On October 18th Microsoft released Windows 8.1, this release builds on Windows 8 and adds several features that may be compelling to your business.  As companies evaluate making the jump it’s important to look at several factors. Desktop computing continues to change at a rapid pace and users are expecting their office machines to have the similar capabilities as their consumer geared tablets and phones.

Enhancements

After the release of Windows 8 Microsoft listened to their customers, with 8.1 Microsoft added several features requested by the user base.

Boot to Desktop

This feature allows users to boot their computer directly to the Windows Desktop instead of the Start screen (tiled interface).

The Start Button Returns

Starting with Windows 8 the Start button was missing in the desktop interface. The Start button is now back with 8.1, by setting an option users can choose whether it activates the Start screen or a list of all programs when pressed. A handy set of tools including shutdown, sign out, control panel and more can be accessed by right clicking the Start button.

These features allow users to have a more familiar environment when using Windows 8.1 on traditional computers.

Notable Features

Internet Explorer 11

Windows 8.1 ships with Internet Explorer 11, this new browser includes Adobe Flash Player by default, improvements to Protected Mode, and provides better support for HTML5. Businesses will need to be mindful of the new IE version when deploying 8.1 as some line of business applications and websites may not be compatible.

Workplace Join

With Workplace Join IT administrators can allow users to connect mobile devices to the company network and have a single sign on experience with supported applications. Workplace join works with Windows 8.1 devices and Apple IOS currently, Android devices are expected to be supported in future updates.

Work Folders

Work Folders is a new feature that allows users to sync data from their Windows 8.1 computers/devices to corporate file servers. Work Folders provides a secure way for users to sync company files and can be an alternative to services like Dropbox and Google drive.

For a complete list of new features in Windows 8.1 please check out this link.

If you are planning on deploying new computers or devices in your organization Windows 8.1 is certainly worth considering. For more information on Windows deployment and other Information Technology services, please contact McGladrey’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us. In addition, please check out our infrastructure services offerings on our website.