How To

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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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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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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Cortana is your personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1. She’s great for finding nearby sushi joints, reminding you to get milk on your way home and much more. You won’t find Cortana confined to her app though, she’s hanging out in other parts of Windows Phone 8.1. Here’s a quick tip for adding events to your calendar from text messages and emails.

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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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There are so many new features in Windows Phone 8.1. Of course Cortana and the notification center will steal the headlines, but it’s the other features that help make this a momentous update. We’re going to highlight quiet hours and show you how to get the most out of it. Quiet hours is the new “do not disturb” feature in Windows Phone 8.1 that’s powered by Cortana.

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While I totally love the messaging app on Windows Phone, sometimes long, meandering conversations can be annoying with their constant alerts. I’d rather text passively when I choose to, rather then get distracted by a ping every second.

Apart from the plethora of big feature additions that you’ve been reading about at Windows Phone Central, Windows Phone 8.1 has also introduced a nifty feature that allows you to mute text message threads. As far as we know, no other smartphone platforms has this useful feature, making it quite interesting for Windows Phone users.

Let's take a look at how it works!

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Windows Phone 8.1 brings a wealth of new features and improvements to the table. Some of these changes are meant to bring Windows Phone more in-line with Windows 8. The more closely the two operating systems resemble each other, the easier it is for users to transition between phone, tablet, and PC. And of course, any such changes would qualify as improvements even if you’ve never touched a Windows 8 device. Microsoft is simply smart enough to pick and choose better implementations where they see them.

One such change comes with Windows Phone 8.1’s new and improved search feature. The Search button and Cortana app (US only) now searches not only the web for queries but also the user’s actual phone (much like Windows 8 and RT). This makes it easier than ever to find specific information and files on your phone. Even the actual web search results share a cleaner, slicker look as well. Head past the break to see how convenient searching can be on Windows Phone 8.1.

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One of the many welcomed features with Windows Phone 8 was the ability to capture a screenshot from your Windows Phone. For those of us who write about Windows Phones it was a fantastic feature to allow us to better illustrate what we write about.

For the average consumer, having the ability to capture a screenshot can come in handy in the same manner. You can share a screen capture of your high score, a glitch in the programming or for those times you just want to share screens that appear on your Windows Phone.

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How to manage devices connected to Xbox Music

Microsoft’s Xbox Music streaming service is free for everyone with a Microsoft account to use. It’s also available cross-platform, on both Android and iOS as well as Xbox, Windows and Windows Phone (plus the web). Today we’ll be taking a quick look at how to efficiently manage devices connected to an Xbox Music subscription.

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Some will argue that you can never have enough storage memory on your Windows Phones. It seems to take no time at all to fill up the eight, sixteen or even thirty-two gigabytes of storage on our Windows Phones. We often install apps and games that begin to collect dust after a few days, never delete photos, and often have several music albums worth of songs. All of which take up valuable memory space.

Some Windows Phone models have expansion card slots to help with storage needs but even that relief has restrictions. So, how do you manage your Windows Phone storage memory? For those who struggle with keeping enough storage space free on your Windows Phone, we’ve got a few suggestions that might help you manage your memory better.

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Last week, Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8.1 to the world. We gave you numerous video tours of the OS, and we’re sure you watched Joe Belfiore's on stage demonstration of Cortana. Microsoft also announced that the Preview for Developers Program will go live for 8.1 "sometime in April". That program will allow you to install the 8.1 update early on any Windows Phone 8 device. Every. Single. One.

What is this program? How can you prepare for it before it arrives? Head past the break for all you need to know!

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Customizing your Windows Phone Lockscreen

Our Windows Phone lockscreen serves two purposes. It gives us an opportunity to glance at key information without having to unlock our Windows Phone and it affords us an opportunity to stylize our phone’s appearance.

Through the native lockscreen settings you have the ability to customize the wallpaper that will appear and tweak what bits of information will appear. In addition to the native Windows Phone lockscreen settings, there are plenty of apps available in the Windows Phone Store to let you customize your lockscreen further.

While this may be old hat to some, we’ll touch base on a few of the options available to customize your Windows Phone lockscreen after the break.

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Shuffling through the World Wide Web to find what you need can be a daunting process. Whether it's from your Windows Phone or Windows 8 computer. Luckily, thanks to search engines like Microsoft’s Bing – you can find what you need and quickly. The problem is that if you are used to typing in simple queries like “How can I obtain Rich’s awesome accent?” you are still faced with hundreds of thousands of search results.

Today, we are going to stop the horror and make you the master of Bing by teaching you “advanced operator references” – think of what we are about to teach you as a secret language to master Microsoft’s search engine. Today, you master Bing search – tomorrow, you take over the world.

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While the release of Windows Vista was plagued with burden and its legacy was remembered as such, one excellent feature to rise out of the wreckage has served its way through Windows 7 up to current day Windows 8 operating systems. The feature that we are referring to is, of course, Microsoft’s BitLocker Drive Encryption – full disk encryption at the click of a button.

WARNING: Disk Encryption is a delicate process, please be sure to backup your data before beginning. WPCentral, Mobile Nations, Smartphone Experts are not responsible for any data loss caused by a failure to read instructions carefully or ignoring our recommendation to backup ALL of your data before beginning. Please be sure to read the entire article before beginning your encryption journey. If you have doubts about anything, please ask in the comments below before proceeding.

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There will be a time in life when you need to block someone, be it a cold sales contact or someone who may be harassing you. Unfortunately, Windows Phone 8 doesn't currently have a built-in blocking feature to prevent numbers from sending messages to your smartphone, nor can the operating system halt calls in their tracks. But Microsoft did make tools for manufacturers to enable this feature, should they want to make it for their customers.

This is where Nokia came in with its 'call + SMS filter', which launched on Windows Phone 8 last year for Lumia devices (Samsung has it in their ATIV line of Windows Phones too).

We'll quickly walk you through how to set everything up, just in case you've yet to fire up the filter settings area for the first time.

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All of us here at Windows Phone Central use Bing for our day-to-day searches, and we are positive that most of our readers do also. For those of you who have installed the Google Search app onto your Windows Phone or Windows 8 machine, we will try not to judge you. Despite your choice of search engine, we reached out to the community to find out what your favorite Bing features are, and presented them in our beautiful typeface below.

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Spring is quickly approaching and with the warm weather, everyone will start finding their way outdoors and our Windows Phone cameras will become more active. We’ll be shooting pics of flowers, the kids running around the back yard, little league ball games, vacation spots and other warm weather hot spots.

These photos are important to you and should something happen to your Windows Phone, you would want them backed up, right? Well, for those new to Windows Phone (and those who have forgotten) there is an easy way to back up your photos.

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