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How to downgrade the OS on a Lumia Windows Phone

Nokia Software Recovery Tool

Have a Lumia handset that is bricked or not turning on? You could it send it back for repair. Or you could take the DIY approach and try fixing it yourself using the Nokia Recovery Software Tool. It's a desktop application that is aimed at getting your ailing Lumia back up and running. Here's a quick tutorial on how to use the software.

What you'll need

  • A broken (but never down for the count) Lumia
  • Nokia Recovery Software Tool

Where can I download the Nokia Recovery Software Tool?

Here you go. Follow the links below to grab the Windows desktop software:

What are the PC requirements to use this recovery tool?

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or later.
  • USB cable to connect your phone to the computer.
  • Minimum 2 GB free storage space.
  • The files downloaded by the Nokia Software Recovery Tool may be as much as 4GB, and may take a long time, depending on your internet connection and phone model.

Does this work with my Windows Phone from HTC, Samsung or another phone maker?

No. This software is just for Lumia handsets from Nokia.

Are you ready to save your Lumia?

Yes. Let's do this.

How to save your Lumia using Nokia Recovery Software Tool – the steps

Nokia Software Recovery Tool

  • Download and install Nokia Recovery Software Tool
  • Open Nokia Software Recovery Tool
  • Connect your Lumia to the PC with a USB cable
  • You'll see which software version you can install on your Lumia – Click install below that
  • You will need to acknowledge that the data and content on your phone will be erased. If you can still access your phone, make a backup by going into settings -> backup . You'll also need to know that photos, music and apps will be wiped during this reset process. Click that you understand and then click continue.
  • You'll now begin downloading the software. Network speeds vary, but your download might take about 15 minutes.
  • The software will now begin installing to your phone. Do not use your phone or disconnect the cable during this step. Just go for a quick walk while your phone and PC do their thing.
  • Ta-da! You're done and have just saved your phone!

Have any questions? Sound off below or hit me up on Twitter (@samsabri). Have you ever used the Nokia Recovery Software Tool to save your Lumia? Let us know how it went!

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Reader comments

How to downgrade the OS on a Lumia Windows Phone

210 Comments

I have had a couple of incidents where the screen on my 820 stopped working and resetting with power and volume buttons did not work. Removing the battery fixed it both times. I will not buy any phone without a removable battery.

You're just limiting the number of phones you can use. Most phones today don't have removable batteries. And I doubt that will change in the future.

....
If your phone is bricked, taking out battery doesn't works most of the times. Don't know what you are talking about.
Btw phones with non-removable batteries can perform a "Soft-Reset" which is done by simultaneously pressing & holding the Power+Volume Down button for about 10-15 sec. It is equivalent to removing the battery from the device.

I agree, pulling a battery out is going to do more harm, or nothing at all... But device owner love them! I'd always get a device with a uni body... Hence I own a 720 & am quite happy.

In the case where a software upgrade is interrupted this will not work. At all. You need this tool for plenty of situations where removable batteries exist. Get off your high horse.

When I had my 820 it would freeze on me all the time. So pulling the battery out would restart t the phone. Now wish I would have had this tool for the nokia amber update that bricked my 820. Basically gave it away for nothing on ebay. I'm good with my note 3, I also would never but a phone with a removable battery either. That's why if I were to go back to windows phone it would have to be something like the 820.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Amber also bricked my L920. Took it back to ATT and they exchanged it. FYI pulling the battery on a phone with a corrupted firmware image will do nothing to help it. You have to get new software into it, not new electrons.

Because I can, and I like wp better than apple. I owned 2 windows phone's and like to see what's going on with their operating system.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

That doesn't always work either. I've seen a 920 completely dead, and unresponsive to hard and soft reset. Then 48hours later the phone turned on and started working. The phone locked up when answering a call, which triggered the issue. Anyways, downloaded and hopefully will never have to use it

I believe removing the battery on Lumia 822's correlates to the horrible OS not found thing. There's a thread in there and one on Verizon's website that people usually remove their battery and the phone is shot after and refuses to reflash, lol.

