Windows Phone 7 users are required to signin to their smartphones using a Windows Live ID, just like Google’s Android uses a Gmail account. Once signed with a Windows Live ID, users will have access to Zune, Xbox LIVE, as well as Windows Phone Marketplace services.

Even though Windows Phone 7 is still in its infancy, its marketplace already features around 3,000 applications. However, the need for more third-party apps that cannot be found in the marketplace is rising.

Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t officially allow users to install third party apps on WM7 devices unless they’ve been approved by the company and posted in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Until last week, the easiest way to install third party apps was to download them directly from the Windows Phone Marketplace, or, if you don’t care about money, you could pay $99 per year for a developer marketplace registration account. More »

Five months after the introduction of Games for Windows LIVE Setup 3.2, Microsoft is offering customers an update, kicking the version of the client up a notch. In this regard, gamers that have been leveraging Games for Windows – LIVE are now able to download and install a new release of the app. According to the Redmond company, “Games for Windows – LIVE Setup 3.3 upgrades users to the newest version: 03.03.0024.00.” However, Microsoft has been extremely shy when it comes down to sharing details about the release.

As it was the case with the previous Build of the Games for Windows LIVE Setup, version 3.3 is designed to play nice with PCs running Windows 7; Windows Vista; Windows XP SP2 or SP3. Existing users of Games for Windows – LIVE will notice that the update is being automatically delivered to them. If they haven’t installed the upgrade already, it will be offered to them next time they run Games for Windows LIVE. More »

Microsoft’s latest operating system was built with the PC gamer in mind.

Every copy of Windows Vista includes DirectX 10, a set of software instructions that make photorealistic visuals run incredibly smoothly. And for the first time, PC gamers can engage in online matches against Xbox 360 players.

– Sign up for a Games for Windows Live Gold account and create a Live ID for playing online. (If you already have an Xbox Live Gold account and Gamertag, then skip this step. You can use the same account on your PC.)

– Start your Live-enabled game.

– Sign in using your Live ID when prompted.

– Access the game’s multiplayer mode to find a match to join or invite friends to play.

You can also find and launch your games more easily with the Games Explorer, which is accessible from the Start menu. Games Explorer lets you organize your collection, view box cover art and check your system’s technical specifications to ensure it can handle new games. Click Start > All Programs > Games > Games Explorer. More »