Users have been enjoying Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview over the last few weeks and now enterprise users get their turn. Today Microsoft announced availability for their Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview. The new enterprise build adds premium features to the platform that improve mobility, security, management, and virtualization.

Added Enterprise Features

Windows to Go Creator will allow enterprise organizations to create manageable USB bootable Windows 8.1 desktops. Employees could boot a secure corporate operating system from their own machine at home, using the USB flash drive, without creating security risks for their company.

IT departments are also given control of the Start Screen’s layout to make sure the correct apps are available easily, in addition to preventing users from pinning unwanted content. This new ability allows consistency across corporate machines.

Direct Access will also be included in the enterprise preview, allowing employees to access resources from company servers without the need to setup secure Virtual Private Networks each time. The technology also allows IT admins to push updates and policies to connected machines.

New enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012 will allow users to enjoy faster, latency free, remote desktop connections and the ability to use touch-enabled devices across LAN or WAN networks. The company claims that users would even be able to enjoy “the ability to play 3D graphics”.

AppLocker also makes a reappearance, allowing IT organizations to restrict file and app usage to specific users or groups running on a PC.

New Enterprise Features

In addition to familiar features above, new enterprise features will also be added including Assigned Access, Inbox VPN Clients, Open MDM, Workplace join, and Remote business data removal.

Assigned Access allows IT departments to enable single Windows Store application experiences while restricting users from other system files and applications.

Inbox VPN Client will allow third party VPN services to include versions of their inboxes. This functionality will work on both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT.

Open MDM enable mobile device management for devices for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT devices.

Finally, Workplace join and remote business data removal will allow trusted devices and personal to access, store, and manage company content.

For the full list of features, you can check out the TechNet post located here.

If you are ready to dive in and download the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview you can find more information and guidance on Microsoft’s Springboard Blog for IT professionals.

A Reminder

Although this is an official release from Microsoft, it is still a preview and should not be deployed fully through a corporate network. This new software release is for IT administrators to test upon a few machines to see how Windows 8.1 integrates with the latest version of Windows Server and current network policies that are set in place.

Microsoft reminds customers that they have two years to move to Windows 8.1. During that two year span, Windows 8 will still be supported.

Development tools and guidance are also available from Microsoft to make the update easier for the average consumer who might be bringing their Windows machine to work.

Enjoy the latest preview and let us know what you think.

Source: Windows Blog