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How Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile works on Lumia 950 & Lumia 950 XL

By Giáp Nguyễn Bá → 09 October, 2015

How Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile works on Lumia 950 & Lumia 950 XL

It has been an exciting week for Windows fans, as Microsoft unveiled one of the best hardware lineups in the company's history. During the Windows 10 devices event in New York City, Microsoft surprised everyone with the Surface Book, and as expected the company announced the Surface Pro 4 and Microsoft Band 2. However, one of the most important highlights of the event was the announcement of the new Lumia phones.
During the media briefing, Microsoft introduced the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. These new devices are very sleek with very powerful hardware. Both phones have similar hardware, but the big difference between the two is the screen size and processor. The Lumia 950 features a 5.2-inch display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 and 3000 mAh battery while the Lumia 950 XL features a 5.7-inch display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 and 3340 mAh battery.

These two phones run Windows 10 Mobile, and because there are very capable handsets, they also come with support for Continuum. Let's take a closer look at how this new feature works on the Lumia 950 and 950 XL.

What's Continuum

Continuum is a new feature was first introduced for the desktop version of Windows 10, and now Microsoft is also bringing the feature to the phone. Continuum for phones lets you turn your phone into a PC-like experience by connecting an external display, keyboard, and mouse using the new Microsoft Display Dock.

Continuum is a perfect feature for those moments you need to get work done right away, but you're not close to a computer.

How does it work

So, how does Continuum work? Well, you first need a Microsoft Display Dock. It's an optional accessory that includes an HDMI, DisplayPort, three USB 3.0 ports, and USB Type-C port that connects your phone to the dock.

Getting started is very simple, you plug in your external monitor, keyboard and mouse to the Display Dock, and then connect your phone to the only USB Type-C port on the dock.
The phone will detect automatically and switch to Continuum mode. Once the feature is enabled, you'll see a similar desktop environment found on the version of Windows 10 for desktops. However, it's a little different, as you will see many mobile elements such as the mobile signal bars on the top-left and the battery status and date on the top-right corner of the screen.

Another important difference is the Start menu. When you click the Start button, you will notice immediately that the menu is similar, but not the same as the version on PCs. Instead you'll see the Start screen for Windows 10 Mobile with all your Live Tiles.

If you need to open a Windows app, simply go to the Start menu and click on an app, just like you would do on a regular computer.

The taskbar also houses all your running apps icons like you would expect from a regular computer experience. If you're running multiple apps, click the icon in the taskbar to jump to a particular app.

It's also important to note that apps on the bigger screen will look and work identically to the Windows 10 PC apps, because they are the same universal apps. When you're moving from the smaller screen (phone) to the bigger screen, the app is only responding to the canvas -- very similar to how responsive design works on websites.

Everything works just like a regular PC. If you received an email from your boss with a few attachments for a presentation, double-clicking the attachment automatically opens it with the default app.

If you need to go back to the previous app, simply click the icon on the taskbar. You can also click the Task View button to view all the running apps and jump to the app you want.
Alternatively, Continuum on Windows 10 Mobile also supports the keyboard shortcuts you'll find on Windows 10. As such, you could also switch between apps using the Ctrl + Tab shortcut. If you're working on a document, you can easily select some text and use the Ctrl + C or Ctrl + X to copy or cut, and Ctrl + V to paste the content from the clipboard.
The most interesting part about Continuum is that you can be doing a lot of productive work on the big screen, and you can still use your phone as a phone. In the smaller screen you can continue to make calls, reply to SMS messages, watch a video, play a game, you name it.
As Microsoft said: "Each experience is independent and uninterrupted."
When you're using Continuum on a Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL, or another phone that supports the feature, you're not mirroring or expanding the phone screen to the secondary display. You cannot drag with the mouse an app and move it from the big screen to the phone or vice versa.

The way it works is that whatever app you need, you have to launch it from the Start menu (Start screen). For example, if you want to open the Mail app on the big screen, go to the big screen and launch the app from Start. If you need to use the Mail app on the phone, go to the Start on the phone and tap on the Mail tile.
You can't use Snap view with Continuum.

I asked Microsoft if you can have multiple apps running on the big screen using Snap view, and their answer was no. You can't use Snap view with Continuum. In fact, you can only run up to two apps at a time: one app on your phone and another app in the big screen.
Even more impressive is that through the Microsoft Display Dock, you can also connect USB removable media such as a standard USB flash drive.

It's worth pointing out that your USB storage needs to be supported by your phone. It all comes down to drivers. Most USB flash drives will work, but if it requires some sort of drivers, you may not be able to connect it to your phone.

