Install XAP files on Windows Phone using an SD card

XAP is a file format for Silverlight applications that is also used to install application software on Windows Phone 7 and 8 phones. With Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft has replaced XAP by APPX to bring unity in app development of Windows Phone and Windows Store apps.


Anyone who wants to download a Windows Phone app that is not available in the Windows Phone Store can download a XAP file onto the SD card and install them manually.

If you have a link to a XAP file, here’s how you install it on your Windows Phone:

  1. 1. Download the XAP file onto your computer.
  2. 2. Connect your Windows Phone to your PC using a USB cable.
  3. 3. Transfer the XAP file to your phone SD card. I suggest you create a separate folder calls Apps and transfer the file to that folder just to keep things more organized.
  4. Note: You can also transfer the file to the Phone internal storage.
  5. 4. Disconnect the phone from the PC.
  6. 5. On your Windows Phone, tap the Store icon to open it.
  7. 6. Tap the 3 horizontal dots icon at the bottom of the screen to bring up the menu.
  8. 7. Tap Install local apps.
  9. 8. Select the app or apps you want to install and then tap Install.

Note: You must have an active internet connection to install XAP apps as they need to be verified in the Windows Store.


How to change the name of your Windows Phone

If you have more than one Windows Phone at your disposal and need to keep track of them, you’ll need to know the names of the devices. Better yet, you can assign a name that makes it a lot easier for to track such as Rita’s Personal Phone or Rita’s Work Phone. Another reason you might want to change your Windows Phone name is when you want your Bluetooth name to reflect your name. Whatever the reason, you can change the name of your phone by connecting it to your PC.

To find your Windows Phone name, go to the Settings screen, scroll down and tap on about. You will see your Windows Phone name along with the Model and Software version. To change the name of the device:

  1. Connect your Windows Phone to your PC via a USB cable.
  2. Open File Explorer. On the left navigation pane, you will see your Windows Phone link show up. Alternatively, click This PC and you’ll see the Windows Phone icon show up on the Devices and drives section.
  3. Right-click the Windows Phone icon and select Rename.
  4. Add a name of your choice.

The MWP guide to tethering your Windows Phone

The Internet has become such as huge part of our lives that we simply can’t go without it even for a moment. But in reality, you don’t always have Internet access on the go. Maybe you’re on a vacation and your hotel doesn’t offer free WiFi or your standard modem at home just broke down and you’re temporarily out of connectivity. Whatever the reason, you can have a standby option for continuous Internet connectivity using a feature called Tethering.

Tethering is the process of using a mobile device such as your phone to act as a WiFi hotspot (or modem if you will) for connecting another device such as a laptop to the internet. You can connect the laptop to the phone via USB, Bluetooth or WiFi.

Tethering offers many benefits. You can connect to the Internet without the need for a 3G/4G data plan, you can access the Internet in situations where you don’t have access to any free WiFi hotspot, or if you’re in the stuck in your car in the middle of nowhere, your 3G/4G plan is all used up and you desperately need to check an online map to find directions, you’ll find tethering a blessing. Tethering can also be more secure than a free public WiFi hotspot as the data is sent directly through the phone.

Despite its many benefits, tethering does have its downsides; your phone battery may drain faster; the download speeds may not be as fast as you’d normally get and so on. However, the biggest drawback to tethering is that it is dependent on the carrier and the cell phone model.

Major wireless carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile require you to sign up for a data plan that covers tethering. Once you sign up for one of these plans you can connect over Bluetooth, WiFi, or via a USB cable. Alternately, you can buy a premium app from the Windows Store, bypass the carrier tethering fees and create the mobile hotspot.

We’ll show you how to tether your Windows Phone in two situations:

Tethering your Windows Phone if Option is Available

To know whether or not you have tethering available:

  1. Open up your Windows Phone and head over to the Settings screen.
  2. On the system tab select internet sharing
  3. Internet sharing is turned off by default. Turn it on and then tap setup at the bottom of the screen.
  4. In the next screen, add a name for your WiFi hotspot and give it a password.

Internet Sharing

That’s it. Now all you need to do is go to the Wi-Fi connection settings on your laptop (or device you want to connect to), search for the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot you just created, and enter the password.

Congratulations! You just tethered your Windows Phone to share your Internet with other devices.

Tethering your Windows Phone if Option is NOT Available

If tethering is not available on your device, you will get an error message on the internet and security screen when you turn on the Sharing option. In such cases, you can call your carrier and sign up for a plan OR you can follow the steps outlined below.

