Windows Phone Help & How-to

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Cortana has new songs, but she can't sing them yet

It looks like Cortana is learning new songs. She has been able to sing for a while now, but asking her recently has resulted in new songs. There's a little problem, though. She doesn't actually sing them out. Instead, many of the songs are read aloud. Perhaps she's in the middle of rehearsing them? Go ahead and try asking her with your Windows Phone device. We've tried it ourselves on the Nokia Lumia 930. Watch the video!

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How to get an Uber car with Cortana

You have probably heard of Uber by now. It's a transportation network company that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire in over 70 cities. We were very excited when the official app returned to Windows Phone and we have been using it frequently. Windows Phone users also get treated to a very cool integration with Cortana. You can ask her to grab you an Uber car!

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How to force close an Xbox One game or app

One of our favorite features on the Xbox One is the ability to resume games even after turning off the system. It's really handy at finishing single player games after being interrupted by errands. But once in a blue moon, we notice games getting stuck at the splash screen when attempting to resume after startup. Want to know a quick fix? Force close the game! We'll show you how simple it is on the Xbox One.

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When it comes to mobile operating systems, Windows Phone has a solid reputation for stability. As a result, the need to reset the OS to rid the phone of bugs or start anew is rare. Still, there may be occasions where you want to return the device to the state you bought it in from the Store.

Here are two ways to do that for the HTC One for Windows.

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Using the HTC One M8 for Windows as a TV remote

Did you know that the HTC One M8 for Windows can control your TV? The One – both on Android and Windows Phone – comes with an infrared (IR) blaster built into the top of the device. Combined with their HTC Sense TV app and your One goes from a smartphone to a smart-remote.

See how it works in our hands on video.

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Here is how to block ads in IE 11 for Windows 8.1

No one likes ads, even if they are what powers our web economy. The debate over ad blockers is always a tough one, even more so since it even affects our site too. Without the revenue, we do not get money, which means we cannot pay our writers, which means we do not have employees. Still, there are selective uses of ad blocking that is useful, and we will show you how to do that in IE11 for Windows 8.1.

Internet Explorer 11 cannot do traditional plugins like Chrome or Firefox, which is a big gripe for many who would like to use it as their main browser. As a tradeoff, though, IE11 has fewer security issues, and it is gentler on your battery, which is important for tablets, laptops, and the Surface. However, there is a way to block ads within IE11 even without plugins, and it does not involve any hacks or modifications. Yes, Microsoft has given you the tools directly.

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The HTC One M8 for Windows brings many 'firsts' to the table, including support for the 801 chipset, duo camera and more. One of those originals is the ability to hide the Nav bar aka where the Start, Search and Back key reside. On previous Windows Phones these keys were part of the device, so that when the display is off they were still visible. Now with Windows Phone 8.1, manufacturers get the ability to use on-screen keys instead, cutting down costs and letting companies like HTC port over their Android phones with no change in the hardware.

Although phones like the Nokia Lumia 630 have on-screen keys, the HTC One for Windows adds a few options to the mix, including an auto-hide option. Here's how it all works.

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Cases are always an optional accessory on phones, but the Dot View case for the HTC One M8 for Windows is much more than just protection. The case is interactive, showing owners useful information like the time, current temperature and the current conditions. The case is 'dot view' because of the mesh screen gives users a dot-matrix picture of that info.

On the new Windows Phone version, Microsoft and HTC added something unique to the equation: Cortana integration. Although all Windows Phone 8.1 devices in the US get Cortana, the HTC One (M8) for Windows goes a step further by adding a feature to the Dot View case. Users simply swipe down on the case when the phone is in standby, and Cortana comes to life.

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When the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leaked back in February, double-tap to wake was seen in the documentation, suggesting that Nokia's tech was being opened to all OEMs. Fast-forward to August and HTC's new One for Windows is the first non-Lumia Windows Phone to feature this useful technology.

Double-tap to wake came to Nokia Lumias in mid-2013. The optional tool lets users tap their display twice when it is off, letting people turn on their phones without using the power-button. Double-tap has always been a useful feature, especially if you only have one-hand available and you would like to use your phone.

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How to upload videos to Youtube with Cortana

Upload to Youtube, a Windows Phone 8.1 app that lets you upload videos from your camera roll to Youtube, has recently been updated with a cool new feature. This handy app now lets you upload your last video with the help of Cortana. Want to see it in action? Continue reading and watch our quick how-to video.

