Microsoft recently released Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5 Beta for Windows 7 which allows you to link your Windows User Accounts with your Windows Live ID. This may sound something similar to .NET Passport account in Windows XP, but it looks like it is totally different and it is way more useful than just linking your online account
Microsoft cites the following as an example of how you can make use of this feature
On his homegroup, Bob wants to share certain documents with his wife but not with his kids. Simply by specifying his wife's Windows Live ID user name, Bob can give his wife exclusive permission to access documents on his computer
This is indeed an useful addition to lots other Windows 7 features and it makes file sharing easier along with the new homegroup feature
So, how do I use it?
Before getting into a 'how-to' lets be clear that this tiny little feature is still under development and you might not be able to experience it fully
Linking your Windows User Account with your Live ID
Download and install the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5 (Beta) in your Windows 7
Open Control Panel and navigate to User Accounts and Family Safety
Click on User Accounts
Now click on Link online IDs in the left pane
As the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5 Beta is already installed, you should get an option to link your Live ID now
Add your Live ID
After successful sign on, you should see your Live ID linked with your user account
To share a file with someone else in the homegroup who has already linked their user accounts with an Online ID Provider, such as Windows Live ID - right click on that file and choose share with specific people
This will open the file sharing wizard
As you can see in the above screenshot, it shows all other online IDs linked (including the one we just added) in the homegroup. You can add them and give appropriate permissions. Its that simple!
Whats wrong with this feature currently?
This new feature looks like its still under development. I tried to share files by giving exclusive permissions to my other linked IDs in my homegroup, but I was not able to see the shared file(s) or even get a prompt that a file has been shared by another user. So, don't expect it to work, but its good to see that the work is in progress and we might see it working in the upcoming Windows 7 RC release
Microsoft has not yet published a 'how-to' for this feature. If you do find a way of using it, please do leave your comments here
Whats good about this feature?
This new feature not only allows Windows Live ID, but also several other online ID providers, but for now its only Windows Live ID. Additional online identity providers might be listed when Windows 7 is commercially released.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to become an online identity provider