Today Microsoft released the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview, an early build of the upcoming Windows 8 refresh aimed at large companies that need extensive control features to keep their machines, software and data secure.
If you are the sort of person who would have use for such a thing, you can find the code here.
Windows 8.1 will not extend the general life of the Windows 8 operating system. Instead, Microsoft stated today in a blog post, Widows 8.1 will see its support end on January 10, 2023. That said, Windows 8 users will only have two years to switch to Windows 8.1 once it is released. Those who fail to do so won’t be “supported under Windows 8 lifecycle.”
With the release of the Enterprise Preview, Microsoft also detailed a number of new features that it contains, including side-loading, which will allow companies to side-load apps onto machines that are “domain-joined,” as well as DirectAccess, which will allow users to “access resources inside a corporate network remotely” sans the use of another virtual private network.
Also in the updated operating system are restricted store access if a corporation deems that safer and a tool that allows Windows 8.1 devices to safely access a company’s secure data.
Windows 8 was not an enterprise-focused operating system at launch. Instead it had, in my view, a strong consumer and tablet focus. However, Windows 7 update cycles eventually end, and Microsoft needs to create a new core, stable, enterprise capable operating system. The slew of features that are coming in 8.1 to the Enterprise build of Windows 8 will do much to assist its maturation into something that it was not at launch.
We’ll see Windows 8.1 this year. What its impact will be on sagging PC sales remains uncertain.
Top Image Credit: Dell Inc.