Tips

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Setting up and configuring your new Windows Phone

Got your new Windows Phone? Congratulations!

The first step you need to take is to actually set up the smartphone for the first time. We’ve continuously stated how user-friendly the experience is, so why do we need a tutorial on setting up a new smartphone running Microsoft’s mobile operating system? It’s a fair question, but truth be told that many aren’t as computer savvy as those who were born in this millennium.

That said, it really is super simple to get cracking from unboxing the new gem in your life to making calls, downloading apps and racking up the gamerscore on Xbox Live. What do you need to get started? Nothing really, just the new phone, ample enough charge to get through (it’s always recommended to zap some juice into the device before use) and our quick step-by-step guide. Shall we begin?

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Splashtop 2 is now available to download for Windows Phone 8 devices and is free though August 31st. The popular remote desktop application allows users to access their PCs directly from their mobile phone. View and edit files, stream HD movies, play games, and more using the Splashtop Streaming App for Windows and the new mobile app for Windows Phone 8. Splashtop 2 can transmit video content at up to 30 frames per second with low latency times which makes almost anything possible.

As a writer on the go, I can personally recommend that you check out this popular piece of software, as it has saved me a few times in the past when I have left articles on my machine.

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Welcome to the world of Windows Phone

Are you new to Windows Phone, or just the realm of mobile when it comes to Microsoft? If so, then welcome aboard! You’re at the right place as Windows Phone Central is the number one online resource for all things Windows Phone. We’ll be diving into why you should choose Windows Phone, what makes the platform great for not only personal, but work life too and how you can get involved in the community. So grab a cup of tea and let’s dive in.

As this is a guide through the basics of the platform, we’re going to assume that everyone reading this will either be new to Windows Phone or smartphones in general. If you're already up on your knowledge, these guides may not be for you. Let’s start with some history about the platform itself.

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That's right, folks. We're firing up an article on user review etiquette. Why, you ask? We've had numerous developers complain that consumers simply don't pay attention to information provided on the Windows Phone Store. This is prior to downloading trials or purchasing apps and they then leave negative feedback, which is viewable by the general public. We've noted this ourselves when browsing the catalogue.

Our own Jay Bennett has had this issue with the official Windows Phone Central app, so we figured we'd talk about how you can help make the review system less skewed for others to rely on, as well as improving the overall store experience for everyone (including developers). If you're one to quickly jump the gun and add a one-star review on apps and games then this resource is for you.

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Google is set to cease supporting Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for its array of online services, including both GMail and Calendar. This will prevent consumers from setting up accounts on Windows Phones with both contact and calendar support (but will not affect those who already have email configured on Windows Phone). Consumers who make use of said features will have to go through workarounds to get connected, or switch across to Outlook.

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You're going to get behind the wheel? No, you want to catch the bus? Hold it, dear chap! Instead, since it's Mobile Nations Fitness Month, why don't you make use of the pedestrian functionality in the Windows Phone Maps app? Stretch those legs, turn up the beats and introduce your favourite swagger to the unexpected public.

There's nothing like a casual stroll on a Friday afternoon, right? Planning a walking route is an easy feature to overlook when not used on a regular basis but it is a simple feature to make use of.  A feature that will help you get to and from your destination and burn a few calories along the way.

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As we’re the largest Windows Phone site around, you could imagine we get asked a lot of questions. Some are bizarre, some are just rants asking us to fix the OS (we wish we could!) and some seem silly at first but do make you go “hmmm...”

Such is the case with this scenario: You toss your beautiful Nokia Lumia 920 onto the Fatboy wireless charger to get some juice. But you also have a USB AC adapter standing by...what happens if you plug that in? Will it charge off of both, making it “go faster”? Or does one take priority over the other—and if so, which way?

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With the Windows Phone 7.8 update finally starting to find its way on board user’s devices, bringing with it the cosmetic upgrades of Windows Phone 8, here at Windows Phone Central our readers are noticing that not all is well for their newly-sized live tiles.

Users over in our forums have spotted that since the 7.8 update, their live tiles (those updated by background tasks at least) do not seem to be refreshing correctly.

