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back to article Microsoft touts business features of Windows 8.1

Much of Microsoft's marketing push for Windows 8 has focused on consumers, but Redmond took time at its annual TechEd conference in New Orleans to explain that its forthcoming Windows 8.1 update will include lots of new enhancements for enterprises, as well. For the first time, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8.1 will indeed …

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Meh

An impressive selection of features.

I wonder how many will work?

Remember Longhorn. That turned out well.

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Arse backwards as usual

Start off with a phone like os and then change it for the enterpise...

Bit like their usability/security model....

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Coat

Re: Arse backwards as usual

Esra?

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Same pig, new lipstick. I'll stick with Windows 7.

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JDX
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W7 is Vista with new lipstick and it's great. W8 is fundamentally a tweaked W7 with no makeup :)

No reason W8 can't be good with a bit of tweaking and actually, these sound like decent changes.

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a tweaked W7 with no makeup

More like a tweaked W7 wearing a mud mask.

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Re: a tweaked W7 with no makeup

But a mud mask is used to make someone look better, once its washed up.

Windows 8 is still a 1980's era ugly old bitch wearing a tank top and skirt to look cool.

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Useful.

Of course the majority of these features have been implemented and have been in use by many admins of NT/Win2000/Server with the aid of scripting and third party apps for years. Nice of MS to make things a little easier.

Still, I'm happy that I don't have to support Windows and its users anymore..

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It all sounds good.....on the surface. My question is how easy it will be to use these new "features" and what their limitations are. Is there a demo of 8,1 somewhere to try these?

Not bashing, but MS talks big but delivers small. People are wise to talk. they want to try it first. I'm with them.

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"It all sounds good.....on the surface"

I see what you did there. An accurate and succint summation.

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Holmes

Like any other windows really

It will not be "that" easy and will have lots of non-obvious limitations, obvious ones, and the classic gotchas associated with anything that Microsoft implements and that sounds really good.

There fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

+1 for the pun

post required

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Devil

"how easy it will be to use these new "features"...?"

It will probably require CMD and Powershell and much RegEdit...

It just works.

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WTF?

WOW, NOT WORTHY

I can still be bent over, but will be permitted to boot to my own desktop now. Where do I sign up to my bending over, I am not worthy!!

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Patents

AFAIR Apple got into trouble for automatically connecting to a VPN when resources behind it were accessed. Wonder if MS has paid the appropriate fees.

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ActiveX

Internet Explorer 11 will scan ActiveX extensions before executing them

Real progress would have been along the line "Internet Explorer 11 will not execute ActiveX extensions any more". Everything else is half assed.

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JDX
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Re: ActiveX

But it's OK for Firefox and Chrome to run native code in plugins?

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Do companies have this stuff? ability to print using Wi-Fi Direct, share the screen using Miracast, pair with printers using near field communication (NFC),

and have Windows 8.1 devices act as Wi-Fi hotspots

Random hotspots, just what everyone wants.

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WIDI (Miracast is to new for most companies) is not that uncommon. The receiver box is small and carrying one when visiting a customer is convenient. Plug the VGA from the beamer in and you have a fully mobile device for presentation or handing around the table. Same for house-internal use.

WIFI-Direct to a localized printer using WPA2 and a solid, regular changing key - sure why not. Have this for consultants/guests etc. The unit is NOT in the main network

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FAIL

As always, it's ass-backwards due to complete lack of understanding...

...aye, I will tell everybody here that we will replace all their Android and iOS tablets, phones etc, with a bunch of Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone devices, solely to be able to manage them with MS-based BYOD-management solution...

...or I might just simply install the new BlackBerry Enterprise Services 10 for free and pay $99/device as I go and easily manage iOS, Android and BB10 devices, down to the last details (latter even supports isolated work and private areas so I can limit movements of my info, apps etc but cannot check those kinky pics of the wife)...

...hmm, I wonder which one I will choose...

...FYI: http://us.blackberry.com/content/dam/blackBerry/pdf/BB10-Corporate-level-EMM-Datasheet.pdf

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Mushroom

Re: As always, it's ass-backwards due to complete lack of understanding...

