Microsoft detailed its Windows Live ID integration in Windows 8 on Monday.
The software giant is planning to offer optional Windows Live sign-in for user accounts as part of Windows 8. The developer preview build of Windows 8 offers some parts of the integration but Microsoft plans to include the following in Windows 8:
- Associate the most commonly used Windows settings with your user account. Saved settings are available on each Windows 8 PC you sign in to
- Windows 8 Metro style app settings and last-used state persist across all Windows 8 PCs linked PCs
- Website and application login credentials are automatically synced across Windows 8 linked PCs
- Automatically sign in to apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication
Windows 8 users can choose which settings they would live to sync across their PCs. Settings such as the lock screen picture you’ve chosen or Windows desktop wallpaper, account user tile, browser favourites and explorer settings will sync across all Windows Live ID linked PCs. “They are kept in sync and come down to each machine you use as they are changed or updated,” explained Katie Frigon of Microsoft’s you-centered experience team in a blog post on Monday.
“We’ve recommended a default behavior that assumes you want to roam settings that are used most often to personalize and customize the way you use your PC,” says Frigon. “You maintain control of your data when work and personal start to mix.” Microsoft asks Windows 8 users which type of data they want to sync if they choose to link a Windows Live ID to a Windows Domain account. “You can decide if things like your web history, favorites, or credentials should sync to your work machine, or if you’d prefer to keep those or anything else that is synced only on your personal machines,” explains Frigon.
IT administrators can also control what a user decides to sync to a work PC through group policy. “We have provided control to IT administrators to decide if a worker can link their domain account to an ID, and if the admin allows that link, what types of data the worker is allowed to sync,” says Frigon. Microsoft also separates the Windows domain credentials so they never get synced to the cloud.
Microsoft is safe guarding the data and privacy of Windows 8 users by requiring a strong password and a secondary proof of identity. The secondary proof will enable users to create a trust between PCs that they own and Windows Live. “Collecting the secondary proof of your identity also helps make account recovery easier and more secure,” explains Frigon. Microsoft has taken extra steps to ensure data is protected too. The company will not roam data over WWAN by default and all user data is encrypted on the client before it’s sent to Microsoft’s cloud servers. All data is then transmitted using SSL/TLS. “The most sensitive information, like your credential information, is encrypted once based on your password and then encrypted again as it is sent across the Internet,” explains Frigon. Windows 8 users will be able to establish a secure PC by providing the extra proof of identity. The secondary proof can be setup using a mobile phone via SMS or a secondary email address.
Microsoft believes the new settings will make the Windows 8 experience more personal and easier to setup across multiple devices. “We look forward to hearing about how you are enjoying the feature and to receiving your feedback,” says Frigon.