Windows 8 account roaming feature uncovered

Windows 8 will come packed with many new features, while some have already been found, others are still hidden away. But, just because features are hidden/locked, does not mean that talented individuals can't find a way around these barriers.

Individuals over at MDL (via istartedsomething.com) have uncovered the Window's 8 roaming account feature. This new addition to the Windows platform will allow you to carry individual settings with you on different Windows platforms (other Windows 8 environments or a WP7 device). But, this feature will only be available for "linked accounts", which means that unless you tie your settings to an unnamed Windows service (most likely Windows Live), you will not have this functionality.

With this new feature, if you have multiple computers, keeping your settings in sync will become that much easier. This will be a welcome addition by users who are constantly on the go and prefer to have each of their multiple environments exactly the same.

Windows 8 is far off from public availability and it is rumored that a public beta may be announced at PDC later this year. It is expected that Microsoft will launch Windows 8 in late 2012 with the latest rumors suggesting that retail availability will happen in early 2013.

 

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This is just integrating live mesh with windows and adding some things. With live mesh you can have your favorites and office settings synced on any pc that has live mesh installed. this is just making it the whole profile.

majortom1981 said,
This is just integrating live mesh with windows and adding some things. With live mesh you can have your favorites and office settings synced on any pc that has live mesh installed. this is just making it the whole profile.

+1

Essentially Live Mesh was supposed to be in Win7, but was turned into a separate product to ship Win7 sooner. (The SkyDrive and Live servers were still in transitional development for these features, which would have delayed things.)

Win8 is supposed to take this beyond the basic Live Mesh and Win7 features by being more like Active Directory in the Windows Server/Corporate world so that things are a bit more seamless and can stack more and more 'roaming' features and settings instead of the two basic settings Live Mesh offers in addtion to folder syncing.

I like to think of Win8 as Win7 + Live Mesh + Active Directory + Roaming, with end user control on each of the settings and folders that follow them. (Where Active Directory is sort of a all or nothing in terms of settings and is not user controled, but IT administrator controlled.)

A reference to saved website credentials neatly placed in the Control Panel as well. I hope there's a way to access and edit them in the Control Panel instead of just being accessible in Internet Explorer's Internet Options; In fact, I really hope they do away with the awful Internet Options altogether.

Callum said,
A reference to saved website credentials neatly placed in the Control Panel as well. I hope there's a way to access and edit them in the Control Panel instead of just being accessible in Internet Explorer's Internet Options; In fact, I really hope they do away with the awful Internet Options altogether.

It'd be great if they went one step further and added a Keyring like OSX has. I know, "OMG! M$ iz steelin' from Apple again!" but it'd be nice to have a one-stop password configuration center that any program can pull from.

Sranshaft said,

It'd be great if they went one step further and added a Keyring like OSX has. I know, "OMG! M$ iz steelin' from Apple again!" but it'd be nice to have a one-stop password configuration center that any program can pull from.

Keychain is the king. I agree.

Sranshaft said,

It'd be great if they went one step further and added a Keyring like OSX has. I know, "OMG! M$ iz steelin' from Apple again!" but it'd be nice to have a one-stop password configuration center that any program can pull from.

Windows 7 and vista have this already. Its called credential manager. go into your control panel . its right there.

Sranshaft said,

It'd be great if they went one step further and added a Keyring like OSX has. I know, "OMG! M$ iz steelin' from Apple again!" but it'd be nice to have a one-stop password configuration center that any program can pull from.

Yes Keyring is a nice feature for OS X, but Windows has had integrated authenication since NT was designed back in the early 90s.

In the IT world this is far more understood, and seen than it is by average users.

I do admit that there is a disconnect with 3rd party software developers that ignore the original password storing abilities or the newer credential manager features.

In the OS X world, keyring has more market buzz, so 3rd party developers tend to use it, which is weird when they implement keyring integration on OSX, but don't do the same on Windows.

However, Keyring is not easier or automatic, as software developers have to integrate it into their software, just like the software developers that take advantage of the Windows authenication password storage mechanisms have to as well.

