01 JUL

Windows 8.1 for IT admins

Published by Richard Parry on 1st Jul 2013

Microsoft has also developed a number of features and improvements designed specifically for business customers, and to help IT admins deploy and manage Windows 8 devices. John DeVaan, corporate vice president for Windows Development at Microsoft, shared the business-centric aspects of Windows 8.1 at a keynote at TechEd Europe 2013.

The Start button, booting directly to desktop, and some of the other elements of Windows 8.1 are great for business users as well, but there are two things in particular that IT admins will appreciate: First, Windows 8.1 lets IT admins control the layout of the Windows 8.1 Start screen. Second, the new Assigned Access mode lets businesses lock down a Windows 8.1 device, so that it can only run only a single designated app.

Some companies are stricter than others about how much autonomy users have to customizeand make Windows their own. Controlling the Start screen layout isn’t a purely draconian control, though. A consistent interface helps users work more efficiently, and makes it easier for IT support personnel to manage and troubleshoot user issues.

Microsoft also threw in some features for managing Windows 8.1 mobile devices. IT admins can remotely wipe sensitive data from Windows 8.1 devices, and Microsoft has worked to integrate Windows 8.1 management with many leading MDM (mobile device management) platforms.

At TechEd Europe, Microsoft also unveiled updates to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) related to Windows 8.1. Application Virtualization 5.0 SP2 (App-V 5.0 SP2), and User Experience Virtualization 2.0 (UE-V 2.0) have both been updated with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in mind. UE-V 2.0 now supports Windows Store apps, and it enhances the way settings and applications sync across devices.

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