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Can I Jailbreak Windows Phone 7?
Jailbreaking your Windows Phone can offer some benefits such as allowing you to tether your handset or run homebrew applications. While discouraged by Microsoft it has become a popular means of gaining this additional functionality. As the lack of tethering has been a disappointment for many Windows Phone owners, there are several that have engaged in using the ChevronWP7 method of unlocking their handsets.
However, the system isn't foolproof, and depending on where in the world you live it might have been completely disabled.
Image credit: Windows Phone Newsroom, http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windowsphone/imageGallery.aspx
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What is “Jailbreaking”?
First termed by hackers on the iOS platform (the operating system that runs iPhones), “jailbreaking” describes the process of unlocking a device of various permissions, thereby delivering full control of the phone and what software can be installed on it.
A similar process is available for owners of Android phones: termed “rooting” this gives access to the root folder to a standard user, assigning superuser status.
Note that jailbreaking is different to SIM unlocking – this is the process of disassociating a phone from a particular mobile network so that you can take advantage of the payment plan of another.
On Windows Phone 7 handsets, there have been two different ways of jailbreaking your phone.
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Jailbreaking a Windows Phone 7 with WP7Chevron
Now this is a tricky process to explain, not because it is complicated (it isn’t) but because the developers of the code that allows you to jailbreak a Windows Phone 7 handset took the code down from their website.
A few weeks later the same developers were meeting up with Microsoft to discuss how homebrew apps – a staple of software development since the 1970s – could be made “acceptable” on a platform that is basically pro-app-centric.
However, there remain copies of the two files that you require, chevronwp7.cer and chevronwp7.exe available in various locations on the web; you might find them at XDA-developers.com, for instance.
When you find these files, save them to your PC, and then email chevronwp7.cer to yourself so that you can pick up the e-mail on your phone. Tap the attachment to open it (you may need to download it first) and when you’re prompted to Install Certificate click Install.
The next step is to connect your phone to your PC via the USB cable. Once you have done this and the Zune software is running, run chevronwp7.exe. This will then unlock the phone, allowing you to sideload compatible applications from your computer.
Note that as of the pre-NoDo update (February 2011 update) it is no longer possible to use the WP7Chevron method of unlocking your Windows Phone 7 device.
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Future Windows Phone 7 Jailbreaks
There is every chance that future jailbreaks will be developed for Windows Phone 7 users, which will need refreshing each time Microsoft release an update.
One hacker/developer (Schapman) has already announced his own unlock as soon as the NoDo update has been released around the world. This will enable users to manage apps, explore their phones with an Explorer-style interface, create backups, add ringtones (a popular request) and sync favorites with a desktop browser.
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- XDA-Developers, http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=857127
- Warren, Tom. "Second Windows Phone 7 jailbreak on the way", http://www.winrumors.com/second-windows-phone-7-jailbreak-on-the-way/