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Earlier this morning, the Nokia Developer Team tweeted out some information regarding developer devices getting Lumia Cyan. The Lumia 920 is now getting Lumia Cyan, with the Lumia 620 getting it next week and the Lumia 820 in early September. Good news, right?

Unfortunately, a few fan blogs took this news to mean that phones enrolled with the Preview for Developers program are now getting the Lumia Cyan update, which is far from accurate.

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How to stream videos from your Mac to Xbox One

Have a lot of movies or TV episodes stored in your computer and want to watch them on your big screen TV? Here are the steps on how to easily stream those videos from your Mac to the Xbox One using this handy app from the Mac App Store called SofaPlay ($4.99 - Download now). It's so easy and convenient, that I want to slap myself for not knowing about it earlier.

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Offline maps are one of the nicest features in Windows Phone. You can download maps for your region, so you don't eat into your data plan each time you want to use map data. Offline map data is saved by default to your phone storage. You might want to move the offline map data to your SD card if you have one, here's how.

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The Lumia 1520 is in many ways the perfect Windows Phone assuming, of course, that you are okay with a 6-inch display. However, if there is one Achilles Heel that only occasionally rears its head it is the 'scroll/tap' issue. Although more a nuisance than anything, the bug randomly occurs when scrolling on the display using a swipe, but instead the device registers it as a 'tap.' This hardware "misreading" results in the phone opening links, tweets, photos, or hyperlinks when the user only intended to scroll up or down.

Ever since the Lumia 1520 started exhibited this problem, it was largely assumed to be a software (firmware) problem, or a screen-calibration tweak. The randomness of the bug and subsequent software releases though calls this explanation into question. Even more, some users have it and others do not.

Now, a new theory grounded in the hardware of the device appears to go a long way in explaining the problem and even how to solve it.

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How to redeem Xbox or Windows Store gift cards

Did someone just give you an Xbox gift card, Windows Store gift card, prepaid card, or promotional code? They usually come in the form of cards with a 25-character code. You can use these prepaid codes to make purchases without a credit card. We'll show you how you can redeem the codes on your Xbox One, Windows Phone device, or your computer.

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How to set up Apps Corner on Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1

Apps Corner is one of the new features that Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 brings. In a nutshell, it lets you set up a custom Start screen on your device, where you can share only the apps you choose with the people you let use your phone. This is great for showing off your phone, while hiding private information from emails, calendar, and photos. This is also handy in setting up phones for employees, students, or coworkers, by exporting your Apps Corner settings from your phone and importing it onto other phones.

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This morning, Microsoft published a partial changelog for Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. The listing is incomplete because it misses things like Cortana's Bluetooth integration or the new Store Live Tile. However, one area it did get right is the ability to select multiple entries on messaging, contacts and even phone calls.

Previously, in Windows Phone 8.1 and below, users could either delete everything in the call-history or delete one by one. This approach lacks the granularity that many users desire, so the ability to bring up the familiar multiple-select check boxes goes a long way to improving control over one's content.

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Here is how to use Cortana in your car with Bluetooth

If your car has Bluetooth and you have just updated your device to Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1, you need to head over to your car right now and try this out. Update 1 has added a neat little feature that lets you activate Cortana directly from the voice command button on your steering wheel. Such a tool is useful for finding local eateries, gas stations, parking, or just looking up information while driving and avoiding getting a ticket.

How do you set it up? Read along and follow the steps.

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One of the smaller, but very useful features in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 is Network Time Protocol (NTP) support. If you run a PC, NTP is nothing new, it is simply the ability for the computer to ping the server and pulldown the time off the internet. (Wikipedia fact: It is one of the oldest internet protocols in use!)

However, Windows Phone did not support this, at least not until Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1.

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Earlier today, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 started trickling for users who are on Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. As the Windows Phone team at Microsoft shared a few days ago, the latest update brings Cortana to China and UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in India.

This early adopter program for the latter is opt-in, and gives people the option to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. Let's see how we can configure it for Windows Phone devices in these regions.

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How to create Live Folders on Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1

If you just installed Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 that was released earlier today, you'll be happy to know that you can now create Live Folders on the home screen. Microsoft calls these "Live" folders because whatever app or game is included in the folder still has their Live Tile enabled. How do you create them? It's easy! Let us show you.

Head past the break to watch the how-to video on the Nokia Lumia Icon.

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