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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