In Windows it automatically provides the FTP, Network, Web Site, Web Form, etc password saving features with the Windows authenication system. (Which in the IT world, if you are using Active Directory you see magically stick to the user's authenication on the server and it just follows them, which Win8 should model as well.)

Even external 'online' providers can link to the Windows Authenication, so if you go into the control panel and link your LiveID to your Windows logon, you no longer have to sign into any Live based features, like in Photo Gallery, Messenger, etc.

(If you link your LiveID to other passwords and services online, these also get incorporated, so Facebook for example can be opened and authenicated via your desktop login, via LiveID if it is linked to Facebook.)

This is also another good reason for users to use IE9, as like previous versions of IE, it incorporates into the Windows authenication and password storage system for your web sites.

Microsoft does need to re-present how Windows authenication works, and give it a cute new name and market it for Windows8, especially with the onine storage features it is adding.

Microsoft prior to Win7 didn't educate home users about 'authenication' like they should have, as people would often have different user names and different passwords on various computers in their house, and then be confused when trying to access content over the network, as the Windows authenication wasn't coordinated.

The Win7 Homegroup technology eliminated this problem, but users still should be 'prompted' or reminded to keep their user names and passwords consistent for Windows authenication when they have more than one computer.

Anyway, I understand what you are saying, and I hope that this gets more attention with Win8 so developers use this feature in Windows more and users understand and love it as much as Mac users do Keyring.

I use live mesh for my non domain accounts/computers - this keeps my deskop, doocuments, music and pictures along with IE settings, favourites and office settings synced on my home PC, my laptop, my account on my parents PC, my girlfrinds pc and the kids computers and offers easy remote access to them all.

I also choose to sync the documents, desktop and pics to skydrive but cant do this for all as it only allows you to use 5GB of the 25GB space for live mesh (but this is free, so its fine with me).

I love it, easy to use and silent.

This is nothing compaired with what I'm used to on the active directory side of things (I work in IT support), but for home users having the ability to just install a simple free tool, login using live ID and choose folders to sync its amazing stuff.

I really am lookign forward to full account syncing, which is effectively roaming profiles for home users in windows 8!

I'm loving MS at the moment!

If it works as I suspect it might, it is among my top 5 most sought after features. I want a built-in mechanism to sync speech recognition, handwriting profiles and dictionary.

JohnCz said,
If it works as I suspect it might, it is among my top 5 most sought after features. I want a built-in mechanism to sync speech recognition, handwriting profiles and dictionary.

+1000

torrentthief said,
storing passwords, history, finances etc on a server doesn't sound like my cup of tea Cloud = end of privacy.

Having anything connected to the Internet = the end of privacy

Live Mesh today provides an option to sync between devices without storing anything in the cloud. I wouldn't be surprised if syncing various System / Application settings would require the devices to be on the same network. We'll have to see how this works.


torrentthief said,
storing passwords, history, finances etc on a server doesn't sound like my cup of tea Cloud = end of privacy.

It'll all be secured though, its not like we're talking about Sony here

torrentthief said,
storing passwords, history, finances etc on a server doesn't sound like my cup of tea Cloud = end of privacy.

Actually, if you delve into Microsoft's cloud strategy, you'd see that your data is probably more secure within their infrastructure, over your own home system.

JohnCz said,
Live Mesh today provides an option to sync between devices without storing anything in the cloud. I wouldn't be surprised if syncing various System / Application settings would require the devices to be on the same network. We'll have to see how this works.


I don't think they do, live mesh now syncs Outlook and Internet Explorer and it doesn't seem like that is limited to being on the same network/homegroup (at least I don't think so). I'm hoping MS opens up a API to 3rd parties so that we can sync any app we'd like between all our PCs.

JohnCz said,
Live Mesh today provides an option to sync between devices without storing anything in the cloud. I wouldn't be surprised if syncing various System / Application settings would require the devices to be on the same network. We'll have to see how this works.


