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Top 10 Windows troubleshooting and security articles of 2014

In 2014, Microsoft improved OS security with Windows 8.1 and set a deadline for Windows 7 support. See our most popular Windows troubleshooting articles.

This past year was as busy as ever for IT administrators concerned with Windows troubleshooting and endpoint security. Microsoft's Patch Tuesdays, the ongoing shift in Windows editions, and perennial concerns about mobility and data protection kept enterprises on their toes. Here's a countdown of SearchEnterpriseDesktop's most popular articles about security and troubleshooting for 2014.

10. Don't assume that Windows 8.1 is automatically more secure

Yes, Microsoft has added security features to its operating system, but admins who know these four fallacies about features such as BitLocker and Windows Defender can avoid letting their guard down.

9. Windows 8 improves on Windows 7 for disaster recovery

Windows 8 includes new disaster recovery and incident management capabilities, some of which are even available for Windows 7.

8. Windows 8 BitLocker is necessary to secure Windows To Go drives

A Windows To Go USB drive contains a full OS image, but it can also be lost or stolen. Use BitLocker encryption to protect sensitive corporate data and Windows systems.

7. Windows 7 security tools can be useful across OS versions

Whether you're sticking with Windows XP or Windows 7, belatedly migrating to Windows 8.1, or holding out for Windows 10, there are several Windows 7 security tools that should help with troubleshooting any Windows version.

6. Compare Windows patch management tools before you buy

Our series on Windows patch management tools looks at five third-party sets and compares their OS and application support as well as licensing costs. Each offers slightly different features and has its own limitations.

5. Alter default Windows 8.1 settings for Windows troubleshooting

Simple Windows 8.1 settings, such as enabling the local admin account or activating the confirmation dialog box when deleting a file or folder, make life easier for IT shops.

4. Trust but verify: Check Winlogon for missing GPO settings

Group Policy Object settings can configure Windows clients across an Active Directory domain, but to make sure Group Policy settings are properly applied, use Winlogon and common client-side extensions.

3. Dell's 2-in-1 tablet impresses industry watchers yet poses integration challenges

The Dell Venue 11 Pro Series 7000 includes two-factor authentication with smartcard and fingerprint recognition, but how can IT juggle data security and end-user management?

2. Microsoft enhances encryption in Windows 8.1

As with its Surface RT tablets, Microsoft's Windows 8.1 automatically encrypts disk drives by default. The trick is knowing whether devices are encrypted and how to manage that encryption.

1. Even as support ends, Windows 7 troubleshooting is easier than ever

Microsoft has already announced the end of its official support for Windows 7 next month, but in addition to command-line options, the Sysinternals suite includes several potentially useful tools for Windows troubleshooting.

Next Steps

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Shareware can provoke an unwanted antimalware response

Dig Deeper on Endpoint security management tools

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What do you think was the biggest Windows security development of the past year?
The last year saw many changes come to Windows, much of them being in the rewriting of code, eliminating old code (which is more vulnerable to hacks and malware), and writing new patches to replace the now obsolete codes and protocols Windows held. Many of these brought real security enhancements that were badly needed. The new SDI offered with Windows patches and updates has made it a much ore stable OS to work with.