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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  1. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    An impressive selection of features.

    I wonder how many will work?

    Remember Longhorn. That turned out well.

  2. ChrisM

    Arse backwards as usual

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

    Bit like their usability/security model....

    1. Mer Ner
      Coat

      Re: Arse backwards as usual

      Esra?

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

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

    1. JDX Gold badge

      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.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        a tweaked W7 with no makeup

        More like a tweaked W7 wearing a mud mask.

        1. Belardi

          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.

  5. adnim Silver badge

    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..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

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

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

    2. John Sanders
      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.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      +1 for the pun

      post required

    4. hplasm Silver badge
      Devil

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

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

      It just works.

  7. Nathan 13
    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!!

  8. An0n C0w4rd

    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.

  9. Chairo

    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.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: ActiveX

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

  10. Tom 35 Silver badge

    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.

    1. mmeier

      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

  11. Levente Szileszky
    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

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      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.....

      1. Levente Szileszky
        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

        1. Levente Szileszky

          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.)

  12. FredScummer
    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.

    1. Ragarath

      Re: StartIsBack

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: StartIsBack

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

    3. JDX Gold badge

      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?

      1. John Sanders
        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.

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          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!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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!

        1. h4rm0ny

          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?

          1. Manu T

            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

      3. Mr. Nobby
        Alert

        Re: StartIsBack

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

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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

          :-)

      4. MissingSecurity

        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.

      5. Belardi

        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.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          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?

          1. Tom 35 Silver badge

            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.

    4. TheVogon Silver badge
      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....

      1. Belardi

        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.

    5. mmeier

      Re: StartIsBack

      You wasted 3 dollars.

  13. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. John P
      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

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. mmeier

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

            The Win32 API or similar APIs in proper UNIX systems are the price one pays for being able to run a 10+ year old software on current gen OS. Either that or rewrite "whenever the Developer feels like breaking<<<Improving the API"

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. mmeier

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

                Strange, what is the good old System V Interface Definition and it's follow on specs then?

                As always Eadon: You are too stupid to even be a good Troll.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. John P

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

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

            " Windows doesn't have a good kernel, hence why doing any sort of major restructuring is difficult. "

            Actually Windows has a modern and flexible hybrid microkernel architecture. That architecture is more powerful and flexible and with a far smaller attack surface than a monolithic kernel model like Linux, so whatever Window's faults might be, the kernel design isn't one of them....

      2. John Sanders
        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.

      3. mmeier

        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

      4. TheVogon Silver badge
        Mushroom

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

        "Microsoft are never going to be number one in mobile, or even number 2"

        Well Windows Phone is now on 5.6% market share in the US and 8.4% in the UK, and Microsoft already took over 7.5% of the global tablet market since the launch of Windows 8....I think they will make at least #2.

        1. Belardi

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

          How do you or someone else figure that? About half of those phones are WP7 and older devices (they count) - so yes, WP8 is doing about twice as good as WP7... but compared to Android and iPhone... is nothing. So for every WP8 phone sold, Apple sells 100+ and Android grows by another 200+.

          If only sold about 2million MS powered tablets are sold in the past 6 months... then they don't have 7.5% of the market. Apple sells about 42million iPads in the past 6 months and 85million iPhones. Then theres about 60million Android tablets sold 100+ million Android phones (I don't have that number). You DON'T get 7.5% with that many sold. According to a more reputable source (not YOU) - MS tablet sales are 3.7% in sales volume, NOT total market share. Understand the difference?

          Since the Win8/RT tablets started shipping, it doesn't wipe out the sales of the millions of previous other tablets. Besides, those sales are mostly because its a NEW toy... but overall, MS and OEMs have tablets gathering dust. They came into the market with high prices and sub-standard screens.

          Throw Win8/RT into the fire along with WebOS/TouchPad and RIM's Playbook... they are failures.

        2. John P

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

          I suspect you're being a tad optimistic there. Having said that, I'll congratulate anyone who manages to get to the top 2 coming from so far behind the established market leaders, regardless of who they are.

