All posts tagged “Windows”

10 Windows Phone Tricks and Settings You Should Know

You feel so excited as you have just received a brand new Windows Phone. You start exploring the phone in almost all the corners. You have already installed many apps which appear on the start screen. You’ve get used to the gestures, and eventually also find some hidden features.

Yet, with all the features that ship in Windows Phone, there’s a chance that you have missed a couple of handy tricks and useful settings to configure and tune up your Windows Phone. So, here are 10 tricks and settings that you should know to get the most out of Windows Phone. Let’s check them out.

Capitalize and All-Caps Words Quickly

Typing in Windows Phone can be so much faster, if you know this little trick. For example: while typing, you may highlight a word and tap the Shift key to capitalize the first letter. Tap it a second time and it will capitalize the whole word. Holding down the Shift key will turn on the caps-lock mode.

Turn Off Navigation Key Vibration

Windows Phone handhelds ship with 3 physically sensitive buttons – namely the back button, the home button (which is depicted with the Windows new logo) and the search button. These buttons will vibrate as you tap. If you feel that the vibration is kind of annoying or you simply want to switch it off for whatever reason, go to Settings > Touch and turn off the Navigation Bar.

Action Center Half-view

Windows Phone has finally come with an Action Center that stores app notifications as well as a couple of shortcut settings for quick access. To view the Action Center, swipe your finger from the top edge of the screen down to the bottom. Alternatively, halt your finger at the middle to only view the shortcuts.

Configuring the Action Center Shortcut

There are 4 shortcuts present in the Action Center, but a Windows Phone with a wider screen will have 5. Configure the shortcuts with ones that you frequently need most with Settings > Notification+action menu. Tap one of the current shortcuts, and select another on the list as the substitute.

Remove All Your notifications In One Swipe

You can remove a notification in the Action Center by swiping your finger from the left to the right of each notification item. But, sometimes you can have heaps of notifications that will tire your fingers out. In that case, use 2 fingers to swipe all of them away in one swift motion.

Move and Install Apps to SD Card

One of the best things about a Windows Phone is that the storage capability is upgradable with an SD Card for up to 64GB. You can store files, images, videos, and even apps in the SD Card instead of within the internal storage.

So, if you have an app that takes up a lot of internal storage, it’s better to move it into the SD Card. To do so, go to Settings > Storage Sense. Tap the app+games and select the game. You will find the button to transfer it to the SD Card.

Note: This button will only appear if you have your SD Card installed.

Mute the Shutter Sound

When taking a picture or taking a screenshot of the phone, you will hear the shutter sound that is similar to the sound a real camera makes . Did you know that you can turn this sound off? If you don’t want people around you to notice that you are taking pictures, go to the Settings > ringtones+sound and untick the Camera shutter.

Assign Nick Name for Cortana

Cortana, though in Beta, is very capable and and up to par with its competitors. Cortana can help you call or text a specific person by calling his/her name. Alternatively, you can also call the nickname. So, instead of call “John Doe”, you may simply tell Cortana to call “Driver” (if he really is so).

Go to the Cortana’s Notebook. Then, select the Inner Circle option and select the the person from the contact list to be assigned for a nickname – you can assign up to 3 nicknames. Cortana’s Notebook is where Cortana learns about you. Therein, aside from the Inner Circle, you can specify your Interest and Favourites as well.

Projecting Screen

You can project Windows Screen to a TV or to your PC screen. This can be very useful for creating screencast tutorial and demonstrating Windows Phone in a presentation. To do this, you will have to install Project My Screen. Connect Windows Phone to PC with USB, and start projecting the screen through the Settings > Project My Screen.

Additionally, turn on the Show touch option to show your finger position on the PC screen with a dot.

Note: This is only applicabale in Windows Phone 8.1.

Disable Narrator Text

Windows Phone is built with accessibility in mind. People with vision disabilities can use Windows Phone through the Narrator function. The Narrator will read aloud the text on the phone. I myself once enabled the Narrator, and it honestly freaked me out.

