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Windows 8 to sync with the cloud, boot up fast and go travelling on a stick

More new Windows 8 features have been leaked. Speedier boot-up times and cloud-syncing capability will be built into Windows 8, which you'll be able to carry around with you on a memory stick.

More new Windows 8 features have been leaked. Speedier boot-up times and cloud-syncing capability will be built into the next version of Microsoft's venerable operating system, which you'll be able to carry round with you on a memory stick.

You'll be able to back up your files and folders to the cloud from Windows 8. The operating system may be tied into Windows Live accounts, and may even work with Windows Phone 7 so you can get at your stuff on your phone when you're out and about.

Windows 8 can also hit the road, thanks to a feature called 'portable workspace'. That allows you to store your Windows 8 set-up on a USB stick and take it with you, so you can plug in and boot it up even on other computers. A screen-grab showing off this feature informs the user that the memory stick must have at least 16GB of storage space available, which is an awful lot of memory.

Another feature is 'hybrid boot' -- and we're not talking about the back end of a Prius. The feature changes the way your computer shuts down, to make it start up faster next time, apparently by keeping it in a state of hibernation. 

'Task manager', which shows you which programs are open, is being combined with 'resource monitor', which shows what those programs are doing. That should make it easier to see and shut down programs that are playing up. 'Disk cleanup', for tidying up your drives, is also being improved.

It's still very early days and the software is still being built, so nothing's definite, but the screenshots come from a version of Windows 8 called Milestone 1, also known as Build 7850. It was released to Microsoft partners late last year and has now been snuck onto the Web by leakers. Milestone 2 has also been sent out, and Milestone 3 is in development.

Microsoft hasn't yet said when we'll get an official peek at Windows 8, or when it will hit shops.