How to downgrade the OS on a Lumia Windows Phone

Have a Lumia handset that is bricked or not turning on? You could it send it back for repair. Or you could take the DIY approach and try fixing it yourself using the Nokia Recovery Software Tool. It's a desktop application that is aimed at getting your ailing Lumia back up and running. Here's a quick tutorial on how to use the software.

What you'll need

  • A broken (but never down for the count) Lumia
  • Nokia Recovery Software Tool

Where can I download the Nokia Recovery Software Tool?

Here you go. Follow the links below to grab the Windows desktop software:

What are the PC requirements to use this recovery tool?

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or later.
  • USB cable to connect your phone to the computer.
  • Minimum 2 GB free storage space.
  • The files downloaded by the Nokia Software Recovery Tool may be as much as 4GB, and may take a long time, depending on your internet connection and phone model.

Does this work with my Windows Phone from HTC, Samsung or another phone maker?

No. This software is just for Lumia handsets from Nokia.

Are you ready to save your Lumia?

Yes. Let's do this.

How to save your Lumia using Nokia Recovery Software Tool – the steps

Nokia Software Recovery Tool

  • Download and install Nokia Recovery Software Tool
  • Open Nokia Software Recovery Tool
  • Connect your Lumia to the PC with a USB cable
  • You'll see which software version you can install on your Lumia – Click install below that
  • You will need to acknowledge that the data and content on your phone will be erased. If you can still access your phone, make a backup by going into settings -> backup . You'll also need to know that photos, music and apps will be wiped during this reset process. Click that you understand and then click continue.
  • You'll now begin downloading the software. Network speeds vary, but your download might take about 15 minutes.
  • The software will now begin installing to your phone. Do not use your phone or disconnect the cable during this step. Just go for a quick walk while your phone and PC do their thing.
  • Ta-da! You're done and have just saved your phone!

Have any questions? Sound off below or hit me up on Twitter (@samsabri). Have you ever used the Nokia Recovery Software Tool to save your Lumia? Let us know how it went!