Once this feature is enabled, some features are disabled, like Swiping, and I could not find my way back to turn it off in the Settings. At the end, I was able to sort it out. You can do it by holding the Volume button and tap the Windows icon at the same time.

What Windows 10’s new features mean for you

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Everyone loves an Apple keynote, but a strange thing happened this week: there was a Microsoft presentation that whipped up almost as much online fervour. It was the big reveal for Windows 10, and while there’s plenty about it that you don’t need to worry about – things like Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now, and the ability to stream Xbox One games directly to your desktop, which we’re sure some of you will be rather keen on – there are a few things that designers ought to be aware of. Here’s what you need to know.

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Dropbox is finally available for Windows Phone

Windows Phone as we know it is not long for this world, with Windows 10 and a universal app strategy set to replace it soon. But one of the most important gaps in the Windows Phone library has just been filled nevertheless, as Dropbox has finally released an official app for Microsoft’s stuttering smartphone platform. The Windows Store app for tablets has also been updated with a much-improved new interface.

The cloud storage company’s Windows Phone app is the latest fruit borne from its new partnership with Microsoft. Although third-party Dropbox options have been available on Windows Phone for some time, it’s good to see a legitimate release out there considering the critical importance of cloud data to many.

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The Verge – All Posts

Microsoft has finally stopped using the name Windows Phone

The naming nightmare is over. Microsoft, the company that brought you names like Windows RT 8.1 and Windows Phone 7 Series, finally has a single name for its core Windows products: Windows 10. That’s right. The next version of its operating system will be called Windows 10 whether it’s running on a phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop PC. That’s a particularly sensible decision this time around. Microsoft has been making a big deal about the ability for “universal” apps to run across different form factors — from phones to the desktop — so branding it all as the same system should help consumers understand that it’s meant to be a consistent platform.

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The Verge – All Posts

These are Windows 10’s new desktop features

Microsoft today lifted the veil on its upcoming Windows 10 operating system, offering a thorough preview of what consumers can expect when the software is released later this year across desktops, smartphones, and tablets. After a small glimpse back in September revealed numerous changes — a modernized Start Menu, better multitasking with Task View, and UI improvements among them — Microsoft used today’s press conference to focus on what Windows 10 will mean for its millions of everyday users.

First, Microsoft has already leveraged early tester feedback to improve Windows 10. If you’re familiar with and prefer the Windows 8.1 experience, you’ll be able to take the Start Screen full screen instead of the Windows 7-style start menu we saw…

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Google publishes Windows vulnerability despite no fix from Microsoft

Google has openly published a Windows 8.1 vulnerability that allows low-level users to gain administrator privileges. The security flaw was revealed earlier this week despite one big problem: there’s still no fix from Microsoft. As such, the elevated privileges vulnerability remains a legitimate threat to some Windows customers. Google says it gave Redmond plenty of time to address the problem before the code went public on December 29th. It’s been 90 days since the security hole was filed as part of Google’s Project Zero initiative, which is dedicated to uncovering weaknesses in software before hackers can exploit them. Microsoft was told about the issue on September 30th, but so far hasn’t managed to resolve it with a Windows software…

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Microsoft removes unofficial Snapchat apps from the Windows Phone store

Microsoft has removed a host of third-party Snapchat alternatives from its Windows Phone store after the photo messaging service indicated that it would start cracking down on unofficial apps in a bid to tighten security. Rudy Huyn, the developer of popular Windows Phone Snapchat alternative 6snap, confirmed on Twitter that his app — and all other third-party Snapchat apps previously available on Microsoft’s operating system — had been removed.

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Leaked Windows 10 build reveals new Xbox app and Cortana integration

Microsoft is currently readying an updated preview of Windows 10 to focus on the consumer features of the upcoming operating system. While the company plans to detail those improvements at a January press event, a consumer build (9901) has leaked out onto the web today to provide an early look at the various changes Microsoft is making.

