Tips

Microsoft has published a new post on the official Outlook blog, detailing some upcoming changes to the service that make it even easier to switch from Gmail. It's no secret that many consumers have switched from Google's email service to Outlook.com and Microsoft is looking to further push tools and services available to make the switch as seamless as possible.

These are said to be rolling out in the coming weeks, so sync on past the break to read up what's new.

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The Microsoft Store’s 12 Days of Christmas Deals kicked off yesterday with some serious discounts on the Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows 8 tablet. During Monday’s deal, the first 20 people at the Microsoft Store could purchase the Venue 8 Pro for only $99. Everyone after that had the option to buy it for $199 until stock ran out.

We already posted a photograph of one Microsoft Store’s Venue Pro line yesterday in our article about the leaked 12 Days of Deals schedule. But it also happens that I was on-hand at the Houston Microsoft Store to check out the promotion. Head past the break to learn just what Houston-area Microsoft fans experienced at the sale, shopping tips for the rest of the 12 Days of Deals, and whether I ended up with a cheap Venue 8 Pro or not!

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It's already set in stone that Microsoft's next-generation console, the Xbox One will require a day one patch - just like the PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, with the next Xbox, you'll not be able to play any games (or really do anything at all) until you've installed the update.

Luckily, should you be afraid that something may go wrong on the day to prevent you from getting on with some gaming, Microsoft has made an offline version of the day one patch available for manual installation via a USB drive.

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Windows, Windows, Windows. It sure has been a busy day for Microsoft. If you've upgraded to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8, you're good to go almost immediately. It's really easy to get the latest release. But what about those of us who had the Windows 8.1 Preview? There has been talk about not being able to upgrade as Windows 8 keys won't work, etc. but there's light at the end of the tunnel.

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We've already looked at the spinning cogs issue with Nokia Windows Phones. You reset (or update) your handset and the when booting the handset, you simply cannot get past the spinning cogs. Luckily, while Nokia has been busy replacing damaged hardware, the manufacturer has also released an update to its Nokia Software Updater that looks to address the problem.

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Question. How do you go about deleting the high resolution image files from you Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone without deleting the 5MP, lower resolution copies?

That's a question Windows Phone Central reader Binson#WP has tossed out over in the WPCentral Forums. There's no way to sync just the low resolution images and you can't see the high res image file from your phone. So what's the solution?

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It can be a pain if you find yourself being allergic to mobile phone cases when you pick up the Lumia 925 and realise you can't wireless charge it without one attached. Nokia opted to not include wireless charging as a complete packing inside the shell of the main device, much like what's available on the Lumia 920, instead going with a 50/50 setup and firing out accessories that enable you to get charging.

What if you don't want to keep attaching a case to wireless charge the Windows Phone? A French tutorial has been published that walks you through on how to work around this issue and actually install the full wireless charging package on the Lumia 925, without the need for a case (except for the initial guide walkthrough).

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Update: Only a few days after we posted this and it looks like Twitter plugged the hole...so if you have an animated GIF, keep it. If you wanted one for Twitter, you're out of luck!

Yesterday we reported on the new update for Tile Me! that now allows you to create an animated GIF in addition to a static Me Tile image. The purpose of the app is so that you can use the generated image for your social network profiles, spreading the Windows Phone love.

While the animated GIF addition was the second most requested feature from users, quite a few of you were asking where could you actually use it? As it turns out, you can use it on Twitter, though there’s a unique trick to it.

For one, the generating GIF must be less than 700kb. The other caveat is you need to use a special Twitter link to change your profile photo. So without further ado, here are the steps on how you can get a bouncing Me Tile for your Twitter profile.

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For those of you lucky enough to be sporting a Nokia Lumia 1020 along with the addon Camera Grip (PD-95G), you may have noticed that sliding on the accessory is easy as can be. However, removing the grip can be a tad finicky with users feeling like they may snap it or even damage their device. We know we’ve experienced this and we’re sure others have too.

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Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are both great platforms. While they’re made by Microsoft, there are times you might feel like two different companies built them. They might look the same, but there are features from each you wish the other had. Case in point, you can search for apps on Windows Phone using your web browser, but you can’t do that for Windows 8 apps. At least you couldn’t do that yesterday, now you can.

