Posted by: kurtsh | December 29, 2011

HOWTO: Reinstall hidden/unlisted apps on Windows Phone apps

I have numerous Microsoft Internal, only “corporate” applications installed on my Windows Phone (as in “unlisted & not available to the public”) and for a number of reasons such as uninstalls, etc., I needed to reinstall several of them.

So the question is:

How do you reinstall applications that AREN’T publicly viewable on the Windows Phone Marketplace? (i.e. Unlisted applications)

HIDDEN & NOWHERE TO BE FOUND: “THE ZUNE DESKTOP CLIENT”
The problem is, since the applications are “MS Internal” as we call them, there’s no reference to them other than the original installation links for these apps.

Typically the installation links are for the Zune software and look like this*: http://social.zune.net/External/LaunchZuneProtocol.aspx?pathuri=navigate%3FphoneAppID%3Db63f3651-0875-e011
(* See below for a discussion about an alternative installation link type)

The reasonable assumption is that if you go to the Zune Desktop client, you should be able to just reinstall the apps, right? NOPE.  When you go back to that link to “reinstall” the app, this is all you get:

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(Notice that there’s no “reinstall” option/button.  So you’re stuck.)

HIDDEN & NOWHERE TO BE FOUND: THE ON-DEVICE & ONLINE WINDOWS PHONE MARKETPLACE
In the other locations where you would typically install software, there’s no indicators of how to get at these internal/unlisted applications you’d previously installed.
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If you go to your device and visit the Windows Phone Marketplace (i.e. the MARKETPLACE app), there’s obviously no place to look for the app (because it’s an “internal”, Microsoft-only application, remember?) so I can’t just look it up on the phone to re-download.  And there’s no listing on the phone for “previously downloaded” or “currently purchased/owned applications” so that idea’s out the window.  (Interestingly, this was a feature of the Windows Mobile Marketplace back with Windows Phone 6.5.)

Now if you go to the Windows Phone Marketplace online, (i.e. http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/marketplace) you still won’t find the internal application because, again, there’s no public listing and no “special place” for those apps to reside.

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(In case you weren’t counting, that’s THREE places to install applications from on the Windows Phone platform – and none of them have a place to reinstall previously downloaded applications – especially those that are internal/unlisted in the marketplace.  And not even the original link works.  [insert tech rage here])

SOLUTION:  YOUR ACCOUNT’S “APP PURCHASE HISTORY” ON WINDOWSPHONE.COM
It turns out there’s yet, a FOURTH place to download software from.  It’s located in your “account” on WindowsPhone.com.  There is an installation history located online for your phone (which you can’t get rid of near as I can tell) that lists every application that you’ve installed – free or otherwise.  This of course includes “internal/unlisted” applications.

Here’s how to find & reinstall those apps:

  1. Login to https://www.windowsphone.com with the Windows Live ID you used for your Windows Phone.
  2. Click “My Phone”.
  3. Click “Account”
  4. Scroll below to “App Purchase History”
  5. Select the application that you’d previously installed and click “Reinstall” next to it.

———————–
A QUICK WORD ABOUT “APP INSTALLATION LINKS”:
Most links that I’ve seen for Windows Phone applications begin with http://social.zune.net… leading to the installed Zune Desktop Client on your Windows PC.

Recently, there is a new Windows Phone application installation link that I’ve seen that’s doesn’t depend on the Zune Desktop Client, and instead leads you to the Windows Phone Marketplace web site on the Internet.  It’s something like:

This is important because as you can see below, there’s a LINK that says REINSTALL.  This is the only place I’ve seen this and while useful, only certain unlisted/private applications have this link available.  So if you have a link like this, you’re fortunate:  Reinstallation should be as easy as pressing the big RED “Reinstall” button below.

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