Windows 8

Quick tip: Tell your Windows 8 PC that you trust it

If you designate a PC or device as trusted, you can synchronize many settings across those devices using cloud services.

One of the distinguishing features of Microsoft Windows 8 is the ability to synchronize your user settings across all your devices. Check that - across all of your trusted devices. Before the "sync your settings" feature will work, however, you will have to affirm that your trust your PC.

Note: This assumes you are logging into your Windows 8 PC using a Windows Live account.

Here is my desktop before trust is established. (Figure A)

Figure A

Before trust

Trust but verify

When you first log into Windows 8 using a Windows Live account you establish a connection with the cloud, but before any data can transfer between your local machine and that cloud, you will have to indicate that your PC is ready. Microsoft calls this establishing trust.

The setting is located in the Windows 8 Action Center. The easiest way to get there is to type the word "action" while at the Start Screen and click the Settings category in the resulting search. (Figure B)

Figure B

Action Center
When you reach the Action Center (Figure C), you will be given the opportunity add you PC to your list of trusted devices.

Figure C

Trust
After you click the Trust this PC button you will be taken to the Windows Live website where you will be asked to enter a code (Figure D). This code can come to you in several ways, depending on how your Windows Live account is configured. I had the code texted to my smartphone.

Figure D

Enter the code
Once the code is entered, your Windows 8 PC will be added to the list of trusted devices (Figure E) and you will be able to synchronize those devices for a unified experience. There are advantages to automatic synchronization and there are disadvantages, so you'll have to decide if this is what you want to do. However, it is nice to have options. (Figure F)

Figure E

Trusted devices

Figure F

This Skyrim screenshot propagated across my trusted PCs

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

9 comments
che17.gil
che17.gil

yes I trust this PC, it helps me to reinstall the page starter and especially the windows 8 will become active again... but it takes several times to do this! ive got 2 days... fully awake...

wawyatt1
wawyatt1

I recently installed a program that win8 did not like PC locked up had to reinstall system and then one of my most important programs would not reinstall I think the log on via Live acct. caused this problem the PC thought it already had all DLL etc. in the registry I went back to win7 problem solved Thanks Bill W.

Jaytmoon
Jaytmoon

So, buy it a nice (but cheap) dinner, wine and some flowers, but carry some protection in your wallet! Otherwise, treat Win 8 like the fortune teller you see at the carnival, keep your money close to you and dont give away any personal info!

eaglewolf
eaglewolf

In order to have a 'trusted pc' so you can do all this, per the instructions, you must: "To add a trusted PC to your account, you need to access your account using Internet Explorer and have Windows Live Essentials installed." No, thank you, I don't .. and won't .. use IE and I have no interest in installing yet another 'you need this to make it work' MS program. Every time I log in now, I get asked for my phone number, an alternate e-mail, and told I need a 'trusted' PC. Maybe if I had more trust in the company and their network(s) .. but I don't. And if you synch everything, what happens when, not if, one of the components is compromised? Doesn't that nicely synch across all your devices? Will cloud malware be constructed to look for, and follow synched devices? I don't know .. just a thought. I would never consider putting my work data on the cloud for multiple reasons, but security and uptime are high on the list. Regarding uptime, consider the major and sudden storm this summer in the US Southeast. Somebody's cloud was totally knocked offline for a period of hours. Where was the backup? Consider 2013, the upcoming solar maximum. It's already being looked at as a major event with the probability of serious disruptions to the power grid. Another thing .. I don't like being forced to the cloud in order to get a fully functional program. As I understand it, if you want to have the software actually ON your system .. non-cloud .. the only versions they're going to be offering in that format for Office 365 are 'Student' and one of the 'Home' versions. Useless. Incomplete for business/enterprise.

JGSecurity
JGSecurity

Sure u can trust your PC until you connect on another network and the workstation service starts broadcasting all your home computer names all over the new network. Microsoft doesn't warn you about that do they?? I just experienced this with my laptop and had to shutoff the workstation service to make it stop.

laman
laman

Cloud OK if you have your own offline backup. At least you won't loss everything like that silly journo.

DRTBLAIR
DRTBLAIR

How secure is the information in the cloud? If someone can hack into the Pentagon, how do we know our data is secure?

Skruis
Skruis

I do like it for my personal use. In fact, after using the 'refresh' options in Windows 8 (as a test), it became evident to me that though the cloud sync feature is great, they can take it further and sync more items like tile placement for example. I've installed Windows 8 on my Slate 3 times (each release) and each time, I've had to manually reinstall my apps again and place the tiles/groups in the correct places...it's not the end of the world but it would add some nice polish to the 'sync' experience if Microsoft at least preserved the app grouping. But again, there's a bad side to it if they did. I use a few apps across both my desktop and my Slate but their usage is very different. If it did sync the things I mentioned across devices, it might not be the best as both devices are geared differently but if they at least stored icon/group placements per device for restore to the same device, that'd be nice.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Are you on board with the automatic synchronization of devices across the cloud? Is this something your organization has looked into? What policies are in place concerning these cloud personalization services?

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