Microsoft: Businesses should plan their Windows 8.1 deployments now

Today, Microsoft released the preview version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise, made mostly for business users. Microsoft says that IT employees who want to get their PCs upgraded to Windows 8.1 should go ahead and download today's preview version to jump start their plans to deploy Windows 8.1 when the final version is released later this year.

In a new blog post, Microsoft says that businesses that already have Windows 8 Enterprise installed on their PCs should have a quick experience when deploying Windows 8.1. It states:

You can leverage a fully-automated process to update existing Windows 8 systems. This process can be initiated using any software distribution or management tool, just by running “setup.exe /auto:upgrade” from the Windows 8.1 installation files. This time required to perform this update process varies based on computer and network performance, with the fastest configurations taking around 15 minutes. Typical update times will depend on your environment, so test it out in your lab to see how long it will take for you.

For businesses that have Windows XP, Vista or 7 installed on their computers, Microsoft will offer the Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013, and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager when the final version of Windows 8.1 is made available to smooth the transition.

Microsoft says that nearly all PCs that currently run Windows 7 or 8 should also be able to run Windows 8.1. It also expects a high percentage of current desktop apps to work under Windows 8.1, as well as most of the current Windows 8 Modern apps. If Windows 8.1 is being deployed on Windows XP PCs, Microsoft says that IT workers should allow for a "prudent level of app testing" before making the full switch.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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Where I work, we would be more interested in deploying Windows 8 if they had a "Desktop" edition of it without all the Metro crap.

I'm not bashing W8.1 on looks or anything but only a complete idiot would 'plan' to upgrade all their computer systems to a newly released OS that hasn't been proven to be stable by the general public or security researchers, this is a bit of a sad way for MS to try and shift license sales.

When I interview staff for an IT role, one of the first questions I always ask is this....

"I see you have put that you're an expert in windows 7?"..............yes

"We have 1,000 client machines all running Windows XP"..............usually they look a little shocked

"Give me a reason why I should go to the board and ask for £100,000 for licensing costs, plus extra for any additional hardware upgrades required"

after they sit there for a minute or two they all give the same answer

"It's faster and there's longer support for updates"

"That it?"

"I think so"

They don't get the job btw lol. How can anyone call themselves experts in something like Windows 7, when they haven't a clue about any of the features. I'm not sure about anyone else in IT, but aren't you tired of hearing the same thing over and over again. We're not moving to Windows 8 because there's no point, or nobody likes it....when you ask them what features it has over windows 7 they look blank. Grrrrrrrr

Security should be a big reason. I have found that our windows 7 machine get a lot less Trojans and spyware then windows xp machines do.

I also find it easier to manage.

majortom1981 said,
Security should be a big reason. I have found that our windows 7 machine get a lot less Trojans and spyware then windows xp machines do.

I also find it easier to manage.

I'd have thought endpoint would have sorted that out to be fair

majortom1981 said,
Security should be a big reason. I have found that our windows 7 machine get a lot less Trojans and spyware then windows xp machines do.

I also find it easier to manage.

Being in the computer repair business, I can't say I see more of one or the other come in with infections. I see XP, Vista and Windows 7 they all seem about equal to me.

Separation of sessions, FARV, better browser security and sandboxing, better performance on newer hardware, the ability to use an OS designed for LUA, so you no longer need an admin account to log onto to even use the machine and software, much better tools for management and troubleshooting (ETW + WPT / ADK), much easier image creation, management, and deployment using standard COTS tools, 5 more years of security updates and support, will have longer software support lifecycles for Microsoft and 3rd party applications, and provides an easier upgrade path to future versions should you choose to do so at some point in the future.

Yes, XP does work fine because most environments are used to it - that doesn't make Windows 7 or Windows 8 equal, by any means.

techbeck said,
Then why would anyone want install the preview unless on test systems? Would make more work for them.

Yes. That's how beta programs work. What frakwit would deploy a beta OS in production?

Dot Matrix said,

Yes. That's how beta programs work. What frakwit would deploy a beta OS in production?

