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Windows Phone 7 updates not coming fast enough? There's a hack for that

A developer has cracked Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 repair tool to make it update nearly any WP7 handset to the latest OS, whether your operator is supporting it or not.

Windows Phone users have been discovering the downside of Microsoft's desire to stay on the good side of its mobile network partners: updates to the software only arrive on handsets when the operator has finished testing them, much like Android. This means many people face a lengthy lag between Microsoft releasing an update and it landing on their phone, so there's cause for frustration.

It should come as no surprise that someone's taken it into their own hands to solve the problem, although we'll warn you right away that this is something for the braver members of the WP7 community, who don't mind risking a bricked handset.

The public-spirited hacker is Chris Walsh, who explains on his blog that he managed to crack an official support tool released by Microsoft over the weekend, and found a pleasant surprise lurking within:

"Basically they've created a managed wrapper over the whole update process for us, rather nice of them," he writes. "So I flashed my HTC Mozart back to RTM (7004) via a ROM update HTC ship and whipped up a little application to flash pre-NoDo (7008), NoDo (7355), NoDo update 1 (7389) & NoDo update 2 (7390) all in a single process. No I don't care which carrier you are on, which phone you have, it'll just update your phone accordingly."

He gives detailed instructions on using the tool to update your Windows Phone 7 smart phone to the latest OS version, and warns that since he's been unable to test it on every handset, there may be problems for some. Comments indicate that the Samsung Omnia 7 may have issues, for example, with people reporting that they are unable to use the Zune, Marketplace store and even email after using the tool to update their phones.

Like we said, this is one for the brave.