Windows Phone Help & How-to

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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In the Windows Phone Update 1 Preview, new Bluetooth profiles are supported in the latest OS update from Microsoft, giving consumers access to new abilities. Those new profiles included PAN (personal area network) 1.0 profile, aptX codec support for A2DP, and browsing support for AVRCP.

In regards to PAN, one visible area in which consumers can immediately see the difference is visible under Internet Sharing.

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How to merge a contact in Windows Phone

The People Hub in Windows Phone is the center for all your contacts. It goes above and beyond your typical contact list and integrates social networks like Facebook and Twitter (thanks Social Extensibility framework). By aggregating all that data into one, contact card, your People Hub becomes invaluable for keeping your friends all in once place. Windows Phone does a good job automatically piecing everything together, though sometimes it misses adding your phonebook contact with their Facebook profile. Here's how to manually merge and link contacts in the People Hub on Windows Phone.

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Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the feature set for Windows Phone 8.1 Update. As it turns out, there are quite a few new additions to the OS refresh that make it worth getting, including those Live Folders, rapid charging, improvements to Internet Explorer rendering and more.

However, there are many questions about the Preview for Developers program and what it means for those enrolled, but who do not yet have their Lumia Cyan update. We are going to walk through a few scenarios of what to expect depending on your setup.

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With Nokia Camera, you can change a lot of camera settings like white balance, focus, ISO, shutter speed, and brightness to take the perfect photo, but all of that don't matter if you don't pay attention to framing or composition. Fortunately, Nokia Camera provides framing grids that you can activate within the settings. We'll teach you how to turn them on and how you can use them to improve your photos.

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The Lumia Cyan update is hitting more devices each day, and a big chunk of those are 'country variants' aka CV. Country variants are non-carrier phones, but even though they are SIM unlocked, they still have localization including default language, preloaded apps pertinent to that region and other network changes. As such, there is no such thing as a generic Lumia Windows Phone, because Hong Kong, Mexico, Thailand, Norway, and others all have their own 'country variant' for each Lumia model.

The Lumia country variants are widely eligible for the Lumia Cyan update, at least for the Lumia 625, Lumia 925, Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520. However, not all of CVs are yet cleared, leading to confusion amongst readers who proceed to force-downgrade their phones to 8.0 in order to get the non-existing update.

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As you obtain more games, apps, videos, and other experiences on your Xbox One, you want to able to access the ones that you use the most quickly. That's where pins come in. You can pin your favorite game or app to your Home screen for quick access.

Head past the break to watch the steps on video.

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Earlier this year when Verizon finally released the Lumia Icon, I gave the phone a solid review. However, one thing that always bothered me about Verizon's Lumia phones is their lack of color. For instance, the Icon comes only in white or black, but there is no red, which would seem like an obvious choice for the rosy-hued carrier.

Fast forward to mid-year and the Lumia 930 picks up some borderline neon green, and bright orange back covers. Is there a way to switch them to add color to your Lumia Icon? You bet, and you can find the answers in our forums.

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Earlier last week, the Nokia Creative Studio 6.0 update has become available for download at the Windows Phone Store. It has a completely redesigned interface with some new features. The bad news, as some of you have discovered, is that the update is missing Color Pop and Red-eye reduction. Nevertheless, we've spent some time with the updated Creative Studio. Read along to see how you can improve your images using the app.

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Last night after much anticipation, Microsoft released their first beta for the Live Lock Screen app on Windows Phone 8.1 (see our hands on video). The app is maintaining a 4.1 (out of 5) rating on the Store, though the biggest complaint by far is the delay when turning on the phone. The reason for that has to do with the Live Lock Screen being an actual app that runs and a few other complications that developer Rudy Huyn says he is diligently working on to improve.

Regardless, if you do not want to participate in the beta, or would like to sit a few rounds out to see if Live Lock Screen improves, then you can always uninstall the app. Case closed, back to normal, right? Not so much...

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Earlier today, AT&T announced that their Lumia 1520 is now receiving the Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 updates. However, it quickly became evident that those with the Preview for Developers installed on their Lumia 1520s did not have an update, but those with Windows Phone 8.0 did. The reason for the discrepancy is Microsoft has put on hold updates for those running the Preview.

As such, those who are on the Preview and who still want the Lumia Cyan update need to downgrade their OS first. This is still Microsoft's position on the situation.

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Nokia Storyteller is an app that automatically groups all your photos, videos and cinemagraphs into individual events called stories. You can browse all your stories on your timeline, modify them, and then view them as slideshows. If you're really happy with the slideshows, you can share them as story videos with friends on Facebook, Flickr, Youtube, and more.

