Back up and restore your Start Screen in Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

Anybody waiting for the ability to backup their Windows Phone Start Screen is about to get their wish, as Windows Phone 8.1 will let users backup and restore their Start Screen across devices. Restoring a device will also download the data for all of your apps.

Start Screen Backup

Every tile will be restored on your device, and all of your Start Screen icons and images are maintained. Launch context is equally preserved. The only thing that isn't restored are apps themselves, which need to be re-downloaded from the Windows Phone Store. Until an app is restored its tile appears grayed out on the screen.

Are you excited to be able to backup and restore your Start Screen? Sound off below in the comments.

Source: Justin Angel on Twitter


Reader comments

Back up and restore your Start Screen in Windows Phone 8.1



Among the three features i was waiting the most.

Thanks Microsoft, this shows how hard and well you're workin!

I would like to have a reliable notification. WP8 notifications are buggies. It's a pain to use apps like Viber.

-backup of data(!!!) and live tile position on start screen

-notification center and action center

-storage sense

Very happy about them. Though i wont be using storage sense, i have L920 and will very likely upgrade with L930.

He already stated his three things he wanted to see being done, with the first one mentioned as his most important thing.

Read properly guys...

Probably number one is notification center + action center, 2) backup as said 3) storage sense.

Just because you use notifications everyday while backups hopefully only few times. I had to hard reset many times for my L920 hardware problems, i wish i had the backup option to save so many hours of my life!


Most important thing for me was Notification/Action center.
2nd: was the ability to store applications on SD Card.
3rd: was the home screen customization.
4th: was differentiated volume controls (not the most important feature but useful).

For me,

1st = Ability to store apps on SD card (Just bought a 64gb SD for the purpose)

2nd = Cortana

3rd = Notification / Action Center

may I ask howmuch is the price ?

I'm planning for a 64 gb card, also which brand should I go for ?

I'm using Transcend 32 gb class 10 u1 for my lumia 720. I want dis one for my new L1520. thnxx

Yeah, I bought mine when there was an offer in flipkart, got it for 2500 INR flat, now its available for 3035 INR (In stores, I bet it'll be more than 3500 INR though!)

Personally, I trust SanDisk for SD cards. Once I bought a 16GB Samsung card (class 10) and yes it was faster than my early 16GB Sandisk class 10 but soon it stopped responding in just 30 days of use so yeah, I'll say go for SanDisk, I never encountered any problem with it.

Sure, get this one if delivery is possible at your location! :)

flipkart link

Thnx my frnd..
And do you have any experience with transcend as I have no problems so far ?
Truth to be told it's an either-or situation for me between sandisk and transcend, I don't think I am going for another brand other than these two.

No problem!

I had a 2GB Transcend long ago (It used to be Rs 400 - 600 in those days!) in my old Nokia 5233. Never had any problem with that either. Only once I remember, had to format the card because it was duplicating everything twice, but I guess it may not possibly be the card's fault though! ;)

Yeah these are my favourite SD cards brands too! As per my suggestion, go for SanDisk (maybe a little costlier than Transcend) but reliable.

Volume control also so much needed...All the games i have make me turn of sound then i don't hear the phone calls received. This will solve the problem.

BTW more than 8.1, bacause of the features seems more like a WP10.1

BTW, I laughed wildly seeing how curios people were to know the "OTHER TWO".

Someone said it perfectly, can't remember exactly but it goes like-

"We're more curious to know what's hidden from us than what we can already discover"

I think it would be awesome if we could also make an offline backup,like I used to do on my old Nokia 3110 Classic using Nokia PC Suite.

that's mostly just sunday normally. build started wednesday and many bits and peices have not been covered yet.

Really slow on wp8.1 news.ie,bits and pieces of the os like multitasking, storage sense,etc.

You folks really need to get a life. These guys are doing a great job reporting on a single OS, There can only be so much write about.

People like you can never take any critisism. Go play with your toys. Adult people can deal with critisism.
You don't have to be an asslicking fanboy that swallows everything without having a natural sense of critisism.

My 928 audio was acting weird and had to do a reset and then after setting everything back up l realized I must have picked the wrong backup as I was missing new text messages. I did another reset and picked the right one but it's a pain to put everything back and log back into all my apps.

Well, first off if you really knew the history of the differentiation of the world into "three" parts, you'd know there was by-in-large no more "second" world.

Second, the poorest of the poor either have no phone or have a feature phone.  So us yammering about Windows Phone on our oftentimes five to seven hundred dollar phones, or laptops, or in this case my home built water cooled PC, is by definition a "first world" issue.

Third NIST, if you are really going to make a critique like that, where's the suggestion of what we should be doing instead of this "useless speculation about issues that aren't important"?

So NIST, just to make sure that you are not a hypocrite, please spend less time on this site and certainly in no case should you mention any problem you have with your phone or with Windows Phone in general.

Cant wait... Would have saved me hours of waisted time over the years... Also App data, hope that includes game progress? The times I've had to give that up is almost painful...

That's good news, its a pain to switch or restore you phone but then it even worst when you have to set up your home screen again.

Can anyone tell me if we can backup game saves in windows phone 8.1 to the cloud? Its killing me not being able tooooo!

To the user's OneDrive but encrypted. There are two cases; one which size is counted in the user's storage limit, another doesn't. I can't remember the cases.

So, even when we get 8.1 still will have to wait until games updates for this feature to get the save back for another phone?

Exactly!! Its the most used app and its so freaking sloww..No updates months over months!! WP users always neglected by devs :(

Whatsap did save your history. For instance if you uninstall and install back whatsap app in your phone, whatsapp will prompt you either you want to restore back your message history or not.

yup.. its one of the walkthrough videos that were released during //build/ might of been the one where they were showing off the os on the L630

Great news, when are we suppose to be getting that developers preview again, was it the 10th or the 14th??