You would be surprised. I have known people who visualized a DC in the middle of the day effectively preventing anyone from logging on to the system. I also know someone who decided it was a good idea to flip breaker switches in a server room in the middle of the day to find out what outlets the breakers were for.

I guarantee someone, someone, will upgrade productions if they have not done so already.

techbeck said,

You would be surprised. I have known people who visualized a DC in the middle of the day effectively preventing anyone from logging on to the system. I also know someone who decided it was a good idea to flip breaker switches in a server room in the middle of the day to find out what outlets the breakers were for.

I guarantee someone, someone, will upgrade productions if they have not done so already.

I have, I have installed and am running 8.1 on my work machine, granted I installed it on a vhd and didn't touch the original Win8 installation, having said that, I haven't had the need or desire to boot into Windows 8. I guess when the RTM happens, I will simply upgrade the original installation and delete the vhd.

No business in their right mind would "upgrade" to 8 / 8.1. What sucks is that they will still purchase the license (they have to since MS doesn't sell Win 7 anymore) and then use the downgrade rights to go to Win 7. So, Microsoft can make these OUTRAGEOUS claims about how many Windows 8 licenses they have sold. *sigh*

runningnak3d said,
No business in their right mind would "upgrade" to 8 / 8.1. What sucks is that they will still purchase the license (they have to since MS doesn't sell Win 7 anymore) and then use the downgrade rights to go to Win 7. So, Microsoft can make these OUTRAGEOUS claims about how many Windows 8 licenses they have sold. *sigh*

So, you speak for all businesses then?

Dot Matrix said,

So, you speak for all businesses then?


No, just the ones that have most of a brain. Name me one Fortune 500 company that has announced that they are downgrading to windows 8. How about a Fortune 1000? How about just naming ANY large > 5000 employees company?

runningnak3d said,

No, just the ones that have most of a brain. Name me one Fortune 500 company that has announced that they are downgrading to windows 8. How about a Fortune 1000? How about just naming ANY large > 5000 employees company?

You lost the argument by trolling "downgrading". Sorry.

runningnak3d said,
No business in their right mind would "upgrade" to 8 / 8.1. What sucks is that they will still purchase the license (they have to since MS doesn't sell Win 7 anymore) and then use the downgrade rights to go to Win 7. So, Microsoft can make these OUTRAGEOUS claims about how many Windows 8 licenses they have sold. *sigh*

When I was at 3M it was deployed on a few tablets. IT made their own customized image.

runningnak3d said,
No business in their right mind would "upgrade" to 8 / 8.1. What sucks is that they will still purchase the license (they have to since MS doesn't sell Win 7 anymore) and then use the downgrade rights to go to Win 7. So, Microsoft can make these OUTRAGEOUS claims about how many Windows 8 licenses they have sold. *sigh*

You have never worked in the enterprise this much is clear. Microsoft still sells businesses Windows 7 and will do so for the foreseable future. In fact even consumers can still purchase Windows 7. I am sick and tired of the same old bull**** we always hear, we hear it when XP came, when Vista came, when 7 came and we hear it now. It doesn't suddenly become true if you repeat the lie often and long enough. I wish people would do research before they make claims that are wrong and easily refuted.

By the way, our enterprise has already upgrade the whole technical department to Windows 8, at first only a few persons but on massive request we have upgraded everyone, as these powerusers indeed saw how quick and flexible the OS is.

runningnak3d said,

No, just the ones that have most of a brain. Name me one Fortune 500 company that has announced that they are downgrading to windows 8. How about a Fortune 1000? How about just naming ANY large > 5000 employees company?

It is up to each company and their IT staff to determine what is right for them and if Win8 is something that will work in their environment. Some may choose company wide upgrades to Win8, some may upgrade part, or some may stick with Win7.

It has been standard practice most places to skip every other version of Windows. I know where I work, we have a few Win8 Surfaces and that is it. There is no plan for a mass rollout of Win8 anytime soon, if at all.

