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What are windows 7 online ID providers and what is their use?

I see that at this time only provider is Windows Live. I also heard that it has something to do with OpenID, but I wasn't able to obtain clear information about that.

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@CloseVoter: Any comment why? I didn't think this would be appropriate for web-apps site because you actually install software on your computer when you use that. It also seems to be related to usernames and LAN file sharing, so I'd say it's a good fit for this site. –  AndrejaKo Oct 10 '10 at 15:31
    
@AndrejaKo: Don't you sign all the StackExchange websites using your OpenID? –  paradroid Oct 10 '10 at 21:03
    
@jason404 I think that you do. What does that have to do with this question? –  AndrejaKo Oct 10 '10 at 21:21
    
@AndrejaKo: Just meant that it was the same thing. I use MyOpenID, FacebookID and GoogleID, as well as LiveID. Once the other providers are added to Windows single sign-in, there would only be rare instances where you'd need to give a password. If only phpBB and the other old style forums got into using OpenID as well. –  paradroid Oct 10 '10 at 21:44
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@jason404 OK. What actually bothers me about this whole feature set is that it seems abandoned. I have a feeling that it's been quite some time since that option has been enabled and still Windows Live is only provider available. Also, there is option to register and use smart cards with Windows Live ID Sign In and it leads to a website which reports error 500. It used to work back in beta days, from what I could find out. I'm afraid that this whole idea will end up same as Vista Ultimate Extras. –  AndrejaKo Oct 10 '10 at 22:12
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2 Answers

Information extracted from this tutorial on a totally different subject: Streaming Your Windows Media Player 12 Library Over the Internet

The online ID provider software simply lets you link one of your online accounts (such as the one you use for email and instant messaging) to your Windows 7 user accounts. For now, you can only link your Windows Live account, but there are plans to roll out other online ID providers (such as Google, OpenID or Facebook).

Later update: I recently published a tutorial which explains everything there is to know about Windows Live ID, including the services and apps that use it. You can find it here:

Simple Questions: What is Windows Live ID?

I hope this is helpful.

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That guide looks really interesting. I wonder why these options aren't advertised enough.... –  AndrejaKo Oct 10 '10 at 19:25
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It appears that Windows Live Mesh (which is a part of Windows Live 2011 package) also uses Windows Live Online ID provider in order to synchronise directories and settings over Internett across different computers.

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