Moving Contacts From a Verizon Feature Phone to Hotmail for Windows Phone 7

First, I have to explicitly state that the following process is not endorsed or supported by Microsoft or Verizon.  I have used it a couple of times successfully, but I can’t guarantee that your phone won’t spontaneously combust or otherwise cease to function if you follow the steps below.  If you have trouble, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.

I have heard several stories lately from folks who are finally taking the plunge into the world of SmartPhones on Verizon (with the AWESOME HTC Trophy).  Some Verizon reps simply state that you can’t move contacts from the old to the new phone, but they helpfully print out a hard copy of the contacts from the old phone.  Others point to the Microsoft Article on Syncing Outlook Contacts with Windows Phone which isn’t very helpful if you don’t have or use Outlook.  I figured it would be worth putting up a post on the process I used.

The first step is to make sure your contacts are backed up with Verizon’s Backup Assistant from your old phone.  The process is different for different phones, but should be similar to the following.

On this feature phone, you select MENU, then Contacts, then Backup Assistant, then OK, and finally Backup Now. If you have not used Backup Assistant previously there are a few extra steps to set up a password, but they are pretty self explanatory. Verizon also has a great deal of documentation on their website at http://verizonwireless.com/backupassistant

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Once your phone shows “Pending: 0” that indicates that all of your contacts have successfully been updated to the web.  You then need to sign in at http://verizonwireless.com/backupassistant 

If you haven’t already signed up for Verizon’s online account access, there will be extra steps here.

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After signing in you should see a screen listing your contacts.  Click on “Select All”

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Now click the drop-down next to “Select All” and select “Export Contacts”

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You will be prompted to select a file download type, select “Outlook (CSV)”.  We’re not actually going to use Outlook, but this is a file format that Hotmail can import.

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Your browser may prompt you for permission to download the file, select “Save” and make a note of the file’s location.

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Once you have the MyContacts.csv file saved, go to http://hotmail.com and log in.  You will need to use the Primary Live Id that was first associated with your Windows Phone during setup.  From the main screen, select “Contacts”

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On the contacts screen, select “Manage” then “Import” on the Menu. 

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On the next screen select “Outlook”.  Again, we’re not actually using Outlook, that’s just the common language that both Backup Assistant and Hotmail know how to use.

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Next click the “Browse” button and locate your MyContacts.csv file, then click the “Import contacts” button.

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If everything has worked as expected your Hotmail Contacts should now include all the phone number from your previous phone.

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A few points to note.  If you are using a Live Id that is not a Hotmail Address, you can still log in at Hotmail with that Live Id to access the contacts section.  Also, if you have been using Hotmail for a long time your Contacts folder might have a large number of entries that you no longer want.  The web interface has some good options for cleaning up and combining duplicate contacts, and is also a good place to sort through and clean out unwanted contacts.  Any changes you make on the web will be synced to your new Windows Phone.

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6 thoughts on “Moving Contacts From a Verizon Feature Phone to Hotmail for Windows Phone 7

  1. Nice! Thanks for taking the time to write this up… I've been on Verizon for forever and never thought to use the Backup Assistant this way… 🙂

  2. Laurie says:

    I am only allowed to have 100 contacts imported over. this is not enough. I was told to use the new live.com account for a while and this would change. It has not. This is ridiculous. See error message below. What can I do? Thank you.
    There was a problem importing your contacts.
    Your address book is full. To add new contacts, you'll need to delete some existing contacts.
    Try importing your contacts again
    Return to contacts

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