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Suddenly found that you’re the owner of a new Windows Phone? Perhaps you made the jump after being convinced by our strong argument for switching Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More . Whether you received a Nokia, HTC or other model for Christmas or have simply made a seasonal upgrade to your previous device, switching to a new mobile OS can be something of a culture shock.

Over the past few years we’ve published a considerable collection of guides and tutorials for readers to get familiar with Windows Phone 8 and 8.1. In this post – which you might consider your one-stop resource – we’ll show you how to get to grips with the Android and iOS alternative as quickly and easily as possible.

Getting Started With Windows Phone 8.1

After unboxing your Windows Phone 8.x device, you’ll naturally want to switch it on and start setting it up. Begin by adding or setting up a Microsoft account How Microsoft Overhauled User Accounts In Windows 8 How Microsoft Overhauled User Accounts In Windows 8 What's up with user accounts in Windows 8? It's not complicated - Microsoft wants everyone to use an online account to sign into their desktop operating system. Sure, they offer an offline equivalent, but they... Read More , much as you would on Windows 8.

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With a SIM card inserted you shouldn’t have any trouble making calls, but you might need a bit of help setting up your email and social networks Everything You Need To Know About Emails & Windows Phone 8 Everything You Need To Know About Emails & Windows Phone 8 How do you use your Windows Phone? I know a lot of users who are purely addicted to a combination of WhatsApp and Xbox Live gaming. Others enjoy their Windows Phones purely due to the... Read More (all of which can be set up from the same screen).

Windows Phone’s tile-based interface can be a little jarring at first, although it is remarkably fast. You can tweak it to add new colours and tile backgrounds Get A Striking New Look In Windows Phone 8.1 With Customized Start Screen Tiles Get A Striking New Look In Windows Phone 8.1 With Customized Start Screen Tiles You can now add a background image to Start Screen Tiles, one of many great new features in Windows 8.1. Read More  and create a very striking phone UI, and of course you can complement this with custom alerts and ringtones Managing Alerts On Windows Phone 8.1 Managing Alerts On Windows Phone 8.1 Custom audio alerts in Windows Phone have evolved! Since the release of the 8.1 Developer Preview, it is now possible to configure custom alerts for apps as well as contacts. Read More .

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You should also spend a few moments configuring your Windows Phone 8.1 lock screen to ensure all relevant alerts are displayed when your phone is locked Windows Phone 8 Lock Screen Options: Calendar, Email and Weather Windows Phone 8 Lock Screen Options: Calendar, Email and Weather It might not look like much, but your Windows Phone lock screen can provide all manner of interesting and important information to you – and it can do this natively, without third party apps. Read More .

Syncing Contacts and Data With Windows Phone 8.1

After setting up your emails, you might like to sync more, such as your existing contacts from another device. For users switching from Android, simply adding the Gmail account you used with that phone will result in your contacts being synced to Windows Phone.

Meanwhile, if you have your Facebook account set up on Windows Phone 8.1, contacts using that social network can be accessed via the People hub Why I Don’t Need Social Networking Apps on Windows Phone Why I Don’t Need Social Networking Apps on Windows Phone I recently reviewed Rowi, the Windows Phone Twitter app, for these very pages. Rowi has pretty much decimated the opposition in terms of quality and stability, and has become probably more popular than the official... Read More , a deep level of integration that goes back to Windows Phone 7.

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Other syncing is available. You may, for instance, want to sync your phone with a Windows computer Configuring a New Windows Phone 8 For Syncing To Windows Configuring a New Windows Phone 8 For Syncing To Windows Read More , in order to ensure that all photos are saved to a hard disk drive. Note, however, that these are also synced to your Microsoft OneDrive Share Movies, Photos, And Documents From Windows Phone With SkyDrive Share Movies, Photos, And Documents From Windows Phone With SkyDrive One of the improvements delivered with Windows Phone 8 is enhanced support for SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system that enables users to upload and sync photos, music, video and more between different devices. Up against... Read More (formerly SkyDrive) which comes free with the Microsoft account you used to set up your Windows Phone. Microsoft Office Mobile documents (see below) are also synced to OneDrive.

As well as email data, you might like to have your Windows Phone calendar sync 5 Must Know Tips For Managing Your Windows Phone 8.1 Calendar 5 Must Know Tips For Managing Your Windows Phone 8.1 Calendar Import and customize calendars, then activate Cortana to manage tasks and appointments with minimal effort. Read More  all of your important dates and appointments. Microsoft’s Outlook calendar and Gmail calendar are both supported.

