Interop Unlock for Samsung Windows Phone 8 Devices

A few days ago, we wrote about the interop unlock achieved by XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie on his Samsung Ativ S running Windows Phone 8. At the time, however, there was no guide / procedures thread for users to follow in GoodDayToDie’s footsteps. However, good things come to those who wait, as the product of GoodDayToDie’s and Senior Member -W_O_L_F-‘s work is now clearly described.

If you’re new to Windows Phone, you may be wondering what exactly you can do with interop-unlock. According to GoodDayToDie:

A brief summary, for those unfamiliar with interop-lock: Windows Phone allows a number of high-privilege app capabilities, which can be used to make changes to the OS which are normally not possible for a third-party app. The limitation on whether we can use these capabilities or not is based on what “level” of developer unlock the phone has; standard “ISV” (Independent Software Vendor) dev unlock (max 10 apps or less) is what pretty much everybody gets; OEMs, however, get a special OEM Developer Unlock (300 apps or more) which gives them the ability to use much higher-privilege app capabilities than the standard ISV unlock permits. The name comes from ID_CAP_INTEROPSERVICES, the capability which was most important in WP7. In WP8, however, there are a great many interesting capabilities. Note that Interop-unlock by itself does not enable all of these; a deeper unlock is still required to fully “root” the OS.

Since our last update, GoodDayToDie has now created the thread and filled it with the requisite information including a brief primer on what interop-unlocking your device accomplishes, as well as a simple guide showing how to achieve interop-unlocked status and what capabilities are gained.

Just as before, this is just for Samsung Windows Phone 8 devices, as it relies on the Samsung diagnosis app. However, work is in progress to extend this to other phones.

Head over to the guide thread to get started.

Interop Unlock for the Samsung Ativ S on Windows Phone 8!

It is no secret that development on Windows Phone 8 is but a shadow of what it once was on Microsoft’s older mobile operating system. Be it because of smaller market share, more security features, or simply less of a need to modify the OS thanks to the already streamlined and speedy interface; Windows Phone development has taken somewhat of a backseat to Google’s juggernaut.

Luckily, things are about to get exciting, as XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie has just achieved interop unlock on his Samsung Ativ S running Windows Phone 8.  For those who don’t remember, Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie has an extensive history of Windows Phone development. Thus, it should come as no surprise that some of WP8’s limitations would fall at his hands.

Unfortunately, GoodDayToDie’s method currently relies on the Samsung diagnosis app. What this means is that for interop unlock to work on other (non-Samsung) devices, either this app must be loaded onto the device somehow or a similar vulnerability must be found. However, this is still an encouraging start, and given GoodDayToDie’s extensive track record, Windows Phone 8 users are clearly in good hands.

You can learn more at the original post. However, as there is no thread yet, we’d advise users feeling squeamish to wait for GoodDayToDie’s forthcoming official thread.

Tweak Your Lumia WP8 Device with Lumia Registry Modifier

Back when Windows Mobile ruled the roost in the pre-iPhone days of yesteryear, registry modification was quite a common means of device tweaking. This should come as no surprise, as such modifications have been commonplace for quite some time on the Windows platform on traditional computers. This process then continued onto Windows Phone 7.

Thanks to efforts by XDA Recognized Developer snickler, this is now possible for Nokia devices running Windows Phone 8. A couple of important notes to keep in mind, however, are that in the current release only HKLM (HKey_Local_Machine) is accessible. The other limitation is that currently, users cannot change dword values. Because of the dword limitation, changes to MaxUnsignedApp will not be saved. That said, progress towards that end can be made through Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie‘s WP8 Native Access project.

Using the registry editor is extremely simple, as described by the developer:

To Read Values:

1) Put the Registry key in the first box (ex. SOFTWARE\Classes\MIME\Database\Codepage\1254
2) Put the Registry Value in the second box (ex. 1254)
3) Press Get Value.

To Set Values:

1) Put the Registry key in the first box (ex. SOFTWARE\Classes\MIME\Database\Codepage\1254
2) Put the Registry Value in the second box (ex. 1254)
3) Put the new registry value result in the Set Value box.
4) Press Set Value.

Head over to the original thread to get started with the registry tweaking.

Access Your Mobile File System via LAN on WP8

Back on Windows Phone 7, XDA Recognized Developer fiinix released an interesting web server app that allowed users to browse their mobile file system through a LAN. Following up on this, Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie has created a similar application for Windows Phone 8, WP8 File Access Webserver.