Actually i read in windows phone blog that developers preview ll be out in 1st part of April. So may be April 14 is logical. Or may be before it, who knows!

Finally. I put off resetting my phone because i cant be arsed sorting the start screen out again. Great news

Pretty awesome. Now hard resetting a phone will be less of a pain (although i hope hard resetting will be needed less and less in the future)

Wowww cool things... Fanboys get horny here. But where is the video automatic compression for sharing?? Where is the apps downoaded music acces? Where are all that little useful things other os (inclusive WM6) had since years?? Microsoft, please stop with bs and go back to basics please.

I know, i always have to send the video to my android, and send it back with wassap to my wp again, because you can't even save the freakin video from your email directly. People get horny about themes and ringrones, and for the most basic things, we stay screwed

Get horny? Wow you can often tell someone's intelligence by how they speak.

Last I checked I wasn't sexually frustrasted or hot and bothered by an update for a phone...and I am willing to say most here aren't.

There's dumb...then there is this.

Well said, It truly excites me to finally get basic features on an OS I really like. But this guy definitely doesn't know how to express himself intelligently.

Exactly, I can't stand the fact that simple things like saving a video, adding a search result to your contacts, and deleting all email simultaneously , are missing. Not to mention the videos are all over the place instead of one central location.

Really nice. I also saw a vid of Joe Belfior switch the accent color on his phone and 2 seconds later having it change on their Windows 8 PC to match it. Which I found a bit strange since the color selection on Windows 8 is far superior.

Yes. I thought of it too. But you can always turn that snyc setting off. So don't worry if you don't like it :)

But.I love sync, restore and the whole unification of the Windows platform. I just wish they would have given WP the same customization features as Windows to make the feature perfect. How hard could it have been to add the same color selection as Windows? Or to offer multiple background colors (not just black/white)?

I was pretty bummed after the initial excitement of buying my Lumia 1520...... The lack of features and simple things that my phone didn't possess. 8.1 is the start of a major turn around.. I'm glad now that I purchased this 1520. Go Microsoft!

My guess is that if they don't automatically download, then you simply tap the gray tile to see the app in the store. Both of which would be very helpful.

I am wondering the same thing. I haven't seen anywhere yet where it explicitly says your apps will redownload or redownloading will be easier. I have had Windows Phone since the first week it launched. Going through 3+ years of downloaded apps 20 at a time (which last time I had to start the list over many times and go back through, page by page, sifting through easily 800 apps I have used or tried at one point or another is maddening. Anything to make that better. I have 300 or so on my phone now. Having app data saved will be AMAZING. No having to relogin or reauthorize apps all the time. I avoid hard resets like the plague.

Not all actually, only for WP that had 4.5 inches screen and above :)
Edit: I read about it somewhere . If I'm wrong please correct me nicely .

No, its 4.5, dunno where mrllano got his info, but its false, it was mentioned in one of WPC's old WP 8.1 feature walkthoughs during //build/

It's an option on smaller phones. It's shown in one of WPCs videos they did during build. I think with a 630.

I had to replace my Surface2. Ten minutes, a few passwords and it was like nothing ever happened. Nice knowing this feature is coming to WP8.1

Unless they have an option to backup and restore using the PC, I am not interested. Microsoft can shove their cloud restore, I want simple direct PC backup and restore as was in Windows Mobile, and store my personal phone data on my storage in my control and not on someone elses cloud, where you have little control about how your data is handled.

Why the hell should I use the cloud when I have terabytes of my own storage? Just makes no sense.


you're using the wrong mobile platform. shall i recommend open source...eh...andr.... so u can root, customize to ur heart desires, have control over crap...eh bloatware u can't remove... , backup ur apps to wherever u want.

sure..rooting is easy these days but why go thru that hassle? your phone should be urs after all...not the other way around.

Calm down. WhatsApp is a million times better than what it was a year ago. I'm very happy we got this much.

They just keep on giving.


I wasnt so hyped up about Win 8.1 but now I'm getting 3 columns for my lumia 820 I'm psyched for all the extras

Not automatically. You have to go to Windowsphone.com and select the apps you want redownloaded. For me, that's sifting through over 800 apps from the last 3+ years. 20 at a time. Selecting the 300 or so I have on my phone now. The site acts up all the time and you have to start going through the list over and over. It takes many hours to do that alone. Just hitting a "restore apps" button to do that for me would be incredible. And, like so many said already, would make a hard reset doable. I won't do one now. It takes a full day and a half of almost non-stop (sleep included) work to get my phone completely back right now.

you fucked up your phone and/or you didn't choose the backup when restoring with the same microsoft account

Does anyone know if it will have gapless playback? I listen to a lot of dance music that is mixed so it's a must !!!!

this is what the word is....it will backup app settings, and that would cover games too.... Pretty freaking epic if you ask me.....about time !!!

Great feature, save time trying to get the layout back! Will this be part of a broader backup feature? Like a failsafe restore, a complete system backup?

YES. I hope one day they can make it like iOS where if you broke your brother's iPhone you could just sync it to iTunes & restore to the new iPhone & Everything would be restored exactly the same & no one could ever tell.

Not getting the Lumia 930 because of two things: it doesn't support glance notification, 2 I love phones with big screen just like l1520. Talking about features in windows phone 8.1 , I'm happy cause most of the things have been included. I can't wait for the dev preview.

What if the apps are saved to a SD card and one does a hard reset? Obviously no need to re-download the apps, right?