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There's nothing worse than purchasing a Windows Phone, but not able to rock the night away with apps and games from the store. The unique market that is China has been an interesting addition to the ecosystem with Xbox Live, social networks and even store content being affected by tight restrictions (The Great Firewall).

Luckily there's light at the end of the tunnel as LiveSino reports that it's now possible to alter your region and then download content from the store that's not published for China.

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One design choice on the Nokia Lumia 1020 has a small handful of people a little flustered: you cannot share the full-resolution photos on Windows Phone using any of the built in social networks. No email, no NFC, no uploading to SkyDrive, etc.  The reason for that is because each 38MP image is between 9 and 15 MB in size and that would chew through bandwidth.

The oversampled 5MP images you can do anything, including all the above and auto-uploads to SkyDrive. Those weigh in at a more reasonable 3MB and are meant for sharing.

But for AT&T users (and only AT&T customers), there is a way to auto-upload your full, high resolution photos to the cloud for backup: AT&T Locker. And if you act fast, you can bump their free 5GB of storage to a whopping 50GB, which is ideal for you future Lumia 1020 owners.

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Windows Phone 8 believe it or not isn’t quite perfect. Its close, but things like the other storage issue put a cloud or two over a relatively sunny platform. When high-end devices like the Lumia 925 ship with only 16GB of storage for all your apps, games, and music you expect to utilize it all. The other storage issue has impacted many of you. We’ve heard of future fix coming from Microsoft, but that was last in March we heard. Nokia took matters into their own hand and released Storage Check to temporarily help Lumia owners and their storage woes. It works by clearing all the temporary files. 

But for everyone else there is Shrink Storage, an app in the Store that helps to give you back some of your limited space. It recently had an update adding some useful new features. Let’s check it out.

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One of our readers tipped us that Nokia and Microsoft are pushing out updates for your offline maps on Windows Phone 8. Indeed, when we fired up our Lumia 920 and checked we were notified of 209.8MB in updates (CT, NY and MA), meaning they’re refreshing whole states in the US (our tipster had over 805MB). (Edit, turns out these aren't new-new, but for some of you, you may never had updated, so here's how to do it).

To see if your maps need updating, simply launch your respective mapping app and check for those updates (details below). It will only take a few minutes, but you’ll need to be on Wi-Fi to grab ‘em.

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You may recall reading about my account of what happened when I took my Nokia Lumia 920 out for a spin on my bike with a sub-standard bike mount back in June and how it took a beating that only an action hero could withstand.

I figured I would post a follow up on how my Lumia 920's story, like those of the silver screen, had a fairly happy ending, complete with a new grey chassis.

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By now, the notion that Windows Phone 8 can store its maps offline should be familiar to most of you. Instead of pulling data “from the cloud”, your phone can simply have whole swaths of areas already on board, leaving the CPU (and battery) for other tasks.

While supremely useful, it can be overkill too. Specifically we mean if you spend a majority of your time in one region (or state), it doesn’t make sense to fill up your phone with say the whole United States. Yet that is exactly how the Verizon Nokia Lumia 928 is set up, including maps for the Cayman Islands (21.8 MB) and the Bahamas (24.9 MB) and USA (2,518.8 MB, or about 2.4GB).

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We briefly mentioned the Windows Phone partnership with We Are JUXT, a community of mobile photography enthusiasts (www.wearejuxt.com). Recently, ten of the most influential members of the We Are JUXT community were challenged to shoot exclusively with a Nokia Lumia 920

The group were asked to shoot exclusively with the Windows Phone for an eight day period and share a few tips on how to take the best pictures. The end result: a respectable collection of tips on not only how to take better photos but how to approach mobile photography as a whole.

Read on for these great tricks on how to better hone your mobile photo skills!

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The gaming and tech world-at-large has made a stink about how the Xbox One is moving to a more PC like approach. Specifically Steam has been cited as a model that the new Xbox One is moving towards. Of course Steam has been cut some slack because of how often they have deals on games. Well, it looks like Microsoft is even getting ready to follow that practice because right now you can download Fable III for free onto your Xbox 360.

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