How to unlock your Windows Phone 7 device

Let me start out saying that I am not a big fan of unlocking, rooting, and jailbreaking phones. It’s not that I see something fundamentally wrong with doing so, it’s just that I am lazy. I have jailbroken iPhones before and even rooted Android phones, but I am very simple and don’t normally need added functionality. When I was reviewing phones right and left back in the day, I was too lazy to spend time to accomplish all this for a device I was only going to have a couple of weeks. I just got used to using stock ROMs and most of the time, they are ok for me.

With Windows Phone 7, I have a need to unlock. Apple spoiled me with how easy it is to take screenshots on an iPhone. Windows Phone 7 doesn’t offer such a nifty method. They don’t offer any method at all. In order to get screenshots from a Windows Phone, you have to install a bunch of developer tools, hook the phone up and do it on the PC. I recently discovered, thanks to Mike Temporale, that I could get a homebrew app to take screenshots on the device. It’s not as easy as it is on the iPhone, but it works.

In order to use this homebrew app, you have to unlock your Windows Phone. Luckily, ChevronWP7 makes this process somewhat simple. From what I can tell, you must have a PC with Windows 7 or Vista on it. Then, and this is the kicker for some, you head over to labs.chevronwp7.com and pay $9 to gain access to their software that unlocks Windows Phone 7 devices.

  • The 1st step is to head over to labs.chevronwp7.com and sign in with you Windows Live ID.
  • Next, you need to purchase a token (key) for $9 via Paypal or credit card.
  • Now for the fun, you need to download the unlocker and run it. You need to choose between 32 or 64 bit. This is where it gets fun. You can’t run this unlocker without downloading a ton of developer tools onto your PC. The note says,  “Note: Microsoft .NET Framework 4 required. Please download and install if you don’t have it.”, but you are going to need more than that.
  • After you install the .NET framework as indicated above, you can try to run the unlocker you downloaded. You will probably get error messages telling you that you need the developer tools I referred to.
  • Download those tools and install, try running it again. I think I had to do this twice and both times, the error message linked me, in my browser, to the website needed to download more tools.
  • Run the unlocker again, and you are all set, or should be.

You will then see the app pop up and it will guide you the rest of the way. Here are screenshots of this process.

I started the app with the HTC Titan disconnected. The unlocker prompted me to connect it. When it was connected, the Zune software automatically launched. The next pop up told me it was closed for me. :)

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Next, it asked me to unlock the HTC Titan and then a prompt to enter the token I purchased earlier.

Oops. I went with the default name for the HTC Titan in the Zune software. The unlocker prompted me to change that name to something unique. I closed the unlocker, fired up the Zune software, and renamed. After that, I closed the Zune software and reran the unlocker. This time it all went smoothly. I clicked unlock and a few seconds later, “Your phone has been unlocked, Hurray!”.

That’s it, the HTC Titan is now unlocked and I am going to be able to install apps that aren’t from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Please keep in mind, there are dangers associated with altering the core OS like this. If you choose to unlock, root, or jailbreak a phone, do so at your own risk.

  

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