Well, you will be a slowly dying breed running Blackberry anything. The latest Kantar figures show Windows Phone @ 5.6%, Blackberry at 0.7% market share.....

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Stop

Re: As always, it's ass-backwards due to complete lack of understanding...

...except those numbers were *US-only*, *estimated* based on phone interviews and most importantly *before* BB even launched their new BB10 OS and devices here in the US - it's all in the footnotes, you should make a habit of reading them, y'know.

FYI those new devices are shipping at an estimated rate of 1.5M/month since February (and much to my surprise their newest kb-sporting Q10 is reportedly *outselling* Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5 at least in the UK and France, by some decent margins - once again, Q10 will only launch tomorrow here, in the US.)

Read on, Vogon:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1476211-blackberry-10-demand-estimated-at-1-5-million-units-per-month

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1467011-blackberry-q10-outsells-iphone-5-and-galaxy-s4-in-france?source=email_rt_article_readmore

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Re: As always, it's ass-backwards due to complete lack of understanding...

PS: the fact that BBRY is also positioning to be a services company as well is actually a highly positive move, I think (DISCLAIMER: I do not own any BBRY, do not have nor held any position ever.)

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Happy

StartIsBack

Bought a new Windows 8 laptop a short time ago. Then spent several days trying to make sense of the new layout. Completely unusable IMHO.

Then google'd the issue and came up with a software product called StartIsBack. Downloaded, installed and was instantly back in the land of happy camping. Familiar start menu and boot to desktop, without being bothered by Microsoft's awful start screen. Registration fee of $3 took nanoseconds to confirm.

I am not connected with StartIsBack. Just a very happy customer.

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Re: StartIsBack

Or you could have used the free www.classicshell.net although giving a donation is nice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: StartIsBack

Or you could have just gone back to Windows 7. This would at least stop condoning it.

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JDX
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Re: StartIsBack

I installed W8 on my Macbook recently. It took me about 30s to figure out the new layout. Seriously are you that stupid you can't figure out a big scrollable screen full of icons... annoying perhaps but unusable, absolutely not.

Did you actually spend days trying to figure it out, or days deliberately not understanding so you could complain about it while I was getting work done on mine?

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Facepalm

Re: StartIsBack

"""annoying perhaps but unusable, absolutely not."""

Yeah genius, care to explain why some of us would like to use something that is annoying?

Me: Look ma, these pants are annoyingly itchy.

Ma: Yes but are you stupid? they are not unusable.

Me: I'll pick another pair.

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Anonymous Coward

@JDX - Re: StartIsBack

Too bad the rest of the planet is not as smart as you are! You must feel so lonely up there!

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Re: @JDX - StartIsBack

"Too bad the rest of the planet is not as smart as you are! You must feel so lonely up there!"

Actually, I'm up there with the super-geniuses too, apparently. And so is my mother who similarly managed to use Windows 8 fine.

Seriously, children are able to learn the Windows 8 interface easily in no time. You really want to argue that you're less intelligent and IT capable than them?

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Alert

Re: StartIsBack

Shh! You'e ruining the anti-Windows wank-fest.

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Mushroom

Re: StartIsBack

My 3 year old manages just fine navigating Windows 8....My guess is that the problem is between your chair and your keyboard....

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Re: StartIsBack

"Did you actually spend days trying to figure it out, or days deliberately not understanding so you could complain about it while I was getting work done on mine?"

This is the same reason the people bitch about Linux. No one want to relearn something they've been doing for years. Kind of Ironic isn't it?

I would venture to guess most Sysadmins/tech enthusiasts don't have problems, I don't envy people that have to support users though.

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Re: StartIsBack

A 3 year old is not trying to do WORK on a computer, nor has years of experience of using it a certain way.

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Re: @JDX - StartIsBack

"Seriously, children are able to learn the Windows 8 interface easily in no time. You really want to argue that you're less intelligent and IT capable than them?"

