Microsoft has announced that the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview update is now available for download to allow business customers to test out the new operating system.
The update includes features relating to areas of mobility, security, management and virtualisation, Microsoft said, to try and further appeal to the needs of businesses.
Erwin Visser, senior director within the Windows Division, wrote in a blog post that the update has several notable features, such as Windows To Go Creator, which allows Windows 8.1 to be run from a bootable external USB drive.
“The drive can be used to support Bring Your Own Device scenarios or be given to contingent staff to access the corporate environment without compromising security,” he said.
Start Screen Control gives IT teams that ability to control the layout of the home screen on devices to ensure key apps are located prominently.
The Direct Access capability allows users to “access resources inside a corporate network remotely without having to launch a separate VPN", while AppLocker allows IT to “create a secure environment by restricting the files and apps that users or groups can run on a PC”, Visser wrote.
The wide-ranging updates follow on from several changes already outlined at the Tech Ed event in the US in June, such as Assigned Access and Inbox VPN Clients.
The firm also confirmed the lifecycle of Windows 8.1 will remain under the same lifecycle policy as Windows 8, meaning that support ends on 1 October 2023.
Microsoft will be hoping the addition of yet more corporate controls entice firms to try the platform, as uptake of the new operating system remains low. Microsoft revealed its first full numbers for its Surface devices this week, which showed it spent more on advertising the devices than sales brought in.
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