Windows Phone Help & How-to

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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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It looks like some users who have Gmail on their Windows Phone 8 devices are experiencing syncing issues that eventually cause the email app to crash. The problem seems independent of hardware (so 8X and 920 users are affected) and is tied to Gmail specifically.

The problem occurs with the People Hub and linked contacts constantly syncing. Likewise, when people head to their Gmail inbox, it too is stuck on a constant sync and may even crash when one attempts to scroll the message list. Over in our forums, user moc426 made the above video of the phenomenon occurring, a test which site WinSource has also validated as happening on their HTC 8X.

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32

Palm's Touchstone wireless charger and the Lumia 920

Update: To clarify, the Touchstone charger doesn't actually charge the Lumia 920. It just actives the charging protocol but due to a mismatch in frequencies, it does not actually do anything. In fact, as webOSNation's Derek Kessler tells us, it could even damage your phone were you to leave it on there for an extended period of time. In other words, don't do this!

The Nokia Lumia 920 (and 820 with backplate) uses the Qi standard for wireless charging. In simplest terms that means universal charging plates (as opposed to some proprietary system) can be mass produced and the 920 will work with future products. It also means that past wireless charging systems, like Palm's Touchstone charging dock also work with the Lumia 920 as demonstrated in the video above.

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If you are new to Windows Phones and are dreading having to find a way to transfer the contacts from your old phone to new, we may have a solution for you.

For those opting for the Nokia Lumia 920 or 820, Nokia has the Contacts Transfer app that will facilitate the transfer of contacts from Symbian, Android, iOS and Blackberry phones via Bluetooth.

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15

Hit the ground running with Windows Phone 8

Many of you are either considering getting a Windows Phone device this weekend or might be going out to grab one. Either way we think some of our Windows Phone 8 articles and how-to’s are going to come in handy.

There has been an onslaught of information and news so we thought we’d point you at some of the key posts we have done around the new operating system.

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Backing up personal data, including SMS conversations, has always been absent from Windows Phone. We’ve previously looked at how the Windows Phone Connector for Mac enables such functionality to a degree as well as a Homebrew Windows backup manager, but it’s always best to have such a feature built into Windows Phone.

In Windows Phone 8 Microsoft has implemented a backup facility that automatically stores SMS conversations and app list (including settings) information, as well as options to control how Windows Phone deals with uploading photos and videos captured using the handset. Using Microsoft’s cloud services, conversations and app settings are all automatically stored.

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This guide is aimed at those who already have a previous generation Windows Phone handset but can also be worthwhile for those of you who are new to the platform.

We’re going to cover what you need to know in order to ease the transition from old to new so you can get back to top speed and start enjoying your new device.

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Do you have Windows Phone 8 (see review)? Okay, well probably not quite yet but if you are about to get one and you have some Bing points sitting by (you know, those things you get for every time you do a search using Bing on your computer), you can use 'em for the Windows Phone Store.

Yup, Bing Rewards has two special Windows Phone 8 offers on hand--one for 170 credits ($1.25) and one for 525 credits ($5). Redeeming them will turn into credits/voucher for the Store, which you can then use to buy Windows Phone apps...

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One of the big new features for Windows Phone 8 is the ability to finally do over-the-air (OTA) updates to the OS—either for big things or little fixes. Previously, we could check for updates but if one were found, you had to head home to your PC and plug in the phone to install (including performing a full backup). Now, things are more streamlined.

In an article over at Mobility Minded, details of the update process were posted, giving a look at what users can expect with these updates.  The updates are listed as manual or automatic, with the latter being downloaded behind the scenes and the former involving tapping in Settings to see if there is an update.

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40

Microsoft Surface Tip: Internet Explorer Favorites

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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8

The Kid's Corner in Windows Phone 8

The Kid's Corner is a new feature in Windows Phone 8 where Microsoft has added controls for parents and guardians to effectively manage what functionality, apps and games children (or other people) have access to when using the mobile device. It's activated by swiping left on the lock screen.

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37

Microsoft Surface RT Tip: Deleting Apps

So you have your brand new Microsoft Surface RT tablet and have a few games and apps loaded that you don't like. How do you go about deleting them?

From your Start Screen, just tap/hold the app tile and drag it towards the bottom of the screen. Move the tile just a bit and let go. When you release the tile, a menu bar pops up at the bottom of the screen with various options.

You'll see options to unpin the app, resize the tile, turn on/off Live Tile updates (app dependent) and to uninstall the app. Just tap that option, confirm the deletion and the Surface tablet takes care of the rest.

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Upgrading Windows 8

Using the Microsoft Windows Upgrade Assistant

You're looking at Windows 8 videos and screenshots with the mouth drooling, but how does one actually get cracking with the upgrade / installation process? It's actually relatively straightforward, which may surprise many who believe Microsoft to be the company that complicates their software offerings.

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WP Central Windows 8 has launched grab yourself a free Media Centre upgrade

The newest addition of Windows is here and its looking very smart indeed but its lacking one thing, Media Centre.

That’s right folks, Microsoft’s analytics said only 10% of the Windows user base uses this full featured DVR replacement so are set to charge for it. The good news is, you can get it for free. Read on to find out how..

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WP Central If you have SkyDrive you should check “If this then that” ITTT

As Windows Phone users, we are blessed with a handsome, dare we say it, world class cloud storage service slotted right in, SkyDrive.