You mean as long as the newly installed apps automagically appear on the start-screen and they don't have to figure out how to access the "All Apps" screen.

Oh and what's wrong with the "X closes the app"... come on.. dragging down the window to close an app... how stupid is that? And who would have figured THAT out?

And then there's the ridiculous amount of steps to close down the Windows... is that progress? Really? Oh Dear!

Sorry but windows 8 is NOT an intuitive OS when the majority of apes have been trained to use a start-button and a start-menu with a simple upwards menu (with easy accesable "All programs") and shutdown.

In fact if I really need to revert back to a 90's look of an OS then I'd rather use RISC OS on Raspberry Pi. At least THAT combo boots up insanely quick (and is really intuitive).

Cheers

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Anonymous Coward

Re: StartIsBack

Oh Oh Oh OOOOOOOH... Splat!..... Yeaaaah I have me Start-button back... Oh shit it's a blob of sp*$*M

:-)

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Re: StartIsBack

JDX said " annoying perhaps but unusable, absolutely not."

Why should I or anyone else use, much less PAY for an annoying product?

I've had Win8 for months. I'd try to use it... and yes, I know/knew some of the short cuts and where things are at... but Windows 8 is butt-ugly and just not enjoyable to use.

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JDX
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Re: StartIsBack

That wasn't the point. The point is IT people are claiming it is UNUSABLE for them. This is patently false. For a non-IT person, the missing start button can be considered unusable since they may literally have no idea what to do. But people here aren't speaking on behalf of their mum, they are saying they themselves find it unusable.

Really? You can install and configure Linux but you literally cannot use W8? Look up the meaning of the word unusable.

Fine to complain if you find W8 annoying or crap, but saying it is unusable is, I would claim, a flat-out lie. You do not deserve to work in IT if you can't figure out awkward software... because about 50% of software is annoying. How about all those Linux tools which rely on you memorising hundreds of shortcut keys?

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Re: StartIsBack

You wasted 3 dollars.

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Re: StartIsBack

Just wait for Pants 8.1

They have a real big pocket, and a bunch of small pockets, and come in a rainbow of colours. The zipper plays a tune when you pull it up and down.

Yes, they are still itchy... but look at all the colours!

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Re: StartIsBack

"Fine to complain if you find W8 annoying or crap, but saying it is unusable is, I would claim, a flat-out lie."

I'm sure you could do a days work with someone standing behind you playing bagpipes. It's not impossible but how long could you keep it up before you kill something?

I have used Windows 8, but if the boss gave me a shiny new W8 touch screen laptop it would not be long before I killed something.

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Megaphone

Re: Windows 8 and 8.1 are to force the masses to want Metro UI

Well if you've got a monopoly, you'd be a fool not to make use of it.

However, I don't think anyone really needed the plan laying out for them, Microsoft are clearly trying to move towards owning more of the ecosystem and I can't say I blame them. Windows has to support 10+ years worth of crap legacy software, this isn't the reason for it's bloat but it's certainly a major contributor, they just have too many users relying on the OS to be able to do a complete rewrite and cut this crap out. By moving more software in to a managed store, they can better manage changes and I'm sure they hope to be able to rip out some of their legacy code in the long run.

Microsoft are never going to be number one in mobile, or even number 2, I think their long game is for number 3 which, in a multi-billion pound and growing industry, is still a good chunk of money. You don't have to be number one for it to be worth competing.

They also see that BYOD is happening, although god knows who is actually doing it as IMHO it's a terrible idea, and they're trying to make Windows a good option for that use case, same as any company would do. Like it or not, in a BYOD environment, desktop apps just aren't going to work that well due to their myriad of undocumented dependencies and conflicts with each other. I don't go anywhere near Metro apps, but if I was writing an app to work in a BYOD scenario, Metro is actually the more manageable and maintainable platform. They really need to make writing these apps easier as it is currently a complete pig.

Like it or not, I think we all know where you stand Eadon, Windows is the main business OS and to completely ignore new ways of working such as BYOD would only serve to reduce their relevance, which has already been damaged by the Metro debacle.