Yes because we can't use the "Force shut down" button press (Press and hold the "Power" and "Volume Down" buttons untill you feel your phone buzz), and phones apparently can't run out if battery power. That and I believe you don't know what a Bricked Phone is...

Yes you just reopen the preview developer again & reload its all done to your Microsoft account its that simple.

Will wait for the official release of 8.1 thru AT&T .Dev Preview turned my 1520 into a 500 dollar paper weight

This also works wonders for those who got suckered into buying a demo device. Just found that out when someone sold me a demo Lumia 820.

Sure but they could do the same on a Android and iPhone by putting those in a their flashings modes and flashing them. There's no real way around it but the hope is that your able to track your stolen phone before this happens

i think you can still track and lock your stolen phone with the help of your mobile carrier if you know your phone's IMEI number

It is not necessary that you have to use it only if your phone gets bricked, you can use it to downgrade your OS too. For example, if you don't like WP8.1, revert back to WP8 :)

I reinstalled the firmware a few days ago with this tool. It took my Lumia 720 from windows phone 8.1 preview to windows phone 8.
That's literally downgrade!!

Hey Sam,I get an error on the software recovery tool saying no packages available or something like that for my 720(was trying to see which firmware it could downgrade to,I'm not downgrading from 8.1DP though,was curious)

Went back to WP 8 when my 920 got unresponsive (many times a day) but same things happened twice or thrice in WP 8 too .. I thought this is a hardware problem bt then it starts working again whenever I think to go to nokia care. Now m again back on 8.1 ... Can't survive 8 after using 8.1 :)

So glad to have my 520 back on 8, only downside is some of the apps are now crappier than before (looks at Nokia Camera). Will stay with WP8 until I can't get phones on it anymore!

Yep...used it last night...as the 8.1 preview somehow didn't agree with my 1520...a few apps went wild and Glance stopped refreshing....so I'll wait for the official update.

Most times, a soft reset fixes the glance bug. I think that I've been lucky, my phone works seamlessly with WP 8.1 DP

Did soft and hard reset and that didn't help my 1520.mms,wifi,text didn't work at all with the 8.1 Dev Preview.Took about 25 minutes to revert back to 8.0 with the recovery tool.

Quite with the same comment over and over again.The Dev Preview is nothing more than a beta.Nothing official about it.It's total crap without the Cyan firmware to back it up with on top of it.I will wait for my carrier to release the update.

I thought I had bricked my Lumia 1020 once after it crashed and wouldn't turn on. But, I tried again in a few hours and it worked luckily

This recovery tool saved my Lumia when all hope was gone. Love Nokia for making such tools which can reset broken devices.

Thanks Sam!
A lot people in the forums have been asking about this.

Now we have a place to point those needing help.

Used it myself recently also...

last night i managed to brick my L625 with nokia recovery tool and get red screen with nokia logo and then i succesffuly recover it back to life also with nokia recovery tool :D

Yes, if it's a 920, there is a tutorial on the site, but why would you want to, you'll lose some features by doing that (Internet Sharing/Tethering chief among them IIRC)

I dont have internet sharing. Cant use the internet sharing feature from my us phone plan on a damn rogers ROM. Which is why I want to flash back to the att ROM.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Can this also be used to switch your phone to a country variant firmware? Or is there a way to do that with Lumia devices? My original operator switched off the network time feature in their firmware (because they don't provide it) but now that I've switched networks I'd like to turn it back on.

Please do sound off if you managed to do this. I am stuck with EE here in UK and there are the worst when it comes to timely WP updates. Would gladly lose my phone data and start off with a CV version on my lumia 920.

I did in the end, using Nokia Care Suite. PM me if you're interested, I could work up some instructions when I get a chance. You do lose your data, but in the end you get a lot of it back from the cloud anyway if you already have 8.1.

Yes. This is how I flashed my phone when amber came out. Just need to place the new rom in the proper place and select it from the list of available software.

Not sure how much this would have helped when I had to send my 928 back in October. I'm pretty sure something came unsoldered from the board because it was stuck on a bootloader screen and my computer wouldn't even recognize it when I plugged it in

Does this work for 7.x devices? Got a 800 bricked for already a year, tried even to reconnect its battery

Umm, my 520 is Tethered to provide Internet to the whole house on an unlimited data package. Anyone have an idea where I might download the actual OS-Update file BEFORE running the Recovery tool? Once I start the recovery, I will have no Internet.