As with its spiritual predecessor by fiinix, GoodDayToDie’s app enumerates files visible to the sandbox, and it also allows users to download them. Getting started is fairly simple. All you have to do is sideload the app, connect to LAN, run the application, and point the client web browser (on the same LAN) to the phone’s internal IP address. Once in the index page, enter your desired path into the text box and click Get Files to access the file list. After you have the file list, click any file to download it.

The app is still under heavy development, and as you would expect, there are a few quirks that users must deal with if they want to play with this as it’s being developed. For instance, there is currently no way to tell the difference between a file and a folder in the list view. Also, occasional errors and exceptions are to be expected while GoodDayToDie finishes adding polish. However, for those who can’t wait and wish to give this a try, there is no reason why not.

Want to know the best part? GoodDayToDie has made this fully open source, with the sources available in the thread OP. Head over to the original thread to get started.

Several Standard Desktop Apps Ported to Windows RT

One of the main limitations of Windows RT is that most 32- and 64-bit applications aren’t compatible. Therefore, if you are buying a Microsoft Surface and intend to install all your favorite Windows programs, then you’re going to have a bad time. To remedy this issue, XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie has begun an initiative to get some desktop apps compiled for RT users.

So far the initiative has gotten attention from a number of users and developers. To begin with, everyone has been focusing on re-compiling free, open source software to work on Windows RT. Here is the current list of applications that have been ported already:

Bochs. x86 Emulator. Known issue: no network support.
TightVNC. VNC server and client.
PuTTY Suite. SSH/Rsh/telnet client and helpers. Printing fixed in this build.
7-Zip. Utility for file archives and disk images.
Notepad++. Powerful but simple text/code editor. New direct link:
SciTE. Code editor (Thanks to XDA-Devs member FearTheCowboy)
IP Messenger. Peer-to-peer chat/file transfer.
Unikey 3.1. Vietnamese character entry tool. This version is out of date, but is the latest with full source code available.
Unikey 3.6. Known issue: without RtfIO, the “Toolkit” and “Conversion on the fly” features won’t work. (Thanks minhtuan99bk)
CrystalBoy. Nintendo Gameboy emulator. Known issue: uses GDI+ instead of DirectX, may reduce performance. Reported issue: JIT is broken so games don’t actually play (unconfirmed). Thanks to DXA-Developers member daveoggy.

In addition to working on the porting, GoodDayToDie is also keeping a running list of applications that work without modification. These include Mouse Without Borders and Keepass Portable. This is a great initiative by everyone involved, and it continues the great development currently in progress for Windows 8 and RT. Also, do check back on the list frequently, as both lists are sure to grow.

For more details, check out the original thread.

Increase Touch Screen Responsiveness on the Microsoft Surface

When it comes to some things, platform of choice doesn’t matter. Battery life is always a struggle, something will always lag, and Steve Ballmer will always be crazy. It doesn’t matter if you have iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, these pitfalls are sure to remain with us for time to come.

Recently, a method was released that’ll help increase touch responsiveness on the Microsoft Surface thanks to XDA Forum Member tamarasu. It’s not a particularly hard modification to make, as it is just a registry modification, and most users should be able to do it without any trouble. Here is how it’s done:

Found a key for touch prediction that when edited showed a marked improvement in keyboard responsiveness and small item manipulation ie classic desktop, file explorer, etc.
The key is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TouchPredict ion

Edit key for latency from 8 to 2.
Edit sample time from 8 to 2
Restart

As stated, this is pretty easy to do. So far, everyone who has tried it has confirmed that it works very well. There are some caveats, though. XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie noted that this will could affect battery life in a noticeable way for heavy users, as the system has to poll the screen much more frequently. Some haven’t noticed a decrease, but it’s likely that battery drain is increased as the touch screen is used more often. If you want better responsiveness on your Surface touch screen and don’t mind lessening your longevity, this is something worth trying.

For more info, check out the original thread.

Spare Your SSD by Installing Metro Apps to Another Drive

Since SSDs are becoming increasingly affordable and commonplace, computer enthusiasts have been adding them to their computers in greater frequency. And for those who dare, RAIDed configurations yield even more insane speeds (albeit without TRIM on all but a handful of SSD and chipset combinations). However, because they are still somewhat expensive, most buy smaller SSDs and a larger storage HDD. With the release of Windows 8, came the Windows App Store. This by default installs Metro Apps to the main drive. This can fill up a SSD rather quickly, and now there is a method to get around it.

XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie has written up a tutorial on how users can get Metro Apps to install to a different hard drive so that the SSD doesn’t have to hold all of those apps. Initially, it was an answer to a question asked by XDA Senior Member trettet.

