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Let us be honest, what people really want when they ask for Windows 7 back is that it be done with the modern Windows 8 Start Screen and make their machine more mouse and keyboard friendly.

Windows 8 has placed a large amount of its reliance on touch based PCs that is the Microsoft future. If you do find yourself without a touch screen and are yearning for the days of Windows 7, then read on as we bring you as close to the experience as we can.

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Of course I’m guilty of almost abusing Cortana, the new personal digital assistant introduced in the Windows Phone 8.1. She’s managing my calendar, search queries, reminders, and lot of other things I’m discovering each time I fire the app.  

While all is well between us, Cortana fails to set up alarms on my Windows Phone device. A little shout out around, and I realized I wasn’t alone. Lot of our readers have also reported the issue on Windows Phone Central Forums.

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UK residents wanting to join the Internet of Things have looked to thermostat maker Heatmiser recently. The company has a variety of products, including multiple thermostat models, which connect and talk to one another. You can also control these thermostats with a handful of mobile apps. We told you guys and girls that Heatmiser UK was looking for beta testers for an upcoming Windows Phone app. Now the company is showing off that app on their blog. Here’s your first look.

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Microsoft recently released the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers and introduced a collection of new features, including an updated version of the mobile Internet Explorer 11. The new software update brought forward a collection of new exciting features along with an ability we have had for quite a bit in Windows 8.1’s IE11 browser – Reading Mode.

The Reading Mode embedded within IE11 on Windows 8.1 has spent quite a bit of time being overlooked, but in fact, can provide a simple and distraction free reading experience for your favorite news and blog sites (including Windows Phone Central!)

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Internet can almost be called the lifeblood of our society; if the internet goes down or our phones lose signal, it is like a part of us dies. Whether you view the aforementioned statement as a glum view of today’s society or an undoubtable truth – we are going to make sure you get internet onto your tablet or PC as long as you have a Windows Phone by your side.

We are going to dive into two different methods to get LOLcats and the rest of the internet to your PC. The first involves using your phone’s built in tethering ability and carrier support to get the job done; the second involves a bit of a proxy configuration, but we will be sure to walk you through both.

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We love updating our apps, even though we don’t manually do it anymore in Windows Phone 8.1. Now apps can automatically be downloaded and updated in the background. That means you’re going to need to pay extra attention to when there’s new features in your favorite apps. Today we’re looking at updates for Tile Me!, Instafont and Surfy.

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Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1 is garnering plenty of praise for for its ease of use, personality, and features, but now it's time for some of that personalization magic to make its way to Bing.com with the addition of interests. After being booted off the search key on Windows Phone devices by Cortana, Bing is getting personalized updates that tap into the power of the web. And it's a simple as clicking a star to register your interest.

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Have you been loving Titanfall on the Xbox One, PC or Xbox 360? We have and that’s why we’re pretty excited to check out The Final Hours of Titanfall for Windows 8. Unless you’re immersed in video game culture, you might not be too familiar with The Final Hours series. It comes from videogame journalist Geoff Keighley, in it he chronicles the development of many popular games. The Final Hours of Titanfall offers an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this generation’s most popular first-person shooter.

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The more we use Windows Phone 8.1, the more we discover such as the changes to our call history. For starters, we now have a Speed Dial page that sits alongside the History and Voice Mail pages. You also have the ability to pull up call details that reveal the date, time and duration of the calls.

Finally, the History page now groups calls from the same caller, based on the date, to avoid repetition. For example if Rich had called my Windows Phone four times today, the history would display “Rich Edmonds (4)” instead of four entries for those calls.

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It’s a light week for Xbox console game releases, with the only new retail title being FIFA 14 World Cup Brazil on Xbox 360. Not too exciting unless you’re a diehard football/soccer fan and buy more than one FIFA per year. But that doesn’t mean Xbox One and 360 gamers don’t have other new stuff to play…

The highly anticipated latest entry in Ubisoft and RedLynx’s Trials series, Trials Fusion has just arrived on both Xbox consoles as a downloadable title. Fans of Trials’ obstacle courses and super hard gameplay will lose many hours to Fusion. Meanwhile, PopCap and EA’s Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare has just received another free update and new Achievements on both consoles! Details after the break.

