Manually backing up your Windows Phone contacts?

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There was a time (think 1990s) when manually massaging contacts in order to transfer them between devices was quite common, with tab-delimited text and then, later on, vCard files being the way forward. With the advent of the Internet and a multiplicity of Cloud-based sync solutions (starting with SyncML, going through Exchange ActiveSync, and ending with the current CardDAV), moving contacts around is now almost foolproof. Yet, occasionally, perhaps on a device that's orphaned away from a working online account, going old-school is worth considering. For emergencies, you understand!

If this sounds like something you might want to do - or at least keep in mind for future use - then note a utility called, simply, Contacts Backup, which does exactly what the title suggests:

Easily backup your contacts to .vcf file and upload it to the OneDrive.Application, support all kind of accounts registered on your Windows Phone

v3.0: Added ability to copy backup file to SD card if present

The Handheld Blog has done a bit of a write-up on it:

The way Microsoft has made Windows Phone is that it backs up your contacts to the Microsoft Account automatically. You can simply login to, and get access to your contacts there, and can even export them. The problem with this is that not many people are aware this option exists, and secondly it only leaves you at the mercy of Microsoft. So if for some reason you loose access to your MS account, you’re without a backup.

I frequently get asked if there is a way to manually backup contacts on Windows Phone, and this post answers that question. While there is no inbuilt mechanism that you can use, there is a free app that gets the job done. 

Backup Windows Phone 8 Contacts -2 Backup Windows Phone 8 Contacts -1

It gives you an option to include contact photos in the backup, and whether or not you want all the contacts in one big .vcf file, or have a separate .vcf file for each contact. The best part is that it can include contacts from your Google, Facebook and Nokia accounts as well.

Of course, you might well ask how you then get this contact file (or files) off the device if you don't have a working/syncing Microsoft (or Google or whatever) account. Contacts Backup has this covered too:

Once the contacts are backed up, the app needs you to sign into your OneDrive account. The important thing to note is that you can sign into any OneDrive account and not just the one that’s tied to your phone. This is useful if you’ve (or most likely your parents have) forgotten the password to that MS account.

Once signed in, simply hit ‘Upload’ and wait. The zip file will now be available on your OneDrive. Inside will be the .vcf file(s).

Plus, new for v3.0 of Contacts Backup is that you can save the .vcf file to a SD card in the phone, should the device have one. Options, options, and the more the better in what will, presumably, be something of a data emergency.

You can grab Contacts Backup here in the Windows Phone Store. It's free.

Source / Credit: The Handheld Blog