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Windows Blue to let you sync your Start screen across devices

The upcoming new release of Windows will add your Start screen to the list of items that can be synced across multiple devices, says Supersite for Windows' Paul Thurrott.

Windows Blue will let you see the same Start Screen on all your Windows 8 devices.
Windows Blue will let you see the same Start Screen on all your Windows 8 devices. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The next version of Windows will be able to show you the same Start screen across all your Windows 8 devices.

Investigating the latest enhancements destined for Windows Blue, Supersite for Windows creator Paul Thurrott was greeted by the same Start screen on two different Windows 8 PCs. This means that users who log in with their Microsoft account will see the same Start screen tiles, layout, and color scheme across all their Windows 8 devices.

The actual Start Screen sync feature in the PC Settings screen isn't yet working in the current Windows Blue build. But users should be able to turn the option on or off just as they can with other sync settings. Windows 8 users can currently synchronize their account picture, lock screen, desktop themes, language preferences, browser favorites, and other settings. So, adding the Start screen to this mix makes sense.

But Blue has even more in store for synchronization. Also scoping out the new Blue, Within Windows blog owner Rafael Rivera discovered that users will be able to sync their picture password, file history, installed apps, and File Explorer Quick Links, among other items.

What else has Microsoft cooked up for Windows Blue?

The upcoming desktop edition of Internet Explorer 11 will borrow at least one trick from the Windows 8, aka Modern, version of the browser.

IE 11 for the desktop will offer a swipe navigation feature, according to Thurrott, just like its Windows 8 counterpart. Windows users will be able to swipe horizontally to move from one open Web site to another. The new swipe feature doesn't work with a mouse, at least not in the current Blue build, so people without a touch-screen device may be out of luck.

Microsoft has been hit by complaints that Windows 8 apps and desktop apps offer a different experience and way of navigating. IE 11's swipe mode seems like a first attempt to try to address those complaints.

Microsoft recently acknowledged the existence of Windows Blue as the first round of major changes slated for its new operating system. Blue is only a code name and is unlikely to stick around for the final product. But the changes in Blue are due to ripple across Windows PCs, servers, tablets, and even phones.

More details will likely be spilled about Blue at Microsoft's Build 2013 conference scheduled for June 26-28.