Back up and restore your Start Screen in Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

Anybody waiting for the ability to backup their Windows Phone Start Screen is about to get their wish, as Windows Phone 8.1 will let users backup and restore their Start Screen across devices. Restoring a device will also download the data for all of your apps.

Start Screen Backup

Every tile will be restored on your device, and all of your Start Screen icons and images are maintained. Launch context is equally preserved. The only thing that isn't restored are apps themselves, which need to be re-downloaded from the Windows Phone Store. Until an app is restored its tile appears grayed out on the screen.

Are you excited to be able to backup and restore your Start Screen? Sound off below in the comments.

Source: Justin Angel on Twitter



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IppoSemCe says:

Among the three features i was waiting the most.

Thanks Microsoft, this shows how hard and well you're workin!

What are the other two?

sosan says:

I would like to have a reliable notification. WP8 notifications are buggies. It's a pain to use apps like Viber.

mesbahamine says:

Yes.. What are the other two??!

mjfadaway says:

Yes I too would like to know the answer. Waiting...

IppoSemCe says:

-backup of data(!!!) and live tile position on start screen

-notification center and action center

-storage sense

Very happy about them. Though i wont be using storage sense, i have L920 and will very likely upgrade with L930.

NIST says:

Those were the other two???

deterdettol says:

He already stated his three things he wanted to see being done, with the first one mentioned as his most important thing.

Read properly guys...

IppoSemCe says:

Probably number one is notification center + action center, 2) backup as said 3) storage sense.

Just because you use notifications everyday while backups hopefully only few times. I had to hard reset many times for my L920 hardware problems, i wish i had the backup option to save so many hours of my life!

Rawliglat x says:


Most important thing for me was Notification/Action center.
2nd: was the ability to store applications on SD Card.
3rd: was the home screen customization.
4th: was differentiated volume controls (not the most important feature but useful).

TJWINS says:

Cortana is number 1 for me by a landslide.

For me,

1st = Ability to store apps on SD card (Just bought a 64gb SD for the purpose)

2nd = Cortana

3rd = Notification / Action Center

bAN01TgAZ says:

I wouldn't hold your breath with apps to sd

Thanks. Though I've doubts about MSFT....

Arjun KR says:

I hope you had bought Class 6 or Class 10 one...else there is a bad news for you

NightWatch71 says:

I have a class 6 card on my phone. Do we know anything about the requirements?

That's fine! Class 6 or Class 10 SD card is required by WP8.1 to store apps in them. Class 4 won't work.

You can find more details here.

Yep! Bought a SanDisk class 10 64GB.

Shiba_Ranjan says:

may I ask howmuch is the price ?

I'm planning for a 64 gb card, also which brand should I go for ?

I'm using Transcend 32 gb class 10 u1 for my lumia 720. I want dis one for my new L1520. thnxx

Yeah, I bought mine when there was an offer in flipkart, got it for 2500 INR flat, now its available for 3035 INR (In stores, I bet it'll be more than 3500 INR though!)

Personally, I trust SanDisk for SD cards. Once I bought a 16GB Samsung card (class 10) and yes it was faster than my early 16GB Sandisk class 10 but soon it stopped responding in just 30 days of use so yeah, I'll say go for SanDisk, I never encountered any problem with it.

Sure, get this one if delivery is possible at your location! :)

flipkart link

Shiba_Ranjan says:

Thnx my frnd..
And do you have any experience with transcend as I have no problems so far ?
Truth to be told it's an either-or situation for me between sandisk and transcend, I don't think I am going for another brand other than these two.

No problem!

I had a 2GB Transcend long ago (It used to be Rs 400 - 600 in those days!) in my old Nokia 5233. Never had any problem with that either. Only once I remember, had to format the card because it was duplicating everything twice, but I guess it may not possibly be the card's fault though! ;)

Yeah these are my favourite SD cards brands too! As per my suggestion, go for SanDisk (maybe a little costlier than Transcend) but reliable.