That might not be possible... The recovery ROMs are stock of course, unless there is someone with a suitable custom ROM with the GDR.. With that said, weren't you able to Tether before the update?

Yes you can, once you find the right ROM(your RM model and carrier), or compatible one (a few will work despite the different features or lack there of)

Interesting that this should get posted a week after I sent off my 1020, but alas, this tool did not fix my problem. As it was unable to recognise the Qualcomm boot loader as a Nokia device.

I had/have a 822 that no longer turns on. This happened after I used the recovery tool. There was an error during the recovery and I can't get it to turn on. Would love to get it to work again. Has anyone been able to recover a dead phone?

After using this to take my 1020 with 8.1 back to 8.0 in the about phone it says I have a 909 instead of a 1020.  Is there any way to make my phone identify correctly again?  My contract is up at the end of the month and I want to exchange it for another phone, they may not take it back if it shows the wrong version.

That is the 1020. RM-909 is a model id rather than a model name. It's an identifier for the manufacturer. But if you look on the packaging it will also be listed there.

I wish we could back up apps before the process so I could save all my delisted xbox games, my 8.1 install is laggy/buggy on a 920, last time i just backed it down to 8.0 and then back to 8.1 and all was well. I havent gotten all my achievements in rocket riot yet, I cant lose it!! lol..

So funny when a recovery application recommends to full backup phone's data, when there's no full backup sofware for such phone.

 

I used this a few months ago after a hard reset on my L920 (the touch screen stopped working). It wouldn't boot up after the reset until I used this software. It's worked perfectly ever since

This only works for WP8. I have a 710 that I could give to someone if I could fix it. But this software won't help with bricked WP7.

As someone who has had to use this method, and who had also reset all kinds of phones for government employees, this is by far the easiest tool and software I've used. Anyways, I had to send my phone into Nokia for warranty repair to fix here drive+. They sent my phone back with a new screen and battery but same software issue. I used this tool and it fixed everything. I was even able to do this on my surface pro tablet, no issues with USB drivers, incorrect OS version or other things I've bumped into resetting iPhones, Samsungs and BlackBerrys. I had a good experience with it anyways and I hope anyone else that uses it has the same.

If only they would use this to deploy updated firmware, instead of making us wait for the carriers to deliver it over the air (or get around carriers that won't delivery them *cough cough T-Mobile 810 cough*).

Just tried it on my Icon and it worked like a charm. Thought it was beyond bricked and was ready to call VZW support on Monday and arrange to send it back. Now it looks like I won't have to : )

Might use this to downgrade my 925 back to 8.0 until Cyan comes out. Can't connect to car's Bluetooth while with the dev preview. It's a shame, but at least I know next time not to upgrade early without the proper firmware.

Can this help with repairing a camera issue that I have with a L820. I haven't been able to get the camera to launch since I up -
graded to 8.1.

The original meaning of the word 'bricked' seems to have been lost.

If it was truly bricked, you would have a phone that was completely dead, never to return!!!

I do admit that the Lumia flashing tool is handy for reflashing the rom of your device when a new os update comes out so you can reclaim some storage space (the bad thing is that you lose anything that cannot be backed up). Then again, the process is natural for me since I did some custom rom work with Windows Mobile in the past.

nokia software recovery tool error 0x80131500.... I get this dreaded error when I try to flash my L920 back to the US ATT ROM from that damn rogers amber ROM that I've foolishly flashed months ago....

I feel your pain. My 920 was bricked doing an over-the-air update. I can't send it back in because it's one of the //BUILD/ developer phones (which shows as Canadian hardware and I'm in the USA) .Seems I can't do anything with online support since my home country doesn't match the country the phone is associated with. 

I just got the 0x80131500 error, and here is how I got through it!  FYI, I got this error MULTIPLEtimes, and I was afraid I had a useless 1520.3.

