Many businesses staring down the tunnel at next April’s end of support for Windows XP may opt for Windows 7, but those willing to go newer can now get a look at Microsoft’s latest – and newly updated – operating system.
In a blog post on Tuesday, Erwin Visser, general manager for Windows commercial marketing at Microsoft, announced the availability of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview for download and testing.
“Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview builds on the Window 8.1 Preview which is currently available, adding premium features designed to address mobility, security, management and virtualization needs of today’s enterprise,” said Visser.
Those new features include Windows Go To Creator, which allows IT organizations to create a fully manageable corporate Windows 8.1 desktop on a bootable external USB drive. Also new is Start Screen Control to allow IT to control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued devices with an eye to making key apps more visible, and Windows Enterprise Side-Loading, which allows internal Windows apps to be ide-loaded on domain-joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 Enterprise. A full list of new enterprise features is included in the blog.
“Windows 8 customers will have two years to move to Windows 8.1 after the general availability of the Windows 8.1 update to continue to remain supported under Windows 8 lifecycle,” said Visser. “With the availability of Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview, it is time to start planning your deployment – and there are deployment tools and guidance available to help make these updates seamless for customers.”