          Interestingly, while watching a Samsung or HTC advert for their latest Droid phone the other day, I couldn't help but notice how much their home screen resembled the Windows home phone screen...

          The hardware on Lumias I think is beautiful and the metro interface definitely appears to work better on a phone than it does a desktop, MS just need carriers and retailer start actually advertising their phones. While looking for a phone late last year, I went in every phone shop in my home town (we have pretty much all of them, and every charity ship imaginable) and only one had a Windows phone on display, the others didn't even have the slightest hint that they had them.

  14. Tom 7 Silver badge

    If an operating system starts in a forest

    nt

  15. h4rm0ny

    Thats it Luke, let the hatred flow through you...

    MS reveal a list of upcoming features, many of which will be very useful to the Enterprise. And every comment is seething contempt. The unreasoning hatred and bias in this place is absurd.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      Re: Thats it Luke, let the hatred flow through you...

      @h4rm0ny

      The enterprise featureas are a +"Nice to Have" list of things.

      But what everyone really wants is the damned start menu back to what is was and at least to give us the choice to use TIFKAM or not.

      Windows 8 is probably ready from an "administrators" point of view it is not ready from the "Users" point of view. This is an OS that has been desinged for touch screen computing, how many office workers do you know that have touch screens ?

      It's not hatred, it's frustration, two very different things. We want a new OS just not this one.

    3. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: Thats it Luke, let the hatred flow through you...

      Could it be that all those enterprise options are far less useful in a business environment than having a more workable Desktop environment?

      I know this will come as a shock to you, Desktop mode is what business want/need/use on Enterprise computers.

      Look I can wipe your device remotely!, thanks it is a piece of crap anyway.

    4. Duncan 4
      Thumb Up

      Re: Thats it Luke, let the hatred flow through you...

      beyond absurd, but at times comic :D unreasoning hatred towards MS has been around almost as long as MS itself, nothing changes but the world still goes round and while it does most of us are still using MS products among others happily. bit like teenagers hoping for some form of revolution this lot will grow up and pass the IT graffiti can on the next gen sooner or later. Start the revolution now and down vote this post ... lol

      1. Belardi

        Re: Thats it Luke, let the hatred flow through you...

        True... almost.. But the world is a difference place now than... 8 years ago. There was only WIndows, 3% Apple Macintosh and a sliver of Linux on desktops. (Not counting servers) - Smart Phones were less than 1% of the total phone market (Windows CE) and Symbian.

        The tablets and smart phone changed everything. By 2014, tablets will over take notebooks... ouch. In todays world, as long as you have access to the internet and not a business that requires MS-Office... you don't need Microsoft. For gaming? PC Gaming is very weak... with most games going to console, which look better on a 60: screen compared to a typical 24" display.

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Sounds good, but...

    How many of these features will only be available in the more expensive versions? Will 'boot to desktop' be available in all versions, or just Enterprise?

    It sounds as if they may be getting somewhere half decent with this version, now if only someone senior would honestly admit that the whole initial Metro thing was an appalling cockup and apologise and say they should have listened to user feedback in the first place, then they may well start to regain a bit of credibility, but not if they keep wriggling and pretending all was wonderful and no-one made any mistakes.

  17. BobChip
    Linux

    Too little, too late ....

    Sorry MS, I've left already. Gone Linux. And I won't be looking back.

    1. b166er

      Re: Too little, too late ....

      Not to burst your bubble, but no-one gives a fuck.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Too little, too late ....

        Not to burst your bubble, but no-one gives a fuck about Windows anymore.

        1. mmeier

          Re: Too little, too late ....

          Strange, one of our customers is currently deploying 11000 new Windows boxes...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Too little, too late ....

          No-one except over 90% of desktop users...

      2. BobChip

        Re: Too little, too late ....

        No bubble to burst here, unless it is Microsoft's. But they don't seem to give a F*** either. Great way to run a business.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. mmeier

        Re: Too little, too late ....

        Ah Gnuliban-OS the "you do not need that" operating system. Because if it does not run under PinguCrap - you do not need it anyway. And a lot of stuff does not run. And what runs - works better under other systems.

      2. stephajn

        Re: Too little, too late ....

        Normally I am not one to stand behind Eadon's comments, but WOW AND WOW! That one hit it right on the nose. Being a tech and having to work with these piece of junk laptops that customers are buying from the stores with Windows 8 on them is absolutely painful. Especially the MS-signed UEFI boot manager. Holy crap what a pain!

        A big part of me wants to jam my foot up MS's rear for that one. Thanks for making our lives a living hell there guys. Having to use the Windows Boot Manager just to access the BIOS??? Seriously??? Having to use the Windows Boot Manager just to access the BIOS?!?!?!?!?!?! (Yes I am aware I am repeating myself, but it just seemed like such a huge point that it was worth mentioning twice. Thank you Kryten....:) )

        At any rate, I REALLY REALLY hope that Windows 8.1 also removes some of the pains that technicians like myself are up against with having to support these new machines.

        1. Paul 129
          Facepalm

          @stephajn

          Not looking good there. Including device encryption is one step away from, enabled by default. At least now if someone does something goofy we can get a fair bit of their data back.

          Last couple of windows 8 issues Ive had to deal with were windows component registration issues. The underlying file was ok, but the registration of it was corrupted so endless reboot loop. In the past this could have been fixed, correcting the registry, fixing the files. But as more of the system becomes encrypted, digitally signed theres going to be less that we can do.

          UEFI was the first step, cant have us loading something before their stuff. I guess I'm a little surprised at the pace, 8.1 device encryption and finally on by default? When? At this pace the major update after 8.1.

          At that point off line fixes will be no longer practical. You'll have to fix things the Microsoft way. I need a new job, FAST!

  18. Dan 55 Silver badge
    FAIL

    All that effort...

    ... wasted. If they would only fix the UI.

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: All that effort...

      Choose your favourite:

      XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome Shell, KDE.

      I know this is shocking to most non-linux users but even Gnome Shell is better than TIFKAM, and applications on Linux run as long as all the required dependencies are installed in the box, so it is only a matter of preference.

      I personally do not like where Gnome Shell is going, but KDE, XFCE and MATE are excelent.

      And making the effort to learn about Linux pays lots of dividends in terms of computing freedom, It costs in time and effort, but I have come to the point in which I can use any RPM/DEB based distro, if one becomes way too annoying I just simply jump to another.

      Not everybody has the inclination to endure what it entitles to have freedom, and I respect that, but do not talk about stuff you do not know.

      Linux UI not straightforward? maybe, not unified? depends. Broken, no sir.

      1. mmeier

        Re: All that effort...

        Of those UIs which is the one that supports (OOB, not Wine):

        Dragon Natural Speaking or a similar capabel Voice Recognition

        Handwriting Recognition

        Omniprint or a similar capabel OCR

        Our users partially MS-Office based Workflow

        ....

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: All that effort...

        I was talking about Windows 8. Or at least I thought I was.

    2. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: All that effort...

      The future of UI is clearly touch and gesture. Microsoft are just ahead of the curve a bit! You will see...they will all go this way - starting with IOS 7....

      1. Philip Lewis
        Trollface

        Re: All that effort...

        Hasn't iOS *always* been touch and gesture?

      2. mmeier

        Re: All that effort...

        Gesture - yes. Strike out to delete, circle to mark etc work fine with a stylus

        Touch - maybe but hopefully not. Smear to x is not that useful in business environment

  19. MacGyver
    FAIL

    Bla bla bla

    They decided to include NFC printing in the span of 6 months, but It took them 10 years to get the memo that we should be able to Right-click on DHCP leases and "convert them to reservations" in their DHCP server (I wonder how many years we will have to wait until we can have overlapping Exclusion Ranges), who knows, in a few years maybe even their NPS server will allow integration for MAC Authentication Bypass through proper Active Directory objects instead of forcing us to create hundreds of MAC-named user objects and requiring us to reduce our password requirements just to accommodate non-802.1x device support. (hell I'd settle for the ability to change the outgoing MAB password being sent to AD to something of my choosing, or allow us to point the NPS to the DHCP server and allow MAB access if they have a proper reservation for the scope.)

