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Windows 8 Will Remember Your Settings Across PCs

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 38 comments

Get your awesome lock screen picture anywhere you go.

Microsoft is heavily pitching Windows 8 to be its most user-centric effort yet. One such feature is the ability to sync settings between different computers, so that users can have a similar and more seamless experience moving from one machine to the next.

This means that a Windows 8 user, if he or she chooses, can share settings and personalization between home and work or school computers, or perhaps even between multiple machines within the same home.

Katie Frigon, Group Program Manager at Microsoft, details in the B8 blog that it signing into Windows 8 using a Windows Live ID allows the user to:

  • Associate the most commonly used Windows settings with your user account. Saved settings are available when you sign in to your account on any Windows 8 PC. Your PC will be set up just the way you are used to!
  • Easily reacquire your Metro style apps on multiple Windows 8 PCs. The app’s settings and last-used state persist across all your Windows 8 PCs.
  • Save sign-in credentials for the different apps and websites you use and easily get back into them without having to enter credentials every time.
  • Automatically sign in to apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication.

Check out how it all works in the video below:

 

Windows 8 Sign In Settings

Of course, security and privacy is a major concern of having things such as password and browser history synced to the cloud. For those who prefer to keep things private, this Windows Live ID sign-in is completely optional. Also, users can also selectively disable the syncing and storage of certain sensitive items.

Frigon explains other measures in place to guard a user's privacy:

We’ve taken measures to safeguard the ID and password you use to sign in to Windows. We do this in a couple ways. First, we will require a strong password (and you can’t leave password blank). Next, we’ll collect a secondary proof of your identity. This will allow us to establish “trust” with specific PCs that you use frequently or own. This in turn will also enable more secure syncing of private data like passwords. Collecting the secondary proof of your identity also helps make account recovery easier and more secure. Examples of secondary proofs are alternative email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and questions with secret answers—something that generally only you will know.

[…]

You might also be wondering, “what happens if somehow my Windows Live ID gets stolen?”  Well, we have some help for you there too. Windows Live ID includes a number of different safety features to detect if your account is stolen, and it will change your account to a “compromised” state (limiting what it can do) until you can regain control of your account using the two-factor authentication features (secondary proofs) that you set up earlier. Importantly, you will still have full access to your PC, since your PC will allow you to log in with the password you had before your account was stolen – you just won’t be able to use the services and applications that rely on this ID until you go through our “recover my account” workflow online.

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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    killerclick , October 2, 2011 8:14 PM
    If there is a way to completely disable and hide all elements of the Metro UI, will that be reflected over all computers I use?
  • 12 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 2, 2011 9:15 PM
    ravewulfI wish they put in a setting to go back to the regular desktop/start menu. In the dev preview the new tile interface completely replaces the start menu. Every time you click the start button it takes you to the tiles.The only way to get the normal desktop/start menu back permanently is through a registry hack that also disables the new explorer/file transfer dialogues/task manager too

    MS has stated publicly that the Metro UI will be optional in the final release (you can disable it entirely).
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2011 10:29 PM
    Seriously? Every Win8 article has some guy going "OMG I HATEZ WIN 8 CUZ METRO SUXZORS!!!" As said by Microsoft themselves A LONG LONG TIME AGO (and in the comments of all these articles), metro is OPTIONAL. This means theres an off button.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    Onus , October 2, 2011 8:09 PM
    Businesses will NOT like this, unless they can create something on their secure domains that can do the same things for users on different PCs at work.
  • 12 Hide
    killerclick , October 2, 2011 8:14 PM
    If there is a way to completely disable and hide all elements of the Metro UI, will that be reflected over all computers I use?
  • 5 Hide
    zanny , October 2, 2011 8:24 PM
    jtt283Businesses will NOT like this, unless they can create something on their secure domains that can do the same things for users on different PCs at work.


    Let us be honest, it just means they won't use it.

    I'll go against the tide here and say that anyone who will use the metro UI crap and all that will probably like this feature too. It makes "their" computer much less what they have in front of them and more their cloud storage and whatever they have online.

