other storage

Over the weekend, we posted an in depth article on the ‘Other Storage’ issue prevalent on Windows Phone 8 GDR1 devices. The problem is that for some users that area fills up with a lot of data, often of an unknown origin, with no way to gain it back besides a hard reset. From 2 to 10 GB, users have had their data disappear and it prevents them from installing new apps or games due to the restricted size. Case in point, our Lumia 720 has 2.4 GB of Other storage, which can be severely limiting on a device where you only start with around 5 GB.

Two things need to be separated here before going forward: the bug and the architecture of the OS. It is true that with GDR1 devices (any phone below OS build 10327) there is a bug related to uninstallation of XAP files for app installation than can leave remnants behind. While for small apps, this is not a big deal, if you uninstall or download a trial of say NOVA 3 (1 GB) it can have a devastating effect on space.

But there is also the design of the OS. In other words Windows Phone 8 is meant to have some space occupied by Other storage as a way to cache frequently accessed media, graphics, app and game data for fast, offline loading. That’s not a bug but the architecture and it can’t really be “fixed”.

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A vexing problem for those on Windows Phone 8 is that of space-filling ‘Other Storage’ found under Settings > Phone Storage. The problem is after a few days, weeks or months of usage, that mysterious area begins to fill up with “stuff” and users really have no recourse to getting it back.

While Nokia and other OEMs have introduced apps to delete Temporary Files, which for some does gain back significant space, it does not touch the other Other Storage problem for many.

Now, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore stated in a Tweet today that at least in GDR2 (OS build 10327), the problem has been addressed. But from our usage of the Lumia 1020, we’re not too sure users will still be satisfied.

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One issue that has been bugging some users for a while now is the inability to delete temporary files on their Windows Phone 8 devices.  Nokia got around this by building in their Storage Check app and even Huawei is reportedly making an app to do the same.

Now, after reports of the GDR2 (and firmware) update rolling out for unbranded HTC 8X owners today, the ability to delete temporary files is evidently built right into the OS.

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Windows Phone 8 believe it or not isn’t quite perfect. Its close, but things like the other storage issue put a cloud or two over a relatively sunny platform. When high-end devices like the Lumia 925 ship with only 16GB of storage for all your apps, games, and music you expect to utilize it all. The other storage issue has impacted many of you. We’ve heard of future fix coming from Microsoft, but that was last in March we heard. Nokia took matters into their own hand and released Storage Check to temporarily help Lumia owners and their storage woes. It works by clearing all the temporary files. 

But for everyone else there is Shrink Storage, an app in the Store that helps to give you back some of your limited space. It recently had an update adding some useful new features. Let’s check it out.

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It appears that a very few Lumia 620’s have already come off of the line with the latest firmware on board. That’s perhaps to be expected, but it also looks like it’s this firmware that will bring advanced Storage management, including the ability to clear temporary cache files in “other” storage.

Currently, most Lumia 620’s are on the 1250 firmware. A few days ago, 1304 began to populate Navifirm and sure enough within the last day or so, 1307 has appeared for one device/region. It is that 1307 firmware that brings this new ability (we know only because we’re on 1304 ourselves). The OS though is the same Portico 10211 as found on current Windows Phones.

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Yesterday on Nokia’s Navifirm servers evidently a new firmware update for the Lumia 920 briefly appeared. The current version for most users is the 1249 branch but this new version is of 1308 variety (1232.5957.1308.0004).

Unfortunately, the firmware is now off of the server meaning we personally cannot analyze it for changes. The good news is that some in our forums already did do some digging and there do appear to be changes to the camera for the better. In addition, new Storage options may give users a means to clear their Temporary cache on their Lumia.

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Good news for those who are on both Windows Phone 7.8 and the latest version of Microsoft's mobile platform. Joe Belfiore, who heads up the Windows Phone team and is the idol we all secretly praise in a dark, dim-lit room has revealed more information on both system-level Skype integration, as well as the pesky "Other" storage issue that many consumers are experiencing.

The tweets, which were published before Belfiore's tweet about the Windows Phone 7.8 Live Tile issue, went unchecked but we've been rightfully notified by more observant souls. So what's Microsoft looking at when it comes to further integration with its communications service, and will we finally see a fix for the shocking levels of internal storage stolen by the operating system?

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