back to article Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

Much of the hype around Windows 8 has focused on consumers so far, but Microsoft took the opportunity of its Windows 8.1 Preview launch to show off some of the ways it's been improving the OS for enterprise customers, too. In a late session at the Build developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Microsoft senior …


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  1. Herby

    Polishing Turds?

    I guess Microsoft is good at this, and will sell bunches of them (eventually!).

    1. and-job

      Re: Polishing Turds?

      Can't be any more accurate...

      trouble is, most people when they buy a PC have this turd pre-installed and they are not given an alternative. Microsoft play the games with manufacturers to keep their virtual monopoly intact. They play games that stop makers from offering alternative operating systems available. It's not like there are not versions of Linux that are fairly easy to use and decent and I am sure that with the support of makers they could make Linux as easy to use and to install software as it is with Android or iOS or even Windows (though windows has always been hit and miss anyway LOL).

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "trouble is, most people when they buy a PC have this turd pre-installed and they are not given an alternative. Microsoft play the games with manufacturers to keep their virtual monopoly intact."

        Agreed, but that sense of security is crumbling. People start to realize that they can also wait it out (Windows 7 vs. Windows 8) or better yet: ignore the thing all together and get something different such as a tablet.

        Microsoft still seems to be relying on this particular sales model, but the times have changed drastically.

    2. LarsG

      Keep saying it

      Keep saying it an someone might believe you.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Does the author actually know how TechNet & MSDN work?

    "MSDN and TechNet subscribers can download the preview version now, but you certainly won't be able to deploy the final version for free."

    And why wouldn't people subscribed to either TechNet or MSDN be able to deploy the final version for free? We can already do that with version 2012, why would R2 be any different?

    Because that is exactly how these environments work. I quote: "Microsoft TechNet Subscriptions help IT Professionals confidently evaluate Microsoft software and plan deployments.", which basically means so much as being able to deploy software and operating systems in specific environments for evaluation and testing purposes. What software you ask? Well: "Microsoft full-version and beta software, with no feature limits". It's this reason why I can easily pick up a full version of Server 2012 right now if I want to. And this has now been extended with the 2012R2 preview and essentials preview versions.

    MSDN works basically in the same way, although the focus isn't on the software itself but the purpose to develop software for it: "Software, services and support – you get the complete package for all your development and testing needs." and what do you know? If you check out the MSDN subscriber download page you'll get a good overview of some of the stuff available to MSDN subscribers.

    The main difference is the approach. Where TechNet provides a wide variety of software for testing and evaluation, MSDN focusses on development platforms and software for development purposes (you don't only get to download Visual Studio for example, you'll get licenses to grab an accompanying Windows version as well).

    SO I don't know where the author got his wisdom from but it doesn't make much sense to me.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Does the author actually know how TechNet & MSDN work?

      'Deploy' as stated in the article obviously means 'in a commercial environment, for business purposes'. Something you're most definitely not allowed to do with an MSDN sub.

      Seems pretty clear to me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does the author actually know how TechNet & MSDN work?

        When you're a software house, you have a lot of developement and test machines for "business purposes", because that's your business :) And there MSDN is a way to develop and test on several Windows version on several machines without having to buy commercial licenses which are more expensive - you just need an MSDN subscription for each person using them.

  3. tempemeaty

    Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond



    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

      Last I checked Microsoft won't even sell Windows 8 to its enterprise customers.

      Obviously then it must be pretty bad. Either that or I'm missing something here...

      A month ago I was looking into the possibility of finally moving the remainder of our users from Windows XP over to Windows 7. A hundred licenses or thereabouts. Traditionally however our company has never actually purchased Windows (not directly at least). We simply tag on an OEM license with every system purchase as our corporate discount with our hardware vendor makes it extremely affordable versus volume licensing.

      Typically then the only time we upgrade Windows on a system is when the hardware itself is upgraded. Our interest in upgrading to Windows 7 however is mostly due to Windows XP's upcoming End-of-Support.

      Part of our problem is that bulk of our hardware upgrades were performed out of necessity about half a year before Windows 7 was released and as such the vast majority of our systems have Windows Vista OEM licenses on them. These are systems which won't be changed anytime soon either as desktops tend to last pretty long and we are projecting to keep these systems in commission for at least another three years.

      Well, most of them at least. Our hardware upgrade exercise typically involves stretching the purchase through the course of multiple years in order to not wreck our budgets. Buying Windows 7 OEM licenses then wouldn't make much sense as OEM licenses cannot be transferred thus if we did buy Windows 7 OEM licenses we would eventually have to purchase them again every time a system is changed.

      This was when I caved in and decided to give volume licensing at least a consideration.

      I shouldn't have bothered.

      Whenever Microsoft releases a new version of a given product they will always discontinue the volume licensing SKU for the superseded product. When Microsoft released Windows 8 then it was no longer possible to purchase Windows 7. Not through volume licensing at least. This in itself was never much of a problem as Microsoft continues to offer downgrade rights.

