How To

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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Outlook.com, the new face of webmail from Microsoft

Microsoft unveiled Outlook.com back in July, launching a new web-based email service that would be the successor to its popular Hotmail brand. The move was part of Microsoft's plan to bring products and services closer together, which leads to further integration into Windows, Windows Phone and other platforms.

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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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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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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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Nokia has launched a new app that will make it easy for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry users to make the move or convert to Windows Phone. The app makes moving all your contacts, calendars and apps over from your old phone to your new Lumia Windows Phone nice and easy.

Welcome Home to Windows Phone is an app from Markspace that migrates all the information and is compatible with both PC and Mac systems. The app will first back up everything from your old device and then transfer contacts, appointments, pictures, songs and videos to your new Windows Phone. The Welcome Home app will only copy DRM-free (unrestricted rights) songs and videos.

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We reported a few days ago that some developers at XDA Forums have managed to get those pesky video-out drivers working on their Windows Phone 7 devices. The drivers, often used by Microsoft during press and developer events for demonstration purposes, have never been released publicly and that won’t change for WP7 anytime soon.

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Sync, damn you, sync!

Syncing multiple calendars is never fun. It’s even less fun across various services, like Gmail to Outlook.com for instance, which is the focus of this tutorial.

We recently had to solve this problem for ourselves because although like you we primarily use our Hotmail/Live Mail/Outlook.com calendar for all events, we sometimes need to have our external Google calendar sync to our phone too.

There are a few ways to go about this but we’re going to show you the more unified approach that we prefer. It’s a bit tricky and nearly caused us to punch our wall a few times to figure it out. But for you, it will be dead simple and should literally take you no more than 5 minutes.

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