Help and Howto

In Windows 10, for some reason, I find that the quickest way to access the Settings app is by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting "Display settings" or "Personalize", even though once I access one of the page settings, I have to click to go back to the main section. So, I ask myself: Why is Microsoft not adding an option to access the Settings app from the desktop right-click context menu? I think it'll be very useful for many users.

In our previous guide, we talked about how Microsoft is slowly moving away from the Control Panel in Windows 10 in favor of the new Settings app. This app is a more unified experience that brings all the Windows settings in one place and a user interface that works across devices e.g. phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

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How to prepare your PC for the Windows 10 upgrade

On July 29, Microsoft's goal of having Windows 10 running on a billion devices in the next three years begins.

It's been a long ride, but at the end of July, millions of users around the world will finally get their hands on Windows 10. In this new release, Microsoft is going back to the drawing board to make Windows better. The company is doing this by bringing back many of the familiarities of Windows 7 with a mix of Windows 8.1 functionality, brand new features, such as Cortana, Settings, and universal Windows apps, and changing the way people upgrade to the next operating system. So far things are looking very good.

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Microsoft is packing many new features into Windows 10, and it's bringing back a familiar user interface that moves away from being a touch-first operating system to something that adapts to different screens. This means that on a desktop computer, Windows 10 will work great with keyboard and mouse. On a tablet you'll get an operating system that it's optimized for touch.

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During the install process of Windows 10 Mobile build 10149 something bizarre happened to my Lumia 830. Something I've never seen before on any Windows Phone that's come across my desk.

The BSOD (blue screen of death.) Normally a running joke on PCs, the image up top shows what presented itself when the phone tried to reboot and finish the install. Nothing seemed to work. Not the 'recommended' button press, the reset using the physical buttons on the phone, nothing.

But fortunately there's an easy way out, thanks to the Windows Phone Recovery Tool.

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Microsoft recently made available a new preview of Windows 10 Mobile (build 10080) through the Fast ring of updates with a bunch of new changes.

It's the first preview of the universal version of Office apps, and starting with build 10080 the operating system now expands to new phone headsets, including the Lumia Icon/Lumia 930, Lumia 640/Lumia 640 XL, and HTC's One (M8), which is the first non-Lumia phone joining the Windows 10 preview program.

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Perhaps one of the biggest features in Windows 10 is the arrival of Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri and Google Now. Cortana is the "world's first" digital assistant capable of helping users on many tasks. The more it learns about you, the more it understands you and it'll be able to assist you more efficiently.

On Windows 10, you can simply say "Hey, Cortana" to have the service immediately answer questions about weather forecasts, set reminders, search the web, find virtually anything on your PC, keep track of flights, calendar, packages, and a lot more – Heck! Cortana can even tell you joke if you need a distraction after a long day of work.

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In Windows 10, Microsoft is changing a lot of things. While the focus on this new release is to bring some of the operating system familiarity back to users, the company is also adding new features that will work across different devices. One of these new features is the new Settings app.

The Settings app is the new one-stop-shop to change pretty much all your PC settings, and unlike the Control Panel, the same app will work on PCs, tablets, and phones. Eventually, we also know that Microsoft will be replacing the good old Control Panel in favor of "Settings".

In Windows 8.x, Microsoft introduced the "PC settings", but it doesn't compare with the new Settings app. This new app brings a complete place to customize settings and it's something more like the Control Panel.

While there are many new options you can customize in Settings, today I want focus on five settings you can customize in Windows 10. These include how to control notifications banners and system tray icons, save energy and manually prioritize system resources, and to bring a little more customization to the Start menu.

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Starting on June 1st, 2015, millions of PCs and tablets around the world will begin to see the Windows 10 upgrade notification icon in the system tray, on all qualifying devices. That's because Microsoft has announced that the next version of its operating system will be arriving on July 29.

Now there is a slight chance that some Windows users won't want to move quickly to the new version of the operating system. Some users might feel they want to stay a little longer with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, or they feel that Windows 10 isn't quite ready. For those people, I will show you how you can remove the icon from the system tray and how to cancel your reservation.

The Windows logo icon in the system tray didn't magically appear on your PC. It was the update KB3035583 that handled the notification preparing your computer for Windows 10.

KB3035583 was originally an update released back in April, Microsoft offered it as an optional update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines. Today, the software maker is changing the priority of the update to "Recommended", which will force the update to download and install automatically via Windows Update.