      The problem here is that as of this moment there is ONLY ONE SKU for Windows 8 in volume licensing form (excluding special editions for government and academic use, at least).

      Which is: Windows 8 Pro, Upgrade

      And yup, you read that right. UPGRADE. There is absolutely no way to purchase Windows 8 outright in volume licensing form. It must be an upgrade from a previous edition. Plus you will also notice the glaring omission of Windows 8 Enterprise. Yup, that doesn't exist either. The only way to acquire Windows 8 Enterprise is to have your volume licenses on Software Assurance.

      And Software Assurance means yearly payments. Stop paying? You're back to Windows Pro. Fun. And while we don't require Enterprise for Windows 8 we do require Enterprise for Windows 7 as BitLocker is a Windows 7 Enterprise feature and downgrade rights obviously dictate that you must own Windows 8 Enterprise in order downgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise. So this was the first major headache.

      The second major headache was the upgrade requirement itself.

      Microsoft's obvious response to me was; "Well, surely you're already running Windows, right?"

      Right. I highlighted to Microsoft that my licenses were all OEM. No problem they enthusiastically claimed. Except that they forgot to mention that original OEM terms which prohibit the transfer of licenses continue to apply. That's right. Even if I upgrade my OEM license Windows XP to volume license Windows 8 I can't transfer the license to another system once I've decided that the hardware needs changing.

      This of course was a problem. As previously highlighted, due to our hardware upgrade strategy we do intend on replacing a small number of systems at least two to three times a year.

      The third headaches comes courtesy of Windows Activation 2.0 which was another one of the reasons for considering volume licensing: to acquire a KMS/MAK key so that we do not have to manually activate Windows every single time a system is cloned (and we re-clone our systems on every staff turnover in order to give every newcomer a fresh OS installation).

      The fourth headache comes when we need to increase our hardware count. When I asked Microsoft what if I wanted to increase my workstation count by 10 they told me to simply put those systems on OEM license. What? Yeah, sure. If there's a Microsoft representative on-site 24/7 to activate the god damned product for me every single time I clone a box then sure. But that isn't going to happen, now is it.

      So you can probably tell by now that I'm quite cross.

      The only solution right now is to buy Windows 7 retail and manually deal with product activation. VAMT can make this a little less of a headache but it's still going to be quite an annoyance.

      All that's left for me to say at this point is...

      Microsoft: F**k you.

      1. Charlie P

        Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

        I don't want to second guess your conversation with Microsoft, but it sounds as though the person you were speaking to didn't have all the facts at hand. In my experience, most of your stated headaches go away if you sign up to an appropriate agreement. Try speaking to your MS representative again, and if you get the same responses ask for a licensing specialist to go over the options with you.

        Ignore this message if you have fewer than 100 seats.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

          Charlie P: Here's the thing. Normally I'd fault my vendor because it really does sound pretty ridiculous that Microsoft would only have an "Upgrade" SKU for Windows 8 volume licensing... but all three of my preferred vendors (and one of them is supposedly a "Gold Volume Licensing Partner") tell me the same story.

          That particular "Gold" vendor told me my only option was to make use of Microsoft's "Legalization Offering" which is used to convert all non-genuine Windows copies to genuine... but I was also strongly encouraged against using this option as a company is only given the opportunity to use it once.

          I did inquire on less than 100 seats though but not too far off either.

          If you have any other suggestions I'd be extremely grateful.


          1. Charlie P

            Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

            You are correct in that the only volume license SKU is for a Windows Upgrade - this has been the case since Windows Vista I believe. We still have to buy an OEM license with the hardware, but as you originally posted, this is not normally an extravagant cost. My sums still show the OEM+upgrade license being cheaper than a retail copy, and you get the option of adding software assurance to get the Enterprise functionality that you want (BitLocker), as well as custom imaging rights, one VL key common across systems, spread of payments across multiple years and delaying license purchases (depending on which agreement you choose).

            I'd better stop now, as I'm not a great MS fan, but there are ways of getting a workable solution in place where you have to :)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you're using OEM rather than volume licences

        I thought you're not allowed to use disk imaging?

      3. Richard Gadsden

        Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

        Yeah, it's annoying.

        What they/you missed is that you can transfer the upgrade license from your old PC to a new one (can't transfer a particular licence more often than every 90 days), so, as long as the new PC has an OEM licence on it, you hold X number of UG licences, which matches your number of people and shuffle them from one machine to the next.

        And yes, you do need SA as well to get Enterprise, though when the SA expires (after three years) you don't have to downgrade from Ent to Pro; you had Enterprise rights at the time, and the license is perpetual so they can't take them away again.

        The reason for it all is so that Microsoft can maintain their position that every new PC has to have an OEM Windows licence on; if corporates were to start buying bare-metal PCs and sticking a full licence bought from VL on, then you'd be able to buy one for yourself and put Linux on it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

          Richard Gadsden: Thanks for your reply!

