Microsoft reveals more Windows 8.1 features like NFC printing and WiFi hotspot

While Microsoft revealed some of what the consumer can expect from the upcoming Windows 8.1 upgrade last week, the company is using its TechEd conference in New Oreleans as a way to reveal what business and enterprise customers can also look forward to with Windows 8.1.

In separate posts on its Windows Business and Springboard Series blogs, Microsoft revealed that Windows 8.1 will add a way for PCs with NFC hardware to tap an NFC printer to begin the printing process. Microsoft states, "No more hunting on your network for the correct printer and no need to buy a special printer; just attach a NFC tag to your existing machines." Windows 8.1 will also connect to WiFi printers without the need to download special drivers.

Windows 8.1 PCs will be able to connect to Miracast-enabled wireless displays via Bluetooth or NFC. It will also allow PCs to become a WiFi hotspot for other devices and it will allow users to connect to a business's VPN with just one click if an app needs a connection to the company's inbox VPN.

In terms of security, Windows 8.1 will add new support for fingerprint access and Virtual Smart Cards and the included Windows Defender software will add support for monitoring network behavior. IT admins can control the layout of the Windows 8.1 Start screen on PCs that businesses provide their employees. If a person brings their own PC to work, Windows 8.1 can allow those devices to connect to company content and also have that content removed from the device if needed while still keeping the owner's personal files.

Windows 8.1 will add OMA-DM API agent support for businesses who want to use third party software like Mobile Iron or Air Watch to manage their company devices. It will also have a feature called Workplace Join. Microsoft states:

With Workplace Join, IT administrators now have the ability to offer finer-grained control to corporate resources. If a user registers their device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device to ensure the security of corporate assets.

Source: Windows Business and Springboard Series | Image via Microsoft

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You can do it using the command line in Windows 8 and using the UI in 7 and a bit more complex in XP, anyway, welcome back to the old features

I think its time they make Backstage be natively available in all the Windows apps. Its useful in Office 2010/2013.

NFC printer sounds stupid and redundant. And remember that we are talking about windows 8.1 and not about wp or windows rt.

Windows 8 is already snappy with connecting to my wireless Brother printer (identifying the particular model and including many options). Windows 7 required me to manually download the particular drivers for it to work. Nice to see progress on this front, even if the UI needs some tinkering.

DClark said,
Windows 8 is already snappy with connecting to my wireless Brother printer (identifying the particular model and including many options). Windows 7 required me to manually download the particular drivers for it to work. Nice to see progress on this front, even if the UI needs some tinkering.

It wasn't just that it required downloading drivers... it required downloading drivers that were competing with display drivers for the Most Absurdly Oversized award.

Scanning and printing? 250mb! Oh, fax, too? Well that's just plain impossible without adding another 150mb to that!

We have been looking for an alternative to Airplay for a long time, hope the builtin miracast can compete With it? Anybody know the hw requirements?

We have triee Intel Widi, but then you must have a compatible pc, which isn't many...

Miracast is already available on Android (it's neither MS or Google tech, it's created by the Wi-Fi Alliance). I've never used it so can't say what it's like though. I think for the hardware the device just needs to have wifi, as it's sent over the wifi. You can buy Miracast receivers for things like TV's.

Ah printing printing, I remember when Windows 95 made it easy, then Windows 98 made it better, then 2000 and XP made it so easy and better, then Vista and Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Today Windows 8.1 is making it easier, and we are very very close to get that printer work correctly, we just need 2 or 3 more Windows releases, just in time before that thing called printer extincts.

john.smith_2084 said,
Ah printing printing, I remember when Windows 95 made it easy, then Windows 98 made it better, then 2000 and XP made it so easy and better, then Vista and Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Today Windows 8.1 is making it easier, and we are very very close to get that printer work correctly, we just need 2 or 3 more Windows releases, just in time before that thing called printer extincts.


What are you talking about? Printing has been a plug & play business since 7 or Vista (can't remember exactly), and before that if you had a simple printer-only device.

georgevella said,

What are you talking about? Printing has been a plug & play business since 7 or Vista (can't remember exactly), and before that if you had a simple printer-only device.

I don't think you understood what I said

I remember Windows 3.11 for workgroups and the first time I had to setup a network printer at work, I remember the Windows 3.11 promotions and advertisements and how revolutionary did printing become, here is a link as an example
http://www.garethjmsaunders.co...pc/net_wfwg_03_sharing.html

since then, with every release of Windows, Microsoft is revolutionizing the way you print, they did it in NT 3.51, NT 4.0, Win 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 (it actually removed the support for many drivers, had to wait a few months for HP drivers) and today Windows 8.1

20 years of changing that thing, and I still have issues printing over wifi wow

By the time Windows 21 resolves the printer completely, printing would have been extinct, and Google will become self-aware, cars will drive themselves, Mac will help you produce music maybe like a super star, who knows, and windows will still be removing the “Internet Sharing” feature, putting it back, and improving the printing

Quit your trolling, seriously. It was sad at first and now it's just downright pathetic.

If you have problems with printing maybe you should stop buying **** printers. And Windows 8 removed the driver? Yeah ok. See I happen to have a pretty **** old wireless HP printer, and I'm using the driver included in Win8 for it. Works perfectly.

And NFC printing? First time it's been on Windows...

Shadowzz said,
the Wifi hotspot is new for RT i supose?
Win7 has been able to do this already.

As long as you were tethered via Ethernet to the Internet.

It's different. That only worked on 7 with an ethernet cable connected to the device you were using as a hotspot. This works with wifi and probably also 3g/4g/LTE tablets, which i expect 8.1 to also support.

gannic said,
But this was removed in Windows 8

This wasn't. In fact it is from Windows 7. So:
Fire up a console with admin privileges, then do:

netsh wlan show drivers

If Hosted network is supported by the drivers, you are free to proceed to

netsh wlan set hostednetwork (set mode=allow , configure the ssid and key=passphrase keyUsage=persistent)
netsh wlan start hostednetwork

VWiFi adapter should be visible in Network and Sharing Center\Network Connections from this point, and shared folder access should be working if enabled and correctly configured. If Internet access is needed to be shared, you can configure ICS right here, or add a manual route using the route command or netsh itself.

To disable the hotspot: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork