Windows 7: Link your online ID and share files in Homegroup

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

Sharing Files

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 widprov@microsoft.com to learn how to become an online identity provider

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25 Comments

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If you have build 7022, you can use this feature to stream media over the internet with WMP12. Just open WMP and click Stream, then "Allow internet access to home media...".

"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"

It sounds EXACTLY like .Net Passport and looks don't make a bit of difference. Still as useless as ever and who knows how much of a security risk?!!

I seem to miss the in this, too. We're talking about LAN, aren't we? I know which machines and users are in my LAN, i don't need to identify them. Maybe this is prepearing HomeGroup for a wider scope beyond the LAN.

Perhaps MS are planning a more thorough integration of this with cloud services...

Sharing over the internet of folders, works well with all their plans of seamless integration between mobile phones, several computers anywhere you are.

Wouldn't it be easier just to log in directly instead of through a middleman? You still have to have a Windows 7 account linked to the ID, right?

It probably works after you have rebooted the pc you've set to share some file. I have not yet tried with Live Sign Assistant, but it works that way when you choose to share with your Homegroup. You won't see the shared file on other pc's until you reboot the pc you're sharing the file on.

Errr...
Wait up... Wasn't it like you could set specific write/read/... permissions per user on a network already before by Windows Account names?

...

Sorry, fail to see big feature innovation.

For the linking of Online IDs and even more than Windows Live, I find that an awesome idea, would love to see more features added, that you can use based on linking IDs.

Glassed Silver:win

Glassed Silver said,
Errr...
Wait up... Wasn't it like you could set specific write/read/... permissions per user on a network already before by Windows Account names?

What if you dont know their user name but their email id?

Chaks said,

What if you dont know their user name but their email id?


on a local network normally you see the people in real life, too....
how about: ask? XD

Glassed Silver:win

If you want to set permissions for a user on the network in a Workgroup enviroment you need that person to have a local account. By issueing permissions to a Live ID it takes away this requirement.

I was thinking what a silly idea, I meen why not simply set share permissions for that folder? But then the penny dropped.