The biggest new feature since the recent technical preview is the addition of Cortana. A video demonstration leaked earlier this month, but the build itself shows how Cortana sits at the top of the search interface for Windows 10, responding to text and voice commands. It’s all very similar to the Windows Phone version, as you’d expect, with access to the notebook, reminders, and interests. It’s not…

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Microsoft now accepts Bitcoin to buy Xbox games and Windows apps

Microsoft is now accepting Bitcoin as a payment option to download digital content. The software maker quietly started supporting the digital currency earlier this week, months after adding a Bitcoin currency converter to its Bing search engine. Bitcoin can be used to fund a Microsoft Account, allowing owners to purchase content from the Windows and Xbox games, music, and video stores. While Bitcoin can be added to a Microsoft Account balance, it cannot be used to purchase services like Office 365.

It’s a surprise move from Microsoft, and it’s one of the first big tech companies to support Bitcoin fully — beating rivals Apple and Google. Microsoft is integrating BitPay to process Bitcoin transactions, and any money added through Bitcoin…

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How To Install Windows On Your Mac When All Else Fails

I have a 2011 iMac and I’ve installed Windows on it successfully before. The process was extremely straightforward. I popped in my Windows disk and let Bootcamp do its thing. Recently though I had to reinstall and I found that my built-in Superdrive is broken. Installing Windows went from being a breeze to being a nightmare in an instant.

This guide is for those of you who have tried every solution – and upon reading the numerous forums which conclude that Windows "can only be installed via Bootcamp" – have given up.

It took me a while to stumble on to the solution, which uses a combination of different tools, but it works like a charm and once you’ve done it once, it’s not that difficult. Skip ahead to the "What Does Work" section if you want to get down to work.

What Won’t Work

During the course of my Windows install venture I figured out at least 6 ways which didn’t work. They all have their eureka moments, but don’t work out in the end.

1. Cleaning The Superdrive

Apparently you can drape something like a lens cleaner over a thin business card, stick the thing into the slot and get to work on it. The business end of the drive is at the bottom so if you wiggle it just right, and you’re lucky, you could be successful in cleaning the thing. You can also try blowing some compressed air into it.

If you were successful in doing so you can basically skip this guide and install via Basecamp, well done!

2. Bootable USB Via Bootcamp

The only snag with this was that I didn’t have this option. Apparently this is only available for computers without an optical drive. There is a way in which you can enable this pretty easily though. This is something we will need to do further on as a part of our installation, but it still doesn’t work on its own.

When I saw the option, I promptly clicked on it and let Bootcamp create a startup USB for me. It worked at first, but then refused to even acknowledge it in the boot menu. I tried this with and without Bootcamp drivers and I even tried checking the "Install Windows" options which would automatically start the process for me.

I was a bit downcast but I thought: hey, let’s create a bootable USB in Windows! I found a Windows laptop and created an USB using Rufus. Of course, it didn’t work, it wasn’t seen by the boot manager. I went back and used the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool which was made by Microsoft. Still nothing. Changed another pen drive. Nope. Sigh.

3. Firmware Update

Good news, my iMac model has a firmware update, and what’s more, this update has to do with "booting" stuff (is luck finally on my side?). I downloaded and installed the firmware update and after a terrifying BIOS beep, everything was back to the good old not working ways.

Oh well, at least my firmware is updated.

4. rEFInd Boot Manager

After reading a whole lot of forums I saw that using rEFInd, an alternative boot loader may help.

Once installed and loaded on startup it "saw" the USB, however, while it was able to access the drive, I always receive a "No bootable disk found" message. This was weird since the message obviously came from the boot device, why is it looking for (maybe) a CD? Try as I may, rEFInd was not the answer, although just like Bootcamp, it is a part of the final solution.

5. Using An External Drive

Nope. This was the second thing I tried but it didn’t even see the CD. Once I had rEFInd installed I tried again; the CD showed up in the boot manager, but it refused to boot from it. All I got was a horizontal cursor and nothing more. One thing I didn’t try was an Apple-made external drive but while it’s possible that (for some unknown reason) this would work, I have read that it doesn’t.

