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How to Unlock Your WP7 Operating System and SIM

written by: •edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 4/26/2011

There are two ways in which you can unlock your Windows Phone - the OS and the SIM card. Both enable you to use your phone in new ways, but neither is simple.

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    Should I Unlock My Phone?

    How to Unlock Windows Phone 7 One of the first things you should consider with a new Windows Phone is whether you want to unlock it.

    There are two ways to unlock any phone. The first is to perform a sim unlock. This will allow you to use a SIM card from any carrier network rather than be restricted to the one you purchased the phone from.

    A different type of unlock is available for Windows Phone 7 owners in the form of a full phone unlock, which will allow you to perform some activities that are otherwise restricted, such as tethering your phone.

    We’re going to look at the two methods of unlocking your Windows Phone 7. Note that these are not illegal – by purchasing a phone you own the device and have every right to use a SIM unlock to choose which network you use. By performing a “full” phone unlock, meanwhile, you may find yourself unable to use certain services, but again, you are within your rights to do this.

    Image credit: Windows Phone Newsroom,

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    Windows Phone 7 SIM Unlock

    There are various websites online that will provide you with an unlock code for a Windows Phone 7 device, for a small fee.

    While the concept might sound difficult, it is actually very simple. Basically you will need to visit one of the websites below, select your mobile phone manufacturer, model and current carrier network (as well as country in some cases) and then enter the IMEI code on your phone handset, which is typically found beneath the battery. With this information entered, you can then purchase the code.

    This will then be emailed to you, along with instructions for inputting the code. This usually involves dialling a code into the phone to access a hidden menu, into which you can enter the unlock code based on your IMEI number.

    The following services will provide you with an unlock code:

    If you have any other suggested services for unlocking a Windows Phone 7 from its current SIM card, let me know in the comments below.

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    Unlocking Windows Phone 7 with ChevronWP7

    The other type of unlock for Windows Phone 7 is a device unlock, which effectively allows you to install homebrew apps that are not available on the Zune Marketplace.

    While we’ve previously covered the process of unlocking or jailbreaking Windows Phone 7, and explained that the process isn’t possible with phones that have had the Pre-NoDo and NoDo update, there is a way of applying the unlock and then updating your Windows Phone 7, which should allow you to enjoy the platform’s current features while your phone is unlocked!

    Begin with a Windows Phone 7 device that has not received any updates. Some users suggest restoring a Windows Phone to its factory settings (Settings > About > Reset your phone) so if you have a handset that has received updates you might wish to consider this option.

    The next step is to download the Windows 7 x64 version of the Zune client software, the Windows Phone Developer Tools and the x64 version of Windows Phone Support Tools.

    Using the standard ChevronWP7 method you can then unlock your basic Windows Phone 7 handset, before updating to the most recent version of the OS using the ChevronWP7.updater, which should be run once for the Pre-NoDo update and again for NoDo.

    By unlocking your Windows Phone 7 before applying the updates, the updates cannot close the exploit used by the ChevronWP7 jailbreaking method!

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    Author's own experience.