    I'm just curious how you open a video on a system thats stored locally, log out, and log in across town on a friends pc and have that running still. Because I'm sure M$ isn't trying to copy everything you are doing to the cloud. So this feature is only for web apps, its basically firefox sync with the entire OS through windows live.
  • -6 Hide
    proton9 , October 2, 2011 9:03 PM
    bs cloud sucks
  • -4 Hide
    yumri , October 2, 2011 9:05 PM
    um how would this work with for example server 2000 - server 2008 r2 domain controller role functionality as per how i read it in the Microsoft certification book the administrator of the domain sets up all the accounts and privileges of every one of them using what methods they deem to be appropriate for the business which they are administrating. but with windows 8 this seems to NOT be compatible with windows server up to windows sever 2008 r2 thus windows 8 will be a dud unless they can disable metro from even being available to the users who they are the admins over. otherwise business will just NOT BUY windows 8 due to lack of control over what the users can and cannot do on it with this i also doubt that a linux, unix, mac, etc. with middleware sever system will be able to administrate windows 8 any better then the windows servers out today. windows 8 so far just sounds like it is a dud for anyone who needs any real security on their machine even if they need a private and/or a public data center cloud that can be made with a little hardware change to their network to make the data center cloud without having to migrate to windows 8.
    windows 8 was a good idea but it tried to hard for to many things and didnt get the major ones done right thus without a fix for disabling metro on a domain, a fix to disable it on a stand alone workstation for desktop/laptop users, and other modification to the OS and better support for the x86 multi-core CPU structure on x86 versions and better ARM structure for ARM CPUs, and a better BSOD with the location of the memory dump for the ones of us who want to look at that then it will not sell very well unless they take windows 7 off of the market.
  • 8 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 2, 2011 9:09 PM
    ZannyI'm just curious how you open a video on a system thats stored locally, log out, and log in across town on a friends pc and have that running still.

    It doesn't look like having access to all your files on any Windows PC you log onto is the point or purpose of this feature. It's to sync commonly used windows settings and themes, the purpose being to give you a more seamless user experience across multiple systems you use on a regular basis. And just like Metro itself, they're not forcing you to use it.
  • -8 Hide
    ravewulf , October 2, 2011 9:11 PM
    I wish they put in a setting to go back to the regular desktop/start menu. In the dev preview the new tile interface completely replaces the start menu. Every time you click the start button it takes you to the tiles.

    The only way to get the normal desktop/start menu back permanently is through a registry hack that also disables the new explorer/file transfer dialogues/task manager too
  • 12 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , October 2, 2011 9:15 PM
    ravewulfI wish they put in a setting to go back to the regular desktop/start menu. In the dev preview the new tile interface completely replaces the start menu. Every time you click the start button it takes you to the tiles.The only way to get the normal desktop/start menu back permanently is through a registry hack that also disables the new explorer/file transfer dialogues/task manager too

    MS has stated publicly that the Metro UI will be optional in the final release (you can disable it entirely).
  • -3 Hide
    ravewulf , October 2, 2011 9:18 PM
    dragonsqrrlMS has stated publicly that the Metro UI will be optional in the final release (you can disable it entirely).

    Link please?
  • -7 Hide
    cookoy , October 2, 2011 9:43 PM
    Cool, same everywhere like the black Ford Model T. But i want some variety in life.
  • 10 Hide
    Anonymous , October 2, 2011 10:29 PM
    Seriously? Every Win8 article has some guy going "OMG I HATEZ WIN 8 CUZ METRO SUXZORS!!!" As said by Microsoft themselves A LONG LONG TIME AGO (and in the comments of all these articles), metro is OPTIONAL. This means theres an off button.
  • -1 Hide
    mikeangs2004 , October 2, 2011 11:25 PM
    IE should have its own Sync feature w/o using Live Mesh, just like the other browsers.
  • -1 Hide
    killerclick , October 2, 2011 11:27 PM
    dragonsqrrlMS has stated publicly that the Metro UI will be optional in the final release (you can disable it entirely).


