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How-to

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.

DRM

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 Speedtest.net 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.

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How-to

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.

My-Family

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 Xbox.com 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?

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How-to

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. Windowsphone.com 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 windowsphone.com.
  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 Windowsphone.com.
  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 Windowsphone.com.
  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 Windowsphone.com.
  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!

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How-to

How to backup your Windows Phone photos on OneDrive

Windows_Phone_OneDrive

Smartphones today let you do a lot more than talking. In fact, with the kind of cameras that are featured in newer models, its no surprise that the picture gallery on our smartphones are packed with more images than we can possibly track. While that’s great news, smartphone’s being what they are, it is possible to lose those precious pictures just as easily. That’s why making a backup is recommended.

Backing up Windows Phone images isn’t complicated at all. It doesn’t involve pulling and tugging on a bunch of wires and hardware devices. With Microsoft’s handy cloud solution OneDrive, (previously called SkyDrive ) backing up is as effortless as tapping on a few options on your smartphone. Don’t believe me? Well, I’ll show you how you can back up your Windows Phone images on OneDrive in a few easy steps. In fact, you can use the same steps to automatically upload your video captures too!

If you own a Windows Phone, you probably have a Windows Live ID. If you don’t have a OneDrive account, you can sign up with that same ID for one. The free plan will give you about 7GB storage which should be plenty enough for backing up your photos.

Auto Uploading Your Windows Phone Images

You can set your Windows Phone to automatically upload all your image captures to OneDrive. To do this:

1. Head over to your Windows Phone Settings.

2. Scroll down and select Applications.

3. Select photos+camera.

4. Scroll down to the Auto Upload section and turn on OneDrive. You can also set options to upload good quality images, which may use your data plan, or upload the best quality images, in which case it will use Wi-Fi.

OneDrive Backup

Note: This will work for your video captures as well.

And you’re done! Your images are now saved in OneDrive and should anything happen to your Windows Phone, you can at least be assured that your images are safe and sound in the cloud.

Caution: This feature will work only for lower resolution images. If you have a Nokia 1020 that capture hi-res images, they will not be automatically uploaded to OneDrive by following the steps in this tutorial.

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How-to

How to block a number on Windows Phone

Block-Callers

Smartphones are pretty handy when it comes to communicating with friends, family and others. No matter where you are, you are only a click or a tap away from reaching out to them. However, this can also work against you, when you are stuck with calls from people you’d rather not speak to. Maybe an ex, an overzealous “fan”, or just the regular sales guys harassing you with their various pitches. Whatever the reason, having a handy call or text blocking feature on your phone helps. If you have a Nokia Windows Phone, you can follow the steps in this tutorial to block a number.

Steps to Block a Text or Call on Windows Phone:

1. Ensure that you have the latest GDR2 software on your Lumia device.

2. Download and install the call+SMS filter app from the Windows Phone Store. Once the app is installed, it will integrate the blocking feature with the device’s Phone section.

3. To block a number, simply long press the number you want to block and enable the option on the contextual menu that appears.

Alternately, you can go to the Settings menu, scroll down to the call+SMS filter section and activate the Block calls+SMS feature. You will also be able to block withheld numbers, display the number of blocked calls and SMS’s as a live tile, and turn on notifications of blocked calls.

That’s it. No more dealing with unwanted calls and text messages anymore.