Hack danger–Uninstalling DF Router app can result in a permanently dysfunctional handset

caution-300x300WP7.com.pl writes to let us know of a cautionary tale about hacking your phone to add features.

A homebrew app called DFRouter allows one to easily place your phone into USB Modem mode.  This mode allows your phone to be used to tether, but not sync or install apps.

It turns out if one uninstalls the app without returning your phone to Zune mode there is no way to change the setting back again, leaving users with a phone in which no further music can be added.

Because the homebrew app can not be side-loaded to fix the problem and  a hard reset does not remove the setting users are left trying to attempt a warranty return.

An MVP on Microsoft’s WP7 support notes:

Sorry to hear about that.  Right now there’s nothing you can do, other than to exchange the device, if able, or wait until someone clever figures out a way reset those settings on the device without the need of the Zune software.

I don’t mean to be snarky, but this is a cautionary tale in fiddling with things we don’t understand.  Unlike “old school” WinMo that was very hackable, and well understood by the community due to its transparency and longevity, WP7 is locked down pretty tightly, and the hacking community doesn’t seem to have figured out everything going on under the hood yet, despite the freat strides they’ve made figuring it out so far.  Trial and error is a great way to learn, but it obviously carries risks, as you’ve discovered.

I, too, am often frustrated by the limited feature set of WP7, but the far safer solution today is to just be patient and let MS flesh out the feature set, and use another device in the meantime for the stuff it can’t do yet.  Many phones, including many cheap dumbphones, allow tethering.  I’m far more comfortable just moving my SIM to an old Nokia candy bar or WinMo 6.x device when I need to tether, than I am risking my WP7 device trying to hack it to do something it currently can’t.

Again, I sympathize with your situation, and wished I had an actual solution for you.  This reply wasn’t designed to berate or insult you, but rather act as a warning to others before they find themselves stuck in the same situation.

More on the problem can be found at XDA-Developers.com.