          Actually, most hardware vendors (at least where I'm located) do sell PC's without Windows OEM licenses to enterprise customers. For non-enterprise customers it's a separate story altogether, though.

          Also, with respect to being able to use Enterprise even after SA expires... according to Microsoft's Volume Licensing Brief; "Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance may migrate from a lower edition to a higher edition software product while maintaining their Software Assurance coverage on a given product."

          The phrase "while maintaining their Software Assurance coverage on a given product" has me worried. Am I misunderstanding something?


          1. El Andy

            Re: Windows 8.1: 'It's good for enterprises, too,' says Redmond

            @Entrope: And that's one of the things they trying to get away from, because volume license versions of Windows have *always* been upgrades only but a great many customers didn't realise this and were buying bare metal PCs on the assumption their VL had them covered.

            The "while maintaining their Software Assurance coverage" basically means that if you stop paying for Software Assurance, you can no longer upgrade new machines, even if they are replacements for machines that were upgraded - existing machines that were upgraded under SA are fine to remain so.

  4. Asok Asus

    Microsoft hasn't really fixed anything that matters with 8.1 (e.g., return of the Start Menu), which means 8.1 is primarily a PR stunt involving mostly deckchair rearranging on a sinking ship. The whole mess is still focused on the ridiculous, counter-productive notion of touch on the PC via the hated, execrable and useless Metro UI and the pathetic and nearly pointless Apps Store. And the worse part for Microsoft is that at the same time as totally alienating their bread and butter enterprise and SMB customers, Microsoft doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a meaningful player in mobile computing with the garbage software they're trying to foist on the consumer public.

    Oh, and as an IT consultant who works with 100s of users in dozens of businesses, I don't have a single client that would even remotely consider buying a single Windows 8 system. In fact, there is almost a visceral hatred of Windows 8 by my many of my clients.

    1. dogged

      Fed cheerfully by you, no doubt.

      And you ran it in a VM for roughly 4 minutes for "evaluation" before you made your superinformed decision, right?

      1. 1Rafayal


        Agreed, I wonder just how many people have based their opinion of Windows 8 by just such a method.

        Additionally, I know of a few large(ish) companies who are exploring the use of Windows 8 (and ultimately 8.1) now.

        I think a lot of people fail to realize that it takes a very long time for the enterprise to make a decision regarding desktop OS support. For any devs writing Win 8 apps, there is no choice, they simply must run Windows 8 in order to write Windows Runtime apps. But for everyday corporate users the process takes a hell of a lot longer.

    2. Vince

      "Consultant" indeed.

      Well as you're an "IT consultant" I can imagine you're happy holding people back, since that gives you every opportunity to screw them for consultancy money advising them how to make life difficult increasingly over the next 'n' years supporting old junk.

      Meanwhile since we actually show our customers the benefits, we're rolling out Windows 8 to our customers at every opportunity - and this "start menu" nonsense is a complete red herring, and there's no reason to not gain the benefits of Windows 8 for the sake of that - and actually if you show people how to use Windows 8 (y'know training, something most companies I guess don't bother with... more fool them) they adopt it just fine.

      The improvements in 8.1 will only go to re-inforcing my positive view of Windows 8. Would I go back to Windows 7? God no, that'd be a horrible retrospective step. Do I miss the start menu? Not really, I haven't been "clicking" though that menu since Vista, and 8 let's me carry on just hitting windows, then typing the name ("word") and voila, off I go...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Consultant" indeed.

        "Meanwhile since we actually show our customers the benefits,"

        Which are?

        "and this "start menu" nonsense is a complete red herring"

        Is it? Oh ok , well I guess 15 years of UI design must be bullshit then and you're correct - having an early 80s style tiled interface must be the way forward in 2013.

        Or not.

        "and 8 let's me carry on just hitting windows, then typing the name ("word") "

        Yes, that sounds soooo much simpler than just using a menu.

        I smell an MS shill.

        1. dogged

          Re: "Consultant" indeed.

          I dunno. If fifteen years of UI design is meaningful, then why was there ever a Start Button in the first place? Surely the Program Manager interface was perfection?

          Or previously, the DOS prompt?

          And again, you're doing that thing where you forget that the desktop is still there and is actually better than the Win7 desktop in many ways and worse in er.... none.

          Older is not necessarily good and new is not necessarily better. In my experience Windows 8 needs a fortnight of your time. You spend a week swearing, a week shrugging and then a currently undefined amount of time vowing to never go back.

      2. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: "Consultant" indeed.

        "Meanwhile since we actually show our customers the benefits, we're rolling out Windows 8 to our customers at every opportunity - ..."

        Good for you Sir, I'm all in favour of free training.

        Just list a couple of those benefits please. My students will start to buy Windows 8 machines next year I suppose. College uses Windows 7 all through and we haven't got any money for anything. Impeadance mismatch due. Need to start making case for College to reflect likely home systems in a couple of years...

