How To

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How to redeem Xbox or Windows Store gift cards

Did someone just give you an Xbox gift card, Windows Store gift card, prepaid card, or promotional code? They usually come in the form of cards with a 25-character code. You can use these prepaid codes to make purchases without a credit card. We'll show you how you can redeem the codes on your Xbox One, Windows Phone device, or your computer.

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Apps Corner is one of the new features that Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 brings. In a nutshell, it lets you set up a custom Start screen on your device, where you can share only the apps you choose with the people you let use your phone. This is great for showing off your phone, while hiding private information from emails, calendar, and photos. This is also handy in setting up phones for employees, students, or coworkers, by exporting your Apps Corner settings from your phone and importing it onto other phones.

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This morning, Microsoft published a partial changelog for Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. The listing is incomplete because it misses things like Cortana's Bluetooth integration or the new Store Live Tile. However, one area it did get right is the ability to select multiple entries on messaging, contacts and even phone calls.

Previously, in Windows Phone 8.1 and below, users could either delete everything in the call-history or delete one by one. This approach lacks the granularity that many users desire, so the ability to bring up the familiar multiple-select check boxes goes a long way to improving control over one's content.

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If your car has Bluetooth and you have just updated your device to Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, you need to head over to your car right now and try this out. Update 1 has added a neat little feature that lets you activate Cortana directly from the voice command button on your steering wheel. Such a tool is useful for finding local eateries, gas stations, parking, or just looking up information while driving and avoiding getting a ticket.

How do you set it up? Read along and follow the steps.

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Earlier today, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 started trickling for users who are on Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. As the Windows Phone team at Microsoft shared a few days ago, the latest update brings Cortana to China and UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in India.

This early adopter program for the latter is opt-in, and gives people the option to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. Let's see how we can configure it for Windows Phone devices in these regions.

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If you just installed Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that was released earlier today, you'll be happy to know that you can now create Live Folders on the home screen. Microsoft calls these "Live" folders because whatever app or game is included in the folder still has their Live Tile enabled. How do you create them? It's easy! Let us show you.

Head past the break to watch the how-to video on the Nokia Lumia Icon.

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In the Windows Phone Update 1 Preview, new Bluetooth profiles are supported in the latest OS update from Microsoft, giving consumers access to new abilities. Those new profiles included PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP.

In regards to PAN, one visible area in which consumers can immediately see the difference is visible under Internet Sharing.

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151

How to merge a contact in Windows Phone

The People Hub in Windows Phone is the center for all your contacts. It goes above and beyond your typical contact list and integrates social networks like Facebook and Twitter (thanks Social Extensibility framework). By aggregating all that data into one, contact card, your People Hub becomes invaluable for keeping your friends all in once place. Windows Phone does a good job automatically piecing everything together, though sometimes it misses adding your phonebook contact with their Facebook profile. Here's how to manually merge and link contacts in the People Hub on Windows Phone.

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Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the feature set for Windows Phone 8.1 Update. As it turns out, there are quite a few new additions to the OS refresh that make it worth getting, including those Live Folders, rapid charging, improvements to Internet Explorer rendering and more.

However, there are many questions about the Preview for Developers program and what it means for those enrolled, but who do not yet have their Lumia Cyan update. We are going to walk through a few scenarios of what to expect depending on your setup.

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With Nokia Camera, you can change a lot of camera settings like white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed, and brightness to take the perfect photo, but all of that don't matter if you don't pay attention to framing or composition. Fortunately, Nokia Camera provides framing grids that you can activate within the settings. We'll teach you how to turn them on and how you can use them to improve your photos.

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The Lumia Cyan update is hitting more devices each day, and a big chunk of those are 'country variants' aka CV. Country variants are non-carrier phones, but even though they are SIM unlocked, they still have localization including default language, preloaded apps pertinent to that region and other network changes. As such, there is no such thing as a generic Lumia Windows Phone, because Hong Kong, Mexico, Thailand, Norway, and others all have their own 'country variant' for each Lumia model.

The Lumia country variants are widely eligible for the Lumia Cyan update, at least for the Lumia 625, Lumia 925, Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520. However, not all of CVs are yet cleared, leading to confusion amongst readers who proceed to force-downgrade their phones to 8.0 in order to get the non-existing update.

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Earlier this year when Verizon finally released the Lumia Icon, I gave the phone a solid review. However, one thing that always bothered me about Verizon's Lumia phones is their lack of color. For instance, the Icon comes only in white or black, but there is no red, which would seem like an obvious choice for the rosy-hued carrier.

Fast forward to mid-year and the Lumia 930 picks up some borderline neon green, and bright orange back covers. Is there a way to switch them to add color to your Lumia Icon? You bet, and you can find the answers in our forums.

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Earlier last week, the Nokia Creative Studio 6.0 update has become available for download at the Windows Phone Store. It has a completely redesigned interface with some new features. The bad news, as some of you have discovered, is that the update is missing Color Pop and Red-eye reduction. Nevertheless, we've spent some time with the updated Creative Studio. Read along to see how you can improve your images using the app.

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Earlier today, AT&T announced that their Lumia 1520 is now receiving the Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 updates. However, it quickly became evident that those with the Preview for Developers installed on their Lumia 1520s did not have an update, but those with Windows Phone 8.0 did. The reason for the discrepancy is Microsoft has put on hold updates for those running the Preview.

As such, those who are on the Preview and who still want the Lumia Cyan update need to downgrade their OS first. This is still Microsoft's position on the situation.

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Nokia Storyteller is an app that automatically groups all your photos, videos and cinemagraphs into individual events called stories. You can browse all your stories on your timeline, modify them, and then view them as slideshows. If you're really happy with the slideshows, you can share them as story videos with friends on Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, and more.

Want to know how to do it? Head past the break to watch the video and follow the steps.

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Running out of storage space on your Windows Phone? You've probably filled it up with games, apps, photos, music and more. If your Windows Phone has support for a SD card you're in luck. With a few taps you can move things from to your SD card from your phone's internal storage. In the process freeing up your phone's internal memory. You can also set it up so that new music, videos, podcasts, photos, apps and downloads automatically get stored in either your phone or SD card.

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I feel so embarrassed right now. I've had the Xbox One for about 3 months, and I just learned that the Kinect microphone has been on while playing multiplayer games. I assumed that no one could hear me when the headset isn't connected. This means other people may have heard things that I didn't want them to hear. Don't make the same mistake. Turn off that Kinect microphone.

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