Help and Howto

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6 tips to extend the battery life on your Microsoft Band

The Microsoft Band has been advertised of having 48 hours battery life, but that can vary significantly depending on your settings, usage, and other factors. On the days we track workouts or runs, and sleep, we find the Band to last until about lunchtime the next day. Want to extend the battery life on your Microsoft Band? Here are some tips that can help you out. These tips include turning off some features when you aren't using them and other settings that can save battery.

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No matter how technically savvy you consider yourself to be, there's always a good chance you will come across something that you just don't know anything about. For instance, a few of us at Windows Central were chatting online, and someone asked what S/MIME is and whether they should enable in their email settings on their Windows phone.

Having worked in IT for a number of years, I had heard the term S/MIME before. However, I didn't know nearly enough about it to answer the questions. Immediately, we all agreed that it was a good idea for a post. What you now have before you is an attempt to explain what S/MIME is and help guide you in deciding if it is something you should use on your Windows phone.

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How to change the background of your Xbox One Dashboard

The Xbox One November system update has begun rolling out over a week ago and one of the new features let you customize your console even more. Each account on your Xbox One can now have a customized background. You can choose a custom color as a theme or achievement art as your background image. You can also use your own image. Want to know how? Watch our how-to video.

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7 steps to make amazing videos with Movie Creator Beta

I've been playing with the newly released Movie Creator Beta and I'm surprised at how good it is for quick and easy editing. You can add videos, photos or Cinemagraph content files together with no length limitations. I shot some videos from Color Me Rad (colormerad.com) a few months ago, but they've just been sitting idle inside my Lumia Icon. With Movie Creator, I was able to create a movie from those clips in just few minutes.

Here are some of my tips to make an incredible video with Movie Creator.

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Buying a new device like a Surface Pro 3 is a significant decision. Not only is it a substantial financial commitment, but there are many other questions that come along with it. Which configuration should you get? What accessories are "must haves" from the start?

Today, we want to answer another question: Is it worth buying the extended Microsoft Complete warranty?

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HaloFest is happening tonight. Microsoft and 343 Industries are kicking off the launch of the Master Chief Collection for Xbox One with HaloFest. They're also going to use the opportunity to give you your first look at the Halo 5: Guardians, present the world premier of the digital series Halo: Nightfall and exclusive interviews from the folks behind Halo. Here's how you're going to watch it across phone, tablet, PC and TV.

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The Microsoft Band tracks your steps automatically. You can see this number from the main tile. Keep pressing the action button until you see the shoe icon. You can use the number of steps to measure the progress against your goals. By default, the Microsoft Band sets the goal at 5,000 steps. We'll show you how to change (increase) that goal. Watch our how-to video.

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Yesterday, the popular messaging service WhatsApp had two updates: one was server side and the other was an actual app update. Although bugs and fixes were listed in the changelog, as it turns out much was included than previously thought.

WhatsApp now included detailed 'seen' and 'read' information for messages you sent to either individuals or groups. In fact, for groups it will show who read the message and at what time, alongside who has not yet read your message (but the time it was delivered to them).

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How to share your Xbox One game clips on Twitter

It's now a lot easier to share your favorite Xbox One game clips on Twitter. One of the new features available on the November Update is Twitter integration. You can try this now if you're a member of the Xbox One preview program. If you need an invite, just ask in the comments. We have plenty of Windows Central readers here that can help you out. Want to see the Twitter integration in action? Watch our how-to video.

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How to track a workout with the Microsoft Band

One of the main features of the Microsoft Band is workout tracking. Any physical activity such as playing basketball, your favorite workout routine, or just walking the dog can be recorded. You can view your stats so you can see if there needs to be changes in your routine. Check out our hands-on video to see how it works.

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How to factory reset the Microsoft Band

If you need to start over, switch phones, or trying to solve a problem, you'll have to factory reset the Microsoft Band. Don't worry. The process is very simple. You also won't lose the data that you've already synced to the cloud. Follow these steps to bring your Microsoft Band back to how it was out of the box.

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How to get your iTunes music on your Windows phone

Beginners' Tips Series!

Let's say that you have been an iPhone user for some time and recently decided to dip your toe into the Windows Phone waters. Chances are that one of the first things you want to do is get all of your music onto your new phone.

