Windows Blue will feature improved synchronization

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 28, 2013

In today's world, the majority of users handle multiple devices. A desktop PC, notebook, tablet and smartphone are just some examples. Add to that media boxes, gaming consoles and even a connected fridge and you will end up with multiple devices that you use on a daily basis. The though to synchronization some settings and features between devices comes natural, like sending a recently visited websites to your smartphone, syncing bookmarks or even the open websites of the web browser that you are using on multiple devices.

Microsoft added basic syncing capabilities to Windows 8 which it linked to a Microsoft account. Users of Windows 8 can sync several settings including personalization settings like colors and the desktop wallpaper, passwords, ease of access, app settings, browser settings and a couple of other preferences.

While that is great for a start, it is not a full sync, something that many users may have come to expect from Microsoft. Examples of preferences and data that does not get synced are all desktop programs installed on the system, the start screen or the installed apps.

According to Rafael Rivera this is going to change when Windows Blue gets released. He analyzed the leaked Windows Blue build and discovered a Registry key that hinted at new synchronization items that Microsoft added to Windows Blue. Note that since this is a preliminary build, it may happen that some of the items will be removed again in a later build. For now, the following syncing items have been added to Windows Blue on top of the existing items that are already synced in Windows 8:

  • Installed Apps
  • App secondary tiles
  • File History
  • Picture Password
  • Tethering
  • Explorer Quick Links
  • The Start Screen layout and design
  • Input Personalization
  • Device Associations (to pair devices once with a system and sync the information to all connected devices so that the connected device is identified correctly on all other devices without configuration).
  • Internet Explorer tracking protection and tabs.

Some items are great additions to the synchronization process. I especially like the application and start screen syncing, as it means that you will have all apps and the same start screen available on all Windows 8 systems you work with.


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  1. Shai said on March 30, 2013 at 3:45 am

    I, personally, don’t use synching, but I can see its merits for those who use several Windows 8 and above devices, and therefore I think that this is a good step for those who need to be kept updated across devices..
    However, Microsoft should really do something about their operating system, mainly deciding what are their goals. As of now the Hybrid approach they have introduced in Windows 8 is just yet another manifestation of a corporation patronizing its clients/users, and forcing unwanted and uncalled for changes, and even worse, bluntly disrespecting them (the users) by telling them that they don’t know what they want or need, and that only the almighty corporation holds that knowledge.

    So, slim chances that anything will change, the corporation is after the money not the user experience, usability or meeting the real world needs, but this also means that even simple and basic features such as synching could be botched up and made unbelievabley useless.

    I think that by removing features, ignoring the users’ needs, and overall sporting a we-know-it-all-better attitude, the two main Desktop OSs developers have started to tread a slippery slope, and while many of the things probably won’t backfire on them per se because history shows that the majority of users adapt (at their own expense) and embrace even the most ridiculous of things, in a sense this attitude and ignoring even the core needs of their users could backfire on them in the long run. There is a point in time in which any sensible person stops being (or at least being less) manipulated by marketing mambo-jambo, knows how to better define their personal and work needs, and then look for the best solutions to meet them instead of chasing the new buzzword of the week.

  2. sades said on March 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    And now you can feel crippled on all of your machine!

  3. Nebulus said on March 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t really care about syncing, I surely don’t care about Windows 8 or its “Blue” successor, but thanks for sharing the info! :)

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