3/11 - I have pulled the “features I don’t know anything about” series and edited this post to reflect this.
With Windows 7 just half-a-dozen weeks away from being in release candidacy stages, you would think people would have a good idea of what the operating system does and doesn’t do. Yeah right. While digging through the operating system, I stumbled across a handful of features that I, and others didn’t know about. Windows Vault is one of those features.
At first glance, the Windows Vault appears to be a snazzy new feature to allow users to store a bunch of passwords to commonly used websites and doodads and have them Just Work(tm) when using those various services.
With wanting to save my password for Facebook in mind, I visited the Windows Vault and determined I don’t want to add a Windows Credential or some type of Certificate-Based Credential (e.g. smart-card). I click Add a Generic Credential and was presented with a piece of UI asking me for my username and password. Along with these usual suspects, however, I was asked for something that seemed alien to me – A Resource. In a panic, I scanned the UI for a help button but there was none to be found. It was just me, all alone, with these boxes.
Understanding the literal meaning of the word resource, I attempted to input quite a few values in here – URLs with and without http://, file paths, IPs, and even my favorite Ben & Jerry ice cream flavor – Nothing worked.
After fumbling around some more, I discovered Online IDs which populated my credential list with all sorts of meaningless information. Things like WindowsLive:(token):name=rafæl@withinwindows.com; serviceuri=windows_default_cred_slc and my Windows Live ID account.
In discussion with Paul Thurrott, we came to the conclusion this fancy new Windows Vault stuff was merely the never-used Stored Names and Passwords feature from Windows Vista, painted over with some heavy lipstick and given a weird brand name.
Questions in my head: Why would one bring such a internal component driven feature closer to surface? How would a normal user use this feature? Were drugs involved?