On Your Windows PC:

  1. Download the Universal (32/64 bit) driver/application (TetherIt-PC).
  2. Double click the downloaded file and then install the TetherIt-PC.msi file. Just follow the steps in the wizard to complete the process.
  3. TetherIt PC application

    Note: The TetherIt-PC application requires Microsoft’s .NET framework 3.5. If .NET 3.5 framework is not already installed, the Windows operating system will detect and guide you to download/install it.

  4. Open the TetherIt-PC application. If necessary, in the User Account Control dialog box, click Yes to give access to the app.
  5. Click on the Create Tethering Network button.
  6. create-tethering-network

Note: If you see a message from Windows Firewall blocking some features, check the Private Networks option and click Allow access. You may be required to choose a network location. In such cases, select Home.

On Your Windows Phone:

  1. On your Windows Phone, download the free Tether It app from the Windows Phone store.
  2. Open the TetherIt app and go to Settings/WiFi screen.
  3. WiFi Tether It App Home Screen

  4. On the Wi-Fi screen, connect to the WiFi network. If prompted, enter the SSID and password shown on the TetherIt-PC application screen.
  5. Note: If you see an error message that you need to run this command from a command prompt, right-click on the TetherIt-PC icon and select Run as Administrator.

  6. Go back to the TetherIt home screen and tap on Start/Stop Tethering.

Start tethering

You are now ready to connect other devices to your mobile hotspot. The TetherIt-PC application will display the amount of up/down-stream traffic. To stop tethering, just hit the Destroy Tethering Network button.
That it! Remember that even though you use a third party app to bypass the carrier terms, if this comes to the knowledge of the company, they may block your services.


How to take reflection photos on your Windows Phone

Today, you don’t have to own a DSLR to capture stunning photos and images. Smartphones can do the job just as well. Understanding your phone’s camera settings, setting the right resolution and light conditions and knowing the rules of composition may be essential, but above all that you need to have a creative eye that can perceive things differently if you want to be an outstanding photographer. If you’ve got yourself a Windows phone with a particularly good camera, you can do more with your photos using reflections.


Reflective photography involves making use of any reflective surface, such as the surface of a lake, a cracked mirror, or a frosty window pane to capture images. Photos captured with reflections have a surreal, out of this world look and can turn any ordinary photograph into a piece of art. If you are keen on taking your photography skills to the next level, capturing reflective photos is a great place to start. In this post, we’ll learn a little bit more about how you can capture fantastic reflective images but before that, let’s first understand the capabilities of your Windows Phone camera.

Understanding Your Camera Settings

First things first! Do you know all the features of your Windows Phone camera? You probably know that tapping on the screen will bring the focus to that area or how to turn on the Flash but can you manipulate the exposure settings on your phone under the right situations? What are the different levels of contrast and when do you use them? Well, the answer to that and more is to understand your basic camera features. These settings may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but should be common for most phones.

White Balance:

Most light sources including sunlight and light bulbs don’t emit a pure white color. Sometimes a light source will tinge your photos with a shade of orange or blue. The camera’s White Balance setting is designed to even out those color “temperatures” and display a whiter image. Most Windows Phone cameras will have a default White Balance setting that will work fine most of the times, but you can also manually select one for different lighting conditions such as sunlight, light bulb, cloudy and so on.


International Standards Organization (ISO) is the level of sensitivity of your camera to light. ISO settings can range between 24 to 6400 + and the higher the ISO setting, the greater the sensitivity of your camera and vice versa. A higher ISO usually results in a grainy image, so the general rule of thumb is to make your ISO levels as low as possible. But there may be times when a higher ISO is needed such as when the object of your focus is moving and you’re trying to capture a still shot. On the other hand when there is plenty of light around, having a low ISO is preferred. Most Windows Phone cameras have automated ISO settings, but you can never trust them enough. Manually raise and lower to ISO and experiment to see which works best for you.

Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness:

Contrast is the difference in color, tone and texture between white and black in your images. An increase in contrast will make shadows darker and highlights brighter. Adding contrast makes your images look more vibrant while lowering contrast can give the effect of a dull image. Saturation has the effect of increasing the difference between colors instead of just black and white. Sharpness has the effect of increasing the contrast only along the edges of an image. Although contrast, saturation, and sharpness may appear to be independent features, they are inter-related and changing any one of them can create complex effects in your photos. Before you tweak these settings ask yourself what you are really trying to achieve with the photos.

Windows Phone Winter Photo

Exposure Value:

The Exposure value determines the balance of the shutter speed and relative aperture. If your shutter speed is slow, your images may have a washed out look and you’ll need to set a lower exposure value. On the other hand, if your images are too dark, you’ll need to up the EV setting to lighten the image. Most Windows Phones have a default neutral exposure correction, but you can tweak them to a higher or lower setting according to your requirements.