221 Comments
  • Had Nokia given us more phones with removable batteries we wouldn't have to go to such extreme measures
  • Because phones with removable batteries don't get bricked??
  • How exactly would having a removable battery change the fact that the phone is bricked?
  • I have had a couple of incidents where the screen on my 820 stopped working and resetting with power and volume buttons did not work. Removing the battery fixed it both times. I will not buy any phone without a removable battery.
  • You just hold down power and volume down and that does it after 10 seconds or so.
  • That doesn't work.
  • A majority of phones dont have removable batteries so i guess you might be forced into it at some point.
  • You're just limiting the number of phones you can use. Most phones today don't have removable batteries. And I doubt that will change in the future.
  • How so?
  • Lol, you're funny man :d
  • ....
    If your phone is bricked, taking out battery doesn't works most of the times. Don't know what you are talking about.
    Btw phones with non-removable batteries can perform a "Soft-Reset" which is done by simultaneously pressing & holding the Power+Volume Down button for about 10-15 sec. It is equivalent to removing the battery from the device.
  • I agree, pulling a battery out is going to do more harm, or nothing at all... But device owner love them! I'd always get a device with a uni body... Hence I own a 720 & am quite happy.
  • In the case where a software upgrade is interrupted this will not work. At all. You need this tool for plenty of situations where removable batteries exist. Get off your high horse.
  • When I had my 820 it would freeze on me all the time. So pulling the battery out would restart t the phone. Now wish I would have had this tool for the nokia amber update that bricked my 820. Basically gave it away for nothing on ebay. I'm good with my note 3, I also would never but a phone with a removable battery either. That's why if I were to go back to windows phone it would have to be something like the 820. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Amber also bricked my L920. Took it back to ATT and they exchanged it. FYI pulling the battery on a phone with a corrupted firmware image will do nothing to help it. You have to get new software into it, not new electrons.
  • Why you in here if your not using windows phone now.
  • Because I can, and I like wp better than apple. I owned 2 windows phone's and like to see what's going on with their operating system. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • That doesn't always work either. I've seen a 920 completely dead, and unresponsive to hard and soft reset. Then 48hours later the phone turned on and started working. The phone locked up when answering a call, which triggered the issue. Anyways, downloaded and hopefully will never have to use it
  • Seems faster....
  • Sounds oblivious....
  • I wish I could recover a bricked HTC 8x. Still running gears from like four updates ago.
  • There are ways to unbrick the HTC 8X
  • Obviously you don't have any idea what "bricked" means.
  • I believe removing the battery on Lumia 822's correlates to the horrible OS not found thing. There's a thread in there and one on Verizon's website that people usually remove their battery and the phone is shot after and refuses to reflash, lol.
  • What do you think, most inappropriate lol ever?
  • Yes because we can't use the "Force shut down" button press (Press and hold the "Power" and "Volume Down" buttons untill you feel your phone buzz), and phones apparently can't run out if battery power. That and I believe you don't know what a Bricked Phone is...
  • A stuck phone is not a bricked phone my friends!
  • (Y)
  • Δ
  • (~.^) I malakinsi den exi oria....
  • Ela Mori patrida
  • Yep,went back to WP8 with the recovery tool.No more Dev Preview for me:)
  • Yes you just reopen the preview developer again & reload its all done to your Microsoft account its that simple.
  • Will wait for the official release of 8.1 thru AT&T .Dev Preview turned my 1520 into a 500 dollar paper weight
  • It is the official release, just earlier than everybody. Carriers are getting this release
  • Already know this.No need to explain.
  • This also works wonders for those who got suckered into buying a demo device. Just found that out when someone sold me a demo Lumia 820.
  • Can someone use this on a stolen phone to bypass the lockout?
  • Sure but they could do the same on a Android and iPhone by putting those in a their flashings modes and flashing them. There's no real way around it but the hope is that your able to track your stolen phone before this happens
  • i think you can still track and lock your stolen phone with the help of your mobile carrier if you know your phone's IMEI number
  • Doesn't the carrier flag the IMEI number once its reported stolen?
  • Hey, everytime downloading with Nokia Software recovery tool, at 96% it stucks.
    Please help, I'm Indonesian.
    Thank you...
  • Like....
  • Hope will never use this Tools....
  • It is not necessary that you have to use it only if your phone gets bricked, you can use it to downgrade your OS too. For example, if you don't like WP8.1, revert back to WP8 :)
  • I used that when the store was not working. Remember that day. And then I had to install WP8.1DP again
  • LOL! I hope that too :P
  • I reinstalled the firmware a few days ago with this tool. It took my Lumia 720 from windows phone 8.1 preview to windows phone 8.
    That's literally downgrade!!
  • It gives you the OS most recently available to consumers for your device.
  • Hey Sam,I get an error on the software recovery tool saying no packages available or something like that for my 720(was trying to see which firmware it could downgrade to,I'm not downgrading from 8.1DP though,was curious)
  • Went back to WP 8 when my 920 got unresponsive (many times a day) but same things happened twice or thrice in WP 8 too .. I thought this is a hardware problem bt then it starts working again whenever I think to go to nokia care. Now m again back on 8.1 ... Can't survive 8 after using 8.1 :)
  • Same here. 8 seems so bad after 8.1 , especially on 1520, those hiuuuge buttons in apps..