  5. graeme leggett Silver badge

    BYOD friendly?

    "Data can be marked as belonging to a company, encrypted, and then selectively wiped remotely, leaving the user's own data intact."

    Leaving the company? Spice up your gardening leave by watching the corporate data evaporate off your lappy leaving only the lolcat galleries.....

    Actually, since the issue of separation of users personal stuff from corporate stuff has been mentioned about BYOD in the past, this seems like a good idea. Are there implementations of this on other platforms?

    1. AMB-York Silver badge

      Re: BYOD friendly?

      Blackberry do a good job of doing this, but as nobody's using them, it doesn't matter (my Playbook is now an excellent picture frame).

      Any device that uses ActiveSync to collect email can have security settings forced upon them - password requirements etc. You can also wipe the email from the device using the same. This is on Android & Apple devices too.

      Not sure if it extends to files though. someone who know what they're talking about will be along shortly!

      1. El Andy

        Re: BYOD friendly?

        ActiveSync can extend to wiping the entire device, to remove corporate data after an employee leaves. Obviously that's a very heavyweight response though as the user loses all their personal data too. It's a really big issue for BYOD scenarios and so far Windows 8.1 is the only platform with a solution.

    2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: BYOD friendly?

      Now why didn't someone like Blackberry/RIM think to offer something like this?

      Oh wait...

  6. Simon Jones [MSDL]

    Advertising Video

    At TechEd Europe this week, one of the keynotes (Day 2 I think) opened with a video that started...

    Windows 8.1 .....

    ... Is more you.

    Like a sales assistant in a clothes shop when you try on a second suit after you really didn't like the first one they showed you. "Oh yes, sir. That's much more 'you'." I laughed like a drain.

    I don't think they intended it to be taken that way. They're not British, after all.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: Advertising Video

      OK, so I now have a mental image of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse selling Win8 that just "suits you sir...".

      Bugger, now I'm gonna have that catchphrase in my brain all bloody day.

      <--- Mine's the jacket with matching trousers and waistcoat.

      1. Mr Spock

        Re: Advertising Video

        Or: 'See that desktop? That's you, that is!'

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The thing is, there really isn't a viable (yet) alternative. I've been playing with Mint 15 for a while and tbh it is not comparable for mass-usage. And until Apple release their OS as a licenced installable product (on other hardware), then Windows is the only option for non-geeks.

    Yes, Steam is there (very cut-down) and everything kind of works, but Flash is uber slow (er) and it just isn't as user-friendly imo.

    And while many don't like TIFKAM, I actually do. It's cleared up my desktop and I find the search functionality much more user-friendly.

    Horses for courses though.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward

      I paid £25 for Win8 pro - I also liked it (after getting used to bypassing metro) - however since PRISM it's gone. Replaced by Ubuntu. I find my productivity has gone up - web work. Libre office and Base are good - I can use base to directly work on my MySQL tables on the web, GIMP is ok and all the transcoding etc seems to work better on Linux.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Big Brother

        What ARE you on about?

        @Colin Camper

        "...however since PRISM it's gone..."

        Is this some kind of boycott of US products?

        Do you think for one moment that GCHQ cannot profile the whole of your online activity across all devices should they decide they need to?

        PS: Using Ubuntu Gnome Edition 13.04 with Gnome 3.8 installed just to see what the new RHEL will work like...

  8. Mevi
    Thumb Up

    I kinda like W8 Pro

    I only paid £15 for it.

    .....but I don't use the Modern UI or any of the apps. I can't say that i've ever been start menu dependent, anyway. Overall performance and battery life on MY hardware (3 year old i7 EliteBook lappy, high CPU usage music production) is better than W7 Pro. If they can better integrate TIFKAM into the OS and make search less clunky, then it's maybe worth my time to upgrade to 8.1.

    I'm due to retire & replace my iPad 1 this summer, and I'd consider a x86 W8 tablet.

    1. John P
      Thumb Up

      Re: I kinda like W8 Pro

      That's pretty much my experience right there, although I suspect I probably think more highly of the search features than yourself :)

      I have a number of techie friends - consultants, IT Admins, etc - and whenever I mention Windows 8 I immediately get the usual "blurgh", wouldn't touch it with a barge pole response. If I asked how long they'd actually used it for, I suspect the answer would be never or "in a vm for 2 minutes".

      I honestly thought I'd struggle without the start menu, but I find the only thing I miss is the recent documents functionality that the Start Menu had. When you're primarily a keyboard user, start screen + search is far superior.

      1. MtK
        Thumb Up

        Re: I kinda like W8 Pro

        I'm the same. I have Win 8 Pro on my laptop at home and desktop at work. Being not much of a mouse user I'm finding that hitting Start and typing the first one or two characters of the program I need works really well. Search results remember your more popular choices. Get the same on Server 2012 as well.