    How come they didn't include this option in the developer build? In fact they didn't say you'll be able to disable Metro UI entirely, only that you'll be able to go to the standard desktop interface which is not good enough if the Start Menu is gone.
  • 2 Hide
    Sorrow_ , October 3, 2011 1:56 AM
    This is stupid, make it like they been since they started, just more features like the did with Visa to Windows 7.. This is so dumb I'll stay with Win 7 if its going to be like this.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 3, 2011 2:04 AM
    Copied what Chrome OS does.
  • 4 Hide
    omenator , October 3, 2011 2:29 AM
    "Businesses will NOT like this, unless they can create something on their secure domains that can do the same things for users on different PCs at work." you mean like group policy and roaming user profiles?
  • -4 Hide
    hitman23 , October 3, 2011 2:46 AM
    Windows 8 Will Remember Your Settings Across PCs - totally useless feature if you ask me..
  • -2 Hide
    CaedenV , October 3, 2011 3:29 AM
    As someone who uses multiple computers and has used win8 on 2 of them, I LOVE this feature! Personally I use my desktop, my netbook, my wife's computer, plus my work laptop and work desktop. Having just 2 logins (one personal, one work) across all these computers, and keeping consistent setting across all devices, would be WONDERFUL.
    I set up win8 on my netbook and desktop, and this feature worked well. I set everything up on my netbook first (as it is my non mission critical machine), and later slapped in a spare drive for my desktop to try it on. When I logged in the first time the settings didnt transfer (later found out they were still downloading). After 2-3min I reset the computer after installing some software. When it came back it had my user pic, background pick, lock screen pic, transferred my login settings (Pin, password, touch password), and synced my little test folder for the new file syncing through skydrive. In theory the final version will also transfer all programs purchased on the marketplace, and some other things.
    Obviously the down side is that if your liveID is compromised then it is just about the end of the world as the person could change your user password and lock you out of all of your computers at once. But practically speaking I doubt this would happen unless a specific person is targeted (or leaves their computer on in a room full of teenagers!)

    All of that said, I think I am going to sit out on win8 (unless RC is amazingly good). I love win7, and as much as I like the general direction they are going with win8 (the detail and control over the system is amazing) I do not see an immediate reason to upgrade. Traditionally I have skipped every other version (with the exception of win2K to XP), and I think I will continue that trend. It is just too expensive to update the 5 home computers OS every 2-3 years, better to wait 5-6.
  • 7 Hide
    bin1127 , October 3, 2011 3:31 AM
    uh... is my playboy desktop picture going to be copied as well?
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , October 3, 2011 3:46 AM
    killerclickHow come they didn't include this option in the developer build? In fact they didn't say you'll be able to disable Metro UI entirely, only that you'll be able to go to the standard desktop interface which is not good enough if the Start Menu is gone.

    Um, because it is the dev build. It is intended for developers to begin designing programs arround the new metroUI. It is not (by any means) complete (not even an exit option in metro apps lol). There will be many thousands of changes before the final build release. Metro UI is easily bypassed with a simple registry tweak, and the final version will likely have a 'classic' option. If you watch the build conference the version they used in their examples have features not available in the dev version (like changing your metro background color, titling groupings, and the overall ram usage was smaller than the released version)
    Sorrow_This is stupid, make it like they been since they started, just more features like the did with Visa to Windows 7.. This is so dumb I'll stay with Win 7 if its going to be like this.

    There are quite a few great improvements to the traditional windows UI such as the new task manager (epic!), file transfers, and the ability to mount VOB and VHDs natively just to start with. The startUI/metroUI really isnt that bad. Not perfect, but I find it more useful than the start menu which was broke from win95 on. Besides, there are other reasons (like financial investment) that are much more valid to skipping a generation.
    omenator"Businesses will NOT like this, unless they can create something on their secure domains that can do the same things for users on different PCs at work." you mean like group policy and roaming user profiles?

    Microsoft is always (except Vista) a Business First company. I am sure network admins will have full and complete control over everything as they always have. To think I could just log in with my personal information (and metroUI programs) on a work domain in the final version is a silly idea.
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