The 'Where's my phone update?' site lists a three-stage approach: first, the update is tested by the mobile operator, then Microsoft can take up to 10 days to schedule it for delivery, and finally it will be delivered. Even after the last stage has been reached, however, it can still take "several weeks" before phone owners receive the message that an update is finally available for them, Microsoft said. Upon receiving the message, phone owners can then connect their phone to a computer to download and install the update.
The goal is to give users a better sense of when to expect new software, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft provides the information by phone model for owners in the US, and by network operator for owners in other countries.
For example, US owners of the HTC HD7 can see that the copy and paste update, also known as NoDo, is currently being scheduled. In the international section of the website, owners of a Windows Phone 7 smartphone from operator 3 in the UK, Ireland, Austria, Italy and Sweden can also see that the update is now being scheduled.
Microsoft started distributing the upgrade on Tuesday this week, and the first group to receive it are owners of unlocked phones. In the next phase of the process, Microsoft will start making the new software available to a broader range of customers with phones customised for specific operators, the blog post said.
Besides copy and paste, the first major upgrade of Windows Phone 7 promises shorter start up times for applications and games, and better search features on Microsoft's application store Marketplace, which should now also be more stable when downloading apps, according to Microsoft. The company has made smaller improvements to Facebook integration, Wi-Fi connectivity, Outlook and camera stability, it said.
Microsoft is delivering the upgrades in batches and "ramping up gradually to help ensure the process is as problem-free as possible," according to the blog post.
A previous round of Windows Phone upgrades did not go smoothly for all. The so-called 'February update' caused problems for some owners of Windows Phone 7-based smartphones from Samsung. The upgrade was intended to improve the update process itself.
In the US, the February update is at the scheduling stage for two phones but still in testing for three others. Elsewhere, the update is still being tested by three operators - Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Telstra - and Microsoft is scheduling it for two others, SFR and Orange. It is already being delivered to customers of other operators.