As an iPhone user, you either downloaded all of your music directly your device from iTunes, or moved it onto it by using the iTunes desktop application. Now what? You have all these tunes sitting in an application that doesn't know what a Windows phone is.

This situation was bound to happen, so Microsoft put together an easy way to pull your music and playlists from iTunes and onto your Windows phone.

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Beginners' Tips Series!

If you have been keeping up with the news on Windows 10 Technical Preview, you have seen a plethora of new features, both functional and aesthetic.

Amongst the latter, is the new animation when opening and closing windows. These arrived as part of the latest version, Preview Build 9860. Reception of the look has been mixed. Some people find the animation to be snazzy while others are just annoyed by it.

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Starting about ten days ago, reports that Samsung was pushing out Windows Phone 8.1 Update for ATIV S users began circulating the 'nets. We have our own ATIV S here in the house, which is an unbranded UK release, and were not able to get any such update. Instead, we are stuck on Windows Phone 8.0 GDR3 (Build 10517; Firmware 2424.13.10.1).

As it turns out, a very select few ATIV S users are getting Windows Phone 8.1 Update (Build 14157; Firmware 2424.14.9.3), which is splendid news. The bad news is it is isolated to specific regions like Austria and maybe Hong Kong.

Samsung ATIV S devices released through carriers and most other areas are not seeing the update yet, although obviously this can change. Let me try and explain and give you the full story.

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Windows Phone users currently do not have an official YouTube application, but there are third-party apps available. One of those awesome apps is Tubecast, which we've recently reviewed. If you haven't installed it yet, you definitely should. It has an amazing feature that lets you "cast" videos from your phone to the Xbox One. Don't believe us? We'll show you how it works.

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Beginners' Tips Series!

One of the many conveniences that the Windows family of products offers is the ability to receive notifications from apps on your Lock screen. These Lock screen notifications appear under the time and date on your device and give you a quick glimpse of any new emails, updates, events, etc. The notifications await your acknowledgement without having to log in and open any apps.

In Windows, you are limited to a total of seven apps that can notify you via the Lock screen, while Windows phone keeps it to a maximum of five. Since some apps come with Lock screen notifications enabled by default, you could find yourself running out of options. So we threw together this quick guide on how to choose which applications appear on your Lock screen.

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You've probably heard that Microsoft released its first build update to Windows 10 Technical Preview today, which adds the Action Center and Battery Saver, amongst other things.

It is the first of what will be many updates to come. In fact, there's already a small patch out for the build that was just released today. For that reason, it may be helpful to know how to go about upgrading your version of Windows 10 to the latest release.

Here's how.

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How to install apps on Xbox One

While you probably use the Xbox One mostly for gaming, there are other uses for it thanks to apps. Yes, you can install apps on your Xbox One. Don't know how to do it? We'll show you how. Go watch our video.

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Microsoft's Cortana is winning the hearts and minds of users lucky enough to have the personal assistant on their Windows Phone. One feature we know people would really like to have is the ability for Cortana to read out notifications for incoming alerts. For instance, imagine if Cortana could announce a phone call and even the person calling when your phone rings.

Redditor clang_ley has made your dream one-step closer to reality by creating 19 Cortana ringtones and notifications hosted on their OneDrive account. The notifications range from various email scenarios, like work or school, to Facebook and Skype messages. The MP3 clips say things like 'Somebody messaged you on Facebook' or 'Chief, someone is calling you' all in Cortana's distinctive voice.

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Beginners' Tips Series!

Now, more than ever before, people have tons of data about themselves stored online. We have information in emails, bank accounts, social media, and countless other places. And at no other time has all of this data been more at risk.

While we cannot prevent the Targets and Home Depots of the world from being breached and exposing our credit card data, there are some measures that we can take in to help secure our information.

One of the easiest and most effective ways of doing that is by setting up two-step verification in our online accounts, like our Microsoft account.

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How to send drawings on Skype for Windows Phone

On Monday, Skype added drawings to their Windows Phone app. You can draw on empty canvas, add scribbles to a photo, or even add markers on a map. There were other updates too, including sign-in improvements, HD screen support, and faster resume time, but drawings stand out. Not sure how to do it with the new update? Don't worry. We'll show you in this video.

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