Wrapping things app

Continuum truly brings the PC experience to the phone like no other platform in the market. If you want to be productive and you want to have the best Windows 10 Mobile experience, then the new Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL are the handsets you need to pick.
You can also enable Continuum using Miracast on supported devices, but using the wired Microsoft Display Dock is the best solution as there is no compression like with Miracast. Your phone will also continue to charge while plugged into the dock.

How to enter Windows 10's Safe Mode

By Giáp Nguyễn Bá → 08 October, 2015

How To Boot Into Windows 10 Safe Mode

Sometimes, whether you like it or not, you have to boot into Windows' stripped-down Safe Mode. But with Windows 10, that gets complicated. Windows’ Safe Mode provides a simple, stripped-down version of the operating system. The programs that usually load automatically when you boot Windows don’t do that here. And Safe Mode only uses the most generic drivers. Thus, Safe Mode can be a big help for diagnosing certain problems. For instance, it’s a great place to scan for malware. Plenty of discussions going around the Internet regarding Windows 10, mostly so because of how Microsoft has really revamped its latest OS setting it apart from the earlier offerings. If you’ve just moved onto Windows 10 and are experiencing boot failures due to some incompatible installations, such as drivers or apps, Safe Mode is your savior. We show you how to boot into Windows 10 Safe Mode.

But the old-fashioned way to get into Safe Mode—booting the PC and pressing F8 at the exact right moment—seldom works on PCs running Windows 10. These techniques will:
If you can successfully boot into Windows, booting into Safe Mode is relatively easy—if you know the trick.
Step1: Click or tap the Start button, and then the Power button. Hold down the Shift key when you select Restart.

Step2: In the resulting, full-screen menu , select Troubleshoot>Advanced options>Startup Settings.

Step 3: In the Startup Settings screen, tap the Restart button. The PC will reboot, and bring you to a Startup Settings screen
Step 4: Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select Enable Safe Mode or Enable Safe Mode with Networking. But what if things are so bad that you can’t successfully boot the operating system?

Try booting anyway. If you can get to the login screen, you’ll find a power icon in the lower-right corner. The instructions above work there.
But what if you can’t get to the login screen? In that case, chances are that Windows is so messed up that it couldn’t boot into Safe Mode anyway. But here’s a trick that might work:
You’ll need the Windows 10 Recovery Drive, which you should make now, while your PC is still healthy. You’ll need a flash drive that you will use only for this purpose. Any files already on that drive will be deleted. To create the Recovery Drive, plug in the flash drive, open Control Panel’s Recovery tool, click Create a recovery drive, and follow the prompts.

You might want to test this before you’re in a difficult situation: Boot the Recovery Drive and select your keyboard layout. Then select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > Command Prompt. At the command prompt, enter these three lines, making sure to hit Enter at the end of each one:
bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Select Turn off your PC. Boot the computer and repeatedly press and release F8 until the Advanced Boot Options menu pops up. Then you can select Safe Mode or Safe Mode with Networking.

Or you can use

System Configuration Utility

Step 1: Right-click the Start button and select Run.
Step 2: Type msconfig in the Run box and hit Enter.
Step 3: Once System Configuration is launched, navigate to the Boot tab and check the Safe boot option under Boot options. Make sure Minimal is also selected as the sub-option. Additionally, if you wish to maintain network connectivity in Safe Mode, check the Network option.

Step 4: Once the options are all set, hit the OK or Apply button, and restart your computer, which should now boot straight into Safe Mode.

It is important to note that once you’re in Safe Mode, you will have to instruct Windows to not boot into Safe Mode upon next reboot. To do this, simply launch System Configuration again and ‘uncheck’ the Safe boot option.

How to customize the images, colors and borders in Powerpoint

By Giáp Nguyễn Bá → 05 October, 2015

How to customize the images, colors and borders in Powerpoint

You don't want to use the same old boring template everyone else uses in PowerPoint. PowerPoint has a great set of special effects, graphics, animations, and template themes. There’s just one problem: Everybody else has the same effects, animations, and template themes that you have. The last thing you want is to look unoriginal. Here’s how to make something unique that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Redesign an existing template

Let’s start with an easy one. On the main menu, select the template titled Crimson Landscape Design slides. The background on this slide is an image. The easiest way to customize it is to select a different image.

1. From the Design tab, click Format Background.
2. In the Format Background box under Fill, verify that the ‘Picture or texture fill’ button is selected.
3. Under ‘Insert picture from,’ click ‘Online...’. In the Insert Pictures dialog, type gradient design in the Bing Image Search box.

4. Highlight your chosen image and click Insert.

5. If you don’t like the selected image, click the Undo icon, press Ctrl+Z, or click Reset Background at the bottom of the Format Background submenu.

This straightforward gradient is simple and elegant, but you could add a few more design elements.

