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Best of BUILD 2013: What’s New in Windows 8.1 for IT Pros

posted Oct 8, 2013, 2:37 PM by Avesta Dayeny   [ updated Oct 8, 2013, 2:39 PM ]
At the Build 2013 conference in June, Microsoft formally announced the availability of Windows 8.1 Preview and Windows RT 8.1 Preview. If you’re interested in evaluating this pre-release of Windows 8.1 on non-production PCs, you can obtain the Preview bits at

Although much of the Build conference was targeted towards developers, lots of IT Pros are interested in the ways in which Windows 8.1 will improve enterprise end-user and management scenarios. John Vintzel, Senior Program Manager on the Windows team, delivered a great session on the new features in Windows 8.1 for business organizations. In this article, I’ll provide a summary of John’s session along with a clickable video index to the recording of this session.
What’s New in Windows 8.1 for the Enterprise?

Session Index – What’s New in Windows 8.1 for the Enterprise?

[ 01:04 ] Changes in the Enterprise
Anywhere, anytime expectations from end-users
BYOD goes mainstream
Dynamic, connected, global environment
Increasing need to enable mobile professionals
Mobility demands have grown from 21% to 29% in past two years
80% of all workers do work outside a traditional office

[ 02:30 ] Session Agenda: Windows 8.1 for the Enterprise
Best business tablet and more
Windows apps for business
Enterprise grade security
Empower BYOD
Mobility for the enterprise

[ 03:40 ] Windows 8.1: UI Enhancements
Start “tip” to easily transition between Desktop and Start Screen
Start Screen Improvements
See the desktop only when you need it
Leave the desktop only when you want to
Windowed and improved multi-monitor support
New search experience

[ 05:30 ] Apps for your business
Apps share screen
Multi-monitor support
Higher DPI support
New contracts for apps
High-precision touchpad

[ 08:15 ] Reliability and Power Efficiency
Maximizing Battery Life of Connected Standby mode
Connected Standby Support for both Wireless and Wired network adapters
Improved App Reliability for Background Apps
Background Transfers –
Notification when background transfers complete or fail
Optimized background transfers that can switch between network connections

[ 12:43 ] Mobile Broadband for Anywhere Connectivity
Windows 8.1 PCs can become a WIFI /mobile broadband hotspot
Auto-connect and disconnect capabilities to/from hotspot
Hardware OEMs integrating mobile broadband into System-on-Chip designs for improved battery life and smaller form factors.

[ 14:27 ] Printing Enhancements in Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 makes printing simple and secure, from any device
Support for NFC tap-to-connect printing
Improved credential manager support for auto-mapping printers
Roaming printer information based on printer connectivity status
Support for WIFI-Direct printing

[ 17:55 ] Remote Desktop Enhancements in Windows 8.1
Touch-first, fast and fluid user experience
Remote Desktop and Remote App for BYOD scenarios
Reduced network bandwidth for Remote Desktop connections
Optimized reconnect time down to less than 10 seconds
RemoteFX GU Offload enhanced to reduce overhead by ~50%

[ 21:58 ] Workplace Join in Windows 8.1
Enables users to associate their BYOD devices with company’s Active Directory without a full domain join
Supported for Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT
Requires Windows Server 2012 R2

[ 23:01 ] DEMO: Workplace Join

[ 26:21 ] Web Application Proxy
Publish web applications to users from anywhere on any device
Can differentiate web applications published to domain-joined PCs, workplace-joined PCs, or any remote PCs.
Included in Routing and Remote Access ( RRAS ) role in Windows Server 2012 R2

[ 27:54 ] Expanding Device Support
Not Joined to AD
Workplace Joined
Domain Joined

[ 28:35 ] Expanded In-box VPN Support
Built into Windows
Secure and Stable
Performance with no compromise
Integrated experience
Apps that require VPN access can be integrated with VPN Profiles to trigger VPN connectivity on App launch
New 3rd party VPN support:
Juniper Networks
Check Point

[ 31:13 ] Work Folders in Windows 8.1
Access data from anywhere on different devices
Requires Windows 8.1 client and Windows Server 2012 R2
Work folders can be enabled via File Server Role in Windows Server 2012 R2
Creates synced off-line folder on client that can optionally be encrypted using EFS
IT Pro can control policies for authentication and encryption
Work folders can be configured via end-user opt-in or can be pushed to users via Group Policy, System Center, Windows Intune or Scripts

[ 33:35 ] Mobile Device Management ( MDM ) in Windows 8.1
In-box capabilities for mobile device management
Leverages Open Mobile Alliance Device Management ( OMA-DM ) protocol
Extended to platform support to all Windows 8.1 SKUs
Added support for provisioning VPN profiles, wireless networks, certificates and Work Folders
Manage PCs through OMA-DM agent via Windows Intune or 3rd Party MDM solutions

[ 35:27 ] Security in Windows 8.1 - Selective Wipe
Mark and protect Work Folders with EFS
Access can be revoked on demand
Wipe business data remotely without affecting personal data
Per-app option: Wipe can be sent on an app-by-app basis or entire device

[ 37:59 ] Security in Windows 8.1 – Virtual Smart Cards
Ability to provide strong user authentication, using the ability of your device

[ 39:18 ] Security in Windows 8.1 – Biometrics
Fingerprints fully integrated in Windows experiences

[ 40:32 ] DEMO: Virtual Smart Card and Biometric Authentication

[ 47:08 ] Session Summary
Windows 8.1 offers great experiences and devices along with enterprise-grade solutions
What’s Next? Evaluate Windows 8.1 Preview in your own shop!

Below, I’ve listed some great FREE resources available to help you evaluate Windows 8.1 Preview in your own shop. To evaluate Workplace Join, Work Folders, Selective Wipe, and Web Application Proxy, you’ll also need Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview.
DOWNLOAD: Windows 8.1 Preview
DOWNLOAD: Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview
ACTIVATE: Windows Azure Free Trial to evaluate Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview online
DOWNLOAD: Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit ( ADK ) for Windows 8.1 Preview
DOWNLOAD: Remote Server Administration Tools ( RSAT ) for Windows 8.1 Preview

READ: What’s New in Windows 8.1
READ: Windows 8.1 Preview Product Guide
READ: Windows 8.1 Compatibility Cookbook