updated 05:00 pm EDT, Mon September 26, 2011
Windows 8 to allow syncing across Windows Live
Microsoft just revealed that Windows 8 will bring with it the ability to sign into a PC with a Windows Live ID for quickly accessing quick settings wherever they are. Doing so is available for all compatible devices, apps and services. Logging in will have the Metro-style apps in their last-used settings and state, for example.
Logging into apps and websites also won't have to be done again, with the Windows Live ID all that's required for authentication. Live ID requires a compatible e-mail address and password, though it doesn't have to be one from Microsoft.
Retained settings include the lock screen picture (though it's limited to 2MB and 1920x1200), desktop background, user tile, browser favorites and history, spell check dictionaries, Explorer settings, mouse settings, and accessibility settings, with the information coming form the cloud.
Internet Explorer 10 in the developer preview of Windows 8 offers a sneak peek at this feature.
Users can pick what is synced with each Windows 8 PC they use through the Sync PC Setting section. Settings groups include Personalize, Themes, Ease of access, Language preferences, Apps, Web browser, Other stuff and Some passwords. At initial set-up, users are asked if they want to link syncing web history, favorites, or credentials to other PCs than their main one.
IT administrators can decide if a worker can link their domain to an ID, and what types of data the worker can sync. A domain-joined machine cannot get its setting uploaded to the cloud or synced to other PCs.
To ensure security, Microsoft will require a strong password and a secondary proof of identity.
Finally, Microsoft is quick to point out that the data is only accessed by Windows for roaming and not accessed in any other context or used for any other purpose.