An XDA forum member has posted instructions on installing Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones on virtually any non-supported Windows Phone handset, a non-surprising response to the very limited set of devices that are officially supported. I strongly recommend not installing this first preview on non-supported phones, but here’s how you can back out if you make this mistake.
As you may recall, Microsoft released the first Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones build last week, but limited it to a very strange subset of low-end Lumias including the Lumia 630, 635, 638, 730 and 830, and then only in “most” locales. Despite have a few dozen Lumias, I was only able to install this update on my Lumia 635; I have an 830 as well, but it’s apparently from an unsupported locale. (It’s not an AT&T version, which should work.)
This was disappointing to Windows Phone’s biggest fans, most of whom will have some flagship device like a Lumia 1020, 1520, Icon or 930. So you may be tempted by news that a developer in the XDA forums has figured out a workaround so that you can install this first Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones build on virtually any modern Windows Phone handset. That means all modern Lumias, of course, but also devices like the HTC 8X or One M8, or whatever.
My advice falls under that umbrella response that is triggered every time someone asks me whether they should install any pre-release software. If you have to ask, don’t do it.
In other words, if you’re technical enough to handle this, go nuts of course. But if you’re not, you’re kind of on your own here. Especially if this is your only smart phone. I mean, what if you brick the thing?
But I will offer two workarounds.
First, if you simply must test Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones right now, just buy a Nokia Lumia 635 from Amazon.com for the low, low, low price of $50. This will work just fine, and this is the exact device I’m using right now with the preview.
Second, if you are going to dive in with both feet and install the preview regardless of my advice, get ready with the Lumia Software Recovery Tool (direct download link), though with the understanding that this software can only recover Lumia devices. It does not work with other (HTC, Samsung, whatever) Windows Phone handsets. The point here is that if everything does go south, you can use this tool to recover your phone back to Windows Phone 8.x (whatever the latest supported version is on that device model).
Be careful out there, people. I really don’t think that the first Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones build has enough new stuff to warrant this lack of caution: check out Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones: A Quick Visual Overview and Windows 10 Technical Preview 2 for Phones: Day 2 for my hands-on impressions to see why. But at least be ready for the worst if you can’t wait.