A lot of times these issues are device specific, but in this case we’re not convinced. I recently had a conversation with Lawrence Gripper (developer of BBC News Mobile) after he got in touch to ask if we had been receiving an abnormal number of support requests since 7.8, we have. Just like the reviews you'll see for BBC News Mobile, several users have been in touch complaining that their tile seems to have ceased updating now that they have installed the new OS update.

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We’ve lamented numerous times here at Windows Phone Central on the sorry state of Xbox Music on current Windows Phone 8 devices. When it comes to management, features or in one particular case, missing album art, it can be quite frustrating to use and it's quite the downgrade from the Zune days..

We touched on this topic recently on the last podcast where ripping a CD (via Zune) and transferring to our device using the Windows Phone App (RT) caused our album art to magically disappear, leaving a hideous gray box in its place.

Luckily for us we now have a solution. Best of all it’s simple, free and called MPAtool.

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The Windows Phone 7.8 update is here. Well, it will be once you're able to update your hardware should you not go down the manual route. We've all be eagerly awaiting the notification that there's a new build available, but what if you overlook a new feature or miss new functionality through excitement (with or without comforting alcohol), or simply not being aware that such magic exists? We'll quickly run you through on how to get started with the 7.8 update.

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With the latest versions of Windows Phone consumers are able to make use of Internet Sharing, depending on carrier, device capabilities and allowance. But what if it doesn't work as planned? Many have encountered issues when attempting to connect to the Internet via a Windows Phone.

Devices are able to view and connect to the new access point created by the smartphone, but Internet access isn't available. Luckily, there are a few steps that should resolve the issue, thanks to folk at the Nokia forum and beyond. So what does one have to do to get Internet Sharing back up and working?

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What would a mobile phone be without an address book of contacts to open up communication with, or a calendar to keep up-to-date with social events? Windows Phone takes strives in being more socially connected than the likes of iOS and Android by sporting integration with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. But how does one import contacts and calendars from services that are also used on competing platforms?

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Although the majority of people who are on AT&T or Rogers who have upgraded their Lumia 920 to Windows Phone “Portico” are having no problems (in fact, quite the opposite), there is one bug that seems to affect a few people: auto-screen brightness.

As detailed in our Lumia 920 forums, the problem exhibits itself when you turn on the phone in a mildly lit room and the brightness seems to ramp up to max and then back down again, resulting in a staggered and constantly fluctuating display brightness.

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We reported earlier in the week on s slew of updates for Maps but in case you missed it these apply to all Windows Phone 8 handsets. Windows Phone 8 has been designed with the ability to download and install maps that can be used offline.

From time to time these will get updated with improved detail or just changes that normally happen to maps over time. Unlike other updates the maps don’t appear to have a push mechanism so you’ll have to kick the process off manually. Read on to find out how.

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Synchronising Windows Phone on a Windows PC or Mac

How does one synchronise content between a Windows Phone and a Windows PC or Mac? Microsoft is continuously developing two separate clients, one for each platform, enabling consumers to charge, synchronise, update and backup their Windows Phone. While both clients are not identical in features and functionality, basic tasks can still be completed.

Moving content between smartphones and computers on competing mobile platforms is pretty much identical to Windows Phone. Apple makes use of iTunes for its management of the iPhone (as well as media players and other devices), while Android opts for a more integrated experience through the use of a file manager.  

So how does one get started with available clients?

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Tip: How to protect your Wallet in Windows Phone 8

Purchasing apps and games on a Windows Phone is an absolute breeze. Trials are a unique opportunity for developers to allow consumers to download and "try" their work before committing to a purchase. But with the speedy process in purchasing apps from the Store, should there be some level of protection for credit cards that are attached to a Microsoft Account?

Currently, anyone who has access to a Windows Phone that has a Microsoft Account loaded with valid credit cards for transactions can head into the Store and engage in a shopping spree - this isn't a good situation to be in but it can occur with children or other folk who borrow a smartphone for a few minutes. Luckily, Microsoft has a solution for this issue.

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