Dot Matrix said,

You lost the argument by trolling "downgrading". Sorry.


Here is the definition of downgrade: 1. to reduce in importance, esteem, or value, esp to demote (a person) to a poorer job

Considering that is exactly what I feel Windows 8 is compared to Windows 7, how am I trolling exactly? I asked you once before to look up the definition of trolling, apparently you didn't get that through that thick skull of yours either.

I thing the author accusing you of "trolling" felt that you may have been older than 30. After all, isn't any one older than 30 (or maybe 35) over the hill, trolls, antiques, etc.? Yet, they are precisely the ones who are in the position to make decisions and affect change.

runningnak3d said,

Here is the definition of downgrade: 1. to reduce in importance, esteem, or value, esp to demote (a person) to a poorer job

Considering that is exactly what I feel Windows 8 is compared to Windows 7, how am I trolling exactly? I asked you once before to look up the definition of trolling, apparently you didn't get that through that thick skull of yours either.

Didn't you know that anything mentioned wrong around here in regards to Microsoft puts you in the troll category? I agree with your comments however.

runningnak3d said,

Here is the definition of downgrade: 1. to reduce in importance, esteem, or value, esp to demote (a person) to a poorer job

Considering that is exactly what I feel Windows 8 is compared to Windows 7, how am I trolling exactly? I asked you once before to look up the definition of trolling, apparently you didn't get that through that thick skull of yours either.

You may think so, but logically, Windows 8 is an upgrade. It's a post Windows 7 OS, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Whether you upgrade to it is your call, but lets be adults here. You cannot logically "upgrade" to a previous OS, like wise, you cannot logically "downgrade" to a newer OS.

runningnak3d said,

Here is the definition of downgrade: 1. to reduce in importance, esteem, or value, esp to demote (a person) to a poorer job

Downgrading when talking about Windows is going to a previous version. Different meaning from the definition you posted.

Shadowzz said,
By that logic, what's wrong with XP?

Don't be absurd. XP is eleven years old, doesn't support modern hardware very well and soon will be out of support. Windows 7 is a modern, fully supported OS and there's no reason for a business to upgrade it right now. Of course Microsoft will try to persuade them to, it makes them money.

Shadowzz said,
By that logic, what's wrong with XP?
I don't believe that's the same logic. Windows 7 is on another level compared to XP. However, that gap is very slim when compared to Windows 8. Windows 7 is very secure compared to XP. The gap again is very small compared to Windows 8.

koo9 said,
what's wrong with win7?

Depends on who asks. But each version of Windows is an improvement for both sides of the organization (business & IT). Windows 7 hasn't aged so it's perfectly suited to run on most PCs in any organization.

The way I see it newer versions of the same product aren't (always) made for people who upgraded to the previous version a few years ago. They're made for people who haven't upgraded in a while. Imagine if you're stil on XP and you want to upgrade to the newest of the newest. If Microsoft's offer was already 4 years old then some people would feel a bit cheated. They would look for a newer alternative.

But clearly Windows 8 is mainly an improvement for end-users on touch. I wouldn't recommend paying for Windows 8 if you're already on Windows 7 without a touch screen. But if an organization is stil on XP then it makes sense to consider Windows 8. Especially if they're planning on adding tablets to their devices.

startscreennope said,
Windows 7 - the last Windows designed primarily for desktop multitasking productivity.

True. Windows 8 is designed for BOTH desktop multitasking productivity AND usability with touch.

Shadowzz said,
By that logic, what's wrong with XP?

lots of things are wrong with xp, no hardware decoding for web browsers, poor security, slow start up and shutdown and lots of applications no longer add xp support such as professional software.

startscreennope said,
Wrong. MS reduced desktop productivity.

Please explain your point of view. I find only productivity and efficiency improvements in the desktop of both Windows 8 and 8.1.

startscreennope said,
Yes, here's the link, for like the 3rd time?

Wow, talk about fail. Your own opinion does not represent an authoritative primary source. Do not wave it around as such.