      2. Richard Gadsden

        Re: I kinda like W8 Pro

        Getting the button back will be really useful for Windows 2012 R2 - no start button was a huge pain when you're logged in via RDP (which is the way to log into servers, really).

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: I kinda like W8 Pro

          "Getting the button back will be really useful for Windows 2012 R2 - no start button was a huge pain when you're logged in via RDP (which is the way to log into servers, really)."

          Don't hold your breath. The "returned" start button just takes you to the tiled Metro screen, which has perhaps a dozen apps visible, rather than the hierarchial Start menu, which had no trouble showing several times that number. If you use your PC for more than just email, web and media consumption, Win8 blows.

          1. El Andy

            Re: I kinda like W8 Pro

            @Ken Hagan: In 8.1 you can have the Start Screen default to the new all apps view instead if you want. Which shows much more than the Start Menu ever could.

  9. Fihart

    Can't put the cat back in the bag.

    Many 'normal' consumers have heard that Windows 8 is a lemon. Mostly hearing that from their techie friends who should be impressed by the industrial strength features of 8.1 but hate Microsoft and 8 so much that they won't change their position any time soon. And probably feel that they ought to go with Linux cos it's more hairy-chested (not just beardy).

    If Microsoft don't give users what they think they want, they'll find it elsewhere. Witness the vast uptake of Apple and Android products in the past few years.

    I may avoid iPod and iPad and iPhone for Apple's cynically exploitative walled-garden approach, but Microsoft seem to be going that way too with the threat of restricted boot PCs -- and applications rental schemes.

    If the only Windows versions people actually want (XP and Win7) are ones MS are determined to dump, they are putting themselves and users in a precarious place. My guess is most will jump, or already have.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It looks 8.1 is adding features MS didn't make in time for 8.0 release

    8.1 looks more a release to add features planned for 8.0 but not ready in time, than a revision of 8.0 mistakes. Some of those features are interesting, but until the 8 UI deosn't return really usable again for users doing more than browsing the Internet, it won't be appealing anyway.

  11. TonyJ

    Suspect it won't be 'that much' of a lemon from MS's perspective

    Simply because lets face it - corps buying licenses have to buy the latest offering. Whether they then downgrade that licensing doesn't matter - it's a <new version> license sale.

    To compound that the people still buying laptops and desktops for the home - whilst it may be a declining market, it's not yet a dead one - on the whole will stick with whatever OS is on there already.

    And let's not forget that your average home user, whilst they may be influenced somewhat by techie friends and family members are _not_ in and of themselves very technical. The fact that your average PC World generally don't sell a computer with anything other than Windows on it means that most will not even know there are alternatives.

    Indeed I can't think of anyone outside of my immediate circle of colleagues - and very few within - that even build their own systems anymore thanks to the likes of Dell commoditising the PC over the years.

    1. Green Nigel 42
      Thumb Up

      Re: Suspect it won't be 'that much' of a lemon from MS's perspective

      The average Joe & Jane have mostly been told by their friends that W8 is awful. Being none technical they have invested years getting used to doing things one way, only to find the rug pulled out from under them with W8.

      So when they go into Pc World, they play with the W8 Laptops they can afford, (none touch), then amble over to the tablets & find that they do all that they want, without hassle. The salesman seeing this closes the sale rather than watching them walk out the door with nothing. Result, the average consumer now realises there is a real choice to the over spec'd Wintel offerings forced on in the recent past. Prehaps this is what Steve Jobs decided to exploit & labeled the post PC era.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge

        Re: Suspect it won't be 'that much' of a lemon from MS's perspective

        @Green Nigel 42

        "...then amble over to the tablets & find that they do all that they want, without hassle."

        What are the options for officey type work on a cheap tablet?

        Is it Google Apps? Or are there local office apps that can word process and save in MS formats? Just thinking of the students.

        If Libreoffice makes it onto Android mind you, I could do 90% of what I need on a cheapo tablet with an external keyboard.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Suspect it won't be 'that much' of a lemon from MS's perspective

          > If Libreoffice makes it onto Android mind you, I could do 90% of what I need on a cheapo tablet with an external keyboard.

          I quite like SoftMaker Office for Android/Windows/Linux.

      2. Getriebe

        Re: Suspect it won't be 'that much' of a lemon from MS's perspective

        @Green Nigel 42 - I reckon you got it in one. Your description fits one of my groups of friends who have nothing to do with computers other than use them for running their business etc. The tablet is good enough and unless they are running something special like accounts or MRPetc tc they don't need a standard PC (Win, Apple or Linux) . I stood in John Lewises for 20 mins and learnt W8 well enough to feel fine with it and then buy a slab. Get one of these people to look at it for more than a cursory glance and they are fine. But underneath they could care its Win8, And, or App.

        As long as they can connect to their network and share docs and edit docs of all types from a central repository they are totally agnostic. And yes that is the post PC era - no blob of data on the desk top in a single geographical location

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Encryption by default?

