Demystifying Windows 8

In anticipation for the Windows 8 release in October of 2012, Microsoft published a guide for businesses about their new product. The summarized version of the features is included here.

Highlights Include:

The Metro User Interface will replace older displays. There are new accessibility features included Windows Live Sign In, Windows to Go and BranchCache. Internet Explorer 10 will support HTML5, CSS3, and SVG. There are new security features including Bitlocker and Applocker. New unified device management tools including Hyper V and Application Compatibility tool kit.

Here is each of the new features in more detail:

Metro User Interface

This interface uses tiles to represent applications. They can also be used to display real time information. These tiles can also be set to communicate with each other to create the most useful references. However, if you do not like the Metro system, an application will be included that allows you to use a traditional desktop.

Windows Live ID

Users will be able to sign into Windows 8 with their Windows Live ID. This will allow for greater integration of the user’s profile via Skydrive which will allow access to data through multiple devices.

Windows to Go

Windows to Go will allow mobile devices to boot Windows 8 through a flash drive. Settings can be altered so that information inputted is uploaded directly to a central computer and will not be stored on the mobile device.


This is a feature that will help improve productivity in branch offices. Files from the home office can be cached and stored locally. Thus, branch offices can access files quicker rather than download them repeatedly over WAN.

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Internet Explorer 10

Internet Explorer 10 will have two different displays, one resembles IE 9 and one that will have the Metro UI. It will support HTML5, CSS3, and SVG. This new version will be plug-in free. However any applications that run on ActiveX will work on the desktop version of IE 10.


Bitlocker helps protect data on mobile PCs. It can be set to only encrypt used space rather than the whole disk. This allows for less CPU and power consumption. It will encrypt as space is used to minimize disruption.


Applocker will allow the IT department to implement a more comprehensive security policy. They will be able to restrict what which users or group have access to which applications at any given time. This program is ideal for businesses using Group Policy to manage their computers.

Hyper V

Hyper V allows for IT departments to develop, debug, and test multiple configurations on a single PC. IT professional will be able to manage clients’ virtual machines seamlessly. This will increase productivity and efficiency by consolidating hardware.

Application Compatibility Toolkit

This tool is used by IT professionals to quickly access how older applications will run on Windows 8. Data can also be tested and managed via the User State Migration Tool. It is important that all data is secure and can be easily accessed after the upgrade.