For those of us who like to sideload Homebrew apps on our Windows Phone, the process can be a little tedious e.g. your phone re-locks often, having to run the Zune software, etc.

The latter piece though can be avoided, that is you don't have to run the Zune Desktop just to sideload a XAP file or even unlock your device (using ChevronWP7). XDA member xbodmod has described a way to just run the "connect" part without Zune, making the process much more streamlined. The process is fairly simple:

  • Disable Zune auto-start (Zune --> Settings --> Software--> General --> "Start the Zune software..."
  • Create a shortcut to desktop from C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows Phone\v7.0\Tools\WPConnect\WPConnect.exe
  • Plug in phone

That's it. Just running WPConnect.exe and allowing it load for a second does the job and now you can run Tom's XAP installer, ChevronWP7, etc. We like simplicity around here.

Update: @adamUCF lets us know that Microsoft themselves have described this exact method, so credit to them first.

Source: XDA, MSDN