Shiba_Ranjan says:

Thanxx for your suggestion and time my frnd..

IppoSemCe says:

Volume control also so much needed...All the games i have make me turn of sound then i don't hear the phone calls received. This will solve the problem.

BTW more than 8.1, bacause of the features seems more like a WP10.1

SumairB says:

You just read my mind.

mrllano says:

Yes what are the other two? What?

kenzibit says:

Yeah what are the other two? Tell us cuz we want to know the other two so what are the other two???

infosage says:

USB might be one? Direct updates?

vkelkar says:

Yeah appreciated

This is amazing news. The little things that make a big difference

BTW, I laughed wildly seeing how curios people were to know the "OTHER TWO".

Someone said it perfectly, can't remember exactly but it goes like-

"We're more curious to know what's hidden from us than what we can already discover"

cheesemoo says:

But whats the other one?

maghedo says:

#1 for me is building true music playlists and edit them.

Miistercoool says:

Finally! That's pretty awesome! :)

S Vaibhav says:

I think it would be awesome if we could also make an offline backup,like I used to do on my old Nokia 3110 Classic using Nokia PC Suite.

Dt967 says:

This is actually great

2tomtom says:

Agree, this is great. Never thought of having this but will certainly use it.

Never had to replace or reboot your phone?

crise says:

Since when is wpcentral so slow on news..

crise says:

that's mostly just sunday normally. build started wednesday and many bits and peices have not been covered yet.

Nasimonair says:

Seems slower.. ;-)

XD last weekend there was the same comment on a post hahaha

ebin5 says:

Really slow on wp8.1 news.ie,bits and pieces of the os like multitasking, storage sense,etc.

kingjah says:

You folks really need to get a life. These guys are doing a great job reporting on a single OS, There can only be so much write about.

crise says:

People like you can never take any critisism. Go play with your toys. Adult people can deal with critisism.
You don't have to be an asslicking fanboy that swallows everything without having a natural sense of critisism.

Gilgameshi says:

" reporting on a single OS"

Didn't really help your argument there, sport.

wtma says:

Now this is becoming the new "seems faster" joke.

lordbebech says:

Its God day, no Time for news :D

rudranil says:

Needed this badly... Glad they did not forget this...

RyanAMG says:

My 928 audio was acting weird and had to do a reset and then after setting everything back up l realized I must have picked the wrong backup as I was missing new text messages. I did another reset and picked the right one but it's a pain to put everything back and log back into all my apps.

NIST says:

1st world problems.

RyanAMG says:

1st world problems are still problems ;)

b23h says:

Well, first off if you really knew the history of the differentiation of the world into "three" parts, you'd know there was by-in-large no more "second" world.

Second, the poorest of the poor either have no phone or have a feature phone.  So us yammering about Windows Phone on our oftentimes five to seven hundred dollar phones, or laptops, or in this case my home built water cooled PC, is by definition a "first world" issue.

Third NIST, if you are really going to make a critique like that, where's the suggestion of what we should be doing instead of this "useless speculation about issues that aren't important"?

So NIST, just to make sure that you are not a hypocrite, please spend less time on this site and certainly in no case should you mention any problem you have with your phone or with Windows Phone in general.

KMF79 says:

Thank you bh23 for demonstrating actual intelligence and logic.

JNeail says:

Cant wait... Would have saved me hours of waisted time over the years... Also App data, hope that includes game progress? The times I've had to give that up is almost painful...

2tomtom says:

Yep, gets a new phone every week :D

JNeail says:

Yep - Multiple phones, new, upgrades and warranty replacements

montel22 says:

That's good news, its a pain to switch or restore you phone but then it even worst when you have to set up your home screen again.

lukebrady81 says:

Can anyone tell me if we can backup game saves in windows phone 8.1 to the cloud? Its killing me not being able tooooo!

rockstarzzz says:

Yes. Games and apps will need to update though to new WP8.1

Talk4Lig says:

Where you know this from?

DreadVenom says:

From Build. App data now backed up. Devs can opt into this.