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How to download offline maps in Windows 10 Mobile

When visiting a new country, you might not always have internet connection right away. Fortunately, Windows 10 Mobile (and Windows Phone 8.1) lets you pre-download maps if you need directions even when you're offline. It's really simple. Watch our how-to video on a Lumia 830 running Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview.

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How to install Windows 10 apps to an external drive

While we are used to installing apps inside the Windows installation drive, the fact is that lately we see more devices with limited local storage. However, things started to change when in Windows Phone 8 when Microsoft introduced a feature to allow users to install Windows Store apps directly onto an external SD Card.

Now the same feature will continue to be part of Windows 10 Mobile, and it will also be part of Windows 10 (desktop).

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In this how-to guide, we will go through the new "Network & Internet" Settings to learn how to manage wireless connections in your Windows 10 PC. In Windows 10, Microsoft is adding a huge number of improvements and features. One of these changes is the addition of the Settings app, which replaces "PC settings" from Windows 8 and it will eventually also replace the Control Panel.

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When Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10122 was released, one noticeable change was the removal of the toggle to expand the Start menu. According to Microsoft, people usually pick the appropriate size (or just go with the default) for Start and stick with that, which makes having this button being present all the time unnecessary. If you want the full-screen Start experience on Windows 10 desktop mode, you have to enable it in the settings. We'll show you how. It's really simple. Watch the steps in our video.

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The Android powered Amazon Fire TV Stick might not be the first device on your radar, but it can be very useful to Windows Phone owners at a pretty low price.

If you enjoy mirroring your Windows Phone to your TV, the Fire TV Stick is a great option for doing so. And it has so many benefits over a Miracast adapter, especially if you don't use any other set-top boxes or something like an Xbox One.

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You might not even know that you can change how quickly you get updates to the Windows 10 Insider Preview, nor which speed you're currently getting them at.

Fortunately, changing between the "fast" and "slow" rings is extremely simple to do. And since build 10122 has some pretty showstopping bugs for some folks using AMD GPUs, you might need to get onto the slow ring in a hurry.

Here's what to do.

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In Windows 10, Microsoft is including two new apps, Mail and Calendar, and while the company is bundling them as separate apps, they work very close to each other. The two apps will replace the same ones currently in Windows 8.1 and they both introduce a brand new look that follows Windows 10 modern design approach, and users will find that they are much easier to use.

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Sometimes the best Instagram photo isn't square. However, the popular photo-sharing service forces users to upload images in square aspect ratio. There are workarounds, and we'll show you the best way to do it on your Windows Phone. We'll use the popular third-party Instagram app, 6tag. Follow our step by step instructions and/or watch the how-to video.

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How to enable week numbers in Windows Phone 8.1 calendar

Week numbers are important in some places especially in some European countries. Many Windows Phone users have requested to see week numbers in the built-in calendar, and it arrived earlier this year. If this is an important feature, then you probably already know how to enable it. If not, we'll show you how. Follow our step-by-step instructions and/or watch the how-to video.

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One of my favorite features on the Xbox One is voice command. I love saying "Xbox on" or "Xbox, turn off" to power on or off the console. This isn't possible without a Kinect and it's not available in all regions. There's another way to power up the Xbox One in addition to pressing the power button on the Xbox One console or controller. You can use the Xbox One SmartGlass app on Windows Phone. This is very handy because our phones are usually already in our pockets.

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How to take a screenshot on the Surface 3

Taking screenshots is one of the most common tasks I need to know when using new devices. It's useful for how-to guides, troubleshooting, or sharing fun images with friends. Taking screenshots is very similar among Windows 8.1 devices. I've just received the Surface 3 and use six methods to take a screenshot.

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How to pair the Surface Pen with Surface 3

Unlike the Surface Pro 3, Windows won't prompt you to pair Surface Pen with Surface 3 during setup. Instead, you'll need to pair Surface Pen with your Surface 3 manually. Don't worry, though. It's very easy to pair. Follow our step-by-step instructions and watch our how-to video.

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Tips and tricks are always good to learn, especially if you are new to Windows Phone. This one is aimed at those users and it was just posted to the Microsoft Lumia YouTube channel.

It is an oldie but a goodie and it has to do with Cortana's ability to use location-based reminders. In fact, this is one of those rare things that only a Windows Phone can do so it is worth it to show off again.

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