  • So glad to have my 520 back on 8, only downside is some of the apps are now crappier than before (looks at Nokia Camera). Will stay with WP8 until I can't get phones on it anymore!
  • Nice to know. Crossing my fingers that I will never need to use it though
  • Yep...used it last night...as the 8.1 preview somehow didn't agree with my 1520...a few apps went wild and Glance stopped refreshing....so I'll wait for the official update.
  • Most times, a soft reset fixes the glance bug. I think that I've been lucky, my phone works seamlessly with WP 8.1 DP
  • Did soft and hard reset and that didn't help my 1520.mms,wifi,text didn't work at all with the 8.1 Dev Preview.Took about 25 minutes to revert back to 8.0 with the recovery tool.
  • It is the official release
  • Quite with the same comment over and over again.The Dev Preview is nothing more than a beta.Nothing official about it.It's total crap without the Cyan firmware to back it up with on top of it.I will wait for my carrier to release the update.
  • It is the official release ;) :P
  • My Lumia 525 accidently went into retail mode, but then Nokia Recovery Tool came to the rescue.
  • Never used it. But it is really a good software from Nokia.
  • I thought I had bricked my Lumia 1020 once after it crashed and wouldn't turn on. But, I tried again in a few hours and it worked luckily
  • Thanks sam.. Might come in handy someday..(hope not)
  • My Nokia broke so.... Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • +925 can my Phone break if I have 8.1???
  • Nope, 8.1 update makes phones immune to all forms of damage, both software and hardware wise.
  • Lol
  • Have no problem so far, but downloading the recovery software... Just in case.
  • This recovery tool saved my Lumia when all hope was gone. Love Nokia for making such tools which can reset broken devices.
  • Woo.
  • Thanks Sam!
    A lot people in the forums have been asking about this. Now we have a place to point those needing help. Used it myself recently also...
  • last night i managed to brick my L625 with nokia recovery tool and get red screen with nokia logo and then i succesffuly recover it back to life also with nokia recovery tool :D
  • Can I flash an US ATT rom over this damn Canadian Rogers rom?
  • Yes, if it's a 920, there is a tutorial on the site, but why would you want to, you'll lose some features by doing that (Internet Sharing/Tethering chief among them IIRC)
  • I dont have internet sharing. Cant use the internet sharing feature from my us phone plan on a damn rogers ROM. Which is why I want to flash back to the att ROM. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Well, here you go: http://forums.wpcentral.com/nokia-lumia-920/239797-guide-flash-convert-t-lumia-920-indian-other-country-920-w-official-lumia-black-gdr3.html
  • Mine has internet sharing on att. L920 here.
  • Be aware that if you flash a different ROM version than was originally installed on the phone, you will not be able to use the Nokia Software Recovery Tool (a record of the original ROM version remains permanently on the phone after flashing).  I have a Lumia 920 which was originally branded for AT&T, but I flashed to a Great Britain country variant back in 2013, when AT&T was stripping OS features and delaying release of the Amber update.  As such, I cannot use the SRT unless I re-flash back to an AT&T ROM, in which case it would be simpler to just flash directly to the OS version of choice (the reason you probably wanted to back off from DP in the first place).  The tool for flashing ROMs is the Nokia Care Suite, which requires caution to use, with a higher chance of "bricking" your phone.
  • Good lord! Does the application have to look like it was made for Windows XP based on that screenshot?
  • All low level told are like that. Good looks aren't important, it's about functionality.
  • Can this also be used to switch your phone to a country variant firmware? Or is there a way to do that with Lumia devices? My original operator switched off the network time feature in their firmware (because they don't provide it) but now that I've switched networks I'd like to turn it back on.
  • Please do sound off if you managed to do this. I am stuck with EE here in UK and there are the worst when it comes to timely WP updates. Would gladly lose my phone data and start off with a CV version on my lumia 920.
  • I did in the end, using Nokia Care Suite. PM me if you're interested, I could work up some instructions when I get a chance. You do lose your data, but in the end you get a lot of it back from the cloud anyway if you already have 8.1.
  • PM sent, thanks in advance!
  • how do I create a backup on my pc?
  • When I connect my 620 it gives an error-Required files not found on server. What does it mean?
  • Yes. This is how I flashed my phone when amber came out. Just need to place the new rom in the proper place and select it from the list of available software.
  • Not sure how much this would have helped when I had to send my 928 back in October. I'm pretty sure something came unsoldered from the board because it was stuck on a bootloader screen and my computer wouldn't even recognize it when I plugged it in
  • Is it available for mac ?
  • Can someone answer this, pls? Thanks!
  • I upgraded my 1320 to wp8 From 8,1 with dis tool
  • you just downgraded my friend! I better stay with chaotic wp8.1 preview for developers than super stable wp8...
  • Wouldn't fix mine. :(
  • Does this work for 7.x devices? Got a 800 bricked for already a year, tried even to reconnect its battery
  • Yes.
  • Nik Rolss, check this site: http://www.seidea.com/
  • I thought this already existed? Or was that Nokia Care Suite? Because I've done this before.
  • Can I carrier-unlock a device this way?
  • No.  
  • So it's not offline like Nokia PC suit
  • no it is tool only for restorin or upgrading OS...
  • I wonder if this fixed any of the 822 with the black screen and error message across the top.
  • Will this work with my bricked Lumia 800
  • Umm, my 520 is Tethered to provide Internet to the whole house on an unlimited data package. Anyone have an idea where I might download the actual OS-Update file BEFORE running the Recovery tool? Once I start the recovery, I will have no Internet.
  • That might not be possible... The recovery ROMs are stock of course, unless there is someone with a suitable custom ROM with the GDR.. With that said,