Wow.  I’ve just bumped into a very useful feature of Windows 8. I knew that Windows 8 could sync your settings, but previously used wireless networks? Genius!

Here’s the scenario.  Corporate issued Windows 8 machine is used by mobile workforce at a number of customer and public sites where wireless internet is available.  Windows 8 Sync Settings are turned on.  Each wireless network is added, pre-shared key or username and password are added.

Next, any of these scenario’s occurs:

  • A new laptop is issued to the mobile worker
  • Mobile worker leaves laptop at home, in taxi…
  • Laptop needs to be rebuilt with new standard operating environment
  • Laptop is stolen…

Mobile worker logs into new laptop and connects their  Microsoft Account to their computer account.
Wireless networks (along with a number of other settings) are synchronized to their new laptop.
Result: Mobile worker doesn’t have to set up all those wireless networks again.  They can get on with working at their clients site.

I personally experienced the benefit of this feature.  I had been previously using Windows 8 Enterprise (RTM) while our IT department finalized our Standard Operating Environment (SOE).  That is, the standard image that would be deployed to all our computers.  Yesterday I installed our new SOE.  I came home and got out my laptop, expecting to set up my connection to my wireless network.  To my surprise, it was already connected.

Microsoft have put a lot of thought into redesigning Windows and Office software to allow users to take their work environment with them, from computer to computer.  More and more people are working on multiple devices and I believe over the next year, we are going to hear more about the practical benefits and real world examples of features such as Sync Settings.