How I had to wait 60 thousand minutes to unlock my Lumia smartphone

By Saad Mughal on
March 20, 2016
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The popular Lumia smartphone series by Microsoft came out in 2011. The flag bearer for the Windows mobile platform has developed significantly since its inception. However, both the Lumia series and the Windows Mobile have a long way to go. As with all other platforms, there are bound to be bugs and errors in the Windows Mobile OS and I found one such bug just recently. I managed to get locked out of a Microsoft Lumia 532 for over 400 days!

How did this happen? Well here is a step-by-step explanation:

  • You enter the password incorrectly five times – this locks you out of the phone for 1 minute.
  • During this timeout of 1 minute, you take out the phone’s battery.
  • This resets the data and time on the phone to the date of manufacture of the phone (in my case, it was November, 2014).
  • You start phone again and it shows you a countdown of not 1 minute but the total number of minutes from November 2014 (manufacture date) to now. In my case, the total amount of lock-down time was almost 60 thousand minutes!

Warning One: Do not attempt this on your phone because you will lose all your data.

Warning Two: To ensure that this does not happen, ensure that you never give your locked Lumia phone to kids or people who do not know the password.

Now, the problem is that Windows Mobile offers no way to bypass the lock screen. That is, no email ID and password, no remote access, nothing. Unlike Android which offers you the luxury of accessing (locking or unlocking) the device through device manager. Once you’re locked out, the only way to make your phone usable again is by hard resetting the device (mentioned later on in this article). This is something that Microsoft seriously needs to consider in the next update for its illustrious Lumia series.

However, there are some things that you need to know before we can jump to conclusions. I tested this out with two different devices Microsoft Lumia 535 and Microsoft Lumia 532. Both of these devices were running on Windows Mobile 8. This bug has been reported with almost all Lumia devices running on Windows Mobile 8. Also, if your SIM card has the NITZ (Network Identity and Time Zone) functionality and if you have the option for ‘Automatically Update Date and Time’ enabled on your phone, this might not be an issue (since the date and time will automatically be adjusted on restart).
Finally, what’s the solution to this problem? Well, you have to reset your phone to make it usable again. To do so, follow the following steps:

  • Turn off your phone.
  • Press and hold both the Power and Volume Down buttons simultaneously for around 10 seconds. Release the buttons when you feel a vibration.
  • Immediately press and hold down the Volume Down button until you see an Exclamation (!) mark on your screen.
  • Now, press the following keys in the given order: Volume Up, Volume Down, Power, Volume Down.
  • You will now see two rotating gears on your screen – this indicates that the hard reset process has started. Your device will restart when the hard reset is complete.

Warning Three: This hard reset will wipe off all data from your phone and recover it to the default factory settings.

Image Sources – mspoweruser

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