Panoramic Images:

Panoramic images are images captured from an elongated point of view and are often multiple images put together to create a whole. Windows Phone makers like Nokia and HTC have panorama apps either built into the Camera app or make them available as a separate app, but you can also download third party apps to take panorama images. When you shoot panoramic images, the key is to hold the phone steady. On Windows Phones, the panorama mode moves the screen from left to right so you shouldn’t attempt to move it right to left or top to bottom.


Burst Mode:

A Burst mode captures a string of images and selects the best one of the lot for saving. Depending on the manufacturer a burst mode can range between 5 to 15 shots and is perfect for capturing impromptu expressions. Although the Burst mode only requires turning on the switch, it works best in low resolutions and for electronic sharing. Secondly, it usually locks the focus and captures the images, so you may not want to attempt capturing moving subjects.

Image Stabilization:

In Windows Phones, image stabilization is fairly new and works by increasing the ISO setting to allow for faster shutter speed thereby reducing blurring caused by shaky hand movements. However, this also has the effect of reducing the quality of images.


The Macro feature in Windows Phone is basically a close up shot that records the finer details of the subject. In this setting your phone will focus on the subject from about 6 to 10 inches away so the key here is to make sure that you have the requisite lighting to capture your shots and avoid shadows.


Geo Tagging:

This feature lets you add your location tags to your image’s EXIF file, so that when you look back on the image years from now, you will know exactly where you captured the image. One downside to this is that should you share the images with others, they will also be able to see your location data. You can keep this information private though by tweaking the Windows settings.

Scenes and Effects:

Plenty of Windows Phones now come with predetermined scenes such as sports, nightlife, and food in portrait and landscape modes. Some phones like the HTC Titan II can even intelligently detect and select the best scenes to affix to a picture. Effects range from black and white to sepia and negative and are basically a collection of filters that can be applied to images while the camera is processing it. If you want an old-time look to your images you can choose sepia or simply go for a black and white copy. Experiment with different effects to see what works best for your shots.

Capturing Reflective Photos on Your Windows Phone

Now that you know more about your camera settings its time to take a look at how you can take reflective photos on your Windows Phone.

Train Your Mind to See Reflections

The tricky thing with reflections is that our brain generally tends to overlook or blur them out of our minds. You’ll first have to tune your mind to see a parallel universe where reflections exist. It could be in the most ordinary of situations – on the dining table, in the pool, or in a shopping mall. Go around your environment and spend time looking around. Most of the beautiful reflective photos captured are done near a water body so get yourself to a lake or other nearby river and try to list down as many reflections and you can find. Suddenly you will see a world of possibilities that never existed before.

Add Elements to your Reflections

Once you have identified reflective objects, try to add new elements or props to make it more creative. You could use a brightly colored object, a human model, or a flying drone to bring the reflections to life and add some drama and context to the image.

Go for the Dramatic

There are reflective images and there are reflective images that spike your curiosity. Look out for extraordinary situations where you can capture images out of the ordinary – maybe a polar bear swimming under a glacier, a rainbow filled sky in a puddle of water, or a fireball captured in an eye lens. Try to find elements that add colors and tones to your photos and if you’re doing this outdoors do it just after sunrise or sunset, when you’ll get the best colors and tones.

Shoot from Different Angles

With reflective photos you don’t always need to shoot large bodies of water. Many beautiful masterpieces have been shot with just a single drop of water. When you’re going macro try to get as low an angle as you possibly can. If you’re using flash, keep the lighting low so that it won’t illuminate the background and take the focus away from the subject. In other situations try shooting from different angles to get the right viewpoint that focuses on the colors in your environment. You can do an extreme closeup shot or capture a part of the subject and the whole of the reflection. The choices are aplenty. Take different versions of the reflective image so you can come up with more creative uses for it post processing.

Keep the Symmetry

Symmetry is when you have one side of the frame or screen mirroring the other side. The two sides evenly balance horizontally or vertically to create a perfectly image. Take advantage of the fact that reflections naturally create mirror images. You can use the grids in the camera app to line up images to create the perfect symmetrical balance.

Windows Phone Photo Simetry

Capture Textures and Patterns

Try to look for patterns and textures in your reflections, such as a rippled water effect causing the tress or clouds to reflect in unusual patterns in the water. This can give the images an artistic and painted look naturally.

