Business owners rejoice! The update to Windows 8.1 Enterprise is FREE. If you are already using Windows 8, this update will be available for free when it is released. For now you can download and test out this pre-release version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise. Please install this on a test machine, as upgrading from the pre-released version to a fully working licensed version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise is not possible.
What is so great about the Windows 8.1 Enterprise?
Windows 8.1 Enterprise promises new manageability, mobility, security, user experience and networking capabilities, with the vision to help professionals stay connected to their colleagues and clients from anywhere, anytime. These are some of the features offered in Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
- 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: 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, with 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.
- Assigned Access: Users can only access specified application but cannot access other system files and applications.
- Inbox VPN Clients: Third party VPN providers can include versions of their VPN clients’ inbox. This means that on both x86 and ARM (RT) platforms, vendors can work with Microsoft to include their VPN functionality inbox with Windows 8.1.
- Open MDM: New Open Mobile Alliance Device Management (OMA-DM) capabilities enable mobile device management using third-party MDM solutions, such as MobileIron or AirWatch, with no additional agent required. Enhanced policies allow administrators to manage more settings from both Windows Intune and the third-party MDM solutions for both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
- Workplace join: Trusted devices running Windows 8.1 are allowed to access secured enterprise data.
- Remote business data removal: Allows personal devices to connect to, access and store company content that can be efficiently removed from the device by IT at a later date while leaving the personal data intact.
For more information about the features, go to http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/dn140266.aspx?ocid=wc-bl-wfyb.