8 Tips and Then Some for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1

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Microsoft has been and will continue to be a huge part of my techie lifestyle. I remember that the first computer my family had (I think that was in 2002) was a conglomeration of all white-colored technological things: bulky CPU; even bulkier CRT monitor; clunky, alphanumeric keyboard; awesome rolling ball mouse; oversized speakers; heavy AVR; noisy printer; and who knows how many wires. Thinking about that computer reminded me of this scene from The Big Bang Theory, hehe.

Sheldon Cooper

Running all those parts and making sense of everything was Windows XP. I loved that OS because everything simply made sense. Programs contained your applications. Settings could tweak your computer. My Documents, My Pictures, and My Music contained documents, pictures, and music (duh). Straightforward navigation was like candy to me as I was just a wee kid then. Any problems I encountered were quickly fixed with random button pressing (hahahaha!) or a press of the restart button.

Overtime, I began exploring what Windows XP can further do. From simple point-and-clicks, I dove into learning about gaming, registries, program compatibilities and capabilities, deeper personalization settings, and the internet. Basically, I tried to understand and comprehend everything I could about it. That’s why I was able to transition seamlessly between the succeeding iteration of Windows.

And then here comes Windows 8. I have to admit I was pretty intimidated by the whole touch screen oriented interface. Gone was my beloved Start button, replaced by the live tiles and full screen capabilities of the Metro UI. Though I was initially like this:

No idea waht im doing

…trial and error made me appreciate the overhauled user interface. You know that cliché about how change is inevitable, that it’s good, and that new is always better?

new is always better

Well for me, the new Windows 8 is better than the previous versions. Its groundwork is the functionality and flexibility of the Windows I grew up with, with additional intuitiveness and ease-of-use. If you’ve been using it for quite some time now, then you probably know and regularly use some of the new touch controls, like split screen, swipe-based app switching, easy access to settings, and the like.

Along with my foray into Windows 8 was my interest in Windows phones. Though I don’t have one right now, I’m fascinated by its interface which is simple and minimalistic. I actually recommended the Nokia Lumia 920 to my mother when she was looking for a new phone because I wanted to play with the Windows Phone OS. To sum up my short experience with Windows Mobile: I loved it because it just feels so modern and different.

Along with the new Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems were a few bugs. Fortunately, Microsoft keeps rolling out updates that fixes these bugs while improving user experience with their gadgets. The newest update, the 8.1 for both Windows and Windows Mobile, brings in a slew of enhancements, with the tips below coming personally from the guys at Microsoft:

1.)    Streamline your experience using Bing Apps.

Bing Apps

You don’t have to switch from one service to another anymore as Bing has everything you might need for your daily activities, like mail, news, weather updates, travel, and health and fitness tips. Signing on with your Microsoft account also synchronizes your customized settings and personal information across all apps and all platforms, whether on a Nokia Lumia or a Windows 8 device.  Now you can’t cheat you way out of your diet as you’ll always have access to your Bing Health and Fitness!

2.)    Word Flow enables you to type faster

Word Flow

Quick, type this!

“The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

I was typing that in a computer and it still took me around twenty seconds. I didn’t even bother typing it on my phone because I knew it would take forever. But Gaurav Sharma, a 15-year old high school student, managed it in just 18.44 seconds. How? He was using Word Flow with shape writing, available on Windows Phone 8.1.

3.)    Windows devices love being connected to other devices

WiFi hotspot

Any Windows 8.1 device can be turned into a hotspot even without a router. When connected to a modem (either a wired connection or broadband stick) or if your device is data-enabled with a SIM, you can go to the Command Prompt, Settings charm, or use an app like Wi-Fi HotSpot Pro to tether other devices easily.

4.)    Never run out of space with OneDrive

One Drive

All Microsoft accounts get a whopping 15GB free storage space on OneDrive, with an additional 3GB free if you activate your camera roll backup. You can view the files you store on the cloud through the OneDrive folder on your Windows Explorer, with the files not taking up any space until you choose to sync them. How’s that for practicality?

OneDrive is not only functional, but it’s also eye candy. Opening the OneDrive app on Windows 8.1, touching the “OneDrive” title in the top left of the screen, and choosing “This PC” from the drop down menu allows you to view all local files in the modern UI.

