Windows Phone Help & How-to

In my review of the Surface Pro 3 I gave some praise to the new trackpad found on the updated Type Cover. It's made with a new material, tiny glass beads, and it is significantly larger than the previous version. Still, you'll want to make sure you're getting the most out of it, and that means making sure the settings are correct.

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The World Cup is in full swing after host country Brazil defeated Croatia in the opening match. There's an entire month of football action remaining with the 2014 final taking place on July 13. Yesterday Abby showed you all a bunch of great apps and tricks to stay current with the 2014 FIFA World Cup on your Windows Phone. Here's one more tip from the Windows Phone Central forums that we wanted to point out – how do add the World Cup 2014 schedule to your Windows Phone Calendar so that you never miss a game.

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Nokia's Living Images is a new feature coming to Windows Phone 8.1 and their Lumia Cyan firmware update for the high-end PureView devices, like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Icon and so forth. Living Images captures a few seconds before you snap a photo, so that when you're browsing through your Camera Roll or StoryTeller, your photos come alive. It's like Cinemagraph, but without having to think, as it just works automatically.

A Nokia Camera Beta update a few weeks ago introduced Living Images, but no one could use it without the Cyan firmware. Even those with a Lumia 630 can't use it as that device is not PureView. But I started getting tips from people who had Living Images enabled, though they didn't know how it happened. Finally, Jason in our comments explained a simple trick to get it working, at least mostly.

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Being on a US carrier has quite a few downsides, from high data costs to exclusive Lumia phones, it can be a drudgery. We can add a new one to the mix today too: carrier-branded apps that are outdated.

This morning I wrote about the new Slacker Radio 2.0 update, which brings a new UI and improvements to the app for the first time since 2013. But if you’re on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T, searching for Slacker Radio brings you to their old, outdated branded version. Lame. Luckily, I’ve managed to get the apps to download and install, bypassing the carrier blockage.

Here’s how.

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The Notification Center in Windows Phone 8.1 is the new central location for managing notifications missed while away form the phone. When you have numerous apps firing up notification alerts it can prove a task to go through and delete them all. Luckily, there's a "clear all" button, but Microsoft has also included a sweet little gesture which is just as convenient to mark everything as read and start fresh.

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So you decided to bring your Xbox along with you on your road trip, so you could catch up on “Game of Thrones” or unwind with some Peggle 2 when your sight-seeing expedition had come to an end for the day. But when you fire up your console and try to connect to the Wi-Fi that you so easily hopped on with your phone or laptop, you realize that it isn’t quite as simple with your Xbox. The reason: You cannot log in or accept the terms and conditions via your browser, like you can on your other devices.

Fear not, traveler, for not all is lost. Like the countless roads under construction in Massachusetts, there is a detour you can take to once again find your way to the internet. And all you will need is a phone, tablet or computer and a little bit of know-how.

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What does that Globe icon mean on my Windows Phone?

Every once in a while we like to step back and answer questions you may have about Windows Phone and things about it. Some questions are obvious, but others may leave you scratching your head or maybe you just didn’t feel like asking.

For example, when you swipe to the right to bring up your apps, and you tap on a letter, you get the Roman alphabet jump-list to find something specific.

Question: What is that Globe icon thingamajig at the end?

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Back in the day, Microsoft had a neat little tool under settings called the Windows Experience Index (WEI). It rated the processor, RAM, graphics, gaming graphics and primary hard disk to give you an overall rating of your PC. It was a neat baseline tool used to compare and contrast different computers, with the higher overall score being obviously better. You could also diagnose your computer to see where the ‘weak’ spot was in performance.

That tool came out with Windows Vista and it disappeared in Windows 8.1, but there are a few ways to get it back. Scott Hanselman works on the Web Platform Team at Microsoft, but he also runs an informative personal blog dealing with technology. Last night he posted a neat little trick to get your results for the WEI.

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The Lumia 630 is the first Windows Phone 8.1 device to go on sale in select markets this week and is also the first Dual SIM Windows Phone. The ability to use two SIM cards in one device has been a much requested feature amongst potential Windows Phone customers in certain markets like India.

Microsoft claims that the Smart Dual SIM implementation in Lumia 630 offers seamless switching to help people manage their contacts and communication with ease. While we’ll bring a comprehensive review of Lumia 630 here on Windows Phone Central soon, let’s have a walkthrough of the dual SIM experience on the device.

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When it comes to Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has gone a long way in fixing many pet peeves of users. One of those pertained to those with a Nokia Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520 or Lumia Icon. Those users have the ability with the Nokia Camera app to shoot ‘high resolution’ photos, taking advantage of their respective 41 MP and 20 MP cameras. But auto-backups using OneDrive would only save the lower resolution 5 MP one, leaving the high-resolution version on the device. Not good.

As many of you have noticed over the last few weeks, Windows Phone 8.1 will now save those high resolution photos. We've finally gotten around to taking a look at it ourselves, and here are our findings.

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We’ve had Windows Phone 8.1 for a handful of weeks, but we’re still learning new things all the time. Remember back on Windows Phone 8.0 and below how much of a pain it was to change your primary Microsoft account email? Adding an alias to your account and making it your primary required a hard reset of the phone to add it. That changes in Windows Phone 8.1. Today you can add an alias to your account and make it your primary without needing to change anything! Here’s how.

