(Guide) How to reset/recover WP/Lumia phones using Windows Device Recovery Tool Software?

I have already described the use of Lumia Software Recovery Tool (LSRT) in this older post. However Microsoft recently updated LSRT to a new software called “Windows Device Recovery Tool” (WDRT). It supports all old Nokia Lumia phones (WP 7/7.5/7.8/8/8.1) plus new Microsoft Lumia (WP 8/8.1 and Windows 10) devices. Despite the name change, WDRT essentially serves the same purpose as LSRT i.e. it can reset/restore/update a Lumia phone. Besides it can also be used to recover/flash a soft-bricked WP/Lumia device – a procedure commonly called “dead-phone USB flashing”. In WDRT Microsoft has also added support for Windows Phone devices manufactured by other companies like Acer, HTC, LG etc. But unlike LSRT, it does not support any old Nokia/Symbian/S40 phone other than Lumias. So without further blah-blah here is how you can use WDRT to recover/reset/flash/update a Lumia device.

Windows Device Recovery Tool

Windows Device Recovery Tool

Windows Device Recovery Tool

With WDRT you can –
Reset a Windows/Lumia phone to original settings by re-installing phone-software
Update the phone-software to latest available version
Recover a dead/bricked Lumia phone

WDRT can solve most bricked-mobile issues like boot-loop issue (phone is restarting again and again), phone is stuck at Nokia logo/white screen on boot, persistent spinning cog-wheels at boot or during update, BSOD, phone only vibrates on pressing power button and then nothing happens etc. Some common reasons of a bricked-phone are –
An interrupted flashing/update process due to computer related issues (power failure, restart, hangs/freeze etc)
Connection interruption during flashing/update process
Corruption/deletion of system files, virus/malware infection
Flashing the phone with an incompatible or corrupt custom firmware

Requirements
A computer running Windows (7 or later)
Windows Device Recovery Tool (see below for download link)
A compatible USB data cable to connect the phone with computer
5-10 GB free space in Windows installation drive (usually C drive)

WARNING before jumping into action, beware of the fact that phone flashing is not a fun and casual process intended for novices thus –
You must know exactly what you are doing
Follow the below given instructions very carefully
make sure that phone’s battery is charged to at least 3/4th of the full, however if the phone is dead and the battery status is not known then do not use the phone charger/wireless charger to charge the phone as it may heat-up and damage the battery
Recovery process will delete everything in phone memory so if possible, take a backup of your important phone data. Microsoft recommends that before going for WDRT, you should try resetting the phone via inbuilt phone settings app as it is easier and does not involve any data transfer.
Be patient and DO NOT touch or disconnect USB data cable before the whole process completes as interruption in flashing may render your phone irreparable.
As this process may takes quite some time, make sure that your computer is not set to go into standby/sleep mode when left unattended for long period as it will interrupt the flashing process.

Ready to go? Follow the steps described below –
There are two scenarios –

1. When the phone is ON (in working condition)

  • Download the latest version of Windows Device Recovery Tool installer from this page. After download completes, run the installer – it will download and install WDRT in your Windows computer
  • Launch it after installation completes – computer must be connected to internet – WDRT will check for update and will advance to the main screen (as shown in the screenshot)
  • Connect your WP/Lumia phone with computer using USB data cable
  • Wait for a while as device drivers are installed in computer
  • WDRT will recognize the phone and shows the software version and other details (computer must be connected to internet)
  • Now you can update/reset the phone by clicking “Install software” button – WDRT will download the update package and will install it in the phone
  • Wait for the process to complete as it may take upto 2 hours.

2. When the phone is dead/bricked (i.e. not in working condition) due to software corruption or any other issue except the hardware one

  • Launch WDRT and connect your bricked Windows/Lumia phone using USB cable
    Wait for a minute as WDRT tries to recognize it – if the phone is not detected still then disconnect it from computer
  • Now click the “My device was not detected” button at WDRT main screen.
  • Select your phone manufacturer (Lumia or other OEMs) if prompted at the next screen
  • Now again connect your phone with computer – wait for WDRT to detect it (usually for a minute)
  • If still not detected then restart the phone (keep it connected with computer) – press and hold the Power and Volume Down keys simultaneously – release the keys when phone vibrates – WDRT should detect the phone at this moment
  • If detected, click the “Install software” button and let WDRT finish the process. A fast internet connection is recommended as WDRT will download the phone software (usually around 1 GB) and then install it. The whole process may take over 30 minutes depending upon the internet connection and phone model. SO sit back and relax!
  • If still not detected then try to repeat the above process (Power and Volume Down keys maneuver) few more times before quitting. Still unlucky? Your phone now probably need expert care at a service center. Good luck!

Update (October 2016) – Now WDRT also supports Microsoft devices other than phones like Holo Lens and Holo Lens Clicker. Besides, phones made by Acer, Alcatel, BLU, HTC (One M8 and 8X), LG, NEO, UniStrong, VAIO and Yezz running Windows Phone 8 or later are also supported by WDRT.

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