    "This encryption is enabled by default, is invisible to the user, and there are no management settings for it. "

    That reads as if a home PC will automatically have the user data encrypted. Is that what happens? It's not unusual for a user to need their data recovering from a system they have completely messed up and can't login.

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    And in other news...

    Eadon is on holiday.

    Did we miss him? Nah, thought not.

    Ok, you can downvote me now.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: And in other news...

      Eadon is at Build 2013, he'll be back to cleanse the dirty feeling when he's done lying in the keynote speech...

  14. Potemkine Silver badge

    No thanks

    We'll wait for Windows 9, for the moment we stick with Seven.

  15. Stephen Channell

    Suicide Watch..

    The Metro interface in WinPhone works really quite well; WinRT kinda works if you ignore the quirks & bugs, but Wi-Eight is unmitigated rubbish on a regular PC/laptop.

    In the teeth of the greatest recession IT has ever known, the deranged leaders of Microsoft think they can force a wholesale hardware refresh just to work round their stupid design flaws (point at the corners is as intuitive as point to my imaginary friend).. It’s just not funny anymore…

    If the nonsense goes on much longer, it really will be worth IBM dusting off their Windows-compatible licence to re-launch OS/2 on a Linux kernel with commercial Win32 abi.. could be the OS equivalent of AMD64

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Suicide Watch..

      I've had every version of Windows since 95, and apart from ME and Vista they have been pretty good. IMO Windows 8 is the best so far if your head isn't so far up the arses of the "cool" naysayers bandwagon

      1. Stephen Channell

        Re: Suicide Watch..

        I've used (&developed for) every version of Windows since 1.0 (including ME & Vista), while they've been pretty good, IMHO 2008R2 was the best. I have a WinPhone & a WinRT hybrid (Yoga-11 @40% off) & put Wi-Eight on a touchscreen PC & dev laptop (for VS2012).. ironically the "charm" menu didn't work on the touchscreen because of the screen border.. and had to find the keyboard.

        While OS/2 Warp is long dead, IBM's Windows licence does give them commercial patent cover for a Windows compatible shell.. put that over a Linux kernel and you've got an alternative.. the only question is "Can IBM rely on MS to be arrogant/abusive for long enough to justify the cost".. W8.1 suggest they might!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'This encryption' vs. 'BitLocker'.... What's the difference?.... Any gotchas?

    "This encryption is enabled by default, is invisible to the user, and there are no management settings for it. But companies that want more control still have the option of disabling it and using Microsoft's more full-featured BitLocker encryption"

  17. rogerthat1945

    The Microstuff customer is always wrong?

    Microsoft were told by customers like me long before Windows 8 came out that it would fail.

    Well done MS for living up to expectations.


    Windows 8 occasionally still freezes on modern laptops.

    Open the door wider to Linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Microstuff customer is always wrong?

      So, what you're saying is that MS were told by a few shouty Internet nerds that Windows 8 would fail. The people who should be the most able to adapt to change, but instead cry until everything is made back how it used to be, all warm and nice. That would be fine but for, the customer behaviour data that they get from customer's OSes, the thousands of people partaking in behavioural research etc, saying that the new stuff was pretty good.

      I actually have friends and family saying to me that Windows 8 is a turkey, people who haven't used it and when challenged say that they think that because "it's all over the Internet".

      1. Nuke
        Thumb Down

        @AC (09:02) - Re: The Microstuff customer is always wrong?

        Wrote :- "I actually have friends and family saying to me that Windows 8 is a turkey, people who haven't used it and when challenged say that they think that because "it's all over the Internet".

        Me too. I also believe Win 8 is a turkey, although I have not used it, because they say so all over the Internet. Sorry, I am not going to fork out £50 just to check.

  18. hemanlive

    MS is doing the right thing, but enterprises should still wait before adopting W8

    I am a W8 user at home and use W7 and XP at office. I believe, it is too much of a transition for a typical user to switch to W8. Same would be the case with IT admins. One simple thing could be to decide which apps get installed on office PCs? How to decide upon and enforce this? How much a productivity loss it would be, if the initial few weeks are lost in users just 'getting used' to the new environment?

    I fully understand MS's strategy though. They want to convey that for those who are willing to switch to W8, there is no reason not to apart from the ones mentioned above. Data security, VPN connectivity, BYOD etc. are all taken care of. So such enterprising companies can enjoy the benefits of a more fluid, modern and enjoyable OS than any of the OSes they have witnessed so far. MS will try to push W8 in home space for such time where users become familiar with it, and hope to see enterprise adoption increase thereafter.

  19. Headwest
    Big Brother

    All members of Oceania must show appropriate enthusiasm during Hate Week ...

    Future sociologists will have a field day with the Windows 8 bashing phenomenon - A ready-made study into group behaviour. Can so many screen inches of nonsense ever have been wasted on anything other topic?