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One neat and understated feature of Windows Phone 8.1 is the ability to backup apps + settings. Previously, Windows Phone could restore apps, but your Start screen was left off of the restore point in addition to passwords, browser favorites and app configurations.

Now, with Windows Phone 8.1 users can finally restore all of that when jumping to a new phone or after hard resetting. Let’s take a quick look at how it works.

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A few weeks back, we reported on how the new SanDisk 128 GB micro SD card works on the Lumia 1520. Since that time, it has also been confirmed to work on the new ATIV SE from Samsung and even Nokia boasts it on their Lumia 630 page.

In other words, 128 GB cards are a ‘go’ on Windows Phone, should you be blessed with an expansion slot (cue rants for those without…now). I managed to get my hands on one of these elusive cards (they’re in high demand, short supply) and have successfully upgraded my Lumia 1520’s 64 GB to this 128 GB version.

Want to know how it went? Read on for some tips and what to expect if you choose to do the same!

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Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of tablet devices can be seen as the perfect companion for the traveling Photographer. No longer is there a need to carry around a bulky laptop powerhouse, Wacom tablet, and never-ending power cords. With the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2’s Core i5 processors, large amounts of RAM, long battery life, and Wacom powered display – there is a new Photographer’s best friend on the market.

However, as wonderful as the Surface Pro is out of the box, we can make a few tweaks and changes to make it the absolute best for those looking to make it their Photoshop companion device. Follow our guide below as we upgrade your graphics drivers, install extra Wacom software, and turn your tablet into a device Annie Leibovitz would be proud to use.

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What is a Universal Windows app?

Microsoft announced a lot of new features and opportunities for developers this month at their Build conference. One of those buzz terms was ‘universal Windows app’, which sure sounds remarkable. However, we’ve noticed some misunderstanding on exactly what that means. For instance, the impression by many is that if someone makes a Windows Phone app, developers can just hit a button to clone it for Windows and Windows RT devices. That leads to the ‘why isn’t this not a Universal app?’ question each time we mention a new release.

Microsoft is certainly on a unification kick. OneDrive, Xbox One, OneNote, mixing of Windows and Windows Phone developer registration, and expressions like ‘universal Windows app’ all suggest a merger of technology. It’s also a well-known secret that the Windows Phone OS and RT will eventually collide (starting with ‘Threshold’), leaving just two versions of ‘Windows’ for Microsoft.

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Windows Phone 8.1 brings a lot in terms of raw functions to end-users, but some things are going missed. For instance, the relevancy of the Me Tile is greatly diminished since notifications were moved to the Notification Center (and the stream was detached).

But perhaps the biggest function that people miss is the ability to cross-post status updates to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. We explained the reasoning behind this in our guide on the new Social Extensibility framework in 8.1, but explanations in and of themselves don’t make people happy. And you’ve said as much.

Luckily, there is one way you can sort of get this feature back, though it’s far from perfect: Path.

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How to uninstall any OEM app on Windows Phone 8 or 8.1

You probably shouldn’t do this, but there’s a way to uninstall any OEM app on Windows Phone 8. If you follow these steps, you can uninstall apps like Glance, Storage Sense, Access Point, Display, and more. Still curious?

Head past the break to watch our how-to video.

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It’s an open secret that the old Xbox Music hub is still actually buried in the Windows Phone 8.1 OS, with the new version overriding it. Users have been bringing it back via an NFC trick, which works but it’s far from convenient. Now, a developer has taken the extra step and released a free app that lets you pin a direct link to the old version on your Start screen.

The app is named Music Hub Tile, and when initially launched it will let you pin either the green Music Tile or a transparent one to your Start screen. The transparent one though will cost you 99 cents via an in-app purchase, whereas the green is free.

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The new Word Flow keyboard in Windows Phone 8.1 has a lot going for it, but there's a subtle change in how you edit words using the caret (aka cursor for some, 'blinking vertical line' for others) that you may have missed. In Windows Phone 8.0, you had to hold-n-press to bring up the caret, but now in 8.1 you can just tap in between words. What's more, the caret now has a little circle at the bottom where you can "grab it" with your finger and move it around.

Curious about how it works? Watch our short video after the break which will compare and contrast it with Windows Phone 8.0.

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Windows Phone 8.1 is pretty awesome; there’s no doubt about that. Microsoft seems to have improved just about everything there is, but there will always be a few bits that are missing. One of those we even forgot ourselves: saving search results to contacts.

Case in point: you do a search in Cortana (or Bing, for non-US users) for an establishment like a diner or coffee stop. Powered by Bing, Cortana will do a great job of finding what you’re looking for in a jiffy. But let’s say you now wanted to add that find to your People Hub for future reference? Maybe you’re new in town, or you found a flower shop you really like. Evidently, you still can’t do that on Windows Phone, even with 8.1.

Liquid Daffodil, a popular developer firm who makes apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8, has released a brand new version of their ‘Add to Contacts’ app. We’ve covered this app in the past, and we’re happy to see it get a makeover and integration into 8.1.

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A new USB feature for Windows Phone 8.1 has been revealed in a simple Bing search. Found in our forums by Manikanta R., the trick brings up a hidden USB menu that allows you to enable two new features, including ‘Ask me before using USB data connection’ and ‘Notify me when I connect to a slower charger’.

Indeed, we can confirm from our unsanctioned ‘early look’ at Windows Phone 8.1 using a developer device, that these USB options were there under the Settings menu. They were removed (or hidden) in the reviewer build that we received and also in the Preview release.

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