When told that the installation failed, I chose to cancel.  This allowed me to choose another option that initiated the firmware download again.  I let it completely download again.  I then let it begin the install process.  The progress bar on the phone will reach 100% when the progress bar on the recovery software reaches 50%.  The phone will restart and the progress bar will start from the beginning on the phone again.  The progress bar on the recovery software will start at 50% and go to 100% just as the progress bar on the phone. 

Once this is complete you phone will reboot a few times.  The recovery software will say something about rebooting and have a countdown timer.

Once all rebooting is finished, you'll boot to the WP setup screen.  Go through this process, download all the avaiable updates.

I noticed recently with WP8.1 my Lumia 1020 would sometimes just "Crash"... It would freeze, then pressing the power button twice, just brings up a screen full of differently colored pixels... Even my glance screen is like that, but a bit darker lol. But simply using the force shut down feature (Holding down the "Power" and "Volume Down" buttons till your phone buzzes) seems to fix it. That or let your phone run out of battery power (Or if you can, remove the battery, only with select models). People should try that before resorting with the Nokia recovery tool, the old "Try turning it off then on again, see if that works"!

One of the most problems of any nokia lumia smartphones is the touch screen always keep freezing because of super sensitive touch. I end up this frustrated and feels desperately....

Does anyone know an app I can download that allows me to buy or rent movies, since XBOX Video is broken and can't be downloaded on the Lumia rt tablet?

Is this guide somehow different from the older ones? Or is this newer version of Nokia Software Recovery Tool?
 

The software can't seem to detect my Lumia through USB. So I went the nuclear route by using Nokia Care Suite, nada, no USB detection. Dunno if my drivers are working tried reinstalling still not working.
Posted via the WPC App for Android!

 Hi good afternoon I have HTC 8x that I update to Windows Phone 8.1 dev prev and after 2 day using its stop to work and shut down, the only way to respond me is if I plug in the charger and when I did it the doesnt on the light indicator just vibrate and on the screen with HTC and Beats logo after  that its get off again and vibrate, etc one more time. Can someone help me to fix it. thanks for your time.

Forum would be a better place to ask for a fix, but I'd suggest using the recovery tool as mentioned in the article here?

Hi,I'm using Lumia 820 (8.1 dev.preview installed). I don't have any problem using this. Is this above mentioned recovery is necessary for me to get official 8.1? please help me.

Doing it now, my 625 recieved the update fine here in the UK, but 1020 is still awaiting testing.  I don't use bitlocker, but I'll feel happier having the commercial release on there now whilst I wait.  Especially if they end up delaying the release for everyone on 8.1 preview

I used to think buying a phone with no removable battery was a dumb move. I had to have the 925 though. Lol. Here is where these types of phones are a smart move. She you send in a phone with issues for repair, you have to keep the same battery when they send the new phone. With a non removable battery, you get a new phone and new battery. It's genius. They probably didn't think this over too well, or maybe they realized batteries should start being replaced as well.

i cant connect to the nokia software recovery tool,, i've downloaded the latest version from nokia site but evert time i connect my phone (L820) i keeps telling me that : "there was a problem connecting to the selected phone. Disconnect all phones, restart nokia software recovery tool, and try again."

does anyone know how to help me????

it is not showing any thing for my lumia 920. find below screenshot and help me out on this please

 

Downloading info for the selected phone from server failed.. this may be caused by server issue or your phone may not be supported

Please help me on this

and am even not able to backup my data

 

Doesnt look like your phone needs the use of this Tool. More details needed like phone model details and what you are trying to acheive.

Sam, I might have to use this when I get the 8.1 update. not 100% sure but highly likely. My phone is HK var flashed with AU var SW. Eager wait to see what happens.

my phone (920) stuck in qhsusb_dload mode somehow. I tried recovering the phone using nokia software recovery but it says "the phone is not supported". and ofcourse hard reset and soft reset dont work either. i am not able to turn on the phone

Bricked Lumia 1020 here. Tried both the US and UK executable files, won't install, says my Lumia 1020 isn't supported. Phone won't booth. Can't hard reset via power + volume down + camera button, Recovery Tool won't work either *sighs*

Hello 

First my phone got this "error: unable to find bootable options . please press any key to shut down" i tried to recover the phone useing Nokia software recovery tool. donwloaded the software and while installing i am getting this error: i have connected only one phone. 

