Phone information pane on the right should inform you that you can upgrade your phone. You won’t be able to upgrade until it says so.

Now click on Programming / Refurbish on the bottom left. It will warn you about losing data and all. If you’re ready, press Start and your firmware will be upgraded within a matter of minutes.

If you get an An error occurred during downloading package message, that means PSTFS is trying to download the firmware from server. In that case make sure you made it work offline.

The upgrade may also fail if you have a screen password. In that case, simply remove it.

For some other random reasons, the upgrade may fail anyway. In that case, restart NCS and PSTFS, press the refresh button, toggle the Earth logo a few times, etc. It should start to work eventually.

During the upgrade, the phone will reboot a few times. After it finishes, you’ll get the welcome screen. It may not necessarily be a language you understand, but don’t panic. Just remember: the left button is Emergency Call, the right button is Next. Press the right button and you’ll be able to select language.

From this point, everything should be working fine.