    Speaking as a Windows 8 tablet user (what! you mean you actually used it before commenting?) it seems to me that the Start Screen is semantically identical to the Start Menu of Windows 7 but a whole lot better. When I used XP I obsessively tidied my Start Menu so I knew where everything was but I can't remember the last time I explored it on Windows 7 - you just type. So who cares if you can't explore your programs easily - no sensible user has done that since XP. The Windows 8 Start Screen is identical in behaviour to Windows 7 - there are either things pinned to it or you just type. In operation then it is essentially a beefed up Start Menu that makes better use of the whole screen with a desktop that is unchanged. The Start button in 8.1 is perhaps welcome during the transition from previous Windows versions but is essentially a duplicate of the keyboard key, screen button and charm - so now 4 ways to get there...

    Where Microsoft has done less well is in communicating this. It took me a while to discover half the gestures in Windows 8 (like 'semantic zooms' and 'snapping two apps' which I found by accident) but that's my own fault for skipping the video intro on first boot because I thought I knew it...

    So the herd is currently Microsoft-bashing but herds are irrational, volatile things - who will be the next target for the two-minutes of hate?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All members of Oceania must show appropriate enthusiasm during Hate Week ...

      Really? A Microsoft fanboi accusing everyone else of herd thinking? Wow.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All members of Oceania must show appropriate enthusiasm during Hate Week ...

        Oh look - someone not toeing the line gets accused of being a fanboi. Because someone who thinks differently to the groupthink - and has the temerity to say so and point out the groupthink - can't possibly have a point and must be a fully paid up fanboy, probably a shill too.

        1. GregC
          Thumb Down

          @AC 09:05

          By the same token - someone who spent time with W8, learnt how to use it, then decided for himself that the incremental improvements that there are simply aren't worth the loss of continuity and schizophrenic UI automatically gets labelled as being "part of the groupthink".

          Might want to check your pot/kettle interface.

  20. Pen-y-gors

    Encryption keys?

    "where all data on the device is automatically protected using an encryption key that's associated with the user's Microsoft account."

    Is that to make sure that NSA have easy access to everything?

  21. Salts

    The way I see it

    Microsoft supplied the first consumer OS by default, because that was all there was, people used it at work and therefore it was the only option for the home. I won't mention that often they did not have a windows/office license as they got it from work.

    Home users for the *MOST* part use the web, email and some other small tasks, that's why they bought the thing in the first place. Along comes the tablet and they do the same quiet adequately for their needs, why buy a PC and have to purchase Office & and an OS?

    Microsoft wakes up, they are bleeding sales, consumer sales, business is in recession and hanging on and getting the most from their existing infrastructure. Therefore MS brings out an OS that is designed to entice consumers more than business, but the market is not the same as 10 years ago.

    If my mom wants a new laptop at 75 she will get a Chrome book, her home laptop gathers dust for the most part since we bought her the iPad. Once she used the laptop everyday for an hour or so, now it is the ipad and it is used almost all day between her and 78 old dad(who would not touch a PC)

    Anyway just some ramblings

    1. Nuke

      @Salts :- Re: The way I see it

      Wrote :- "Microsoft supplied the first consumer OS by default, because that was all there was, people used it at work and therefore it was the only option for the home."

      It was not "all there was" There was quite a variety of home OS's at that time, but people did not think in terms of OS branding then, it just came with the hardware; they would say "I have a Sinclair (or Amstrad/Atari/Amiga/whatever)." Coprporates adopted DOS because IBM endorsed it, and then MS weaned them onto Windows and all the brand hype that came with it. I bought an Amstrad running CP/M for home long after I was using DOS at work.

  22. Steve78
    Thumb Up

    8.1 is a fine OS and a solid update.

    Those cry babies who refuse to adapt to anything new can simply purchase Start8 (or a free alternative if they are too tight to spend $4.99) and shut up up moaning. Start8 gives people the native Windows 7 Start Menu and is fully customisable.

    8.1 allows you to boot straight to the desktop (as Start8 does and has always done with Windows 8.0) so this will stop a lot of so-called professional IT Administrators from shedding further tears.

    Windows 8 betters Windows 7 is every area. And as I said above, if you still want the look and feel of Windows 7 (which is essentially a tarted up Windows 95) then spend 2 mins of your time downloading a tool to give you the functionality you stick in the muds want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "spend 2 mins of your time ... to give you the functionality you stick in the muds want."

      Or spend 0 mins not doing that for the same functionality. 2 minutes saved!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it not do Cisco VPN?

    Would be a pity if not. The Cisco client I use on the corporate doorstop is pretty dire.

  24. CapnAHAB

    Great -but a shame Enterprises can't buy it.

    'Quote me for a Surface Pro' I say to my supplier. 'Sorry - not available to the channel - er I can buy one from John Lewis on company credit card and sell it on to you for a markup though..' comes the response.

    Why on Gods green earth have Microsoft chosen to sell the majority of the new breeds of Windows 8 Pro tablets and ultrabooks via retail only? Im an IT Manager and I don't have access to a company credit card (nor do I want one).

