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IT eschews these three Windows 10 features

IT professionals and consultants share a few features in Windows 10 that aren't all that useful in the enterprise. Plus, some organizations shy away from universal apps.

Windows 10 brings a lot of benefits, but there are a few features IT administrators could do without.

Some Windows 10 features are just more viable for consumers than they are in business, for instance, and IT isn't yet sold on Microsoft's universal apps concept.

Magnifying problems

The first feature is one that especially irks users, leading to a lot of calls to IT at a large law firm in Boston: Windows 10's display settings that allow users to zoom in and out on their screens. The settings have existed since Windows 7, but they now come with more customization capabilities and can take advantage of the higher screen resolution that Windows 10 supports, which causes problems.

IT departments are hesitant to adopt Universal Windows Platform applications.

The feature doesn't work well when employees undock laptops from their offices and don't shut them down, then redock them to a different monitor at their homes, for instance, the firm's CIO said. The screen will look odd, with comically huge or tiny text, until the user logs out and logs back into the device, he said.

"That has driven some of our users a little nuts," the CIO added.

Goodbye, Hello

Another of these Windows 10 features, Windows Hello for biometric authentication, isn't worthwhile for some organizations to use at all.

"That to me is very gimmicky, and I don't think it's tried-and-true and tested security technology," said Steve Athanas, director of platforms and systems engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. "That's one of those cute things that's nice when it's in your living room, but in your office it isn't of any real value."

Biometrics can improve security by allowing a user's unique identifier, such as a fingerprint or iris, as a secondary authentication factor. But the technology can also be easily compromised on desktops and mobile devices, and once an identifying attribute is stolen, IT can't reset it like it would with a password.

Microsoft offers an enterprise version of its biometrics feature, Windows Hello for Business, that allows for single sign-on and authenticates to numerous services, including Active Directory. UMass Lowell is currently rolling out Duo, a third-party multifactor authentication tool, instead.

Apps not universally loved

IT departments are hesitant to adopt Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications, which work across a variety of Windows 10 devices, including desktops, smartphones and even HoloLens. Developers create them using a single package, and IT can support one version of a UWP app for multiple types of devices, but performance has been a problem in some organizations.

That's because Windows 10 includes UWP apps in the desktop images that come baked into the operating system, and some organizations use these default images even though users may not need all of the apps. The OS provisions the UWP apps on a per user basis when users log on, which has caused a performance drag among some clients, said James Rankin, solutions architect at Howell Technology Group, an IT consultancy in the U.K. This approach is especially a problem in the education sector and nonpersistent VDI deployments where users share machines and there are multiple log-ons throughout the day.

"It creates a bad user experience," Rankin said. "I think that's why [UWP apps] are not seeing so much widespread adoption, because a lot of IT departments are removing them."

IT doesn't have to use the default UWP apps, so it can simply use PowerShell scripts to deprovision them, Rankin said.

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