The method isn’t time consuming or very difficult. Fans of the command prompt should have no trouble whatsoever. Because Windows 8 doesn’t give users the option to choose which drive to install apps to, users have to create a symlink. They copy the original Metro Apps folder to the other hard drive, delete the old one on the C Drive, then create a symlink to the newly copied folder on the other hard drive. From then on, Metro Apps should be installed on the other drive.

For all the instructions, check out the original thread.

Remove Facebook Ads on Internet Explorer 10

With Google+ getting more functional and popular than ever, there are many people wondering what they’re still doing on Facebook. Despite years of development, there are still some things that have to be pointed out. However, the biggest gripe most people have is due to the ads. They’re everywhere, they’re annoying, and now on the Microsoft Surface, they’re now avoidable.

XDA Forum Member C-Lang wrote a tutorial to help users avoid those annoying ads on Facebook when using the Microsoft Surface. That said, it should work on other Windows RT and 8 machines as long as you’re using the provided IE 10 browser. It hasn’t been tested on other devices, but it’s worth a shot. Instructions on getting this to work is pretty easy as well:

First, download and extract the zip attachment
Then, open desktop ie, go to internet options > general > accessibility > check “format documents using my style sheet”
Hit browse, navigate to and select the previously downloaded css.
Hit ok, and then ok again.

There is really no hacking or obscure files to deal with. Simply download the file and enable it in Internet Explorer 10 to remove the ads. So far, users have reported that it works. However, there is something important to note. As XDA Recognized Developer GoodDayToDie explains:

Note though, unlike with Tracking Protection and “real” ad blockers, this doesn’t actually protect you in any way. It just hides the element from displaying on the screen. Tracking cookies will still get places, (potentially malicious) JavaScript will still run, and your browser will take the time and bandwidth to download the files anyhow.

In other words, the ads are still there, but you just can’t see them. The good news, though, is that the ads aren’t visible and, therefore, aren’t in the way.

For more details, check out the original thread.

Week 1 Field Report: HaRET, Hardware, and Tablets

Welcome to Field Report, I’m Jase Glenn and I’ll be guiding you through this weeks latest innovations by some of the most creative developers in our community. Most of the articles we write about on the Portal have to do with a finished product. Field Report is a step in a different direction, where we discuss the latest innovations as they’re happening, and the thoughts of the developers behind them.

Transformer Prime

First up is a hardware hack for the venerable Transformer Prime by XDA Member Erusman. As most of us are aware by now, the Transformer Prime has been plagued by non-functional WiFi and GPS since launch, which in fact led to ASUS recalling many of the launch day Primes. Frustrated by these difficulties, Erusman decided to take the initiative, and in true XDA form not only took apart his Prime, but in the process fixed his tablet’s WiFi, GPS, and light bleed. When I asked him about how the idea came about and what his future plans were Erusman said:

“Well, my whole mod started out of fustration with Asus and the prime. I think alot of people were let down when they found out the “Prime” wasn’t exactly as they hoped for. Out of the box my primes GPS didn’t work. It suffered lightbleed and WIFI was very week. I like others was hoping ICS update would fix the issues. It didn’t. By that time I was out of my return window, and I was hearing horror stories from those that were RMA’ing theirs. After all this led to the first opening of the prime on XDA and mods.

I had no idea this thread would go this far. The cool thing is that it led to many people opening their primes and fixing the problems themselves. I just updated the thread with the latest. The antenna I made was my final mod. My future plans are to eventually mod it with some permenant antenna. Fixed to the back using SMA female connectors. Use it for GPS (now that it works) in a vehicle for my courier business. But for now I am just enjoying the Prime at home (fastest android tablet) for movies, bedside surfing and games.”

The great thing is Erusman actually made a play-by-play with pictures in his thread here so that anyone experiencing these issues can take a crack at it. That being said our next innovator took a software approach to solving a problem.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 is the latest of the Tab lineup. Due to the newness of the tablet, XDA Senior Member eaglerazor123 decided to show the users of the Tab 7.7 some love by creating the first custom ROM for it; without even owning one.

When I asked him about the difficulties he faced and what the future held, he said,

“Difficulties?! Umm..you know making a rom without that Device isn’t simple! My build is ready now! But it seems to be bootlooping! A minor bug! I’m waiting for the logs from Testers! And for [sic] Future Features, I may dig ICS for it.”

So Tab 7.7 users interested in testing this out head on over to the thread here and let him know you care. This leads us to our last (but certainly not least) story: HaRET for WP7.

HaRET for Windows Phone 7

Most of us remember HaRET from the final days of Windows Mobile, but for those of you who don’t, allow me to explain. HaRET (Handhelds Reverse Engineering Tool) is a program designed to allow Windows Mobile smartphones to boot the Linux kernel. HaRET was instrumental in allowing users of devices like the HTC HD2 to load Android and set off a wave of additional development. After WinMo’s demise at the hands of Microsoft, HaRET is back; this time for Windows Phone 7.

