I have loved my HTC Titan ever since I got it in November of 2011. I love the 4.7" screen which is easy on my eyes (growing old is for the birds). Switching from an iPhone 3Gs, Windows Phone 7.5 was a wonderful breath of fresh air. Yes, there are some things that I miss (screen captures for one), but overall I have not regretted the switch.

There has been one thing that has annoyed me on Microsoft’s part (that existing handsets cannot upgrade to Windows 8), and even more so I have been annoyed with AT&T and HTC because there have been updates and hotfixes for Windows Phone that they have refused to release. If you own a Nokia series phone, then you can get the 7.8 update, but AT&T has stated that they will not release any updates for non-Nokia phones.

However, you do have three ways that you can update your phone…with varying levels of ease.

First, it is possible (for some handsets) to update your phone by tricking Zune into giving you the handset. I tried this and was unable to update my phone, but others have reported that it can work. Check out this article from WpCentral on how to trick Zune into updating your phone. This is the easiest way to get this done and the safest…I just couldn’t get it to work.

The second easiest way is to use the cool tool called Seven-Eighter from WindowsPhoneHacker.com. What this does is wrap up the manual process to get the CAB files, extract them, and install them on your phone. It is remarkably easy to use, and includes one of the most hilarious time estimators I have seen in a long time.

Note that it will take 134.2 seconds, not 2 minutes, or about 2 minutes…exactly 134.2 seconds. I honestly didn’t try and actually see if it was correct, but it made me chuckle.

The trick to using the Seven-Eighter tool is to know what language pack you are using. You will want to open up Settings->Keyboard and note any languages that you have installed (for me it was English-US only). Then it’s a matter of letting Seven-Eighter do its business. This will take a while as it only does one update at a time and there are a number of them (thanks again HTC and AT&T). Eventually you will get to Windows Phone 7.8 (build 1.6.3 7.10.8862.144). It took me about 7 or 8 passes to get there. I did throw an error on one of the updates and I just restarted the program. Please note that there is a level of risk in doing updates this way and you may have to revert your phone to factory settings if it gets messed up. On the Titan that is turning the phone off and then holding down the Volume Up and Volume Down buttons while you turn the phone on.

The last method you can use if to manually download the CAB files and install them. This is the most difficult method of making this work so caveat emptor.

Update 3/29/2013

Well, caveat emptor indeed.  It seems that after I finished the update to 7.8, my phone looked great…alas it was not so.  I resized all of my tiles and was quite excited about the new layout.  Then I got a text message and tried to read it.  I was able to get to the screen that showed the threads but when I touched a thread to read the message…it would go back to the start screen.  The same was true of using the phone.  I could open an email, but I could not setup a WiFi Connection.

So…I decided to restore the phone to the backup I had via Zune.  This took about an hour (ugh), and I was no longer on 7.8…and no SMS, no Phone.  Hrm…next stop was the Hard Reset.  That took all of about 3 seconds to return the phone ot factory defaults.  It took about 5 minutes to get me back to how my phone was on day 1…and suddently…nothing worked.  No SMS, no Phone, and I could not neve set up email. 

Long story short (too late I know), I went to the AT&T store and they put me in touch with their tech support who informed me that my phone was dead.  Lucky for me I was about 2 months from an upgrade and they gave me an early upgrade and I will get a Nokia Lumia 920 running Windows 8 in a couple of days.  Of course I have to live with no phone for a couple of days…and that really sucks.