There are many built-in, third-party and free Windows 8 tools for end users and IT administrators to take advantage of, but the sheer number and variety can be bewildering. Which utility is best for your organization?
To help you decide, we've gathered our recent coverage of Windows 8 tools for desktop management and monitoring, migrating from Windows XP, and security. In addition, below are some definitions of terms that those working with Windows desktops, laptops and tablets should know.
1More Windows admin tools-
Windows 8 tools for desktop assessment and management
There are numerous Windows utilities to help administrators manage desktops and other endpoints, and some have been expanded or updated with Windows 8 and 8.1. Whether you need to track licenses, see what's currently running or maintain regulatory compliance, there are ways to save time, effort and money. Also, don't forget built-in and free Windows 8 tools such as those available through Sysinternals.
After Microsoft released Windows 8.1, application developers have been working to meet rising enterprise demand for useful Windows 8 tools. Continue Reading
Copying files between systems can be a tedious chore, but the Windows 8 tool for copying files and add-ons such as RoboCopy can make it easier, if not necessarily quicker. Continue Reading
Management of Windows desktops doesn't necessarily require expensive or complex software. Microsoft System Center, PowerShell and command-line tools such as PSInfo can make the life of a Windows desktop manager easier. Continue Reading
Group Policy Object settings can be remotely refreshed through Microsoft's PsTools and a Windows command-line tool, but IT admins should verify that Group Policy settings have been changed. Continue Reading
The Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool is useful, but the open source Reliable USB Formatting Utility, or Rufus, is free and also works with Windows 8.1. Continue Reading
Although it was possible to record live television in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, Media Center wasn't bundled with Windows 8. However, you can download Windows 8.1 Media Center. Continue Reading
2Tools to ease OS migration-
Managing migrations to Windows 8
Since many IT shops are still moving from Windows XP to newer OSes, it's no surprise that many Windows tools address such migrations. Although Windows 8 is supposedly easier to use, IT departments will still want to pay attention to expenses, application compatibility and technologies that may ease migrations.
As the official end of Windows XP support approached, Dell Software tried to ease automated migrations to Windows 8 with its KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance. Continue Reading
When reimaging, recycling or otherwise disposing of Windows devices, admins should remember to remove any operating system traces in addition to any sensitive data. Third-party tools can help. Continue Reading
Desktop virtualization can help cost-conscious organizations such as schools keep a lid on costs for Windows XP migrations to newer OSes, including Windows 7 or Windows 8. Continue Reading
Microsoft's latest update may address Windows 8.1 compatibility with a broad range of devices and applications, but problems can still occur. Continue Reading
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3Protect Windows 8 systems-
Windows 8 tools for security
No matter the device or its OS, admins must guarantee the protection of enterprise assets including networks, systems and sensitive data. Updated Windows 8 tools such as BitLocker, the Malicious Software Removal Tool and the Desktop Experience are only as good as the knowledge of those who use them. Windows 8.1 might be safer than previous editions, but IT will still want to use Group Policy settings and watch out for emerging security threats.
Microsoft's free Sysinternals Process Explorer tool provides visibility into running functions and can help IT admins and users tighten desktop security. Continue Reading
Microsoft's BitLocker Administration and Monitoring tool can help IT manage Windows BitLocker encryption across multiple machines, but you have to deploy MBAM 2.0 first. Continue Reading
The free Malicious Software Removal Tool and Microsoft Safety Scanner can help protect Windows desktops in addition to conventional anti-malware systems. Continue Reading
Sure, the Windows Store offers up many apps to users, but to maintain OS consistency and comply with licenses, IT should apply Group Policy settings through the Desktop Experience. Continue Reading
It's easy to believe Microsoft's claims that Windows 8.1 is more secure than its predecessors, but IT should still know the real benefits and risks, as well as how to compensate for the latter. Continue Reading
4Additional Windows definitions-
Windows terminology for IT and users to know
As any technology evolves, so does the language around it. We've rounded up our recent definitions around Windows 8 tools and management. If there are any we haven't yet described that you'd like us to add, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.