Reduce Distractions

Make use of negative spaces in your images and keep your compositions simple. Negative spaces are basically large tracts of empty spaces that have the effect of making your subject stand out and draw viewers focus to the main subject. Having lots of negative space can evoke powerful emotions as the focus is solely on the subject.


Windows Phones cameras have dramatically improved over the years and its only going to get better. That leaves a world of creativity at your fingertips. With a little imagination and a lot of practice, you can train your eyes to look into a parallel world where unusual, wonderful and intriguing ideas exist for capturing reflection photos. So go ahead and start making magic with your Windows Phone.


How to turn off Narrator on your Windows Phone

Narrator is a Windows Phone 8.1 feature that is designed to help users who are visually impaired, blind, or have trouble reading text on the tiny phone screen. It comes with its own list of gestures and when turned on, it acts as a screen reader that reads text out loud. While this can be handy for some users, it can become quickly annoying for others. That’s because when the Narrator is turned on, it becomes next to impossible to navigate the phone fluently and more so when you want to scroll down the screen to select an option.

If you’re stuck in a similar situation and want to turn off narrator on your Windows Phone, there are a few ways in which you can do this:

Method 1: Use the Ease of Access Settings

  1. Go to your Windows Phone Settings screen.
  2. Tap Ease of Access.
  3. In the next screen, turn off Narrator.

Method 2: Use the Volume Buttons
Press and hold the Volume Up button and the Start button simultaneously for about three seconds or so.

Method 3: Use Cortana

  1. On the Start screen, tap on the Magnifier icon in the navigation bar to open the virtual voice assistant Cortana.
  2. Ask Cortana to open Ease of Access.
  3. Turn off the Narrator settings.

My Windows Phone won’t play videos

Windows Phone Videos

Windows Phone users should have no problem when it comes to watching videos on their device, but more often than not, videos, especially the ones from YouTube tend to act up. There are several reasons why videos won’t play on your Windows phone. Here are some of the common reasons:

Non Supported Files

Videos may not play when there are issues in identifying the file extension or the codec that is used to compress digital videos. Windows Phone offers native video codec support for VC1, H.263, H.264, and MPEG-4 Part 2. In other words it can play MP4, WMV, MOV, M4V or WMV extensions without the need for extra apps or plugins. However, if the video is not in one of these formats, it needs to be converted to a supported format before it can play on your phone. If your video is not is a format that is supported, try looking for an app on the Windows Store that offers support for such extensions.

Issues with YouTube App

If you are having issues accessing the YouTube app on your Windows Phone, you are not alone. Microsoft and Google have been at loggerheads with each other over the app that Microsoft offers its users. You can avoid the problem by simply choosing another third party app like MetroTube or PerfectTube or access the mobile version of YouTube on IE 11 which comes with HTML5 video and audio capabilities.


Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected videos may not play on your Windows Phone. Content that is usually purchased online is usually DRM protected, which means there is a restriction on their usage on “n” number of devices and device types.

Corrupt Files

One of the most common reasons for video play failure is corrupt files. This can happen for any number of reasons; improper encoding, improper file format change, or failed or interrupted data transfer among others. You can play the file on your PC or on another device to check if that indeed is the case.

Bugs in App

Sometimes, videos won’t play if there is an issue with the app on which it is rendered. This can happen if the app hasn’t been updated to the latest version or if there is a bug that is still unresolved. You could try restarting the phone, uninstalling and reinstalling the app or clearing the cache to see if it fixes the problem. If the issue still persists, reach out to the app developer for a solution.

Unstable Network Connection

If you are streaming videos directly from an online site or from an app, you may face issues if you have an unstable or a slow network connection. Sometimes, the site/app that you are streaming videos from may be having technical problems. Either way, do a speed test on sites like to identify such problems. Secondly, make sure to use a strong, stable Wi-Fi connection to stream video content from the Web.
So the next time you’re having trouble with watching videos on your Windows Phone, check these points to identify and resolve the issue.


Set up My Family to better manage your kids’ app downloads

Microsoft has always had a penchant for family safety. Whether it was the PC, the Xbox, or Zune, you’re most likely to find a feature that involves monitoring and controlling what sort of information the kids can get access to. Windows Phone 8 is no exception either. The My Family feature in Windows lets you add your kids to the Windows Phone website and then choose what sort of apps and games they can download and enjoy on their Windows phone.


Windows Phone My Family Setup

Windows Phone My Family setup will need to know the Microsoft account email address and password of your kids. If you have just bought your child a Windows Phone 8 and want to be able to restrict what stuff they download from the Windows App Store, here’s what you need to do. Psst…You can set up this feature even if you don’t own a Windows Phone.

