Windows Phone Help & How-to

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Windows Phone Trick: Add Emoticons to your Contacts

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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Ever since Windows Phone 8 came out people have rightly wanted Skype. And so they got it, albeit a preview edition which in our vernacular reads ‘beta’ and beta it is.

Previously we’ve passed on a few tips for people who have had battery issues and we can absolutely confirm one of them now: Skype. No, it doesn’t occur often in fact this was our first time with the problem ever since Skype hit the Store a few weeks ago.

The issue started when we were updating some contact info and then we force synced our Microsoft Account under Settings (hold down the account, hit Sync). Only problem was, it wouldn’t stop ...ever.

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Speech has always been a part of Windows Phone and it has offered some nice ways of interacting with your handset by using your voice alone.

We have put together a guide that should suit those that are new to Windows Phone and also to those that have upgraded to Windows Phone 8. Interacting with voice recognition and commands can be a powerful and time saving way to use your phone efficiently and even safely.

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44

Windows Phone 8 Quick Tip: Audible Caller ID

One of the new  renovated features of Windows Phone 8 is the audible Caller ID. But not everyone wants their Windows Phone to announce incoming calls. Sure it's a neat feature but can be annoying and not really appropriate in certain situations.  But how do you disable this feature?

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While we’ve shot video on the Nokia Lumia 920 a few times under somewhat ideal conditions e.g. quiet, well lit, there’s a good argument to be made that we haven’t seen too many “real world” examples.

From our Lumia 920 forums, member ‘mercilesskiller’ posted this YouTube video clip of a Seether concert at the Manchester Academy 2, Manchester UK. While the clip is only 58 seconds long and shot in 720P (the Lumia 920 can be bumped to 1080P), the result is quite stunning...

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147

Tip: How to fix a bricked Nokia Lumia 920

Some of you in the forums and comments have been noting that you are getting a "bricked" Lumia 920's after doing a reset. The term is technically not correct here as you can revive the phone with a neat little trick. The fix reported so far was just returning the device to the store, which is far from ideal especially if you bought it online. Thankfully, the Windows Phone Central Forums came through with a trick that should get your bricked 920 back up and running.

The instructions are detailed and concise and include a video to help get you back in the game. Read on to fix it. 

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We recently reported that magnetic lens adapters made by a third party and commonly available for general smartphones work well on the Nokia Lumia 920. Truth be told while they do stick naturally to the 920 without a magnetic ring adapter, it doesn’t work too well meaning they easily slip off. Because of this we actually recommend using the sticky magnetic rings to ensure a firm grip by the lens adapter on the 920.

Anyway, we figured we would put the lens adapters through some testing and after the break, you can see our photo and video results. In short, we were impressed.

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We heard and experienced for ourselves some rather crummy battery life with the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone. It's a mixed bag of results with some report fantastic battery performance while others are struggling to make it through half a day.

While Nokia is looking into things, they've reminded us that managing the apps that are running in the background could help with battery life.  And this power saving technique isn't exclusive to the Lumia Windows Phones.  If you want to conserve power on your HTC 8X or Samsung Focus 2, shut down some of the apps you don't need that are still running in the background.

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If there is one area we hope to see Windows Phone grow in 2013 it's in third party accessories. Nokia's Lumia phones have the best chance of that since they're quite pervasive and well known as far as branding.

Redditor l1v32r1d3BmX (catchy name, dear sir!) has serendipitously discovered that those iPhone lens attachments (which work by magnetic adhesion) also happen to work on his Lumia 920. The attachments are made by a few companies--a lot coming from China as cheap knock offs--allow wide-angle and macro enhancements to the built in camera. As it happens to be, the Lumia 920's camera housing is magnetic, which is either due to design or perhaps the optical image stabilization (OIS) setup. 

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150

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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