What's the ideal case for upgrading enterprise desktops to Windows 8?
Despite much-touted Windows 8 benefits, the operating system has taken a beating from the mainstream news media and old-school IT pundits. Yet everyone I speak with who uses Windows 8 loves it. I myself have been using Windows 8 -- and more recently, Windows 8.1 -- for over a year, and have found the operating system to be superior to Windows 7 in several areas.
Windows 8 is faster than its predecessors. This is partly because of the amazing startup speeds afforded by the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. Microsoft's latest OS just seems to be much more efficient than Windows 7, which was already pretty quick.
I originally thought that Windows 8's performance improvements were simply because the OS was newly installed, but the several installs I have of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are running as fast as ever. I've had no need or temptation to do a clean reinstall to speed things back up like I've had to do with Windows in the past.
Windows 8 BitLocker has many improvements. The full disk encryption enhancements include preboot network authentication, more granular policy controls for writing information to fixed and removable drives not protected by BitLocker, and the ability for regular users (i.e., non-admins) to reset their BitLocker passphrases or PINs.
SmartScreen actually works. This technology now checks all downloaded files. SmartScreen is no replacement for traditional anti-malware software, but it's a nice supplemental control.
Several Windows 8.1 features serve the bring your own device (BYOD) experience. Thanks to the free upgrade, Work Folders, Workplace Join and the Open MDM application programming interface all help to enhance the BYOD experience (or nightmare?) that hardly anyone seems to have any control over.
Windows 8.1 users have all of this, and we don't have to deal with the modern Metro interface -- a ridiculous substitute for traditional desktops and laptops, especially those without touchscreens.
Do you think these features provide Windows 8 benefits enough for the enterprise? I think they do.
This was first published in March 2014