Spearheaded by XDA Recognized Developer dcordes, this latest version of HaRET is back, but not without difficulty. According to an update I received from dcordes:

HaRET needs to posess special rights (“kernel mode”) in order to access certain memory regions. This is required in order to load the Linux kernel into memory, flush memory to get rid of unneeded stuff and start Linux.
* HaRET uses a method to go to kernel mode “SetKmode” that was dropped in WP7
* On proposition of (minDark) I patched HaRET to get rid of it. Now HaRET no longer crashes but obviously lost it’s ability to boot a kernel (lol).

* Although it runs and does things that require no GUI, we don’t see anything now, also due to WP7 specific changes. Recomendations have been made how to fix this (ultrashot)

* (minDark) proposed HtcRoot project (GoodDayToDie) as a solution to the disability to obtain kernel rights. GoodDayToDie now showed interest in using his HtcRoot project in order to help us with this.

* This project is not device specific. Aim is to run HaRET and boot Linux on any WP7 device and the patched HaRET was already tested on leo and mozart.
With HD2 we have a special case: We have a known working Linux kernel for it and it runs WP7. Since the aim is to boot Linux from WP7 using HaRET, WP7 flashed HD2 is the perfect test setup.

Progress is moving rapidly, and headway being made, so if you feel you can contribute head on over to the thread here.

So there you have it folks, the Transformer Prime gets chopped, the Tab 7.7 gets its ROM cherry popped, and HaRET is back with a vengeance. Stay tuned for next weeks version. Jase out.

Access Other OEM Marketplaces On Windows Phone 7

One of the few areas in which Windows Phone OEMs can differentiate is in custom apps. They get their own special section in the marketplace which only their own devices can access – for instance, the HTC Hub is only available for HTC devices, and Nokia Music only for Lumia 710/800.

There are a number of ways to bypass this restriction, however, with GoodDayToDie‘s solution being the easiest one: You install a special XAP (which means that you must be developer unlocked), reboot your phone, and voilà, you can install those vendor-exclusive apps now. There’s a catch, though: You can only access one OEM marketplace at a time – that is, if you have an HTC device and installed the “Samsung Apps.xap”, you’ll lose access to HTC’s marketplace. Now, if you install “LG Apps.xap”, you’ll again lose access to Samsung’s marketplace, and so on. Good thing is, the apps you installed will continue to work, and after a day or two your device should automatically revert to its standard marketplace.

Sounds good enough? Be sure to read the dev’s description before downloading the XAPs in the forum thread.

MultiTaskToggle For Mango

Windows Phone 7 owners running Mango might be interested to hear about the latest development from XDA Senior Member GoodDayToDie.

The dev has thrown together a one-click app for enabling or disabling multitasking on Mango. It enables fast app switching and full multitasking as well as disabling multitasking when required to save battery.

Features of the app include:

Limitations:
  • No LG/Dell support as yet.
  • Does not work pre-Mango (it’s a 7.1 app).
For full instructions including to download the zip file, head on over to the application thread.

Search the Default Search Engine on Windows Phone 7

For a brief time in history, when the Search tool became available in Internet Explorer, Microsoft had locked it to use a single search engine. After much back and forth, they finally agreed to make it user customizable, so that anyone could use their favorite search engines. Well, years have gone by and it looks like MS is back to its old antics, locking the Search button on Windows Phone 7 devices to Bing.  Thanks to XDA member GoodDayToDie, this button has been freed from its chains to Bing. The dev has been able to make the button re-assignable to other search engines such as Yahoo!, Google, and others. Your device must be developer unlocked in order for this fix to work.

Please leave feedback for the dev if you find any bugs in the software.

A tool for quickly changing the search engine used when you hit the hardware Search button from within IE. You can use the search provider that comes configured on your phone, the built-in Bing app, or any other providers you’ve manually added. You can also add and use the mobile search page from Google, Yahoo, or Bing.

You can find more information in the mod thread.

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IE Search Switcher For WP7

For WP7 device owners, XDA forum member GoodDayToDie has come up with a tool for quickly changing the search engine used when you hit the hardware Search button from within Internet Explorer.

The initial release allows you to use the search provider that comes pre-configured on your phone, or the built in Bing application. If you have manually added any more providers, you can also switch between those.

Future releases will likely include common search engine options, the ability to add new search providers and the ability to edit or delete existing providers.

Supported devices so far include the HTC HD7, Samsung and LG.

For more information and to download the XAP file, check out the application thread.