Windows Phone 8


If you are new to Windows Phone 8 & 8.1 or you would like to see what it is like as you are considering buying a Windows Phone handset then Windows Phone 8.1 Online Emulator From Microsoft is a great place to start. It is also useful to those still exploring or who just want to know their device better.


This is not a very clear thing, to be frank, so a couple of links to help:
Back up my stuff | Windows Phone How-to
Backup feature and privacy FAQ | Windows Phone How-to (United States)


The standard calculator in Windows Phone 8 seems rather basic, however rotate your phone 90 degrees clockwise and you get the "hex and logic" mode, rotate the other way, 90 degrees anti-clockwise and you get a "scientific" mode. Very nice but far from obvious. Oh and this also works on Windows Phone 7.5.

Internet Explorer

It is very easy to launch IE11 on Windows Phone and the latest version will sync tabs etc from Windows 8. However it is not so obvious if you can get an "In-Private" tab, well you can, as follows:

  1. Start Internet Explorer
  2. Tap on the tabs icon, bottom left
  3. The open tabs will all be shown as large icons
  4. Tap the three dots in the bottom right, so the popup menu appears
  5. Tap on "new inprivate tab"
  6. Enter a URL and off you go

Connecting Phone to Laptop

The place to start with this is Sync my Windows Phone | Windows Phone How-to. However if you just want to sync your phone with your computer see one of the following links:

Software Updates

I have never personally had an issues with Windows Phone 8 software update but if you do have issues, one option might be Support - Software Recovery - Nokia - USA however I would ask Nokia Care (NokiaHelps) on Twitter first.

If you want to check whether an update is available or what the latest update is for your handset then see Software update for Lumia with Windows Phone 8 - Nokia.

Reboot or Reset

There are several options here, depending on how bad things are, so I will start with the easy, least serious options and then progress, however please think carefully before doing a hard reset! There is also a Microsoft article Your Windows Phone 8 doesn't work or respond as expected which covers some of this and is well worth reading. So first off:

Normal Reboot

This will clear some issues, if your phone is usable:

  • Hold the power button for 2 or 3 seconds
  • When prompted slide your lock screen down to power off
  • Turn the phone on again

Power Removal Reboot

There are two ways to do this, you could take the battery out but this is not possible on a lot of Lumias, so you just wait for the power to drain. This is also an option if your phone is stuck or frozen. Once the phone's battery is flat, connect a charger, the Windows key should flash, leave it a bit longer and then you can turn your phone on. Don't panic if you can't turn it on immediately, this is normal, the phones like a bit of charge before they will start.

Soft Reset

This should work whatever state your phone is in:

  • Hold both the Power & Volume Down buttons for 10-15 seconds
  • The phone should switch off and vibrate
  • Turn it on again, if it does not automatically restart

Hard Reset

This option comes with a warning, which is that this will wipe your phone of all your data.

  • Ideally you would do a backup before doing this, however sometimes you have no choice
  • Press the Volume Down, Power & Camera Buttons, at the same time, hold them for about 10 seconds or until after the phone vibrates
  • Release the Power Button but hold the others down for a further 5 seconds
  • Turn the phone on and it will be like the first time you turned the phone on when new
  • Enter your Microsoft account details and your data should be restored, but not everything is saved
The fact that not everything is saved, is why this is a real last resort!


If these problems occurred during a software update and you are still having issues then Nokia have recently released Nokia Software Recovery Tool which will help load the latest firmware onto a troublesome device. You can also consult Solutions to update issues on Windows Phone | Windows Phone How-to (United Kingdom) which may help.

Useful Links

The Nokia S40 link also covers Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.8 and the first link connects to all the others:

Useful Apps


Just hold the Power and Volume Up buttons at the same time.

Family Safety

This was not as easy to setup on Windows Phone 8 as Windows 8, somehow. The trick is to login to Windows Phone (United Kingdom) or the correct version for your region. Then click on the phone icon in the top right and select "My Family" from the drop down list, from here you can add a child. This assumes they have logged into their Windows Phone with their Microsoft account. The key lesson for me was when it says they are associated with another family, then they are! Too many Microsoft accounts is a bad thing. However once this is done, all is good.

MS-DOS for Windows Phone

Microsoft released MS-DOS Mobile | Windows Phone Apps+Games Store (United Kingdom) as an April Fool in 2015. However there are a number of commands you need to know to have all the fun!
If you want to watch either because you don't have a Windows Phone or Microsoft have removed the app then just watch 16 hidden MS-DOS Mobile commands - YouTube. The commands are as follows:

  • dir
  • help
  • color - worth trying "help color"
  • camera
  • search
  • date or time
  • win
  • map
  • ver
  • cls
  • market
  • internet (optionally url)
  • email or sms or phone
  • phone select
  • format c:
  • a:
  • rps
You can also watch the launch video at Welcome to MS-DOS Mobile - YouTube. After writing this Microsoft published Our guide to the new MS-DOS for Mobile app for Windows Phone - Lumia Conversations which is nice.


I have had issues with the OneNote app quitting when opening a particular page. On investigating the "sync" was failing. First try doing a Soft Reset. If that does not help then you can just delete the OneNote file but I couldn't figure that out! However you can go to Settings --> Applications --> Office and then click "Reset Office", which will remove all local copies of Office files. Bit of a sledgehammer, but it worked.