What's even more funny, your points are incredibly shallow, much like your rants. Furthermore, they don't do jack to support your harped on argument here, especially this one:

"7. The new explorer ribbon, networks sidebar, and task manager are all functionality disasters."

Um, no. The ribbon is fine, and the new task manager is much better than the old one. You're seeing hate for the purposes of hate, but are quite frankly struggling to sustain it effectively (Except for the network sidebar, I'll give you that). While you make some interesting points, your rants scream more about someone who's unwilling to attempt change, and wishes to hark back to inefficiencies of old, simply because you're unwilling to change and learn something new.

LOL. Are you autistic or something? Factual examples of functionality reduction have nothing to do with me personally. Of course you have to make it into a personal attack because you have no other argument than personal attacks. And the usual childish "you just don't like change!" customer insults. Hint: Attacking your customers is business suicide, and you're egging MS on to keep shooting itself in the foot.

Once again, posters like yourself want to see MS fail while attacking its customers, while I provide helpful, constructive suggestions based on factual examples of reductions of functionality.

Once again the mods allow people to insult, deride, and belittle others as long as it's pro-MS. Kind of sad honestly.

There is nothing wrong with Windows-7 for the traditional setup using laptops and desktops. My company will be waiting for Windows-8's successor--as we can't afford nor do we see the need to scrap perfectly good hardware just to get the "touchy-feeling" UI of Windows-8.

TsarNikky said,
There is nothing wrong with Windows-7 for the traditional setup using laptops and desktops. My company will be waiting for Windows-8's successor--as we can't afford nor do we see the need to scrap perfectly good hardware just to get the "touchy-feeling" UI of Windows-8.

You don't need to scrap any hardware to run 8. It runs on anything that 7 runs on. If you're already running 7 it probably doesn't make sense for a business to upgrade, but that's how it's always been.

startscreennope said,
Yes, here's the link, for like the 3rd time?

http://www.neowin.net/forum/to...-improve-on-with-windows-81

Those 10 points? They're about how Metro should be more tied to the desktop to unify the experience. I don't agree with your ideas of 'improvement' but that is not what I asked about.

You said Microsoft reduced desktop productivity in Windows 8. In my experience the desktop only has improvements. The start screen, which is outside the desktop, is another story. But its a new addition so of course there is plenty to improve.

Ronnet said,

Those 10 points? They're about how Metro should be more tied to the desktop to unify the experience. I don't agree with your ideas of 'improvement' but that is not what I asked about.

You said Microsoft reduced desktop productivity in Windows 8. In my experience the desktop only has improvements. The start screen, which is outside the desktop, is another story. But its a new addition so of course there is plenty to improve.

Removing the start menu is a huge reduction in desktop productivity, especially considering its replacement is the "outside the desktop" Metro. Which is a ridiculous distinction, given that it's an OS running on a desktop, supposedly designed for desktops.

Playing semantics with "this isn't really the desktop" on a desktop OS to try to diminish functionality issues. Spin spin spin.

startscreennope said,
Removing the start menu is a huge reduction in desktop productivity, especially considering its replacement is the "outside the desktop" Metro. Which is a ridiculous distinction, given that it's an OS running on a desktop, supposedly designed for desktops.

Playing semantics with "this isn't really the desktop" on a desktop OS to try to diminish functionality issues. Spin spin spin.

Alright so you see the start menu/screen as part of the desktop, fine. But even then I'm not experiencing a reduction in productivity. The starts menu is now a full screen. So what? Its not as if I could interact with the desktop when I had the start menu open in Win7.

And now in Win8.1 the right-click list has a lot of shortcuts. So even the start button is now an improvement over Win7. Once you press the start button its stil type, select file/app, enter to launch. No reduction there in my opinion. And as said the desktop itself has a lot of improvements.

Surface RT, Wedge Mouse (Standard Edition), HTC Windows Phone 8X, Seagate External drive?, Logitech keyboard & Mouse, Dell AIO, Lifecam Cinema, Staypuff Marshmallow Man, Channel9 Squishy.