Guide: Setting up Wireless sync with Windows Phone 7

No doubt, one of the coolest features of Windows Phone 7 and the companion Zune Desktop software is the ability to sync wirelessly. For years we've had to endure tethering our devices to our computers, loose USB wires everywhere, etc. (Even more ironic if you remember wireless syncing in ActiveSync before they removed it).

Consider this more of a walk-through/what to expect than a true "setup guide" only because Microsoft made it so easy that you really should have no problem figuring it out. Still, we'll show a couple screen shots of the process as well as tell you what you can expect. In short, it's a great feature and once you have your GBs of music loaded, you'll want to use everyday.

Read more after the break!

The first thing you'll want to do is sync up with the cable. You need to be wired before you go wireless. This is smart too as the first few syncs could be large if you're tossing over a few gigs of video and music; wireless is better for what I would call "maintenance syncs" where your updating content, adding a few new albums or photos, but not your whole library.

Once you have tethered synced and you played with your new phone for a few hours,  you should notice under the Device section a little "help balloon" window telling you about wireless syncing. If not, it's there under Settings where you can always enable or disable the service. (Settings --> Phone --> Wireless sync)

The best method to have all of this work is to have a home-network or Wifi already set up that both your computer and phone are connected too. Nothing fancy, you don't need to have any special settings that I know of, just as long as the computer and phone share the same internet connection.

Next you just follow the guided steps, verify the network and let it attempt to connect. You should then get a success window. Now leave your phone plugged in to the AC outlet or cradle if you have one.  Finally, about 10 minutes later, you'll hear that familiar ba-dun sounds from your PC like when you just connected a new USB device. Your PC will search for a driver and install it. This is the only time it happens as it is the first wireless sync. After that, you should be good to go! It's not a manual sync, so just let it update every once in awhile. It's also transparent, meaning you won't really see it syncing--it doesn't take over the PC nor the phone, it just happens and you won't notice. Beautiful.

What to expect: Microsoft has really made this "idiot proof". Both the process to set it up and how it runs is pretty hands off. Your phone will only sync with your computer when plugged into an AC outlet for more than 10 minutes. Odd restriction, eh? Perhaps not so much. They obviously are enabling a framework whereby you can wirelessly transfer media, but they don't want people's battery to deplete either. I think this makes sense though I could imagine a few people grumbling about the requirement.

From the PC side, you can at any time drag and drop media (pictures, videos, songs, or things purchases from the Marketplace including software) and it will be pushed to your device. The idea of having your phone on a cradle, charging and you at the computer should be enticing one--now you can add that new album, sync up that movie for the commute tomorrow, etc. without having to touch your phone. So far, the process is working out smoothly and Microsoft has a done a great job here so we strongly encourage you to use this feature.

Hit us upp with any questions in comments.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.