    Oh well, suits can print from their iPhone to a printer, that's what really is important.

    1. Philip Lewis
      Trollface

      Re: Bla bla bla

      I am far from a networking specialist, the opposite in fact. But reading your post which I will take to be the true state of affairs, one wonders whether MS actually use their own software in house? If things are so cumbersome, surely the internal feedback should drive these things to be fixed, if only to improve MSs own efficiency and bottom line?

      I guess I have failed to recognise MSs customer centric mantra.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bla bla bla

      Uhm yes and it was SO difficult just to use a separate menu on the same tool for static reservations before...

      1. MacGyver
        IT Angle

        Re: Bla bla bla

        Um, explain how re-typing the same already existing information into 4 new fields instead of being able to simply Right-Clicking and select "Convert to Lease" is superior. That is one of the two ways you normally interact with that piece of software on a daily basis, and that simple act was 5 times less efficient than it could have been. It took TEN years to implement, clearly they could care less how well their software works, and what we use it for.

        What, do you work for Microsoft?

  20. 1Rafayal

    Yay!

    "...IT departments will be able to control the layout of the Windows 8.1 Start screen to ensure that apps are available and organized in a consistent way..."

    this will make a few people I know rather happy, given that their Win 7 migration has now been cancelled in favour of a Win 8 migration...

  21. GregC
    FAIL

    So to summarise:

    - Some new bits for the sysadmin

    - UI still broken

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So to summarise:

      - UI still completely broken

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: So to summarise:

        Yeah because the start screen/menu IS the windows UI. Oh wait it's 1% of the UI that you use a few moments of the day.

        It is bewildering how many supposedly smart IT people are so stunningly stupid at learning how to use new things. Even if you don't like it, it should take about 5 minutes to figure out how to use it and get on with your work. Same with Ribbon... a few minutes and you're back to work, and yet supposed IT professionals still bleat about how they can't understand it. If you were regular users I could understand the difficulties but you're not... perhaps IT isn't the field for you and you should be looking at flipping burgers.

        1. MacGyver
          Facepalm

          Re: flipping burgers

          The UI is not better, it's worse. Why be ok with something that's worse. It is demonstratively worse, and they know it. Hell, they fired the guy responsible for sticking us with it.

          If we all simply sucked down whatever Microsoft was willing to give us without a fuss, in two years HALF of our screens would be permanently filled with mandatory ads and you'd need to enter a credit-card number to pay for each login session.

          Can we "deal with it", yes. Can you walk with your shoe laces tied together, yes, but are you going to smile about it, no.

        2. GregC

          @JDX

          It's not a matter of "learning". Or, just to cover off a couple of the other terms that get thrown out, being a "luddite" or "afraid of change". I have no problem with change, when it's for the better.

          I spent plenty of time using the previews of W8, enough to know that a schizophrenic UI/UX that insists on taking over my entire screen is not an improvement when a compact menu a) works just fine and b) doesn't force me to context switch when I'm trying to work. Enough time to realise just how bad an idea hot corners are on a multi monitor setup. To name just a couple of my bigger annoyances.

          Now here's the thing. It's not a problem for me. I've simply stayed on Windows 7 at work. At home I'm pretty much in the "post-PC" world already. But if MS were to introduce the option of a "classic" mode then I might upgrade. Given the numbers 8 is (not) selling in, you'd think the message might have got through.

        3. Philip Lewis
          FAIL

          Re: So to summarise:

          You know what JDX, many of us are not "stunningly stupid". Some even have bits of paper and Mensa membership numbers to prove it.

          a) We get tired of trolls like you impugning our intellect. Trust me, some of live on the right hand tail of the curve

          b) I have flipped burgers for a living. I have also swept streets. I object to your demeaning comments about burger flippers, because some of my best mates were burger flippers before we found other careers. You are a smug self centered c*'t <- ad hominum

          c) The ribbon is an abomination by itself. The combination we get in Office on the Mac is a better model as everyone who has to change between the two knows and not too gfew comment so here in this forum.

          d) TIFKAM is a diabolical mess. Almost to a man, people whose profession it is to design UIs repeat the same message. I can learn to manipulate all sorts of arcane devices, especially if there is some reason to do so. TIFKAM offers no reason or "prize" for having done so - it remains a UI pig.

          e) Start screen is not the point. It's absence is an unnecessary irritation. It was removed for design purity and to adhere to the underlying minimalistic ideals. The designers merely failed to realise that they were removing an essential and useful element.