5.)    Read easily with Internet Explorer 11

Reading Mode

Want to read something off the internet, but you don’t have a PDF of it? Want to read news, blogs, and posts without all the screen clutter? Then you can use Internet Explorer 11’s Reading View. It removes any unnecessary hodgepodge and leaves you with just the information you want in a pleasant, easy-to-read format. To use this feature, you can click the open book icon on IE11’s address bar.

Reading View can be customized to suit your reading environment. You can specify the font size and the color you want, perfect for reading in the dark. Windows 8.1 also comes with the Sitka font, the first font style subjected to scientific surveys so that you can read anything under any length with comfort.

6.)    Make your quiet hours truly quiet

windows-8.1-quite-hours-final

Say goodbye to pesky e-mail and social media notifications with the Quiet Hours feature. Windows 8.1 devices can set the time of non-disturbance by going into the Settings charm, then clicking Notifications. For Windows Phones, the Quiet Hours feature can be accessed in the Action Center. Users can also personalize Quiet Hours through the additional “Breakthrough Rules” setting.

7.)    One app, all devices

Universal apps

In Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 devices, a purchase of a Universal App allows it to be available in all your Windows devices so you don’t have to buy the same app multiple times. These multi-platform apps are marked by a computer/phone icon. Currently, they include some Bing apps, Adobe Photoshop Express, eBay, Shazam, and Twitter, among others.

8.)    Step into the world of 3D

3D Builder

Ever tried your hand at 3D modelling but don’t have the skills, money, nor time to learn computer-aided design? You can take advantage of the 3D Builder app on the Windows Store that allows you to view, create, and print 3D models on Windows 8.1-compatible 3D printers!

 

Want more tips? Okay! You can share a screenshot directly from Windows 8.1 via the Share charm. Just select screenshot from the drop-down menu, and then choose where to share it. You can go to the Admin Menu easily by pressing the Windows Key+X. This gives you quick access to tools like the Control Panel, Command Prompt,and Task Manager.

Take quick selfies by simply swiping down on your Windows Phone 8.1 lock screen, foregoing entering your unlock code and clicking the camera app. Besides the faster and simple camera, you can also try out the Living Images feature – basically your photos become really short videos (less than a second long) with just enough dynamism to make snapshots come alive.

Lastly, make your Windows 8.1 truly yours by customizing the Start and Desktop backgrounds. You can also change the backgrounds of your Windows Phone 8.1 Live Tiles to whatever picture you want.

 

There you go! A couple of tips straight from the creator of the timeless Windows OS. If you have any more Windows 8 tips tucked away, share them via #Microsoft0801 or @MicrosoftPH.

Now, go and test these tricks out for yourself on your Windows device.

 

Images from:

Sheldon Cooper GIF: http://lh3.ggpht.com/_s6YkC3apoDo/TR-MI2Bs4AI/AAAAAAAABZ0/0oyYUr3A7Co/tumblr_le7eohfhXR1qaakxao1_500.gif

No idea what I’m doing dog: http://s.mlkshk.com/r/97VP

Barney Stinson: http://www.smashinglists.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/tumblr_llevytNVlr1qag1wuo1_5001.gif

Bing apps: http://blogs.microsoft.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/4643.BingX4_5F00_28D6C623.png

Word Flow: http://d3jgkzl5mcxi5w.cloudfront.net/2014/04/Word-Flow.jpg

Wi-Fi Hotspot: http://wscont2.apps.microsoft.com/winstore/1x/6f764dbb-c9e4-49ad-952d-2661165505fc/Screenshot.98222.1000000.jpg

OneDrive: https://blog.onedrive.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/OneDrive-Microsoft-Collection2.png

Reading mode: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2014/03/04/introducing-reading-view-in-ie-11.aspx

Quiet Hours: http://blog.laptopmag.com/wpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/windows-8.1-quite-hours-final.jpg

Universal Apps: http://tpucdn.com/npu/img/2014/04-03/8141-ae8fdb30_680_400.jpg

3D Builder: http://wscont2.apps.microsoft.com/winstore/1x/6d0c9eea-2fa4-4360-80ad-dc1dc2c60f7c/Screenshot.265763.100000.jpg