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Today is evidently Start screen day, as more and more developers are quickly pumping out apps for Windows Phone 8.1. Last night we gave you a guide on some ways to make your Start screen shine on 8.1, and this morning we gave you two more apps (Tilesparency and Clock Hub) to add to your list.

Now, we have a third one to share. No worries, it does something different and I think you’ll like it. Transparency Tiles is an app from developer Matthew Miller and it’s free to use. Its purpose? It generates new Tiles for Xbox Music, Xbox Games and Xbox Video that are now transparent.

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Ever since the arrival of the Preview for Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve been documenting frequent questions posed by you, the eager user. One of those topics deals with ‘Background tasks’ having been seemingly removed from the OS by Microsoft. But here’s a secret: it hasn’t.

The ability to control how programs behave in Windows Phone 8.0 was found under Settings > (swipe right) > Applications > background tasks. In that section, you could easily see which programs installed on your phone were doing things in the background e.g. checking for updates, or pushing Live Tile refreshes. It’s a useful tool used by many to help save on battery power. After all, if you have installed a few weather apps due to changing preferences, you don’t want all of them running at once!

In Windows Phone 8.1, many users are under the impression that this feature has been removed, but it has not. It has, however, changed, both in function and where it can be found.

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Nokia has been known to run various gaming promotions since it came to Windows Phone a couple of years ago. Most obviously they sponsored the production of more than 20 Xbox Windows Phone games; titles that we probably would never have gotten otherwise. There was also a brief period last year in which a non-Xbox version of Sonic CD became available for Lumia owners. We never found out why the giveaway game lacked its Xbox features, nor would Nokia comment on it.

Fourteen months later, it looks like Nokia has a new promotion going on. Owners of some very specific handsets (Nokia Lumia 625, 1020, 1320, Icon, and 1520) can get free versions of nine games from mega-publisher Gameloft! These aren’t stripped down versions, either. They’re the full Xbox titles with working Achievements, albeit with different Store pages than the general versions. Head past the link for more details on how to find the free games!

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Nokia and Microsoft have sent out an email to customers today detailing alterations (namely, the transfer) made to data protection, privacy and service terms. This is all due to the sale of Nokia's devices and services division to Microsoft, which both parties expect to complete by the end of this month. There's not a whole lot of information contained in the email, but it's nice to know Microsoft will take care of your data just as well as Nokia.

Essentially, you shouldn't expect to see any changes to how your data is collected and what it's used for.

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One of the more popular endless running games out there, Subway Surfers, has had a big update in time for Easter. Players can now run through the subways of Rome, and access a new local racer, Roberto. There are also weekly egg hunts with unique rewards, plus a new unlockable costume for Zoe and a new Kick-off board to earn. To top things off, there’s a fresh series of Spray Can Awards for rising to particularly tricky challenges.

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Universal game purchases have long been one of the most requested features from avid Windows Phone gamers, right behind SD card support (at last!) and more Xbox games (no luck yet). Already popular on iOS, the universal app concept allows users to buy a game or app once and then play it on both Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT.

Yesterday Microsoft and 343’s Halo: Spartan Assault officially became the first universal app on Windows Phone and Windows 8. It turns out that several more Windows Phone/Windows 8 Xbox games also went universal alongside Halo. Most are technically free and thus the universal label is more symbolic than anything. But another paid game is now universal as well: Skulls of the Shogun from 17-BIT. Head past the break for more details and word on which mobile Xbox games still need to go universal!

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Start backgrounds are probably one of the more interesting changes we’ve seen in Windows Phone 8.1. It’s another step Microsoft has made to allow users to customize and make their Windows Phone experience unique and personal. We happen to be very big fans of the Start backgrounds and have seen the community respond to them positively as well. A lot of you were timid and curbed your enthusiasm when Start backgrounds leaked a month ago, but the response after actually using it has been the opposite.

Today we’re going to highlight some tips, apps, resources and images to make Windows Phone truly beautiful with a unique Start background.  

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