How to Solve the Error 8000ffff when Restoring Windows Phone 8 Apps

When trying to download apps from the Windows Phone Store or when trying to restore your phone using a backup, you might encounter issues for some apps. Windows Phone 8 returns the error code 8000ffff and says that: "There is a problem completing your request. Try again later.". To make things worse, your apps list is populated by lots of invalid entries. What causes this problem and how do you fix it?

The Problem - Restoring Your Windows Phone 8 Device Ends with Errors

When you reset your Windows Phone 8 device or you simply exchange it with a different one, after you log in with your Microsoft account for the first time, you are asked whether you would like to restore your phone, apps and settings using the most recent backup stored on the SkyDrive.

If you tap the backup, the restoring procedure is automatically performed and all your data, apps and settings are downloaded.

At the end of the restoring procedure, you may encounter an error: "There is a problem completing your request. Try again later. Error code: 8000ffff".

A tap on close reveals the downloads section in the Windows Phone Store and some entries named "Downloading application". Beneath each entry it says: "Attention required. Tap here.".

If you tap on any of these entries, a contextual menu is shown, with two options: retry and cancel download.

The trouble is that none of these options work and you are stuck with a long list of invalid app entries. This problem, together with others is described here by Microsoft: Error messages downloading applications from Windows Phone Marketplace or Store.

The trouble with the error code 8000ffff is that it doesn’t tell you much about what is going on. Also, the documentation for this error code provided by Microsoft doesn’t help.

The Source of the Problem - Apps That Are Incompatible With Your Phone, Windows Phone Version or Region Settings

It took me awhile to figure this out but I did, eventually. The error with the code 8000ffff is shown only when the restoration procedure tries to download and install apps that are incompatible with the phone model, the Windows Phone version or the region you are using.

If you have upgraded your Windows Phone version and some apps do not support it, you will encounter this problem. If you have changed your phone with another one, then some applications will not move over and you will encounter this problem. In my case, I changed my Nokia Lumia 920 with a Samsung Ativ S. All the Nokia exclusive apps were not moved to the new Samsung phone and for each exclusive app I encountered this error.

Some of our readers shared that this problem is encountered also when your region is set differently on the new phone. For example, some apps are available only in certain regions. If on your new phone you have set a different region, then those apps will not be migrated over.

Other users have had this problem with applications that were withdrawn from the Windows Phone Store. They had them on their old Windows Phone but on the new one they were not available because they are no longer in the Store. In other scenarios, the publisher of an app might republish their apps using the same name but a different identification number. If the number used by the app on your old Windows Phone is no longer found in the Store, then the migration process will fail with the same error.

The Fix - Manually Remove Each Invalid Entry from the App List

You will notice that the restoration process worked for many things, except these apps that cannot be migrated over.

To solve the problem, go to the Start screen. Then, flick left to view the app list on your Windows Phone 8 device.

Press and hold the first invalid app entry, to bring up the contextual menu.

Tap uninstall and the invalid entry is removed. Repeat the process manually, for each invalid app entry.

Conclusion

I hope I managed to help with solving this problem. It took me awhile to figure out what’s wrong and even more time to fix the issue. If you found this article useful, don’t hesitate to share it with others using the buttons found below. I'm sure other Windows Phone users will find it useful.