As in backed up onto Microsoft's servers? Since devs can enable cloud-saving on thier own servers anyway.

To the user's OneDrive but encrypted. There are two cases; one which size is counted in the user's storage limit, another doesn't. I can't remember the cases.

rockstarzzz says:

Full backup counts in the storage, only data doesn't up to 10kb per app.

Does that include game saves? The data under 10kb you're talking about... ?

NewTincho says:

So, even when we get 8.1 still will have to wait until games updates for this feature to get the save back for another phone?

cknorthpole says:

Finally! Been waiting for this.

sueha says:

So will it save my WhatsApp chat history if I decide to reset my device?

rockstarzzz says:

Ask Whatsapp to update their app and then yes.

Aashish13 says:

I want watsapp to just get fast and fixed from all crashes first.

V7PUL says:

Exactly!! Its the most used app and its so freaking sloww..No updates months over months!! WP users always neglected by devs :(

Nazir Taib says:

Whatsap did save your history. For instance if you uninstall and install back whatsap app in your phone, whatsapp will prompt you either you want to restore back your message history or not.

rockstarzzz says:

Not when you change phones or hard reset your phone.

mevalmvm says:

When is that huge WhatsApp update coming? Which will make WhatsApp on wp similar to ios n lagdroid?

mevalmvm says:

Nice, what about slide down in task bar to close an app? Is it there in wp8.1?

euichii says:

Really? I thought I saw in the demo of Daniel that the "X" is still there.

sumton says:

you have both options slide or X

X is still there too. you can either hit the x, or drag it down

mevalmvm says:

Is there any video on wpc or elsewhere showing the drag down to close app?

yup.. its one of the walkthrough videos that were released during //build/ might of been the one where they were showing off the os on the L630

mrhoodiny says:

Great news, when are we suppose to be getting that developers preview again, was it the 10th or the 14th??

Actually i read in windows phone blog that developers preview ll be out in 1st part of April. So may be April 14 is logical. Or may be before it, who knows!

Thaerj says:

Finally, I hope that we have restore backup option , we can use after reset steps finished

booboisie says:

Awesome news... :)

NIST says:

I've heard better

bambuco says:

This is awesome feature, almost as awesome as getting Cortana!!

NIST says:

Don't let Cortana hear you say that.

Mik29 says:

Finally. I put off resetting my phone because i cant be arsed sorting the start screen out again. Great news

dbcontext says:

Pretty awesome. Now hard resetting a phone will be less of a pain (although i hope hard resetting will be needed less and less in the future)

Wowww cool things... Fanboys get horny here. But where is the video automatic compression for sharing?? Where is the apps downoaded music acces? Where are all that little useful things other os (inclusive WM6) had since years?? Microsoft, please stop with bs and go back to basics please.

You must lead a very sad existence always looking at what you don't have.

morpheus1982 says:

Videos already compress when emailing.

I know, i always have to send the video to my android, and send it back with wassap to my wp again, because you can't even save the freakin video from your email directly. People get horny about themes and ringrones, and for the most basic things, we stay screwed

Micah Dawson says:

Get horny? Wow you can often tell someone's intelligence by how they speak.

Last I checked I wasn't sexually frustrasted or hot and bothered by an update for a phone...and I am willing to say most here aren't.

There's dumb...then there is this.

NIST says:

OMFG I'm popping a boner.

kingjah says:

Well said, It truly excites me to finally get basic features on an OS I really like. But this guy definitely doesn't know how to express himself intelligently.

phasar says:

Exactly, I can't stand the fact that simple things like saving a video, adding a search result to your contacts, and deleting all email simultaneously , are missing. Not to mention the videos are all over the place instead of one central location.

donebrasko says:

I would like to be able to do more with videos and have a specific place to find them all

you high??? ringrones are the most important part of everything!!!

DennisvdG says:

Get an Android

Novron says:

Could have used this this morning. Had to factory reset to get computer synching to work.