Software Installation failed Error code: 0x8007007E. you may try to recover or cancel. it stopped working at here. please can someone suggest me further.

Thanks in advance,

Regards,

Venkat 

 

I rolled back from DP to default using the Nokia Care Suite app, then upgraded to 8.1/Cyan.  Taking forever to load and configure everything again.  What a pain.

My phone is lumia 720.. .

I got problem firstly touchscreen is not working completely...
Side buttons are working properly. . .
Screen shows everything normal but i can't able to touch...

After that my phone got totally discharged....
now my is totally death....
Even after charging
For 7 hours charging....

And my phone was updated to 8 .1 through preview for developer...

PlzzZ guide me. ..
WhaT should i do . .

There is post by Sam dated 12th Aug '14(wpcentral.com/how-move-offline-map-data-your-sd-card-windows-phone). It'll help you. I've downloaded the map on the SD card..

sorry for posting this way.. :P it wasn't accepting the link.. happy to help.. :)

Tired to do this and it said it failed halfway through. TOTALLY bricked my unlocked 1520. Wouldn't even light up when I put a charger in. All reset button combos etc had no effect. It is currently with Nokia hoping they will either someone fix it or send me a new one!

hey there i am using nokia lumia 520. when i tried to recover the phone using this software it says that " PACKAGE DOWNLOAD FOR THE SELECTED PHONE FAILED!!!"

Well i tried to do it on my lumia 1020, however it keeps bring me "the software package, is not available for this phone.
Producto code 059w184, then if i choose that my telephone doesnt turn on it kept looking for the package with no results, helps out.
Also if I have the 8.1 latest version , do I still be advice to download Cyan ?
Thank you

I have a Lumia 1020 with preview for developers. I downloaded the Nokia Recovery Software to downgrade my OS, but the Nokia Recovery Software won't recognize my phone. It just keeps telling me to connect my phone. Tried rebooting the phone with no luck. My computer is Windows 7 64 bit. Any advice? I also tried connecting it as an upresponsive phone with no luck. My computer connects right away with it when I plug it in, just not the recovery software!

 

Any help would be appreciated.

Start the Software Recovery Tool First. It will tell you connect the phone. Connect your phone only when you see the screen telling you to connect.

So, now that Windows Phone 8.1 OS is officially out for my Lumia 1020 on Rogers, this tool won't let me downgrade to WP8, so I still can't get Cyan. Stupid BitLocker problem. Hurry up Microsoft!

I have a Lumia 625 and I wanted/need to downgrade it to do the Cyan update, but I can't download the Nokia Recovery tool because unfortunately I only have an old XP computer. Is there any other way to do it?

i updated my lumia 520 with preview for developer but after rolling out officail lumia cyan update...i am trying for this new update ....but when i have check for updated then it will not showing any update...so i contacted to nokia for this issue..they said use nokia recovery tool ...i also tried for downgrading my software but when process started ...this is showing on pc screen 
 software installation failed.

error code: 0x80131500. you may try to recover or cancel. if you cancel, your phone may stop working.

so suggest me how to fix this..

i also tried for recover but recover is also falid.....and however my phone is still in well working condition.

This happened to me as well. Try plugging into another USB port. Start the Recovery Tool first, then when the screen appears that tell you connect your phone, connect it then. I did get it to work.

I had a major restore problem after downgrading and installing 8.1 Update with Cyan. I thought I was screwed, because I was missing tons of apps and settings- all gone with no way to get to the stored backup. For some reason, it wasnt an option even tho I could see it online in my Onedrive. So I just hard reset my phone and am NOW seeing my backup! I just restored, and have everytihng sitting where I left it before the downgrade! If you are having any similar issues with your down and upgrade, try the hard reboot.

 

cheers

Jadan

When I connect The phone (Lunia 920) to the PC, Nokia Recovery says "Unable to read device"

I hard reset it and same thing,

Strange because witha Lunia 1520 had no issue

Any Idea

Marco

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