Last year, a bunch of presentations detailing planned Windows 8 enhancements were leaked. Those documents gave us a glimpse of what Microsoft was planning for the next iteration of Windows. It was obvious that one of the key differentiators for Windows 8 is going to be cloud integration. Back then, I wrote:
With Windows 8, user accounts will finally become user centric. Your cloud based user account will follow you, from machine to machine.
Now, some leaked screenshots and some sleuthing from MDL forum members, have thrown up a fair amount of concrete information on Window 8’s cloud integration. According to Microsoft, more than 52% PC users work on multiple computers on a regular basis. In order to make switching between workstations effortless, Windows 8 will be introducing ‘Roaming Profiles’. When you logon to different devices using your ‘connected password’, your settings will be automatically transferred to the device. The ‘Roaming Options’ Control Panel item will allow you to add or remove the following from your roaming profile:
- Desktop Wallpaper
- Aero Glass Color
- Ease of access control panel
- On screen keyboard
- Speech recognition settings
- Language profile
- Text prediction preferences
- IME dictionary
- Application settings and search history
- Windows Taskbar settings
- Windows Explorer settings
- Windows Search settings
- Windows Mouse settings
- Wireless network profiles
- Saved website credentials
Interestingly enough, as pointed out by Long Zheng, Windows 8 seems to have the ability to detect if you are using a metered internet connection, or a connection with low bandwidth cap.
Furthermore, another MDL forum member has posted a screenshot that shows the cloud authentication feature in action. Windows 8 will provide the option of either logging in as a local user, or logging in using cloud identification. Quite obviously, Microsoft will be tapping into the Windows Live network for the cloud oriented features.
The public beta of Windows 8 is still several months away. In the meantime, if you want to get a taste of Windows 8, go ahead and download the leaked Windows 8 M2 (pre-M3) release.