It does both, and in theory could only sync between computers, but as it works now, it keeps a copy online in your SkyDrive. Which is a nice feature if you want to gain access to a 'synced' folder and only have access to a browser.

As for the People concerned about storing their information on Microsoft's cloud servers, it is apparent they have no understanding of the rigid and highly secure nature of how people's data is stored at Microsoft. It is not like Google, where employees can open up all your email or GDocs and read them anytime they want.

MS Employees have no access to the data, with everything being machine command and queue based, that uses server media and unassociated user 256bit key GUID encryption.

Which means that even if Microsoft wanted to gain access to your data, it would still be 256-bit key based 256bit encrypted bits, which is worthless.

Even at this level, it is the same level of encyrption the US government uses for TOP SECRET data storage, a grade above SECRET. To put this in perspective, it would take a few billions years to break the encryption of your data.

Again, Microsoft's data servers and LiveID/Passport based security are NOTHING like Google, as they are not human accessible, have no way to obtain the LiveID associated with the data, and would require over a billion years to crack.

So if anyone seriously has issues with Microsoft's cloud or wants to put on a tinfoil hat, they should first consider things they do that are far less secure, which includes their home router, their password to login to their computer.

It would also be wise to realize how insecure Google's data is, and what they store and stop using their services. This includes your searches and browsing in Chrome in addition to your Gmail and GDocs or Google Voice data, as they are not secured, are human accessible by Google Engineers, and are not encrypted beyond server media encryption.

(Bing/Google: Google Employee Fired - you will find several people at Google that when it became public, were fired for looking at people's data and using it for nefarious reasons; and this is only the employees that got caught and only the instances where it was made public, forcing Google to fire them. Even after firing the employees, Google each time stated that it is necessary for their employees to be able to read people's data on their servers, which demonstrates their lack of secured data storage methods, and it is alarming that they either don't know how to design truly human inaccessible secure data servers, or they don't care to implement secure storage. It is also why the Google lawsuit about the Government contracts are laughable at best, as even their special 'government' based solutions they put together don't fully meet SECRET level requirements, let alone TOP SECRET level data storage requirements.)

FloatingFatMan said,
Umm... Account roaming is nothing new in Windows... It goes back to the days of Windows NT and before...

True but this had traditionally been limited to enterprise / domains and had no consumer counterpart.

FloatingFatMan said,
Umm... Account roaming is nothing new in Windows... It goes back to the days of Windows NT and before...

As JohnCz mentioned, consumers haven't seen it and if it is going through the cloud, it will be a welcome addition for some people.

FloatingFatMan said,
Umm... Account roaming is nothing new in Windows... It goes back to the days of Windows NT and before...

Technically it ONLY goes back to the days of NT with any elegance and concurrent roaming. Prior to this, you could use shared locations on Novell servers for example, but there was no server side intelligence of the roaming, just the user data was stored on the server, and thus if the user logged into more than one location, file locks and chances of data getting corrupted were common.

Oh, how I DO NOT miss the days of the dumb Print/File server Novell technology of that time.

FloatingFatMan said,
How it was implemented isn't relevant. That this is nothing new, is.

The implementation is new. How is it not relevant?

So this is the first example of 'cloud'. I wonder if in the future you will be able to load all your files etc as well. In the far future so you can go on any PC and all your files are loaded from the cloud.

Gaffney said,
So this is the first example of 'cloud'. I wonder if in the future you will be able to load all your files etc as well. In the far future so you can go on any PC and all your files are loaded from the cloud.

You already have this in Windows7, install Live Essentials and open Live Mesh. You can select any folder, even folders like your desktop. They are stored on the cloud/skydrive and when you sign into a new computer, open Live Mesh and tell it where your 'cloud/Synced' folder are to be located.

I imagine Windows8 will use a more integrated solution, but should work somewhat the same, as most users will not want all of their personal folders with GBs of data transferred to the cloud and to every computer they sign into, so the selection of folders and files will be selective, just as they are with Win7 and Live Mesh.