6. From the Insert tab, click Shapes, then select a shape from the graphic shapes list.

7. Add or draw that shape onto the slide, then click the Drawing/Format tab.
8. Select a Shape Fill from the Shape Styles group, then click Gradient from the Colors menu.

9. Choose a Gradient from the options menu or select More Options.

10. On the Format Shape submenu, click Gradient Fill, then make adjustments to the gradient on the Gradient Stops bar.

Design an original template

For original templates, the sky’s the limit—but keep these guidelines in mind to avoid common design errors.

  • You can use public domain clip art, stock images, original art and/or photography, company logos and designs, or just create slides from the PowerPoint effects.
  • Simple is elegant: Too many design elements create clutter that competes with the slideshow’s message.
  • If your design background is limited, browse thru PowerPoint’s templates online for ideas.
  • Design a theme that matches the topic and your company’s corporate identity, not your personal preferences.
  • Create a color palette for your theme. Your company’s brand colors are good place to start.

1. Open a Blank Presentation. PowerPoint's default is a blank white slide with two lines of text: Title and subtitle. Enter both, then select a font: typeface, size, and color.

More design tips:

  • You can use display fonts for titles, subtitles, headers, and subheads, but not when stacked. For example, if you use a display font for the title, use a san serif or milder font for the subtitle.
  • The title should never be more than two-thirds larger than the subtitle. [***larger how?***]

2. Continue by selecting a background color. In the Customize group under the Design tab, click Format Background. In the Format Background submenu, select Fill, then choose a color from the color palette.

3. So far, nice font, boring background. Because the company name is Starlight Tours and the subtitle is First Class Accommodations thru the Tarantula Nebula, a background image of that Nebula would be appropriate, but it might also be too busy. Try the Hubblesite gallery. You can’t resell these photos or print them onto mass produced t-shirts, but single use is okay.

Visit the Hubble site and download an image of the Tarantula Nebula. Under the Insert tab, click Pictures, navigate to the Pictures folder, select the nebula you just downloaded, and click Insert.

4. The image inserts at a reduced size. Notice that when it’s selected, the Ribbon menu displays a new tab (Picture) above the Format tab. Select this tab to display the Format/Picture menu. Next, click the handles around the picture and stretch down and over to fill the slide. If the image is disproportionate, oversize it, then use the Crop button to remove the excess.

5. You can also click the up and down arrows in the Size group, or select the tiny menu options arrow in the bottom right corner of this group to display the Format Picture submenu. Use the options on this menu to size the image more precisely.

6. Next, select Send Backward > Send to Back from the Arrange group to move the image behind the text.

Special effects

This starry background is cluttered. Text will get lost in the muddle. But if you must use this image, PowerPoint has several ways to help.

1. First, select the title (then the subtitle). From the Home tab, select Font > Bold, Paragraph > Center.

2. With the text still selected, click the tiny menu options arrow in the bottom right corner of the Drawing group.

3. On the Format Shape submenu, select Text Options.

4. Under Text Outline, select Solid line, Color: Blue, Width: 0.75 pt.

5. Click the nebula image to access the Format/Picture tab. Select the tiny menu options arrow in the bottom right corner of this group to display the Format Picture submenu. Once displayed, click the picture icon to display the Picture Corrections submenu.

6. Under Picture Corrections, adjust the sharpness, brightness, and contrast as needed.

7. Under Picture Color, set the saturation to 50 percent to fade the image and allow the background color to bleed through. This makes the text stand out more.

8. Re-adjust the size of the image under Crop, then crop again if necessary.

9. Once again, click the nebula image to access the Format/Picture menu. Select the tiny "menu options" arrow in the bottom right corner of this group to display the Format/Picture submenu. Once displayed, click the Picture icon to display the Picture Corrections/Color/Crop submenu.

10. Under Picture Color, in addition to saturation, you can also change the color tone or recolor the image—not individual objects, but the entire image, like a color screen. Just click the little down arrow in the Recolor box and select a color screen from the list.

Artistic effects

Consider using one of PowerPoint’s artistic effects to alter the image further. It’s not Photoshop, but many of these effects are similar to Photoshop’s artistic effects.

1. Select the nebula, click the Format tab, then click Artistic Effects in the Adjust group. Go ahead and experiment. It’s fun.
2. Every designer should provide the client (or the boss) with options. The long list of Artistic effects include: Marker, Chalk, Glowing Edges and more.
3. My second, third, and fourth choices were Marker, Chalk, and Glass.

Best effect plus a border page

4. After some experimenting, I chose Glowing Edges: not too busy, dark enough for the text to stand out. For the pages with body text, hoever, I needed even less clutter.

