Microsoft Unveils Windows 7 File-Sharing Beta

Dennis Faas's picture

Only further riling up anxious PC users who can't wait to get their hands on the new Windows 7, Microsoft yesterday released a trial version of new file-sharing software intended for use with its upcoming and highly-anticipated operating system.

The new software allows PC users to swap files with the computers of friends, family, and trusted colleagues along safe, secure channels. Dubbed "Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5," the beta connects the Windows Live IDs of individual users with a Windows 7 account, essentially building a secure link between data stored on a hard drive and information accessible via Windows Live online. (Source:

Much like a Google Docs spreadsheet, a user could grant access to online files -- and those on his computer -- by simply inviting them into his or her Windows 7 "homegroup".

Secure and selective user access

Microsoft boasts that its system for inviting (and omitting) users is more complicated than its competitors'. On its official website, Microsoft stated "On his homegroup, Bob wants to share certain documents with his wife but not with his kids. Simply by specifying his wife's Windows Live ID user name, Bob can give his wife exclusive permission to access documents on his computer."

Windows Live Sign-in Assistant 6.5 will gain a few new features when used in accordance with Windows 7, including twenty new hotkey combinations and native support for touch-screen technology.

Trouble looming for MS

Insiders are already calling the move a crafty one, a plea to consumers to invest in Windows 7 when it's finally released later this year or in 2010. Microsoft is clearly still reeling from the debacle that was Windows Vista, which has struggled to catch on with home and business users since it was made available to the wider public two years ago.

Windows market share dipped below 90 per cent in November, the first time that's ever happened. At the same time, competitor Apple continues to climb in popularity, already nearing a 10 per cent slice of the pie. (Source:

Nifty little gimmicks like the Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant could go a long way to reversing that trend.

Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5 beta is available for free via Microsoft's official download site.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet