Last month we reported that Windows 8 may feature a cloud-based backup feature. The news stemmed from two Microsoft job listings which discussed a possible connection between Windows Azure, web-based services and Windows 8. The news also stemmed from a set of slides released earlier this year suggesting that cloud-based computing would play a vital role in Windows 8.
Now there's an indication that Windows 8 will synchronize several key kernel files directly from Microsoft cloud servers, possibly preventing piracy while also providing instant system updates without requiring a reboot. Windows 8 will supposedly use backup kernels if an Internet connection is unavailable, however the OS will contact Microsoft servers and download the latest files whenever the connection is re-established.
Currently it's unclear how Microsoft will "whitelist" computers and/or licenses. At this point everything is mere speculation, with this latest bit of cloud-based insight stemming from an unnamed source. However the rumor also coincides with previous reports that user accounts would be located in the cloud, saving roaming settings and preferences that would be associated with the user across multiple Windows-based devices.
There's no question that cloud-based services will play a major role in Windows 8. As previously mentioned, Microsoft was seeking a Windows System Engineer to “play a role as we integrate our online services with Windows 8." Another listing sought out a Software Development Engineer to help with work on "a Windows Azure-based service and integrating with certain Microsoft online services and Windows 8 client backup."
Will storing key kernel files on cloud servers help prevent piracy? It's a given that hackers will find a way to enable offline operation, however that could mean pirates couldn't go online. What's the fun in that?