tips

You've seen something awesome on your Windows Phone (perhaps a sunny day in England reported by a weather app) and you wish to share this screen with the world. Taking screenshots is super easy and fast (hold power and tap the Start key).

The only issue with taking screenshots on any Windows Phone, especially when wearing earphones and listening to music, is the camera shutter sound when an image has been saved. Luckily, there's an easy way to disable this audible alert.

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If you're anything like most of us here at Windows Phone Central, your phone is probably loaded with pictures from all over the place. Wouldn't it be nice to organize them better, so you don't have to scroll through all of them to find what you are looking for?

Reddit user, DashThePunk, posted a way to do just that by using your computer.  It turns out to be shockingly easy. Take a gander after the jump for step-by-step instructions.

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102

Welcome to the world of Windows Phone

Are you new to Windows Phone, or just the realm of mobile when it comes to Microsoft? If so, then welcome aboard! You’re at the right place as Windows Phone Central is the number one online resource for all things Windows Phone. We’ll be diving into why you should choose Windows Phone, what makes the platform great for not only personal, but work life too and how you can get involved in the community. So grab a cup of tea and let’s dive in.

As this is a guide through the basics of the platform, we’re going to assume that everyone reading this will either be new to Windows Phone or smartphones in general. If you're already up on your knowledge, these guides may not be for you. Let’s start with some history about the platform itself.

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Ice Age Village from Gameloft is a free Xbox city building game for Windows Phone 8. As far as we know, any Windows Phone 8 device can run it and the game only takes up 79 MB of storage, so it should have a sizable player base already.

The city building genre is a time consuming one since many tasks involve returning to the game at a later time or date to reap their rewards.  Wouldn’t it be nice to speed up the process a bit and get your village making money faster right off the bat? Darn right it would.

Windows Phone Central has a bunch of codes for free Coins, animals, and items, plus a handy Achievement guide. Don’t spend a single Acorn until you’ve read it!

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So you're thinking about developing an app for Windows Phone, but how does one create an awesome app for consumers to download and enjoy? Much like our own Windows Phone app - which is highly rated by our readers - there are a number of apps available on the store that are effectively designed for the platform. Microsoft has detailed some pointers on how to make a quality app.

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While some Windows Phone photography apps have a sharing feature native to the application some, such as Cinemagraph (here's our review), don't. In these cases you rely on your Windows Phone Pictures Hub options to share these images.

You've just created a fantastic animated GIF through Cinemagraph and are eager to share it with friends or family. Once the image is saved to your Windows Phone, head over to your Pictures Hub and go into the Camera Roll gallery. Find the Cinemagraph image you want to share, pull it up to full view and tap the three dot menu.

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If you want to add a little something something to your contacts, we ran across a way to add emoticons to your contact's name over in the Windows Phone Central Forums. All you need to do is start a text message and add the emoticon of your choice.

From there, highlight and copy that emoticon. Leave the text message and go to your Peoples Hub, find the contact and choose to edit the name. Add a space at the end of the last name and paste the emoticon.  It's a neat way to add a little customization to your contacts.

Edit: As noted in comments by hopmedic, to prevent it from breaking voice dialling, put the emoticons in the last name field, but put a hyphen after the last name, and then the emoticons.

Thanks, danclyons, for the tip!

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Quick tip for Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8

This post started as a quick 30 second tutorial on how to make your music experience a bit better on your new device running Windows Phone 8. However, it kind of morphed into a bit of a rant about one aspect of Xbox Music. So sit back and read my thoughts and criticisms about the cloud collection or jump to the end for a quick tip that could save your sanity and help your wallet.

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The Microsoft Surface comes pre-loaded with Internet Explorer 10 and the one thing that was odd (or at least for me) was the lack of an obvious way to save a website as a favorite.  I kept looking for a 'star" button to add sites to my favorites list.

The process of adding a website as a favorite ended up being rather simple. Just tap on the "pin" button and you'll find two options. First to pin the site to your Start Screen for easy access and second, to add the site as a favorite.

