Bluetooth and Lumia 720 crashes

I have been quite happy with my Lumia 720 other than the Google contacts problem that I managed to solve recently. However, there is another issue that’s been bothering me – the phone freezes after I have used my Bluetooth headset with it. The sequence of events goes something like this:

  1. I turn on Bluetooth on the phone.
  2. I turn on my Bluetooth headset (Plantronics Voyager HD) and it connects to the phone.
  3. I have some voice calls on the phone through the headset.
  4. I turn off the headset effectively disconnecting it from the phone.
  5. I turn off Bluetooth on the phone and pocket it.
  6. Sometime later (a couple of hours or so) I take out my phone and find that either the screen does not turn on, or the screen turns on, but the lock screen is frozen with none of the usual information like calendar, battery status, signal strength etc. displayed.

The only way to make the phone useable is to reset it by pressing the volume down + power keys for 10-15 seconds. I am not sure whether this issue is specific to my handset or the Lumia 720 or Windows Phone, but have faced this problem quite a few times. My research on the web indicates that Windows Phone can have some issues with Bluetooth, Wifi and Airplane mode. In fact, one of my recent resets after a freeze had the phone stuck in Airplane mode that just wouldn’t turn off. Another reset thankfully set that problem right.

So far the only workaround I have found to this problem (not tested extensively) is to disconnect the headset from the phone through the settings before turning it off. This seems to keep the phone happy. Hope that the problem is fixed in a future OS update (Amber update for the Lumia 720 should be out soon), but till then got to keep in mind that Windows Phone does not like abrupt Bluetooth disconnects.

Have you been facing similar issues? Let me know in the comments section.

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Working around Steam issues with hybrid mobile GPUs

I have an Optimus enabled Acer Aspire 5750G with the NVIDIA 540M, and I have purchased quite a games (mostly ones on sale) on Steam over the last few months. The games work pretty well and the GPU is powerful enough to play them at the native resolution of my laptop.

I did find some games playing sluggishly even though they had pretty moderate requirements. The worst was in store when I tried playing the game Hoard. This game continually crashed to the desktop after showing its loading screen saying that reuben.exe has stopped working. I did some investigation into the matter and found a helpful thread on the game forum discussing this issue wherein lots of people with mobile hybrid GPU config (both NVIDIA & AMD\ATI) have faced crashes.

The fix that worked for me was this one:

Navigate to the folder that holds the Reuben.exe (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\hoard\win32) and right click on the app, select Run with this Graphics processor.  Then select Choose Default.  When the next screen comes up click add and then navigate to the folder and select reuben.exe.
Looks like while Steam was correctly getting autoselected to the nVidia chipset, Hoard was getting the integrated.

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NVIDIA by default uses its GPU for Steam, but not for all the games on Steam – especially the Indie games. This also explains why many games are slower than expected, as the integrated Intel HD graphics is not that powerful. So, if you are having trouble with games on Steam, go to the Manage 3D Settings section of the NVIDIA Control Panel and add profiles for your games on Steam, setting them to use the NVIDIA processor as shown. Steam stores the games in the folder – C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common by default, and the main game executable will be within the subfolders.

On a side note, another issue I face frequently with Steam is that it takes quite a long time to launch games, and the duration seems to be dependent on the network speed. Haven’t found a workaround for that other than to launch Steam in offline mode, which seems to prevent it from trying to check for updates online on every launch.