6. Virtual Machines

I remember from using Parallels that it can use a Bootcamp partition, allowing me to use the bootable partition as a virtual machine. I had a feeling this wouldn’t work, but it was worth a shot. Parallels (and other virtualization apps) can’t install Windows as boot partitions. They can use them once created, but only if created separately.

Again, virtual machines will be a part of our solution, but not THE solution.

What Does Work

Technically, it is a specific series of operations that works. My source for it is Yes, This Big – a huge thank you to them for figuring out the final solution.

Here is the simplified rundown of the solution:

  1. Force Bootcamp to create a bootable disk
  2. Create a custom virtual machine with VMware (the trial version is sufficient)
  3. Modify the virtual machine and install Windows onto the Bootcamp partition
  4. Delete all the files and copy them, from the USB key
  5. Boot into the Bootcamp partition using rEFInd and Install Windows normally
  6. Curse Apple a little bit for making this so difficult

Let’s take a look at the specifics of all these steps, by the end of which you will have a nice little Windows install!

1. Force Bootcamp to create a bootable disk

If you don’t have this option enabled, you’ll need to edit some files.

You’ll need your computer’s (1) Boot ROM version and (2) Model Identifier which can be found in System Report. (Open up Spotlight, with Cmd + Space, and type "System Information".)

Here’s a sample of what you will see:

Head on over to the Applications/Utilities folder, right-click "Boot Camp" and choose "Show Package Contents".

Go into the "Contents" folder and make a copy of "info.plist" somewhere, just in case. Next, open the original "info.plist" file in a text editor, and search for "USBBootSupportedModels" – it should be somewhere at the bottom.

Look up your model identifier and add it as a string, something like this:

 <key>USBBootSupportedModels</key> <array> <string>Your Model Identifier</string> <string>MacBook7,1</string> <string>MacBookAir3,2</string> <string>MacBookPro8,3</string> <string>MacPro5,1</string> <string>Macmini4,1</string> </array> 

Next, find the section labeled "DARequiredROMVersions" and add your Boot ROM Version in a similar fashion:

 <key>DARequiredROMVersions</key> <array> <string>Your Boot ROM Version</string> <string>IM41.0055.B08</string> <string>IM42.0071.B03</string> <string>IM51.0090.B03</string> <string>IM52.0090.B03</string> <string>IM61.0093.B01</string> <string>MP11.005C.B04</string> <string>MB11.0061.B03</string> <string>MBP11.0055.B08</string> <string>MBP12.0061.B03</string> <string>MM11.0055.B08</string> </array> 

You can now save and close this file.

Open Bootcamp and wonder at the appearance of the "Create a Windows 7 or later version install disk". Click all the checkboxes and let Bootcamp do its thing. You’ll need to supply it with an ISO image which you can generate with Rufus or the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.

Once Bootcamp is done, it won’t be able to install Windows. When it reboots, press the alt button until the boot manager comes up and boot back into OS X.

2. Create a custom virtual machine with VMware

Note: I’m pretty sure this can be done with other virtualization software as well but I don’t know enough about this topic to go rogue. The trial version of VMware is more than enough for this task so you can get it done free either way.

Before we jump in, we’ll need to take a look at the disk identifier of our Bootcamp partition.

Using Spotlight to type "Disk Utility", click on the BOOTCAMP partition and press CMD + i. This will bring up a disk info window where you can find the Disk Identifier – make a note of it.

Open VMware fusion and press CMD + N to create a new virtual machine. You’ll need to click "More options…" and select "Create a custom virtual machine". Then click Continue.

Now, select the operating system you are installing, click Continue and select "Create a new virtual disk" from the next menu. Click Continue and select "Customize Settings" from the bottom of the next screen; this will let you specify the location for the virtual machine. I selected my desktop for easy access – you can safely delete it once this is all over anyway. Finish up and close VMware.

