Rumors that have been floating around that Microsoft Windows 8.1 was going to get a normal start button and a straight to desktop boot option proved to be accurate. This release of Windows has been codenamed “Blue”.
These changes were not the only features being used to draw more business customers over to the new Windows OS. During the TechEd North America conference on June 3rd, Microsoft demonstrated other networking features that will come with the release of Windows 8.1.
When Windows 8 came about in October of 2012, other features such as Windows to go, BitLocker, DirectAccess networking support and drive encryption were added to appeal to business focused individuals. Even with all these changes, many businesses could not be talked out of using Windows 7. If you have ever used Windows 8, there are probably some good reasons for this.
All the new features do not guarantee that business users will switch over. Al Gillen, an IDC analyst has said that all the new features are going to be useless if the customers do not even want to use them at all. Furthermore, there is not a single feature that really forces users to upgrade their operating systems because of the momentum behind Windows 7.
Lately, many business users have added more tablets to their business tech which is a promising sign seeing as Windows 8 is optimized for touch and tablets. Seeing as how many business professionals are doing more work outside the office, we may see more of a shift to upgrading to Windows 8 in the near future.
Microsoft has further assured owners of devices running Windows 8 that Windows 8.1 will be available without any compatibility problems. All applications should continue to work with the new OS.
The new features of Windows 8.1 “Blue” include the following on the networking side:
- NFC tap to pair printing: Users of Windows 8.1 can now tap their device on an enterprise NFC printer and print.
- Wi-Fi Direct Printing: Addiational drivers are no longer needed to connect to a Wi0Fi Direct printer.
- Broadband tethering: You can now teather Windows 8.1 mobile broadband computers to create a hotspot.
- Native Miracast wireless display compatibility: You can now project straight to a miracast device without any extra dongles.
- Auto-triggered VPN: If an application needs to gain access from an inbox VPN, you will be prompted to sign in with a single click.
Windows 8.1 will also include the following security options:
- Defender and IE functionality: Windows Defender gets the option to monitor network behavior and IE will scan all binary extensions so no harmful code is run.
- Authentication options: Support was added for fingerprint devices as well as virtual smart cards.
Management options for Windows 8.1 will include:
- Remote data removal: This will allow business to wipe data and leave personal data intact.
- Workplace Join: Allows registered devices online to gain access to data.
- Start Screen lock: Will be able to control the layout of the start screens to prevent customization across workgroups.
- Assigned Access: Gives the ability to lock down machines allowing the user to use specific Windows applications for a period of time.
Windows 8.1 is set to release sometime this summer for the final version. Microsoft has publically said that the release will become available before the end of the year.