Your Microsoft Account is essentially your personal key that opens the door to a myriad of Microsoft’s connected services.
When you create a username and login to gain access to any of Microsoft websites, forums or internet marketplaces, such as the Microsoft Community Answers forum or the Windows Marketplace, you have just created a Microsoft account, and that Microsoft account login & password opens up your computer’s and phone’s access to these connected services.
I’m not going to try to describe all the ins and outs of a Microsoft account in this article – that would take a book! No, the best I can hope to do in this article is leave you with a basic understanding of what a Microsoft account is and why you need one to get the most from your Windows Phone. Of course, you can use the phone without setting up a Microsoft Account on it, but to get the best functionality out of your phone you’ll need to set up a Microsoft Account on it to take advantage of all these connected services.
Windows Phone devices do not sync contacts and appointments to a local computer via ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center. Instead Windows Phone syncs contact and appointment data directly to web-based services, such as Outlook.com or to an Exchange Server account.
When I switched over from Windows Mobile devices to my first Windows Phone 7 device, I spent some time exploring the Outlook Hotmail Connector as a way to manage my contacts and appointments on my local computer while also providing a way to make the data available for my new Windows Phone 7. In this tutorial I use Outlook 2010 to demonstrate setting up the Outlook Hotmail Connector. The menu settings are similar for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007, but you may have to hunt around for them a bit to find them.
I’m not concerned about viruses, malware or spyware invading my Windows Phone, and I don’t think you need to be concerned about them either for several reasons:
The Windows Phone population is quite small. The people that write viruses hope to get the biggest bang for the smallest buck, so most of these folks probably aren’t interested in dinking around with such a small Windows Phone population and would most likely apply their talents elsewhere. But even if someone decided to write a virus to run on Windows Phone, it would be really difficult to actually install it to a phone.
The only apps you can install to a Windows Phone are the apps found in the Windows Phone Marketplace. All apps in the Marketplace have been reviewed and approved by Microsoft, so the likelihood of a developer sneaking a virus, malware or spyware on an app is pretty small
Any app-related or app-created data is stored within the app’s exclusive file system which is partitioned off into its own “sandbox” – which is distinctly separate from the phone’s other app and system files. A third party app can only play within its own “sandbox,” so there isn’t a way for a third party app’s activity to invade the phone’s other app or system files. Even if an app managed to sneak some kind of nefarious virus/malware/spyware code onto a phone, the bad code would only be able to wreak havoc in the app’s own sandbox….what fun would that be
Windows Phones run a distinctly different operating system than a Windows computer so the viruses/malware/spyware that affect computers won’t affect Windows Phones. Even if you managed to download some infected file from the internet, it wouldn’t run in the windows phone environment.
There have been no confirmed instances of a destructive virus infecting a Windows Phone.
Over the years, there have been some “proof of concept” attempts by hackers to breach Windows Phones app sandbox security or to “jail break” the phone (much in the same fashion as Android devices), but none of these attempts have gained much traction before Microsoft closed the hole that was used by the hack.
Every now and then I’ll read about some rumored Windows Phone viruses/malware/spyware, but so far none of these rumors have ever materialized into any kind of real threat. To date, there has not been any confirmed report of a viable virus, malware or spyware attack against Windows Phone.
You won’t find any antivirus apps in the Windows Phone marketplace. But even if such an app existed, I wouldn’t install it to my phone…..The nature of antivirus software is to run continuously in the background, so installing and running antivirus software on a Windows Phone would most likely degrade the phone’s performance. The use of such an app for a perceived threat that has yet to materialize just seems like overkill.
Installing antivirus software on a computer or a mobile device often gives a false sense of security and these common sense guidelines prevail:
Selecting questionable links in email messages, on websites, etc. should be avoided
Accessing any sensitive sites from any kind of device via a free wifi hotspot should be avoided.
The practice of jail breaking or side loading applications should be avoided (this practice is not possible on windows phone at this time).
Back up your computers and devices regularly. Then if your devices ever start acting strange, you can recover them by perform a factory reset and restoring your backed up data to them, thereby minimizing the loss of data when doing so.
If you’ve installed Outlook 2013 to your computer, you can sync your Contacts, Calendar AND Tasks (yes, Tasks) to your Microsoft account and you don’t need to install the Outlook Hotmail Connector to do it – the functionality is built into the software.
Your phone can announce your incoming callers by name if you enable the “speech for phone accessibility” option that is found by going to Settings > ease of access > tap the ON/OFF toggle:
When the “speech for phone accessibility” toggle is turned to the ON position the phone will announce the name of the person who is calling you if the person’s phone number is found in the phone’s people hub, otherwise the phone will announce the phone number of the incoming call.
NOTE: If you don’t find the “speech for phone accessibility” option when you go to Settings > ease of access then your phone (make/model) does not support the feature and you won’t be able to use the feature. The “speech for phone accessibility” feature is regionalized, which means it is not available worldwide, and the feature must also be enabled by the OEM and/or carrier before it can be used.
The feature is available on Windows Phone 7 and 8.
Sharing videos and pictures with other Bluetooth enabled devices is easy from Windows Phone 8. Videos and pictures that you create on the phone are stored in the camera roll album in the Photos hub on the phone.
Within the camera roll album, tap any video or picture you want to share, then tap the three dots in the lower right hand corner of the screen > share…
Windows Phone 7 does not include any kind of ringtone profiles that allow you to automatically program how incoming phone calls are received on the phone. I’ve come up with a workaround that addresses this deficiency well enough to suit my needs and thought I’d share it here for anyone who might be interested.
First, I created a “silent” ringtone and synced it to my phone. I assigned this silent ringtone as the system-wide ringtone on my phone:
Download my silent ringtone (this ringtones complies with all the requirements of using a custom ringtone on windows phones, so no editing is necessary)
Sync the silent ringtone to your phone
Assign the silent ringtone as the system-wide ringtone on your phone by tapping Settings > ringtones+sounds. Tap the Ringtone option and select the Silent ringtone from your list of custom ringtones.
More and more websites have upgraded to HTML5, but many websites still rely on Adobe Flash to play videos and web-based games. Unfortunately, this means you will encounter websites where your phone won’t be able to play videos or games from websites that still rely Adobe’s Flash Player. There is no workaround for this limitation. When you encounter one of these sites, you can:
search the Windows Phone Marketplace to see if there is an app that can be used to view the files on the website; or
contact the site to ask them about their HTML5 migration plans.
To delete an entire text message thread, tap the Messaging tile on the start screen, then press and hold your finger on the thread you want to delete and select “delete” from the menu that pops up. All of the individual text messages in that thread are deleted from the phone: