Access Marketplace, download, install WP7 apps on Windows Phone from India

Windows Phone 7 is now available in India. Those of you who have been anxiously waiting to buy one will now be able to do so.

UPDATE 3rd April 2010: Some are reporting that this registry hack is no longer required to install Windows Phone 7 apps using Zune software, in India.

I was delighted to talk to and hear that my MVP colleague Muqeet Khan had officially purchased one, right here in Pune today, with Vodafone being his service provider.

Unfortunately he was very disappointed to find out that he was unable to access the Windows Phone 7 Market Place and download or install WP7 apps. Having a Windows Phone 7 with no apps or no access to the MarketPlace is like having ‘just any other’ phone!

You can bet, that many people in India are going to be really disappointed if they realize that they are unable to access the Marketplace, via their cool new Windows Phone! Over 5000  WP7 apps and not even one to download!

Hopefully Microsoft will realize this and make the Marketplace open to India too very soon.

But then till such a time, so that the new India WP7 consumer is not disappointed, and does not getting a wrong impression about the capabilities and features of the Windows Phone, my MVP colleague Dhaval Faria suggested a small modification to the Windows Registry. I did try it out and was able to access the Marketplace and make purchases too.

First download and install the free Zune software from Microsoft.

Having done that, click on the Start button or orb and in the search box type regedit and hit Enter. This will open the Registry Editor.

Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Zune\Features

Here double-click on Marketplace – you will see the codes of the following countries:

AT,AU,BE,CA,CH,DE,ES,FR,GB,IE,IT,MX,NL,NZ,SG,US

You will see the same value data for Apps and  SignInAvailable too.

Now one after the other, in each of these three – Marketplace, Apps, SignInAvailable, modify the value data, by adding India’s country code IN too.

It should now look like this:

AT,AU,BE,CA,CH,DE,ES,FR,GB,IE,IT,MX,NL,NZ,SG,US,IN

Exit regedit.

NOW connect your Windows Phone to your Windows Computer.

Your Zune software will automatically start and you will be alerted with a following message:

Features have changed.

Click OK.

You will see the Marketplace tab too now, in your Zune software.

Here not only can you download Free apps, you can also BUY the Paid apps, legally!

Select the App you want and click on the FREE button to install it. If its a Paid app, you can choose to Try it first or Buy it directly.

The first time you buy it, you will be required to fill in your name, address, country of residence, credit card number, etc.  Give your details, including Country as India, and you should be able to complete your transaction.  Once you have completed the transaction, the app will be installed directly on your Windows Phone. Next time onwards things become easy since you have entered your credit card and other details!

I did make a few purchases and was alerted on my mobile phone that my Credit Card had been charged. I also received a confirmatory mail from Microsoft, giving me a statement of my purchases.

There is one hitch. The next time you connect your Windows Phone, you may not see the Marketplace option. This means that you will have to modify the registry every time you connect it. I have therefore created this registry file which I first double-click on, to add its contents to my Windows registry, and then connect my Windows Phone to my Windows 7 computer.

I know its going to be a bit of a trouble for new WP7 users from India, but till such a time that Microsoft makes it possible for you to access the MarketPlace via your Windows Phone, you can use this method. You may also petition Microsoft to make it available worldwide soon.

New WP7 users may also want to read the MarketPlace FAQ’s.

UPDATE: This tip works on my Zune v 4.7.1404.0, but I have been given to understand that a just released new version, does not create the said registry keys and hence this tip may not work. If anyone wants to give feedback in this regard, please do so in the comments.

You may also want to check out  our WP7 MarketPlace Enabler.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.