On your computer, head over to the Windows Phone website. Sign in by using your Microsoft credentials. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one right away.

Once you reach the My Family page, click Get Started to begin the setup. You will be taken to the My Kid page where you can add your kids account. Click Go. On the next page, you have to sign in with your kids’ Microsoft credentials. If your child doesn’t have a Microsoft account, you can just go ahead and create an account on that screen.

Once your kid’s name is added to the page, you will need to click the Fix It link below the name and accept the Windows Phone Store Terms of Use. Your child will now be able to download apps and games from the Windows Store.

If you want to allow your child access to Xbox games, head over to on your browser, sign in with your child’s Microsoft credentials and then go on to accept the Xbox Terms of Use.

Now you are ready to apply the app settings. Just click on Change Settings next to the name and choose one of three options to allow access.

  • Allow free and paid
  • Allow free only (This will restrict the child from making IAPs within the free games too.)
  • Don’t allow.

You can also set a rating for games that you want the child to be able to download onto their phone, including the option to allow your child to download unrated games. You’ll need to turn on the Game rating filter to view the rating settings.

That’s it. You can follow the same steps outlined in this tutorial to add other kids to the My Family page.

The My Family feature in Windows Phone 8 looks to be a mighty useful tool to keep your kids safe from the temptations of spending as well as viewing stuff that are harmful for them.

Have you created your Windows Phone Family account feature? How effective has it been in managing your kids app downloads?


How to use Find My Windows Phone feature

Find My Windows Phone Feature

Losing or misplacing your phone can be a very distressing affair. Luckily, there are services that will come to your aid, should you find yourself in one such predicament. carries a special section called Find my Phone that lets you configure your Windows Phone so that you can find its exact current location, or at the worst, lock or erase your data remotely so that your data is not misused by the finder. In this post, we will show you how to map your Windows phone to this feature so that you will never have to stress yourself out when you realize that your phone is missing.

Configure your Windows Phone to Find my Windows Phone

The first step is to connect your Windows Phone to the web service. To do that:

  1. On your Windows Phone: Ensure that you have created/logged into your Windows phone using a Windows Live ID.
  2. On the Computer: Open up your web browser and navigate to
  3. On the top-right of the screen, in the Explore menu, click the Find My Phone dropdown, and click Sign In.
  4. asEnter your Windows Live ID credentials, the same one you used on your phone.
  5. The phone’s location will automatically show up on a map with some details such as the location of the city as well as the time and date of location. Below the info you will find a Print option that will allow you to take a hard copy of the details if you so wish. Besides the location info, you will also see options to ring, lock, and erase the phone.

Make Your Windows Phone Ring Remotely

In the Windows Phone Find my Phone section, you can configure your phone to ring out loud so that if it goes missing you will be able to hear it ring (if it is nearby).

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. On the top-right of the screen, in the Explore menu, click the Find My Phone dropdown, and click Sign In.
  3. Sign in with the same Windows Live ID credentials that you used on your phone.
  4. Click Ring. If your phone is nearby, you will be able to hear it ring, even if it is on vibrate mode, or if its ring volume is low.

Lock Your Windows Phone Remotely

You can also lock your Windows phone remotely with a password and a message. To do this:

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. On the top-right of the screen, in the Explore menu, click the Find My Phone dropdown, and click Sign In.
  3. Sign in with the same Windows Live ID credentials that you used on your phone.
  4. Click Lock. In the Lock your phone section, you will be required to enter a password (if you haven’t created one on your phone), and a message you want to show up on the lock screen. This could be a phone number or email address so that anyone who access your phone can contact you, should they choose to do so. You will also have an option to ring the phone as you lock it.

Once you get back your phone you can use your password to unlock it.

Erase Your Windows Phone Remotely

The final option at your disposal is to erase your Windows phone remotely. Erasing your phone will return your phone to the factory state and once you activate this option, you will lose contact with your phone altogether even using the Find my Phone Windows feature. To do this:

  1. On your computer, go to
  2. On the top-right of the screen, in the Explore menu, click the Find My Phone dropdown, and click Sign In.
  3. Sign in with the same Windows Live ID credentials that you used on your phone.
  4. Click Erase.
  5. Check the box that says I’m sure! Please erase my phone now. You can also remove backups of your phone settings although this won’t delete any SMS messages that you have backed.
  6. Click Erase to confirm the factory reset.

If you have lost your phone and have no hopes of recovering it, be sure to inform your service provider as well as your bank (if you have NFC enabled and have a digital wallet set up).

If you haven’t configured your Windows Find my Phone service just yet, just follow the simple instructions detailed in this tutorial. You won’t regret it!