          Voting this way --->

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: So to summarise:

            Did you actually have a point to make Philip? Because nowhere did I say W8 UI was better than W7, or that it was good. Nowhere did I say Ribbon was good either (though I think it is).

            What I said was that all this "W8 is unusable" guff is just toy-throwing bullshit. I can count on one hand the number of times W8 has caused me any problems actually using my PC or getting work done. It may be a step backwards, but anyone with a brain and IT experience should be able to adapt within a few hours if not a few minutes.

            The OS, like the PC, is just a tool to get work done. Learn how to use it, don't lie about being too stupid to know how to.

            And grubbing for votes on a site where "M$" is enough to make people titter, how low you sink sir.

          2. Handle This
            Boffin

            Re: So to summarise:

            Dude (Philip Lewis),

            If you need to collect pieces of paper or Mensa membership numbers to tell you how smart you are, guess what? You really aren't that smart. (Mensa? Really?) You need only be smart enough to succeed. You'll know when you've gotten there, without the papers or memberships. Honest.

  22. Nick Ryan Silver badge
    WTF?

    Many of these are designed to facilitate a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment, such as the 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 via built-in broadband tethering.

    Huh? Just how much BYOD FUD is being paid for around here?

    Print using Wi-Fi Direct... most useful for tablets and laptops to print to non-domain or non-local printers. i.e. go to a friends house, print something on their printer. A BYOD system in an office environment will connect to the local network and be given access to printers through the carefully controlled access to printers functionality that the BYOD sellers are selling.

    Share a screen with Miracast. Nope, I'm at a loss. This is particularly related to BYOD how?

    Pair with printers using NFC? Sounds like basically the same as Wi-Fi Direct...

    Windows 8 Wi-Fi Hotspots... so, useful for the home, bugger all of use in a corporate environment and nothing to do with BYOD.

  23. boltar Silver badge
    WTF?

    Remote wipe - oh really?

    "Companies will be able to wipe data from devices remotely, provided the client and server applications support it"

    Server: Please wipe that critical company info from your HD now!

    Client app: No , naff off.

    Server: Oh , ok , well suit yourself :p~

  24. IGnatius T Foobar

    The best Windows is NO Windows

    Interesting that Micro$oft is doing a *slight* backpedal on the Start button/menu issue -- not enough, but at least a little bit. But it doesn't matter.

    The best Windows for business is NO Windows at all. We have truly entered the era of "Network Computing" that was touted by forward-looking technologists in the late 1990's, but ridiculed by Windows-centric pointy haired types. Although the name has changed (now it's called "Post-PC Era") the concept is the same.

    Any business type who continues to put Windows on the desktop is spending too much. We old geezers who remember the days of a *terminal* on every desktop also remember how easy it was to support.

  25. Rob73!
    Trollface

    I wonder how many of these feature will either be:

    1. Locked out by Group Policy.

    2. Work as billed. At least before service packs 3, 4, & are released

    3. Ignored as no one wants to upgrade.

  26. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Give it the finger!

    Biometric authentication is baked into the OS, so that users can authenticate with their fingerprints anywhere within Windows.

    Does this mean that it is incorporated in the way that the IP stack was with NT (see: Ping of Death), that there are APIs to support biometrics, or that some common drivers come preloaded? Assuming number two (a safe bet, it seems with Windows 8), how does this offer an advantage over existing implementations of this security measure. At this point, there have to be drivers installed, hardware hooked up, and software that is aware of it for fingerprint readers (or any other security measure) to be useful. Isn't that how it is now? How much will this integration effectively change anything?