Ronnet says:

Really nice. I also saw a vid of Joe Belfior switch the accent color on his phone and 2 seconds later having it change on their Windows 8 PC to match it. Which I found a bit strange since the color selection on Windows 8 is far superior.

QilleRz says:

Yes. I thought of it too. But you can always turn that snyc setting off. So don't worry if you don't like it :)

Ronnet says:

But.I love sync, restore and the whole unification of the Windows platform. I just wish they would have given WP the same customization features as Windows to make the feature perfect. How hard could it have been to add the same color selection as Windows? Or to offer multiple background colors (not just black/white)?

TonyHove says:

This is definitely a feature that will be appreciated by many! Glad its coming with 8.1!

Finidel says:

I was pretty bummed after the initial excitement of buying my Lumia 1520...... The lack of features and simple things that my phone didn't possess. 8.1 is the start of a major turn around.. I'm glad now that I purchased this 1520. Go Microsoft!

Aashish13 says:

Dev preview update release date 8th april,10th april or 14th??

According to windows phone blog, 1st part of April. So before April 15, i think

Thank god. Makes changing phoned less of a pain in the butt.

NIST says:

Stop changing phones in your butt.

damo579 says:

Good to know.

L0gic Bom8 says:

As long as are apps automatically downloaded, I'm okay with enduring grayed out tiles.

iZangetsu says:

My guess is that if they don't automatically download, then you simply tap the gray tile to see the app in the store. Both of which would be very helpful.

L0gic Bom8 says:

True enough. Or they should make it so that any apps you have on the Start screen take top priority first.

latempete says:

I am wondering the same thing. I haven't seen anywhere yet where it explicitly says your apps will redownload or redownloading will be easier. I have had Windows Phone since the first week it launched. Going through 3+ years of downloaded apps 20 at a time (which last time I had to start the list over many times and go back through, page by page, sifting through easily 800 apps I have used or tried at one point or another is maddening. Anything to make that better. I have 300 or so on my phone now. Having app data saved will be AMAZING. No having to relogin or reauthorize apps all the time. I avoid hard resets like the plague.

QilleRz says:

That's an awesome addition ! Really can't wait for WP8.1 to launch officially on my L920 :D

iamakii says:

Is it really confirmed that all WP 8 phones will have three column tiles in 8.1??

cuwe says:

Not all actually, only for WP that had 4.5 inches screen and above :)
Edit: I read about it somewhere . If I'm wrong please correct me nicely .

mrllano says:

Wrong nicely

cuwe says:

So 3.8" and above will get 3rd columns ? Is that so ?

No, its 4.5, dunno where mrllano got his info, but its false, it was mentioned in one of WPC's old WP 8.1 feature walkthoughs during //build/

TJWINS says:

Joe Belfiore clearly says here that ALL Windows Phones will get 3 column tiles. http://youtu.be/cAu0YgPnuXM

I stand corrected, I guess that was just an incorrect rumour or a decision microsoft made at the last minute.

I apologize to mrllano :P

mrllano says:

According to WP's website even the 520 will get 3 column tiles

Yea, that video made it clear lol

Sajal Garg says:

U will never like 3 columns on a 4" display..

BataBole says:

You can have 4 columns if you use smallest ones tiles xD

Yes. All the WP8 , even Lumia 620 also supports 3 column. It depends on you that on small screen it suits you or not.

latempete says:

It's an option on smaller phones. It's shown in one of WPCs videos they did during build. I think with a 630.

It pretty nice feature and actually backing up apps won't be a good idea as some apps may size up to hundreds if MB.

eruptflail says:

Will app studio apps that aren't in the WP store be automatically downloaded?

JoseCortesP says:

From where? Off course not, just think about it

I had to replace my Surface2. Ten minutes, a few passwords and it was like nothing ever happened. Nice knowing this feature is coming to WP8.1

paulxxwall says:

Yes much needed . One reason I avoid hard resets....to avoid redoing my start screen

Finally! Probably the best 8.1. feature to me

John20212 says:

Unless they have an option to backup and restore using the PC, I am not interested. Microsoft can shove their cloud restore, I want simple direct PC backup and restore as was in Windows Mobile, and store my personal phone data on my storage in my control and not on someone elses cloud, where you have little control about how your data is handled.

