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wp_ss_20130818_0001I was feeling good Saturday morning, with a full weekend ahead and the news that Microsoft had released “Halo: Spartan Assault” broadly for Windows Phone after the conclusion of the one-month exclusive for Verizon customers.

Sure, all you iPhone users were having fun lining up your pea shooters against waves of undead, but I was finally going to get to experience this great Halo game on my HTC 8X. I was even willing to pay another $6.99 for it, even though I had already bought the game for my Windows 8 tablet.

But when I tried, my phone told me I had reached the storage limit on my device and wouldn’t be able to install the game until I freed up more space.

Welcome to Windows Phone’s “other storage” problem. A significant portion of the storage on my device — nearly 3 GB of the total 8 GB — is taken up by a nebulous “other” category that can’t be easily reduced. It’s a known bug that many Windows Phone users have encountered. My phone shows 1.72 GB of free space, and the listed size of the Halo download is just 691 MB, but the game must require more room once installed.

So instead of fighting waves of Covenant forces on my phone, I spent the weekend grappling with one of the most frustrating bugs I’ve ever encountered.

First, I installed the “GDR2” update that was supposed to solve the problem. It didn’t fix it for me. So I deleted every app, file and photo that I could live without. No luck. Then I spent the rest of the weekend following suggestions from Microsoft and users on various Windows Phone forums, including turning off the SkyDrive photo auto-upload feature, and trying some apps that were supposed to solve the problem (including Shrink Storage and HTC’s own Make More Space) but didn’t seem to work for me.

My last resort would be a complete reset of my phone, starting from scratch, but that seems pretty extreme. Really, it shouldn’t be this hard to play a game.

Finally on Sunday night, I gave up, charged up my old iPhone, downloaded PvZ 2 and took out my frustration on some zombies. If only Microsoft could be as effective in mowing down this bug.

Previously in this series:

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