SkyDrive is baked into Windows Phone, allowing all sorts of wonderful uses, uploading the camera roll automatically, storing your OneNote files or just storing good old Office documents. The team at SkyDrive have been opeing up the service and encouraging developers to take advantage of the space with new applications and services. IFTTT is just such an application and it might well be exactly what you’re looking for.

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Facebook

Did you know those using Facebook apps on their mobile devices can access your email address even if it's not displayed on your profile when checking the website? Most users of the social network don't.

Headlines have continuously attacked Facebook due to privacy concerns, confusing account settings and other monstrosities, but today we'll look at a quick tip on how to prevent your email address being available to contacts who can view your profile.

Just because your personal email address isn't viewable on the website when checking your profile via a web browser, don't be fooled into believing your friend's Windows Phone won't pull it down to his (or her) contact list. By default, it seems Facebook's settings are configured so email addresses are invisible to the 'timeline' but are still available and accessible by friends. So how does one configure email settings on Facebook to prevent them being accessed?

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17

Xbox on Windows Phone Achievement Guide: Extraction

Extraction: Project Outbreak Achievement Guide

Extraction: Project Outbreak differs from what we’ve come to expect from Chillingo games on Windows Phone. Besides a complete lack of cuteness, it’s also pretty tough! At first players will have to come to grips with the game’s unique controls. Then they’ll encounter a steep rise in difficulty that seems designed to encourage spending money on PDLC and/or pad the length of the game more than anything else.

Thankfully your favorite Windows Phone Central game reviewer/ninja has unlocked all 20 of Extraction’s Achievements and will now help you do the same.

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Outlook Safe Blocked Senders

Spam? SPAM!? No spam for me!

We've continuously explored the functionality of Microsoft's Outlook.com, the Hotmail email service successor, in our how to / tutorial series of articles. Today we'll be looking at setting up and managing blocked and safe senders that protect against spam and useless emails but ensure all wanted mail gets through filters and junk protection to your desktop and Windows Phone.

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24

Can't get Windows Phone accessories? Print them in 3D!

WP Central

It’s no secret that Windows Phone accessories aren’t exactly flooding the market at the moment. And while there are great places like the WPCentral store, here in South Africa our choices are more limited.

You see, many local stores don’t stock anything, and shipping items from the states just isn’t worth it most of the time. I even went to an official Nokia store here to get a cyan cover for my Lumia 800, and not only did they not have any colors besides black, their black ones were 3rd party products. Yep, the Nokia store did not sell Nokia covers.

Recently I have been wanting a dock or stand for my Lumia 900 to prop it up on my desk, but of course, I couldn’t find one. Rather than waiting to get one shipped, I thought I would make my own.

Enter: 3D Printers.

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Outlook

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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Mac WP Backup

Backing up Windows Phones on Macs is a breeze

We've already established that backing up your Windows Phone can prevent any unnecessary headache due to the loss of personal data. There's no guarantee you'll always remember to take the Windows Phone out the pockets before bundling clothes into the washing machine. We recently took a look at how to back up Windows Phone using a third-party Windows tool since Microsoft doesn't offer said functionality in Zune.

In that article we incorrectly believed that the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac doesn't feature any backup facility. Turns out, it certainly does (officially too) and shares the exact same functionality as the tool we used in our previous how to, except we're now on a Mac. It's odd that Microsoft would provide Apple Mac users the means to successfully carry out backing up their Windows Phones without using third-party software, yet Windows consumers are left in the dark for now. 

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How to back up and restore your Windows Phone data

Backup Windows Phone

If only backing up was this easy

Continuing on with our series of Windows Phone how tos for those who are new to the platform, today we'll be looking at how to backup and restore our smartphones. Backing up is a chore than many have to undertake on their PC, whether it be apps, documents or photos from a memorable vacation - it's always best to have more than one copy of everything. The same goes for contents on your smartphone.

Should anything happen to your Windows Phone, or if you’d like to revert to an earlier snapshot, you’ll need a backup at hand to get everything working in perfect order. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t currently offer an official facility to manually backup a Windows Phone (not even in Zune), but luckily there are alternatives thanks to an active developing community.

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Playlist Howto

Enjoying music collections while on the go is a breeze with Windows Phone. Simply synchronise selected media onto a device and either Zune or the Windows Phone Connector for Mac will do the rest. But what if you wanted to organise music into moods, easy-to-sync lists or to quickly extract favourite music? This is where playlists come in.

Many make use of playlists in media players already. Sorting through 30,000 songs to build a collection of favourites is a task majority of music fans go through when wanting to take their sounds on the move. Most devices and smartphones have a limited capacity for media, so until we have 1TB storage options for Windows Phone, it makes sense to move across said playlists.

How does one go about achieving this?

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How to create and use groups Windows Phone

Information overload is all too common in our busy, hectic lives these days. One of the central themes through the entire Windows Phone operating system is of deep social integration. From the very start we have had Twitter and Facebook woven into the very fabric of the system. Sometimes though, too much social activity can mean it is hard to see the updates from those that matter most.

When you get to the point where you have hundreds of contacts on Facebook and the same amount or more again on Twitter, things can get hectic. We’re going to show you how easy it is to setup and create your own custom Live Tiles to cut out the static and see the updates from those that matter most...

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