Windows 8 ‘Consumer Preview’ business features released
Microsoft will show off its Windows 8 today and has already released its Product Guide for Business PDF. The guide provides readers with 16 pages detailing how small businesses will use Windows 8 in their day-to-day tasks.
It also lists ten key benefits within Windows 8 operating system, giving a small glimpse of what Microsoft will be detailing today at Barcelona. Below are a few of the benefits outlined in the guide:
Measured boot process
On Trusted Platform Module (TPM)-based systems, Windows 8 can perform a comprehensive chain of measurements during the boot process that can be used to further validate the boot process beyond Secure Boot. Measured boot process enables all aspects of the boot process to be measured, signed, and stored in a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. This information can be evaluated by a remote service to further validate a computer’s integrity. This process is called attestation.
With strong checks to ensure that operating system components are kept safe, malware and other types of malicious software have much less of a chance taking over a PC than ever before.
BitLocker Drive Encryption
BitLocker® drive encryption helps protect corporate data on mobile PCs that include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip. BitLocker now encrypts hard drives more quickly, helping to keep data safe without significantly interrupting worker productivity. BitLocker supports Encrypted Hard Disk Drives (EHDD), which are hard drives with hardwarebased encryption that come pre-encrypted from the manufacturer. BitLocker offloads the cryptographic operations to hardware, increasing overall encryption performance and decreasing CPU and power consumption.
Because Bitlocker encrypts data quickly, enterprise clients can expand BitLocker deployment with minimal down-time. BitLocker allows you to choose to only encrypt the used space on a disk instead of the entire disk. As free space is used, it will be encrypted. This results in a faster, less disrupting encryption of a hard disk. In addition, the user experience is improved by allowing a standard user, one without administrative privileges, to reset the BitLocker PIN.
Sensitive data is an asset and this information must be controlled and managed. Access control technologies such as Active Directory Rights Management Services and access control lists (ACLs) help control the data users are allowed to access. However, when a user runs a process, that process uses the same level of access to data that the user has. As a result, sensitive information can easily be deleted or transmitted out of the organization because a user knowingly or unknowingly ran malicious software. AppLocker can help mitigate these types of attacks by restricting the files that users or groups are allowed to run. By creating security policies, IT pros can use AppLocker to choose which apps can run.
Businesses can select which users or groups can run which apps, ensuring that the right users have access to the right applications. AppLocker is ideal for businesses that currently use Group Policy to manage their Windowsbased computers.
SmartScreen® Application Reputation Service
SmartScreen® Application Reputation is a new opt-in safety feature in Windows 8. Application Reputation has been designed expressly to help consumers make better trust decisions when a downloaded application is more likely to be unsafe. When a Windows 8 user runs an application downloaded from the Internet, SmartScreen uses reputation data to remove unnecessary warnings for well-known files and to show warnings when the download is at higher risk of being malicious. For most Windows consumers, downloaded programs without established reputation—especially those that are not digitally signed—are more likely to be unsafe.
Hyper-V on Windows 8 is a flexible, robust, and high-performing client virtualization technology that enables enterprise developers to develop, debug, and test multiple configurations of apps and operating systems on a single PC instead of each configuration requiring its own PC. On editions of Windows 8 that support Hyper-V, IT professionals can test and manage multiple environments from a single PC, perform application compatibility tests, or test without risking changes to a PC that is actively in use. Hyper-V supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, and IT professionals can manage their client virtual machines seamlessly. Running Hyper-V on Windows 8 computers lowers costs by consolidating hardware and improving efficiency through virtual machine compatibility with Hyper-V on Windows Server 8.
With Hyper-V, multiple operating system configurations are easy to build, maintain, and reuse.
New Virtual Hard Disk Format
An update to the VHD format, called .vhdx, has much larger capacity and built-in resiliency. VHDX supports up to 16 terabytes of storage. It also provides built-in protection from corruption that can occur during power failures and it helps prevent performance degradation on some large-sector physical disks.
Reset and Refresh your PC
Users can easily reset or refresh a Windows installation and get problematic or corrupted systems up and running again. Even if the PC cannot start, you can launch the Windows Recovery Environment and reset the installation to its original state. These features give IT professionals flexibility in restoring PCs in the event of serious hardware or software issues. Users have the ability to reinstall Windows while maintaining all the users’ personal files, accounts, and personalization settings. Additionally, users can reset everything on their PC back to factory condition. Push-button reset provides a flexible solution to help recover a problematic or corrupted PC.