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Give it the finger!

      see: Ping of Death:

      Systems affected

      IBM AIX, WindRiver BSDOS, HP HP-UX, SGI IRIX, Linux Kernel, Sun Solaris, IBM OS2, Microsoft Windows 95, Data General DG/UX, Microsoft Windows NT: 4.0, Microsoft Windows 98, Novell NetWare, SCO SCO Unix, Microsoft Windows 98SE, Microsoft Windows 2000, Cisco IOS, Microsoft Windows Me, Compaq Tru64, Microsoft Windows XP, Apple Mac OS, Microsoft Windows 2003 Server

      Actually caused in Windows because Windows used some crappy UNIX code from BSD....

  27. Wardy01
    Megaphone

    Windows 8 is not a Mobile OS

    People seriously make that comparison? WTF !?!?!?

    Android should be compared to IOS and windows phone not windows 8.

    When someone else creates a better product Microsoft will learn, until then, "get what you're given and like it" I believe is the situation!

    This is where all the linux fanbois down vote me and flame about how awesome it is but linux is only a kernel ... show me a version of linux that isn't riddled with issues and i'll conceed defeat ... that's actually a trick question since the linux community is incapable of agreeing on anything thus all versions of linux built on the kernel have to deal with excessive indecision below them and thus are limited in their ability to anything of serious value.

    I believe the closest to this are canonical and red hat, neither of these companies have produced an entire enterprise grade desktop to datacenter environment that has stood up when compared to Microsoft offerings and yet that list of garbage complaints about Microsoft continues ...

    Begin down voting - Linux fails!

    LOL

    1. t20racerman
      Linux

      Re: Windows 8 is not a Mobile OS

      I gave up Windows in about 2007 having dabbled with Linux for a few years before that. I used to 'Dual Boot' between the two but after a while I found I was running Linux almost exclusvely, rarely booting into windows. As Head of Physics in a busy College, I don't have time for playing with IT or putting my preference for Linux first - I just want to use a computer effectively and efficiently to do what I need to do.

      As such, I need reliability, simplicity, and no hogging of resources, viruses etc. No, I'm not claiming Linux is 'perfect' but purely on useability, it is my OS of choice as it works so well, without the problems long time Windows users are used to. I want my OS to enable me to work, and play, with ease - not be a means into itself. Incidentally, if you boot up a PC just to admire the OS and what it does (or doesn't in the case of Windows 8) then might I suggest you go out a little more....

  28. Salts
    Coat

    But the majority will stick with Windows

    Paraphrased from a comment on the BBC website

    "I can look at the screen and see facebook and the weather, don't know what everyone is complaining about, Windows 8 is lovely"

    The majority of people will go to windows 8, it's just that the MS sheepdog has a lot of sheep it needs to send in a new direction.

    However on a brighter note, I have been working with a number of NGO's and charities of late and they are starting to 'get it' they may use windows OS, but they are mostly using open/libre office, as they cannot justify the cost of MS Office when there is a free product that is suitable for their needs, because of this experience they are now 'open' to open source.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But the majority will stick with Windows

        "It's good to see orgs switching to LibreOffice. It's not only free and gives freedom, but it actually BETTER than MS Office. It has no ribbons to frustrate the user."

        Can't say I have seen a single user of a non Microsoft version of a desktop install of Office yet and i'm involved with a LOT of companies. As to better - how exactly? It has a lot less functionality, and costs a lot more to support. If it was better, then surely companies would be rushing to it, but in reality Microsoft's Office division grew in revenue last quarter....

        If ribbons frustrate you, it just means that no one ever bothered investing anything in training you. I guess you work in a Linux monkey farm? The Office ribbons are faster and more functional than the previous versions once you understand the concepts and location of the core functionality!

        1. mmeier

          Re: But the majority will stick with Windows

          Decisions in the industrie are (at least partially/mostly) done on "what is needed" not on "What does the great toeCheese eater decree today". And if you need features like VBA - then you use MS Office. Even if you are a "Li(m|n)ux using city" - that's what Citrix and taxpayers money is for.

