If you jump back and forth between multiple PCs on a regular basis, you probably know how annoying it is to keep track of various customizations and other settings. You can always train yourself to be content with the defaults and use easy-to-remember passwords, but that's no real solution. What Microsoft is implementing in Windows 8, however, sounds like a better way to address that problem.
As Microsoft's Katie Frigon explains on the Building Windows 8 blog, Windows 8 will use Windows Live IDs to store user settings in the cloud, making customizations system-independent. When you log into a Windows 8 machine with your Windows Live ID, you'll purportedly be able to
- Associate the most commonly used Windows settings with your user account. Saved settings are available when you sign in to your account on any Windows 8 PC. Your PC will be set up just the way you are used to!
- Easily reacquire your Metro style apps on multiple Windows 8 PCs. The app’s settings and last-used state persist across all your Windows 8 PCs.
- Save sign-in credentials for the different apps and websites you use and easily get back into them without having to enter credentials every time.
- Automatically sign in to apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication.
- When you buy a Windows 8 PC and set up your user account for the first time, you can optionally choose to create an account that is associated to a Windows Live ID.
Frigon demonstrates the functionality in the video below:
As Frigon points out, the cloud sync functionality is optional, so you'll be able to keep accounts off the cloud if you so choose. That ought to reassure some of the tinfoil hat wearers out there—and, you know, people who have legitimate reasons not to want sensitive data and login credentials stored on remote servers. I'm guessing everybody else will appreciate the option, if only for the sake of convenience.