Understanding the Windows 8 improvements to Action Center and other security features


Everyone who uses Windows knows that you typically sign in, or “log in” as we used to say, to the PC using an account with which unique settings, documents and files, and even applications are associated. The types of accounts we’ve used in Windows have certainly evolved over the years, but for the most part, there have been two basic kinds of sign‑ins: domain accounts, which are used exclusively by corporations, and local accounts, which are specific only to the PC on which they are used; home users and most individuals have always used this latter account type.

In Windows 8, Microsoft is introducing a new type of sign‑in that is tied to a Microsoft account, or what used to be called a Windows Live ID. (With Windows 8, Microsoft is eliminating Windows Live as a brand, but is continuing its most popular products and services, often with new names.) As you’ll discover, this new account type is really just a formalization of a capability that debuted in Windows 7, but it takes on new prominence in Windows 8 thanks to this system’s pervasive PC‑to‑PC sync capabilities.

Windows 8 also provides interesting new choices for signing in, augmenting the long‑lived password system with some new choices that may make more sense on today’s modern Windows devices and PCs. As always, securing your PC against electronic and human attack is job one for Windows 8, and in this version of Windows, you have more tools than ever to help ensure that your PC and its valuable data are safe.

But it all begins with your user account. So let’s look at that first.


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