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Windows 8 lets users sync personalized settings and apps across multiple PCs

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September 26, 2011

Logging into Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID will allow users to sync their personal sett...

Logging into Windows 8 with a Windows Live ID will allow users to sync their personal settings and applications on multiple PCs

Most people like to put their personal stamp on their PC with their own desktop wallpaper and settings that have been tweaked just the way they like them. But all that is lost when they log onto a shared PC on which they don't have an account set up. All that changes with Windows 8, which allows users to enjoy their own profile, settings and Metro style apps on any Windows 8 PC by logging in with their Windows Live ID.

In Windows 8, users will be able to associate the most commonly used Windows settings with their Live ID user account so the settings will be available when logging into any Windows 8 PC. As it stores all the information associated with your Windows Live ID in the cloud, when you log into another Windows 8 PC for the first time it will download the relevant information in the background and apply the settings as it comes in so you'll still be able to use the PC and not have to wait until all the data is downloaded before getting to work.

Additionally, users' sign-in credentials will be saved for various apps and websites so, after logging in to the PC, you won't have to enter your log in details again for services and applications that also use Windows Live ID, such as Hotmail. Metro style apps will also stay in sync across multiple PCs and you'll be able to see which apps you've purchased and choose which ones you want to have on separate Windows 8 PCs.

Metro style apps that have been built to tell Windows their state will also resume right where you left off when switching between PCs - remembering which point in a video, which page in a book or which level in a game you were up to, for example.

Logging into a Windows 8 PC with your Windows Live ID will mean you'll also be automatically signed into apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication. Additionally, you'll be able to store separate app and web site credentials that will sync to each Windows 8 PC that you've verified yourself with so you'll just have to confirm your sign-in rather than entering your name and password each time.

Microsoft has broken the various settings that can be synced into three categories: Windows settings, App settings and data, and credentials. Microsoft says the size of the data is small and it only enforces some limits on a per setting basis - for example, the desktop wallpaper image is limited to 2 MB and if it exceeds this limit the image is compressed and cropped to 1920 x 1200. Synching can also be turned off and on by the type of setting, which is broken into the following groups: Personalize, Themes, Ease of access, Language preferences, Apps, Web browser, Other stuff and Some passwords.

Signing in with a Windows Live ID isn't compulsory but rather an option. When creating a Windows account, you'll be able to choose whether it will be associated with a Windows Live ID, or will just be a local account that works in the same way as current Windows 7 accounts. If you choose the latter option, you'll be able to change your mind and link the local account with a Windows Live ID at a later date.

Source: Building Windows 8 Blog

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
4 Comments

Microsoft - REALLY DIGGING up scraps and gimmicks as tweaks to the bog stock user interface.

They can't innovate with any more decent ideas so they go for stupid ideas (the ribbon) and now they do the shape shifting window dressing.

Linux = Freedom from such bullshit.

Mr Stiffy
27th September, 2011 @ 12:28 pm PDT

@Mr Stiffy, and what 'innovations' has the linux 'group' collectively come up with recently? I've found that (where used properly using contextual tab states) that the ribbon is a huge boost to my efficiency when working. And the ability to change physical location and pc and start exactly where you left off; are you seriously saying that ability is no more than a gimmick?? By all means, stick with your linux package, but why bother commenting if all you're doing is having another typical "microsoft=crap/linux=freedom" rant..

Mhocking
27th September, 2011 @ 04:23 pm PDT

Am I wrong in assuming the use of Windows Live to log in, is a mandatory requirement? Sure...I have Windows Live on my computer, and I also have a Hotmail ID and PW. But, I use that email client when I feel like doing so, not because I'm being told to use it. For me, the same goes for having to use Windows Live to log in. I have Win 7-64, and elected to set up and use a login password. The key word here is "elected"-my choice, not Microsoft's. I would hope the Windows Live login is also a "choice", and I can use it or not.

Douglas Walsh
28th September, 2011 @ 07:49 am PDT

Sooooooooooooooo, there will be 4 versions of windows 8 starting at 189.00 and ending at 399.00

Richard C. Edmonds
3rd October, 2011 @ 06:52 pm PDT
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