I bought myself a Windows Phone 7 HTC HD7, despite it’s foibles I really do think it’s an excellent bit of kit. I mainly use the video player for my train ride into work, and the games too. Oh, I know that the iPhone and Android phones have loads of apps and games available, but there is something about the games on Windows Phone 7 (WP7) that make them a bit more special to me. Maybe it’s because I can earn achievement points on XBOX Live, maybe its the fluidity and clarity of XNA.

i dig it bubble birds

There’s two games in particular that I enjoy. “i dig it” which is an XBOX Live title and the freebie “bubble birds”.

So here’s the problem… nowadays my phone is taking ages to start these games, especially the XNA based ones. Typical symptoms include:

  • Turn on phone, wait for it to fully warm up, start game application – game’s splash screen pops up and apparently freezes for 3-14 minutes*, game starts playing.
  • Use the phone throughout the day, start game application – game’s splash screen pops up and immediately returns to the WP7 start screen. Manual reboot required.
  • Play a game (noticeably one off the XNA ones), ‘tombstone’ the game by using another application on the phone, resume the game — game’s splash screen pops up and immediately returns to the WP7 start screen. Manual reboot required.

*yes, I timed it many times!

I’ve also experienced similar problems with the video playback, particularly with videos that are over an hour in duration:

  • Start video playback, watch for at least 40mins, tombstone the player by using another application, resume the video – frequently, the screen will freeze outright, battery gets very warm, phone automatically reboots after about 5 minutes.
  • Start video playback – if the phone has been in use throughout the day, random chance that the screen will just freeze in playback, as above.

Of course I thought that this was particular to my WP7 device, maybe the HTC HD7 firmware or hardware was faulty since nobody else (friends, forums or web search) exposed such problems. My HTC HD7  has 16GB of memory and despite installing a couple of games, applications, music and videos, I know that I’ve hardly filled up 25% of the full capacity… on a PC I would have thought that my problems are symptoms of an operating system that is struggling to breathe.

That’s when I bumped into the apparent solution… rooting about in the phone settings via the Zune desktop client I discovered “Reserved Space”. The helptext/description suggests that this quota allows WP7 to set aside specific space for your content and it seems that the factory-shipped setting for my HTC HD7 was set incredibly low. Only 5%, maybe that’s what’s been strangling my applications.

Find the setting here – Zune | Settings | Phone | Reserved Space

Zune | Settings | Phone | Reserved Space @5%

There does not seem to be much guidance or a recommended setting for how much Reserved Space a WP7 device should have. A quick canvass round the office resulted in no definitive answer… ranging from 5% through to 90%. Most interesting was that nobody was even aware of Reserved Space.

So I set mine to 60%. Click OK and you might be prompted to reboot (the phone) before the setting take effect.

Zune | Settings | Phone | Reserved Space @60%

Since making this change, my HTC HD7 has behaved itself admirably. It seems to running all my applications and videos quickly, reliably and without automatically tombstoning. I’d seriously recommend you check out your Reserved Space settings maybe give it a little tweak in the right direction!

Zune view of the space allocation on your WP7


This is a cross post from my EMC blog, mainly for backup duplicity and to aggregate some of my past postings. My EMC blog used to be under the Conchango brand but was acquired by EMC so I’ve also retrospectively refreshed some of the old links and maybe a tweak a bit of content too.
permalink to the original post here