To access your favorites, just tap on the URL field to pull up a tile list listing of frequently visited sites as well as your favorites.

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Sorting through a number of emails can easily become a tricky business, especially if there is a large collection waiting for you to synchronise your email client - we're sure you've experienced the post-holiday email craze, right?

Microsoft has designed Outlook.com to be extraordinarily easy to use, and to get common tasks done quickly. We took a look yesterday at how to automate inbox clean-ups to either delete or move emails and keep the inbox clutter free.

Today we'll be looking at how we can utilise Instant Actions to make email management easier. So just what are 'Instant Actions' on Outlook.com? They're quick tools that enable users to quickly manage individual emails. On hovering over a message in a folder, you'll see three icons appear under the received date (see below).

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Man, you guys are quick! It's only been a couple of days since our Tango carrier roundup and already we have another list of carriers and phones that are reportedly getting Windows Phone Refresh (aka, Tango). The Tango update shows up as version 8773 or 8779 and, for most devices, brings minor enhancements, bug fixes and features. But for those of you with any of Nokia's Lumia line of phones, you should see some bigger changes.

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We'll be honest, we get a lot of email here at Windows Phone Central. And we love it. We seriously try to read every singe one.

One area though that has been tough for us to triage is the Windows Phone "Tango" update aka build 8773 (or 8779) which features some minor fixes and enhancements for some phones, or big changes for others (like the Nokia Lumia range).

Every day we're tipped on such and such carrier now delivering an update and to be honest, it's overwhelming. To the point that we'll need to start an Excel sheet to just keep track of it all. Seriously. And we hate using Excel.

Anyway, we figured we would just post a list of the "tips" we've had on what carriers and phones have been getting Tango in the last few days. We don't doubt we've probably even covered some of these before, regardless we don't want to ignore your news either. So head past the break to see what we have from the last 5 days! 

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While it is very rare for any Windows Phone to crash or freeze, we have on a few occasions seen it happen. It's rare because 3rd party apps don't have access to the core of the OS and therefore it's very difficult to cause the system to become unstable. Still, the problem may pop up and we figured we would cover you for the Lumia 800 & 900.

Why these two Nokia devices? With their unibody design, there's no physical way to access and therefore pull the battery. That puts users in a pickle if they need to soft-reset a stuck device. So without further ado, here's how you do it:

Lumia 900

  • Press and hold the volume keys, power button and camera together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset (although some say you should feel 3 vibrations, ours never has)

Lumia 800

  • Press and hold the volume keys and power button together for 3-5 seconds
  • The phone should soft-reset

That's it. So although you will probably never need this it's good to know if you're in a pinch.

Edit: Some are saying in comments that just holding the power button for 10 seconds works too.

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In our latest how-to guide, we show you how to make the most of your Windows Phone and SkyDrive cloud storage

We've touched on the basics with Microsoft's SkyDrive services and the SkyDrive App for your Windows Phone. But how does all that translate into every day use?

The obvious every day use for SkyDrive and your Windows Phone is to free up storage space and make content easily available. Why bog down your Windows Phone with documents, pictures, and music files when you can store them in the Cloud and access them at your leisure? But did you know that several quality apps utilize SkyDrive? Of course you did... and we'll try to cover a few along the way as we look at every day uses for your SkyDrive account.

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Want to make the most of your Windows Phone camera? Read our guide on how to get the best shots possible and look like a pro!

While the camera on your Windows Phone may not have been a key factor in the past, with the HTC Titan II sporting a 16mp camera and the Nokia Lumia 900 using a Carl Zeiss lens these little cameras are being seen in a new light. Where in the past many saw the camera as a nice accessory or even a novelty, as technology improves the Windows Phone camera's performance it's becoming a more influential feature.

