Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

Syncing over Wi-Fi with Windows Phone 7

With Windows Phone 7, the phone tries to be as “cloud based” as possible, communicating with email, photos, social networking – all over the Internet. There are times, though, when you need to synchronise the phone with a computer – you then start using the Zune software. Well, you do if you have a Windows PC Winking smile.

When you are setting up the phone, you start off by physically connecting the phone to the computer using the supplied USB cable. However, the Zune software and the phone can actually synchronise over Wi-Fi … but there are some rules you need to be aware of before it will work! I thought that it might be useful to highlight these rules as some of them might not be immediately apparent.

To start with, you have to configure the Zune software and the phone to enable synchronisation over Wi-Fi. To do this, go to the Zune software and go Settings > Device > Wireless Sync. If you haven’t got the phone connected via USB, you’ll see this message:

image

The other thing to realise about syncing with Zune is that the phone can only be linked to one computer at a time. If you’ve already “paired” your phone to another computer, going to the Wireless Sync page may produce this message:

image

If you do get this message and you want the phone to sync wirelessly with this computer, you’ll need to go to the Sync Options page and click on Change Sync Relationship.

Once the device is connected, you can change the settings:

image

Click on Set Up Wireless Sync to proceed.

Now to the slightly mysterious aspect of using Wi-Fi syncing with Windows Phone 7 … and the all-important rules.

  • The computer must be running Windows 7 or Windows Vista.
  • The phone and the device must both be connected to the same, home Wi-Fi network.
    The Microsoft article (linked to below) states that wireless sync is not supported on workplace Wi-Fi networks. It doesn’t elaborate so it may be that the Zune software only adjusts the firewall settings for what Windows describes as Home networks, and that domain and public networks are not opened up.
  • The phone must have at least a medium-level charge and connected to an AC mains charger.
    This is the one that might get overlooked by some people because they will assume that only Wi-Fi is required. Nope – gotta have the phone charging off the mains as well.
  • You are not interacting with the phone.
    You must not be touching things on the screen, the backlight is off and music/videos are not playing.
  • You must be logged onto the PC with the user account that has the Zune software installed and configured. The computer can be locked but you must be logged in.

Once the rules are followed, what happens is that the phone will connect to the Zune software over Wi-Fi after a delay of between 10-15 minutes of inactivity on the phone. At that point, you can start syncing content to the phone. As the Microsoft article states, it is not possible to manually force synchronisation to start.

References:

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