Post-XPalypse: Surviving a world changed by Windows 8.1 features

Last updated:February 2014

Editor's note

Windows XP support is soon to expire, so many organizations will be upgrading their desktops to Windows 8. Microsoft's latest operating system has raised almost as many questions for enterprise desktop administrators as it addressed prior problems or needs. Windows 8.1 features include tighter security, biometrics support and more, but IT shops and users were initially wary of its touchcentric user interface.

Now that Windows 8 has been out for a while, it's a good time to review what the OS can and can't do. We collect expert advice on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 features, including security, workarounds and even Windows 8 alternatives. User retraining and application compatibility are other considerations.

Whether you've already migrated from Windows XP to Windows 8, are weighing it against Windows 7 or another OS, or are waiting for the rumored Windows 9, these articles should help you decide how to survive in this brave new world.

1Windows 8 features for security

Better security is usually sufficient cause to migrate to a newer OS, especially if the move is combined with a hardware refresh. However, the rise of mobile and cloud technologies makes ensuring control over enterprise apps and data more urgent.

Maintaining security might be easier with Windows 8 features, but you still need to know where potential vulnerabilities are and how to address them. Fortunately, IT admins have several tools for at their disposal, including Group Policy settings, BitLocker and Work Folders.

2Windows 8 alternatives and workarounds

If you've moved to Windows 8 but still find Windows 8.1 features lacking, or if you're looking at Windows 8 alternatives, you have options. There are additional Microsoft and third-party tools, alternative OSes, and Windows 8 workarounds that can make life a little easier.

In addition, some businesses are considering virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and BYOD, not as uses for Windows 8 but as ways to avoid having to migrate. Just be aware that mixed or non-Windows 8 setups come with their own security risks.

3Experts weigh in on Windows 8 features

IT and users have asked lots of questions about Windows 8 workarounds, Windows 8.1 features and whether the OS is worth migrating to. Our experts have answered some of your questions, and if you have more, send them to