Why the hell should I use the cloud when I have terabytes of my own storage? Just makes no sense.


xirsteon says:

you're using the wrong mobile platform. shall i recommend open source...eh...andr.... so u can root, customize to ur heart desires, have control over crap...eh bloatware u can't remove... , backup ur apps to wherever u want.

spazzmeister says:

You can remove bloatware. You just need to root first.

WPC App for Android - Note 3

xirsteon says:

sure..rooting is easy these days but why go thru that hassle? your phone should be urs after all...not the other way around.

hprvez says:

yeah you just need to remove that little security you still have without permissions LOL

lippidp says:

+1. Fuck the cloud.

Loving Shubh says:

Bloody fuckers....
Update WhatsApp u idiots :/

aswinbarathb says:

WhatsApp has to do that!! Or now, fb shud

wpgeek820 says:

Calm down. WhatsApp is a million times better than what it was a year ago. I'm very happy we got this much.

sharpycl says:

Finally!! I could've used this a few days ago when I got my 1520. :-))

SAM 77 says:

They just keep on giving.


I wasnt so hyped up about Win 8.1 but now I'm getting 3 columns for my lumia 820 I'm psyched for all the extras

TechAbstract says:

BBM is coming for Windows Phone

What about playing music through usb??

JW888 says:

USB OTG, maybe.......

Logix1 says:

Not really that exciting. Seems a little pointless if you cant restore your apps as well?

morpheus1982 says:

App restore is already part of wp8.

latempete says:

Not automatically. You have to go to Windowsphone.com and select the apps you want redownloaded. For me, that's sifting through over 800 apps from the last 3+ years. 20 at a time. Selecting the 300 or so I have on my phone now. The site acts up all the time and you have to start going through the list over and over. It takes many hours to do that alone. Just hitting a "restore apps" button to do that for me would be incredible. And, like so many said already, would make a hard reset doable. I won't do one now. It takes a full day and a half of almost non-stop (sleep included) work to get my phone completely back right now.

hprvez says:

you fucked up your phone and/or you didn't choose the backup when restoring with the same microsoft account

wtma says:

You can restore your apps from the store.

JoRdaNeK says:

As a multiple Windows Phone owner this makes me moist! male/28/uk :P

NIST says:

I hope you're a girl.

hprvez says:

a girl with a penis, satisfied?

redeyss says:

I'm coming back from android!!! Yay!!

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

Starbane says:

Good, your signature is just annoying on every post

Darren Walsh says:

Does anyone know if it will have gapless playback? I listen to a lot of dance music that is mixed so it's a must !!!!

blessthejon says:

+1020 Gapless playback is something I miss so much. It can't be too difficult to implement it.

blessthejon says:

That would be a nice option too.

LTTG says:

So excited for April 14th!!!

jjag520 says:

How about game saves? Will there a backup feature for games?

DavidinCT says:

this is what the word is....it will backup app settings, and that would cover games too.... Pretty freaking epic if you ask me.....about time !!!

Great feature, save time trying to get the layout back! Will this be part of a broader backup feature? Like a failsafe restore, a complete system backup?

blessthejon says:

YES. I hope one day they can make it like iOS where if you broke your brother's iPhone you could just sync it to iTunes & restore to the new iPhone & Everything would be restored exactly the same & no one could ever tell.

I think your brother would be glad.

ortizang says:

Not getting the Lumia 930 because of two things: it doesn't support glance notification, 2 I love phones with big screen just like l1520. Talking about features in windows phone 8.1 , I'm happy cause most of the things have been included. I can't wait for the dev preview.

Ecurb87 says:

What if the apps are saved to a SD card and one does a hard reset? Obviously no need to re-download the apps, right?