    I want to buy 10 Surface Pro's but I cant. So I've had to buy Vaio Duos, Lenovo Twists and a Samsung Aativ as these were (just about) available in the channel.

    Don't come around here whining about your non-sales Microsoft, as you're effectively flogging your new devices out of the back of a van, whereas I shop at Makro.

    1. Steve78

      Re: Great -but a shame Enterprises can't buy it.

      Sounds like your crappy procurement procedures are to blame.

      Everyone else just buys them direct from MS:

      1. CapnAHAB

        Re: Great -but a shame Enterprises can't buy it.

        ..yes.. with a credit card. Not ideal for enterprise businesses wouldn't you say who want to order 50 at a time?

  25. Zadkiel

    Yeah, right

    let me refer you to this:

    "Windows 7 and Windows 8 use similar user profile formats, which do not support interoperability when they roam between computers that are running different versions of Windows. When a user who has a Windows 7 profile signs in to a Windows 8-based computer for the first time, the user profile is updated to the new Windows 8 format. After this occurs, the user profile is no longer compatible with Windows 7-based computers"

    Good for Enterprises? Don't make me laugh. Tell me of ANY Enterprise using Roaming Profiles (with users roaming between machines) that could manage an upgrade of workstations from Win7 to Win8 with this restriction in place. Ridiculous.

    1. Steve78

      Re: Yeah, right

      Roaming profiles? Did we suddenly go back in time to 2004?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, right

      . Small Business Server definitely seems to have deprecated them in favour of folder redirection.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, right


        Roaming profile and redirected profiles do basically the same thing, just point you towards a single profile on a network instead of having profiles saved on the individual PC. The problem is that as stated, if you have win7 machines on a network and somebody logs into a win8 machine then the profile gets "upgraded" (read "trashed") so it doesn't work properly with the win7 machines.

        Which matters, because SME's account for 99.9% of businesses in the UK, and 60% of employment. SME's however, rarely have either the IT budgets or desire to upgrade the entire desktop estate in one go. As a result, you get the new OS with the new hardware rolled out over the course of an ongoing multi year upgrade program.

        Yet SME's can't deploy win8 because it doesn't work with win7 machines they already have already deployed, which is why the first 25 pages of the misco catalouge displays about a hundred win7 machines... and 2 win8 PC's.

        So the objections to win8 are basically that:-

        1) Win8 is not "people ready"

        2) the enterprise market comprising ~40% of the UK workforce doesn't want to touch it until this is resolved.

        3) It's technically impossible to deploy it without encountering critically severe problems in about 60% of the UK workforce.

        To address this, microsoft have stated that they have improved terminal services a bit and included a VPN client in win8.1. (and hopefully they mean IPSEC, not PPTP...)

        Hear that sound? That was IT departments all around the world sighing and sitting down to wait for win9.

  26. Roland6 Silver badge

    Is Win 8 the new XP?

    Seeing all the new stuff MS are putting into the 8.1 release, makes me wonder whether like XP, come SP2/8.2 or whatever MS decide to call it, Windows 8 could actually be a decent OS...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I second Steve78 - I played with W8 in a VM for a while & decided it wasn't too bad. Along came Start8 (I preferred paying the 5$ for a more 'supported' approach) and I made the switch with no qualms. Works just like W7 but it boots faster, shuts down faster & is generally faster in most operations across the board plus has some nice additional functionality - like improved Task Manager for one. No messing with TIKFAM but it's there if I want to summon it for a laugh. Interested in 8.1 & downloading for a VM play session now.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      And that is how it should have been from the start.

      All this hoopla/zealotry around Win8 and that stupid Start button is because Microsoft was fucking incapable of giving customers the CHOICE of whether they wanted the not-Metro interface or the Start button they were used to.

      And if a simple $5 add-on is enough to solve the issue then it's not an enormous technical problem with unforeseen consequences, it's just that Microsoft's hubris is getting bigger than its customer base.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Win 8 Business Disasters

    There are many Business Disasters with Win 8, none of which I see Win 8.1 fixing. Firstly, it is pretty close to impossible to use Win8 servers over remote desktop. Especially in a multi-monitor environment. As someone who uses multiple 30" monitors on the max resolution, TIFKAM is really pointless. I very heavily use pluralised windows to get things done. I might have realtime graphs on part of my screen. Email on another part. IM on another part, and be working somewhere else entirely.

    Just as bad is VPN support. I would really love to be able to use a Windows RT device to connect to work, but the inability to run 3rd party VPN clients from the browser makes it impossible. Worse still, Microsoft just has its head in the sand over it and claims you can just use their native client. Something which isn't true in most secure VPN configurations.

  29. Dylan Fahey

    To actually trust VPN drivers inside MS?

    To actually trust VPN drivers inside MS?

    They must think we be insane, considering NSA has the key to the internals.

    Trust no one!

    So, I think not.

    OH, there's a black sedan pulling up my driveway...

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