Want to know how to do it? Head past the break to watch the video and follow the steps.

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Running out of storage space on your Windows Phone? You've probably filled it up with games, apps, photos, music and more. If your Windows Phone has support for a SD card you're in luck. With a few taps you can move things from to your SD card from your phone's internal storage. In the process freeing up your phone's internal memory. You can also set it up so that new music, videos, podcasts, photos, apps and downloads automatically get stored in either your phone or SD card.

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I feel so embarrassed right now. I've had the Xbox One for about 3 months, and I just learned that the Kinect microphone has been on while playing multiplayer games. I assumed that no one could hear me when the headset isn't connected. This means other people may have heard things that I didn't want them to hear. Don't make the same mistake. Turn off that Kinect microphone.

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How to downgrade the OS on a Lumia Windows Phone

Have a Lumia handset that is bricked or not turning on? You could it send it back for repair. Or you could take the DIY approach and try fixing it yourself using the Nokia Recovery Software Tool. It's a desktop application that is aimed at getting your ailing Lumia back up and running. Here's a quick tutorial on how to use the software.

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Here's a super quick tip. I'm going to quickly show you how to disable the touch screen on your Windows 8.1 machine. It will only take a minute to quickly turn off the touch screen capabilities on your monitor. Doesn't matter if it's a tablet, Ultrabook or desktop, this will work.

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How to set an alarm with Cortana

Cortana knows how to sing. She can also tell jokes. She can do a lot of other things, but one feature that we frequently use is setting the alarm. Some of you may know how to do this already, but continue reading if this is new to you. Watch our how-to video after the break.

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How to download and listen to offline mixes with MixRadio

We absolutely love MixRadio, even after the recent removal of the Nokia branding. If you haven't heard of it by now, it's a streaming music service that brings you free, personalized music with no advertising. There are hundreds of handcrafted mixes available, so you might even find new favorite artists.

One of MixRadio's key features is offline mixes. You can save your favorite mixes for offline playback so you can listen even without an internet connection. Want to know how to do it? Head past the break to watch the tutorial.

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Gameplay videos are really popular on YouTube especially the ones with commentary. It's a fact that many people love watching them. For example, you might have heard of PewDiePie who makes $4 million a year sharing gameplay videos on YouTube with his 27 million subscribers. Want to start sharing your own Xbox One gameplay videos on Youtube? We'll show you how to do it without buying additional hardware or accessories.

Head past the break to watch the tutorial!

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A few days ago I did a primer on InstantGo aka Connected Standby on the Surface Pro 3 and other Windows tablets. To refresh, InstantGo is a new low-power battery state the lets the system update email, Skype and other Modern apps while the device is in standby mode. But what if you think something is abnormally draining your battery?

Over on the Windows Experience Blog, Kevin Chin introduces readers to a new tool built into Windows 8.1 christened 'Sleep Study.' In short, Sleep Study is a diagnostic tool that reveals in high detail what is draining the battery on your Windows 8.1 devices with InstantGo enabled.

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In my review of the Surface Pro 3 I gave some praise to the new trackpad found on the updated Type Cover. It's made with a new material, tiny glass beads, and it is significantly larger than the previous version. Still, you'll want to make sure you're getting the most out of it, and that means making sure the settings are correct.

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The World Cup is in full swing after host country Brazil defeated Croatia in the opening match. There's an entire month of football action remaining with the 2014 final taking place on July 13. Yesterday Abby showed you all a bunch of great apps and tricks to stay current with the 2014 FIFA World Cup on your Windows Phone. Here's one more tip from the Windows Phone Central forums that we wanted to point out – how do add the World Cup 2014 schedule to your Windows Phone Calendar so that you never miss a game.

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Nokia's Living Images is a new feature coming to Windows Phone 8.1 and their Lumia Cyan firmware update for the high-end PureView devices, like the Lumia 1020, Lumia 1520, Icon and so forth. Living Images captures a few seconds before you snap a photo, so that when you're browsing through your Camera Roll or StoryTeller, your photos come alive. It's like Cinemagraph, but without having to think, as it just works automatically.

A Nokia Camera Beta update a few weeks ago introduced Living Images, but no one could use it without the Cyan firmware. Even those with a Lumia 630 can't use it as that device is not PureView. But I started getting tips from people who had Living Images enabled, though they didn't know how it happened. Finally, Jason in our comments explained a simple trick to get it working, at least mostly.

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