Windows 8.1 Preview comes with enhanced features for security management, virtualization and BYOD scenarios

Getting enhanced Windows touch functionality for the business space just got closer today with the release of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview version.

Microsoft did not say when it will roll out Windows 8.1 Enterprise for general availability but the software company hopes to entice business users with the preview version’s improvements in mobility, security management and virtualization.
(Click on image to download Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview)

The lifecycle for Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, with support ending on January 1, 2023, said Erwin Visser, senior director for Windows Commercial.

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Windows 8 customers have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the general availability of the operating system, he said.

“With the availability of Windows 8.1 Preview, it is time to start planning your deployment – and there are deployment tools and guidance available to help make these updates seamless for customer,” said Visser.

Among the premium features available in the preview version are:

• Windows to Go Creator - Allows IT organizations to create a fully manageable corporate Windows 8.1 desktop on a bootable external USB drive. The drive can be used to support bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios
• Start Screen Control - Enables IT departments to control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. Can also prevent users from customizing their Start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company
• DirectAccess - Users can seamlessly access resources inside a corporate network remotely without having to launch a separate VPN. Allows IT administrators to keep remote users’ PCs up-to-date by applying the latest policies and software updates
• BranchCache - Employees in branch offices no longer need to download content multiple times across their Wide Area Network (WAN). BranchCache caches files, websites and other content from central servers locally on hosted cache servers or PCs
• Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) - Provides users the ability to play 3D graphics, use USB peripherals and use touch-enabled devices across any type of network (LAN or WAN) for VDI scenarios, thanks to enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012
• AppLocker -  IT organizations can create a more secure environment by restricting the files and apps that users or groups can run on a PC, increasing the security of the device and the data it holds
• Windows Enterprise Side-Loading - Internal Windows apps can be side-loaded on domain-joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

For an extended list of Windows 8.1 features, click here.

 

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