5. For the body text pages, insert a dark shape across the center of the nebula page and size it about a half-inch smaller than the page on the top and bottom. Select a black fill and a medium blue outline (match the color used on the font). This gives the illusion of a matching border for the remaining pages.

6. Enter the body text for this page, then duplicate this slide for each page in your presentation. It’s easier and faster to type over body text (with defined styles), than start with a new text box.

How to manage Windows 10 devices from your Microsoft account

By Giáp Nguyễn Bá → 03 October, 2015

How to manage Windows 10 devices from your Microsoft account

Windows 10 isn't just an operating system that works locally in your computer. It's also an operating system that works in combination with Microsoft online services such as with Bing and OneDrive. Furthermore, in Windows 8, the software giant introduced the Microsoft account, leaving the old time local account as a secondary option.

A Microsoft account is a fairly new account type designed to allow users to connect across devices with a single username and password. When you sign in with a Microsoft account, all of your settings, passwords, people, documents, photos and videos, and music will roam with you everywhere to any device connected to a Microsoft service.

We are no longer tied to a single device. We have multiple hardware, and every time we connect new devices with our Microsoft account, they get registered into our account. While it's great to know that we can view how many devices we are using with our Microsoft account, it's important to keep the lists under control for various reasons:

  • If you have a Windows Phone connected to your Microsoft account, and you sell it, the other person won't be able to setup the Find my phone feature until you remove the device from your account.
  • In Windows 10, Microsoft is reducing the number of devices you can install an app or game you have purchased to only ten devices. On every new install of a Windows 10 device, you have been prompted to enable sync, which creates a backup of all your settings for each computer, phone, or tablet. This "backup" also gets stored in the cloud. If you ever reinstall Windows 10, you will be asked if you want to restore the settings from a previous install. After a while, these device backups will keep piling up, using valuable OneDrive space.

In this Windows 10 guide, we're going through the steps to keep the list of devices under control.

Removing devices you no longer use

If you used to own a Windows Phone, Surface Pro 3, or any other computer, you could remove these devices by going to "Your devices" in your Microsoft account online. Simply click the Remove link, check the box confirming the device you're removing, and click Remove.

Tip: If you're removing your old phone, you may also want to check your devices doesn't have Reset Protection enable.

Avoid reaching the ten devices app and game install limit

Windows 10 limits the install of an app or a game to 10 devices. To avoid reaching the limit, you can remove devices you no longer use. Simply go to Apps & games devices, and carefully remove the devices you want by clicking the Remove link, then check the box to confirm the device you're removing, and click Remove.

Note: It's worth pointing out that you can do the same for Music, Movies & TV devices.

Deleting old device backups from OneDrive

If you want to free up some of the storage space in OneDrive, keep your device backups organized, or you no longer have one of your devices, you can go to OneDrive > Device backups, and remove old backups by clicking the Delete button.

There you have it. These tips you see today will help you to keep your Windows 10 devices under control and keep enjoying apps and games.

How to enable pop-up email notifications for Windows 10's Mail app

By Giáp Nguyễn Bá → 01 October, 2015

How to enable pop-up email notifications for Windows 10's Mail app

The built-in Mail app for Windows 10 isn’t the most full-featured email client you can find, but it’s a nice, light alternative to a web client. One thing you may be wondering, however, is why you aren’t seeing pop-up Action Center notifications when you receive new emails.
Easy! You have to turn them on first. But let me warn you: once you turn on notifications you’ll get notified for every mail message you receive. Firing up your PC in the morning means a barrage of new mail notifications that come in one by freakin' one.

Getting notified

To start, make sure app notifications are active. They should be by default, but let’s just check in case you turned them off. Open the Settings app and go to System > Notifications & Actions. Under “Notifications” make sure the slider for “Show app notifications” says “On.”
Next, scroll down to “Show notifications from these apps” and make sure the slider for Mail is also turned on.

Now open the Mail app, select the acocunt you want to see notifications for, and then click on the Settings cog at the bottom of the left-hand navigation panel.
A Settings panel will pop out from the right side. Select Options and scroll down to the “Notifications” section at the bottom. By default, the Show in action center slider will be turned on by default, but that just allows notifications to appear in the slide-out Action Center panel.

To actually see notifications as new messages roll in you have to check the box for “Show a notification banner” to see banners pop-out in the lower right corner of your screen. If you’d like to hear the Windows 10 chime each time you get a new notification click the box next to “Play a sound as well.”
Once that’s done, click away from the Options panel to make it disappear. That's it! Your Action Center notifications for the Mail app are ready to roll.
If you want to see notifications for multiple accounts, open that account’s inbox in the Mail, app, click the Settings cog and repeat the process above.