Additionally, as our Windows Phone camera evolves so does the software that drives it. You have more control over the camera these days along with special settings to use effects, adjust exposure settings, and program settings. From your children at play to a stunning sunset to your new pet the camera on your Windows Phone is a great tool for capturing and sharing memories.

With all the advancements we've recently seen with our Windows Phone cameras (along with a few suggestions from our readers) it's time to offer our guide to understanding the basics of your Windows Phone camera and a few tips on taking pictures.  After the break, we'll cover the principles of photography, the terminology involved, what some of your Windows Phone settings will do, and a few tips to take better pictures with your Window Phone.

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Storage is an important aspect of your Windows Phone. Whether you're just downloading a few apps and games, taking pictures & video, or (like me) loading a whole load of music onto your device ready for your commutes into work, you need to have the gigabytes to hold that information on your phone.  However, how much storage memory is needed can vary from individual to individual.

So when you're making the decision on which phone to spend your hard earned money on, and particularly when you are committing to a long term contract, you should be considering the advertised storage on the device. Remember that storage on a Windows Phone cannot be supplemented with a micro SD card.

It's fairly common knowledge that the advertised '16GB' or '8GB' of storage is not the amount you actually end up with, the amount varies based on the filesystem, type of storage, and system files. But what you may not realise is just how much of a difference there is between some of the new 2nd generation phones out there on the market right now.

Luckily, here at WPCentral we've got you covered, and have put together the list below which shows the reported "Total Storage" for each of our review devices.  "Total Storage" is essentially the storage space your Windows Phone can see or be used for file storage.

 

HTC Titan 16GB 12.89GB HTC Radar 8GB 6.54GB Samsung Focus S 16GB 14.07GB Samsung Focus Flash 8GB 6.67GB Nokia Lumia 800 16GB 13.8GB

As you can see, certainly with devices claiming '16GB' of storage there's quite a divide, and if every single bit counts to you, it would definitely be worth considering these figures when you're picking up a new Windows Phone.

Is your device showing a different figure?  Check the 'about' screen in your phone's settings and then sound off in the comments!

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Ever wonder what all those icons mean at the top of your Windows Phone screen? Look no further at Microsoft has gone ahead and detailed all of 'em for you.  Things like roaming, DO (for EvDO, CMDA's 3G standard) and a few others may be a little obscure, so it's nice to have a key.

Sure, for many of us who've been around smartphones, the support article at Microsoft seems like a big ol' "duh" but there are more non-smartphone users in the world than ones with, so be kind.

Even more icons and descriptions can be found here on Microsof'ts support page.

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Windows Phone 7 tip: Re-installing apps

There's a discussion going on over in the WPCentral Forums concerning Windows Phone 7 apps and what to do if you accidentally delete one from your phone.  Unlike Windows Mobile, there isn't a centralize listing of the Marketplace apps your purchased to re-install from. This doesn't mean all is lost.

You'll need to access the Marketplace from your Windows Phone. From there all you need to do is go into the Marketplace, find the app you need to re-install and go through the installation/purchase steps. Instead of choosing how to pay for the app, you'll be notified, "You've already purchased this app. Would you like to install it again?".

Just tap "install" and you'll re-install the app.  You'll find the full discussion over here in the forums.

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Windows Phone Tip: Quick Search

The lack of Cut and Paste in Windows Phone 7 has been tossed around quite a bit, and Microsoft's response was that they wanted to try and create shortcuts that minimize the need for such a workaround. Features such as being able to tap on a phone number or address in a web page or email are obvious ways that they've accomplished their goal, but we've come accross another shortcut that may help you out.

Often times, you can select a word or phrase in an app. For example in Internet Explorer or Word, you can select a word or words. It turns out that there is a quick and easy way to do a search in the Bing app on the selected text. Simply tap the hardware search button and the Bing app opens, with your text already being searched. Sweet yes?

Bonus Tip: This one is courtesy of Paul Thurrott. You can quickly and easily dismiss toast notifications (Text Messages, WeatherBug Alerts, etc.) by swiping accross them from left to right.

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