EADON STATING THE OBVIOUS FAIL

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Linux

Re: Windows 8 and 8.1 are to force the masses to want Metro UI

I would like to have a near computing monopoly even if it means:

"""Windows has to support 10+ years worth of crap legacy software"""

Right like that is the problem for MS and not ensuring they get another monopoly on the new platforms.

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Re: Windows 8 and 8.1 are to force the masses to want Metro UI

Some of our customers are looking into or are already buying Windows penables like the Latitude-10 and Thinkpad Tablet 2 for their mobile workers. Those users do not need much more than a tablet pc / penable for 75+ percent of their work and the dock will work for the rest. Choosing x86 based units and Windows (one will use Win7, one will likely go Win8) has the benefits:

Integrating perfectly in their Windows based client infrastructure (AD, Printers, Sharepoint etc)

Allowing them to use the tool chain including the Java Applications and / or Windows-based software

Pen-Support does away with fingerprints and the need for BT keyboards etc

Android or iOS won't work, they would require at least a massive re-write of the Application/Applet based Java software for one customer. And Linux has no support for Wacom penables(1) and HWR so that would require on screen keyboards. iPads got rejected for that by a customer already.

(1) Before some links get posted: That is support for external Wacom tablets - totally different kit

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows 8 and 8.1 are to force the masses to want Metro UI

Windows is not the problem. The OS itself is way better than the crap you see bolted on top of it.

I maintain that the problem is Win32s or whatever the fuck the API is called.

That is where a boatload and more of the crap resides. Every bad design decision they ever made, and there are a lot of them. Try looking ito WinSXS directory some day and you will see the pig they have created. The underlying operating system supports is not responsible for this, it is MSs crap coders and developers who create the junk that resides on the OS.

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Re: Windows 8 and 8.1 are to force the masses to want Metro UI

"- That's never been a problem for Linux. If you have a good kernel with stable API's, then supporting legacy software is not an issue at all."

Which is exactly the problem, Windows doesn't have a good kernel, hence why doing any sort of major restructuring is difficult. There are tons of undocumented low level APIs that, in truth, no one knows how or where they are being used, this makes touching them very risky. AC @ 13.45 puts it better than I.

""they just have too many users relying on the OS to be able to do a complete rewrite and cut this crap out"

Again, so does Linux, yet Linux is not bloated."

I can't think of many businesses that have thousands of end-user desktops running Linux. Not bashing, simply stating fact, unless of course you have evidence to the contrary...

"Sorry? In a BYOD env the users software works fine for that user. Why would they conflict?"

What I was referring to was the fact that in BYOD, IT essentially has no control of what prerequisites or conflicting applications exist on these machines, meaning there is a lot of scope for conflicts and missing dependencies. With the app store model, everything is sandboxed and can't have any of these external OS dependencies, making it must more robust when the state of a device is not known.

"Again you are sacrificing the convenience of the user for the convenience of the sys admin or MS. The users are the ones that get work done, and Metro prevents that productivity."

I'm not sacrificing anything, I'm just saying that the Metro app store model works better in this scenario. Whether or not that is a worthy trade-off is a decision for each individual business.

"So you seem to be saying that MS are right to use Metro to support BYOD even though Metro is damaging the relevance of Windows as a business device. Yes that makes sense..... NOT!"

No, simply saying it's easier for that model. If you're not doing BYOD, then I see no particular reason to go anywhere near Metro. However, if you are, then it is worth evaluating as a possibility as it's sand-boxed nature could provide some benefits in the long run. Whether or not it is right is, again, a decision for each business to make. I think MS have made a really poor job of making Metro usable for businesses (I tried writing a LOB app in it, I gave up in pretty short order), and BYOD is a possible place where it could serve some purpose where the difficulties of writing the apps is paid for by the easier maintainability and reduce possibility of conflicts with piece of software X on employee Y's machine.

Not everything is black and white, good or bad. Some things work for some scenarios but not others, I'm simply playing Devil's advocate.

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