3. Modify the virtual machine and install Windows onto the Bootcamp partition

Now, we’ll use some trickery to make VMware use our Bootcamp partition as the target location for the install.

To edit the settings for the virtual machine you’ll need to open up a terminal. Once ready, type "cd " (add a space at the end) and drag the icon of your virtual machine into the terminal and press Enter.

Now you’ll need to issue a command which will link the VM to Bootcamp, take care to replace [X] and [Y] with the correct values.

/Applications/VMware create /dev/disk[X] [Y] win7_raw lsilogic

In the screenshot of my BOOTCAMP partition the disk identifier was disk0s4. The first number (0) would be X and the second (4) would be Y.

So in my case the command would be:

/Applications/VMware create /dev/disk0 4 win7_raw lsilogic

You won’t see any feedback from the terminal but if it worked, you should see a new file within the VM file.

Click on the icon for your virtual machine on the Desktop and click "Show Package Contents". This should result in a list of files – the new file you should be looking for is "win7_raw.vmdk". The next step is to edit the "Windows 7 x64.vmx" file.

Open it in your text editor and search for the line starting with "scsi0.virtualDev" and edit its value to "lsilogic". Then search for "scsi0:0.fileName" and edit its value to "win7_raw.vmdk".

Open VMware and start the virtual machine. It will ask for your password because it needs to access the Bootcamp partition. You’ll need to install Windows from the iso file you created earlier. You may need to press CMD + A to open the settings and go to the CD/DVD section. Click Autodetect and choose the iso image and click enable.

Let the installer do its thing. You’ll need to format the Bootcamp partition using the drive tools because it won’t install on a FAT32 partition. Other than that, all should be well.

4. Delete all the files and copy them from the USB key

When the installation is complete, stop VMware and delete all files from Bootcamp.

OS X will still not be able to boot from the Bootcamp partition so we’ll delete everything we’ve done, and copy the files from our USB device (I’m not quite sure what’s happening here, I suspect that we are essentially using VMware to make the drive bootable, but we need a proper bootsector from our USB drive).

In any case, you may run into some problems while deleting because OS X may refuse to write the files on your NTFS drive. I used the Tuxera trial version to get this done (worked like a charm).

Now, copy all files from your USB key onto the Bootcamp partition.

5. Boot into the Bootcamp partition using rEFInd & Install Windows normally

The last step is installing rEFInd. This is usually a simple matter of running a shell script, but with Yosemite, this has been complicated a bit.

Go to the download page and download the first option, the binary zip file and unzip it.

Open the terminal, type "cd ", drag the unzipped folder (it’s something like "refind-bin-0.8.3") into it and press enter. Type the following command:

sudo bash –esp 

If you’re on Mavericks or earlier this should suffice, but if you’re on Yosemite, you’ll need to do some extra work. Yosemite users should go to "/Volumes/esp/EFI/refind/" and open the "refind.conf" file in their text editor. Find the line that has "dont_scan_volumes" in it. By default this line should be commented out, indicated by a hash sign at the beginning.

Uncomment the line and add two dummy values to it, mine looks like this:

dont_scan_volumes foo,bar

Once this has been done, reboot your Mac – it should use the new boot manager automatically. If it doesn’t reboot, hold down alt and select the "EFI Boot" option in the default boot manager.

Once in, select the Bootcamp partition and install Windows as usual. Once done it is a good idea to install the Bootcamp drivers. You can grab them from Apple and install them through your brand-spanking new Windows.

6. Curse Apple a little bit for making this so difficult

Seriously, Apple? There is no need for such complexity here.

First of all, if Macs do offer the opportunity of installing Windows in the first place, and the option to do it via a bootable USB that’s already built in, why hide this from some users just because they have a disk drive? Also, I’m pretty sure that the default boot manager not seeing boot devices is an artificial limitation, it has nothing to do with the Mac not supporting things.

But in any case, hopefully this article has helped some of you who were struggling with installing Windows on your Macs. I can finally play my Windows games from Steam which was kind of the goal of this whole enterprise in the first place!