Idea #4 – Online Hosting of Windows 10 Preferences
Many computer owners will customise their computer’s settings to suit their needs and preferences. A computer owner might also use computer labs, internet cafes or simply borrow a friend’s computer or buy a replacement for an old computer. Rather than having to copy one computer’s settings to the other manually in order to keep the feel the user is used to (and having to change everything back afterwards), it would be possible to transfer the settings via Microsoft’s cloud computing architecture.
Microsoft currently provides file hosting through their OneDrive service, a service which could be extended to include making backups of the user’s preferences – both for Windows and for other supported software. These preferences could then be accessed on a temporary basis on another computer – allowing a borrowed computer to emulate the look and feel of the user’s own computer – or permanently applied to a new computer when the user replaces old hardware. Display settings, mouse and accessibility options, desktop and lockscreen backgrounds could all be included in this snapshot of the donor computer’s setup. The backup could even include permissions for software downloaded from the Windows Store.
While this feature is of limited use to anyone who uses a single computer exclusively and does not upgrade their hardware or reinstall Windows unless absolutely necessary, there are many people who are not in this situation. A person may be required to use a more powerful computer or one with specialised software installed for work or study, or simply because it is more convenient than travelling with a laptop. Or a person may not own their own computer, and instead uses several different computers on a day-to-day basis. Any of these people may appreciate an easy way to tailor each computer they use to their own preferences.
It is important for the sake of security that neither the user’s account information nor the recipient computer be compromised if one computer or the other is infected with spyware or otherwise exposed to attack. To prevent an infected donor computer from infecting the recipient with a virus, it would be necessary for the server-side software to maintain tight controls on what types of files are hosted. To stop an infected recipient computer compromising the user’s login details, it would be necessary to support an alternative, limited password that only grants read access to the backups and does not grant access to the rest of the account. Microsoft already supports one-time codes for their online services, a solution which could be reused for this service.