  29. 404 Silver badge

    Conflicted in any case

    Windows 8 Professional with Mac-style desktop, Nexus dock, Start8 w/XP Start button. Essentially a quicker Windows 7. One thing I hope they address in Blue is the wifi connection manager, which doesn't exist in Win8Pro... Wifi8 is available but why would you remove it in the first place?

    This form over function is going a bit far.

  30. W. Anderson

    Windows 8.1 missing quality and security functions

    All the marketing hype in the world and even via hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising and paying technology media shills to propagandize will not change facts on the grouns that Windows 8.1, 9.0 or even 11.0 - if based on same OS infrastructure, of Windows have inherent weak security and reliability/scalability issues that wont be addressed.

    There is a tried and true saying - (paraphrasing) - that you can put lipstick on a pig, but you will still not get a Miss america, or even a brilliant one.

    For too long corporate America, as well most large organizations here, the US educational system and even the States and Federal governments have thrown almost all of their technological eggs in Microsoft's basket, leaving the company to pry hundreds of billions of dollars from these customers without necessarily providing the best solutions - technologically or in Return on Investment (ROI). These actions have come back to haunt the country via the severe vulnerabilities of technology intrusions experienced recently that President Obama and every one else blames mostly on the Chinese government and is attempting to mitigate this dilemma by "negotiating" with the Chinese "not" to so easily hack our Microsoft infrastructure.

    Richard Clark, who was The US Federal Government Cyber Czar under Presidents George Bush and President Obama for a short time, lay much of the blame for this US technological weakness squarely at the feet of Microsoft software. Almost every technology evaluation of software, particularly Operating Systems (OS) have shown that Windows is a very poor choice as compared to for example, UNIX (including *BSD) and particularly Linux, whether for desktops, servers or mobile devices. The results speak for themselves in entities like NASDAQ and other Financial Stock Exchanges and Wall Street operations, NASA, most European municipalities and countries' governments, Russia for their entire education and most of government operations, a majority o countries in South America, Netflix recently and even South Africa and Cuba moving a significant portion of their software away from Microsoft.

    It is therefore not surprising that USA is in one of the most fragile positions internationally regarding software security, not because much fantastic technology does not exist or was not created here on this soil, but because of the country's destructive addiction to using failed technology from a large US company. just because the company's founders have risen to be the most wealthy in the world and this makes a fairytale story for the USA to propagate.

    What then are the twenty first century benefits in “exceptional” security and great reliability of Windows 8.1 for business (not readily available in Apple Mac OSX or RedHat Linux) ?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Windows have inherent weak security and reliability/scalability issues that wont be addressed"

    Uhm - I guess you dont know that Windows has built in layered security and auditing throughout the OS from the bottom up since NT3.51? It is actually Linux that requires bolt-ons like SEL Linux and NFS 4.1 experimental filesystem to even approach the security model of Windows....And Linux still isn't capable of the advanced constrained delegation models and features like Dynamic Access Control that Windows has...

    If you want to criticise Windows, at least pick something that's accurate....

    1. Philip Lewis
      Trollface

      "Uhm - I guess you dont know that Windows has built in layered security and auditing throughout the OS from the bottom up since NT3.51? It is actually Linux that requires bolt-ons like SEL Linux and NFS 4.1 experimental filesystem to even approach the security model of Windows....And Linux still isn't capable of the advanced constrained delegation models and features like Dynamic Access Control that Windows has..."

      Sounds rather like VMS to me.

      1. mmeier

        Sure it does. NT used quite a few concepts from VMS. Why not - use the good pieces, change the rest

  32. earl grey Silver badge
    Devil

    I find your lack of faith in Win8 disturbing

    On the other hand, it proves you aren't a total dumbass.

  33. Cucumber C Face
    Coat

    re: We want a new OS just not this one.

    Actually UI wise - I want Windows 2000 / Office 2003.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does 8.1 come with a turd polishing cloth? It surely needs to.

    1. Belardi

      Still smells like a turd, no matter how much its polished.

  35. PaulR79

    Business features of Windows 8.1

    "We think you'll like it because... well, it isn't Windows 8!"

    *goes back to using Windows 7*

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