Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview now available

As we foreshadowed one month ago, the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview is now available for all those wishing to test it. It adds a series of features on top of the already available Windows 8.1 preview, which are aimed at business environments, such as security, management and virtualisation features.

In a press release, Microsoft listed the core features to be included with the Enterprise update when it is released to the public later this year:

  • Windows To Go Creator: IT organizations can 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 scenarios or be given to contingent staff to access the corporate environment without compromising security.
  • Start Screen Control: IT departments can now control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices to ensure key apps are easily accessible. IT departments 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. Also, IT administrators can 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) as BranchCache caches files, websites and other content from central servers locally on hosted cache servers or PCs.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI): Users will enjoy a rich desktop experience and 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.

The company also clarifies that the lifecycle of Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, with support ending in 2023, and they encourage all relevant customers to start testing immediately, so they can quickly adapt their workflow.

Frequent updates to this preview are expected in coming weeks, and we'll keep you updated when they are released, meanwhile you can the grab Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview here.

Source: Microsoft | Image: Microsoft

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18 Comments

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Meh is i owned a business i would make all my appz web based to be used within the cloud. That way whatever people use it will work, Just browse to it on phone, tablet or PC and it would work.

Screw making these apps for each OS, if you want something done do it right and make 1 platform supports all. This is here and has been for some time.. The cloud and the internet.

MrAnalysis said,
Meh is i owned a business i would make all my appz web based to be used within the cloud. That way whatever people use it will work, Just browse to it on phone, tablet or PC and it would work.

Screw making these apps for each OS, if you want something done do it right and make 1 platform supports all. This is here and has been for some time.. The cloud and the internet.

That sounds good at first but you do know that you're just losing one thing to gain another right? While you can gain the ability to let people use the app on any OS with just a browser you're losing the ability to take advantage of native OS support/features that could help your app out and make it better. You also lose the ability to work when the net goes down, though it doesn't happen often it still does happen. There's also the idea of having important business files up on someone else's cloud, lots of people are all going crazy for this NSA PRISM bit but even before that story lots of big enterprises would rather have their own local servers/datacenter and have complete control of the files that are important to them that way.

If you're some small company/business with a few workers then fine, the cloud and a web app sounds better, but it's not a one size fits all world.

Windows 8 metro apps can be programmed with just html 5 . Which means if you already have aweb app porting it to windows 8 is not that difficult

Microsoft RemoteFX and 3D? yeh right

RemoteFX can be used to make 3D, play a few 3d frames, but that's it, it is not 3d, it is no way compare to the real vmware 3d

It is better in 1 way price. vmmware and citrix are a lot more expensive since you have to buy a separate windows license for every virtual machine you run . windows datacenter includes those licenses.

john.smith_2084 said,
Microsoft RemoteFX and 3D? yeh right RemoteFX can be used to make 3D, play a few 3d frames, but that's it, it is not 3d, it is no way compare to the real vmware 3d

This isn't a virtual machine. It's a remote desktop session.

I was hoping that it would be a newer build to play with, since it was released a month later, but no- it appears that it's 9431 just like the regular preview.

jhoff80 said,
I was hoping that it would be a newer build to play with, since it was released a month later, but no- it appears that it's 9431 just like the regular preview.

Just means the features they list that are specific to this OS version took longer to finish.

Woot! It sucks that my work is going with Android and iOS atm. I wish our developers and PMs had some better knowledge of Windows 8 and where it is going.

Microsoft needs to speak to these organizations. We have 6000 users and are an enterprise client.

Edited by norseman, Jul 30 2013, 4:02pm :

Dashel said,
I'm more concerned that those organizations need to be spoken to to begin with.

And how do you think that Microsoft conquered the world with Windows before?
By talking to organizations and developers.

I disagree, they did it through their partner channels and boots on the ground (and the format wars). Something they are eroding quickly, but the issue is still an IT one.

Shadowzz said,

And how do you think that Microsoft conquered the world with Windows before?
By talking to organizations and developers.

I think the point he was trying to make us that the products should speak for themselves and if companies are looking at an alternative after being a Microsoft only/predominantly for so long then something must be amiss in regards to what Microsoft is offering. WinRT and their move towards C++ conformance is great but then this is undermined by putting the desktop on life support with all focus being on touch/modernui which concerns Microsofts larger customers. It is of their own doing.