Windows Phones Tips & Secrets You Should Know

It might not be the most popular mobile operating system, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a vast collection of shortcuts and tricks 5 Cool Things You Can Now Do With Windows Phone 8.1 5 Cool Things You Can Now Do With Windows Phone 8.1 Windows Phone 8.1 offers new tools to help manage your digital and offline life. Get the most out of Windows Phone with our tips. Read More that you can use to make better use of your time. Custom text messages for calls you ignore Get The Most Out Of Windows Phone 8.1 With These Tips Get The Most Out Of Windows Phone 8.1 With These Tips Windows Phone 8.1 offers much more novelty than just Cortana. Let us guide you to the hidden gems. Read More can be set up, while the power of pinning useful items to your Start screen should not be underestimated.muo-wp8-text-automated-msg

Windows Phone 8.1 is more than just a checkerboard of tiles and faces. It has hidden depths, secrets that you may not realise, such as its ability as a gaming platform, competent multitasking and even linked mailboxes. We’ve compiled a list of 10 Windows Phone secrets 10 Secrets of Windows Phone 8 To Super Power Your Smartphone Experience 10 Secrets of Windows Phone 8 To Super Power Your Smartphone Experience Your Windows Phone is awesome. Forget the naysayers – it might not be as popular and fashionable as Android and iOS, but Windows Phone 8 is an awesome platform. These ten secret features prove why. Read More that you should take a look at.

The Biggest Feature: Cortana

To help you get the most out of your Windows Phone, you should activate Cortana Get Cortana & More By Upgrading To Windows Phone 8.1 Get Cortana & More By Upgrading To Windows Phone 8.1 The Windows Phone update delivers a digital assistant, fast connectivity toggles, improved camera and greater support for a wider selection of apps. Find out how you can get it! Read More . Microsoft’s digital assistant is set to be a big part of Windows 10 so it makes sense to get used to it now. Cortana is a similar feature to Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android, but with more personality and arguably better usability.

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Much like having an in-car computer, Cortana can be used to help you to navigate while driving, hands-free How To Use Cortana As Your Personalized Satnav Tool How To Use Cortana As Your Personalized Satnav Tool How would you like a competent co-pilot, who arranges your travels, feeds you with tips and location-based reminders and is sexy, too? Take Cortana everywhere and win at life! Read More , and she also has a smashing sense of humour Cortana Talks Back: Laugh, Cry & Love With Windows Phone's Digital Assistant Cortana Talks Back: Laugh, Cry & Love With Windows Phone's Digital Assistant Bored with no one to talk to? Why not strike up a conversation with your Windows Phone? These cues will make Cortana talk. Read More .

Make Sure Your Windows Phone 8.1 Device Is Secure

Security is of the utmost importance to any portable electronic device that stores personal data. Failing to establish a secure phone can result in data loss and even identity theft.

Ensure you are up to speed with the methods you can use to secure your Windows Phone Everything You Need To Know About Windows Phone 8.1 Security Everything You Need To Know About Windows Phone 8.1 Security If you're using a Microsoft account across multiple devices, losing your phone could get you into a whole lot of trouble. Let us show you how you can keep your phone secure. Read More , as well as ensure that the Find Your Phone tool is active and running How To Find Your Lost or Stolen Windows Phone How To Find Your Lost or Stolen Windows Phone Did you enable Find My Phone, yet? One day, this native Windows Phone feature may re-unite you with your device. Better check whether it's turned on before it's too late! Read More . There are also various general tips that you should consider to keep your phone secure and out of sight of thieves.

Get Productive On Windows Phone

There was a time when phones and PDAs running Windows Mobile were commonplace in the workplace. These days, it tends to be a blend of iOS, Android and Blackberry, but don’t let this put you off – many productivity tools exist for Windows Phone.

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Perhaps most obvious is the Outlook integration that comes with setting up an email account, coupled with the presence of the rest of the Microsoft Office Mobile suite Mobile Working with Windows Phone - Microsoft Office Mobile 2013 Mobile Working with Windows Phone - Microsoft Office Mobile 2013 Since its initial release in 2010, Windows Phone has generally had a reputation as the "other". Neither iOS nor Android but something else entirely, its curious and fast user interface has led to it experiencing... Read More , Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Meanwhile if you’re away from your PC a lot and need to access data through your phone, you can setup remote control Remote Control Your PC With These Windows Phone 8 Apps! Remote Control Your PC With These Windows Phone 8 Apps! Do you wish your home computer would fit into your pocket? With Windows Phone 8 it does. These remote desktop apps give you access to your PC wherever you are. Read More in anticipation of this, which enables quick and easy access to your main computer. Meanwhile if you need an Internet connection or your Wi-Fi is down, a Windows Phone device can be used as a wireless hotspot How To Tether The Nokia Lumia 920 & Other Connectivity Options How To Tether The Nokia Lumia 920 & Other Connectivity Options Here in the UK, 4G is currently being rolled out across major towns and cities by the EE network (previously T-Mobile and Orange). Where I live we’re stuck with 3G, but I do have a... Read More , as long as you have a mobile Internet connection that can be shared to your PC or laptop.

Finally, if you find that the native Internet Explorer mobile browser isn’t up to scratch (you might find it slow or difficult to use) you can choose from several alternative mobile browsers 6 Windows Phone Browser Alternatives You Have To Try 6 Windows Phone Browser Alternatives You Have To Try Not happy with Internet Explorer on your Windows Phone? You'll like these alternatives! Read More , each claiming to offer fast browsing.

Enjoy Yourself With Windows Phone

Windows Phone isn’t all about speed, productivity and Cortana; you can use it to enjoy yourself too, with media and video games.

There are many YouTube apps for Windows Phone, so if you’re not interested in watching TV or videos streamed through services like Netflix Stream TV Shows & Movies To Your Windows Phone With Netflix Stream TV Shows & Movies To Your Windows Phone With Netflix One of the most popular uses for mobile devices is to enjoy videos, films and TV shows, so it should come as no surprise that one of the world’s most popular streaming services, Netflix, is... Read More , you can always enjoy yourself with the latest top clips on the popular video network. It’s also very easy to make your own videos and upload these Facebook, Instagram & Vine Video Uploads Made Easy On Windows Phone 8.1 Facebook, Instagram & Vine Video Uploads Made Easy On Windows Phone 8.1 Windows Phone has finally come of age with the 8.1 update, which includes improved video uploading. It's now much easier to share your Windows Phone videos with friends via social networks. Read More . Meanwhile, if you use a media centre at home, several remote media centre apps 4 Media Center Remote Apps For Windows Phone 8 4 Media Center Remote Apps For Windows Phone 8 Next time you misplaced the remote control, just reach for your phone to control your TV or console. Read More  are available for Windows Phone 8 to help you browse and play your library on your TV.

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Various services provide free music streaming for Windows Phone 8 Ways To Get Awesome Free Music On Windows Phone 8 8 Ways To Get Awesome Free Music On Windows Phone 8 Don't bother filling up your limited storage space with MP3s! You can stream music from the Internet with these apps. Read More , from the native Music app to TuneIn Radio (our TuneIn Radio review) Enjoy Podcasts, Music, Talk & Sport On Windows Phone With TuneIn Radio Enjoy Podcasts, Music, Talk & Sport On Windows Phone With TuneIn Radio Aware that I should probably listen to the occasional contemporary sound, I became a convert to the BBC's 6 Music channel, which plays an astounding mix of great tunes from the 1950's to the 2010's.... Read More , which we recommend as one of the must-have apps for any mobile platform.

Finally, the Windows Phone store features a vast library of games, many with some Xbox Live integration and just as many that are unique to the platform. The choice is huge here, with genres as diverse as puzzles and turn based multiplayer Top 5 Windows Phone Games With Turn-Based Multiplayer Options Top 5 Windows Phone Games With Turn-Based Multiplayer Options Check out these Windows Phone games when you want to play with other people! Read More . If current games aren’t your thing, meanwhile, you might also use emulation to enjoy games Enjoy Retro Gaming On Windows Phone 8 With These 3 Emulators Enjoy Retro Gaming On Windows Phone 8 With These 3 Emulators Gaming is where it's at on Windows Phone! You can play classic games natively or install emulator apps and ROM files of original games. Relive old school arcade and console fun with modern tools. Read More from older systems such as the Nintendo GameBoy.

Your Windows Phone Is Functional, Productive & Entertaining!

With your new Windows Phone sitting in your hand you should find a whole lot of useful links, hints and tips above.

Should you still have any questions, however, then please use the form below and ask!

Image Credits: K?rlis Dambr?ns Via Flickr

  1. cnavigator
    January 24, 2015 at 2:36 am

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/makeuseof-says-goodbye-windows-phone/

    So yeah... nice try. No one cares now, moved to windowscentral.com long ago.

    I told you so.

    • Christian Cawley
      January 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      windowscentral.com called, they want to know why you're wasting your time leaving comments on a site you haven't heard of.

  2. Kay Fritz
    January 23, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I like to second Paul, also I understand what Christian is saying.

    One thing I like to add is - setup OneDrive so you´re stuff is back-upped if necessary. You should set it up at the beginning and than you can forget about it, but if you´re phone is really wiped by mistake you have it setup shortly after - and I can say, it worked perfectly for me.

    • Christian Cawley
      January 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Good advice Kay, thanks for taking the time to share it !

  3. Paul Werner
    January 22, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I'm glad that you all decided to not follow through on this:

    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/makeuseof-says-goodbye-windows-phone/

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Well, we kind of did, really. The difference, I guess, is that we've opted to give Windows Phone attention when it really deserves it, rather than the scattergun approach used previous to that post. Windows Phone no longer has its own category as it once did, and it seems thanks to Windows 10 there will be no need for it anyway...

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