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As announced today on the Windows for Your Business Blog, the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview is now available for all IT pros to download. We encourage you to leverage this preview release to get a jump start on your Windows 8.1 deployment project planning, using it with the new deployment tools that are already available to create a fully-functional model of the deployment processes that you will use once Windows 8.1 Enterprise is generally available later this year.
Final versions of the deployment tools, including the Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8.1, Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013, and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, will be available at the same time as Windows 8.1 Enterprise to ensure you can begin deploying this new version of the operating system right away.
For customers presently using Windows 8 Enterprise, the path to Windows 8.1 Enterprise is simple. You can leverage a fully-automated process to update existing Windows 8 systems. This process can be initiated using any software distribution or management tool, just by running “setup.exe /auto:upgrade” from the Windows 8.1 installation files. This time required to perform this update process varies based on computer and network performance, with the fastest configurations taking around 15 minutes. Typical update times will depend on your environment, so test it out in your lab to see how long it will take for you.
For customers currently using an older version of Windows, deploying Windows 8.1 Enterprise can be done using the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2013 or using System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. Either way, you get a completely automated deployment process that can:
This traditional deployment process provides a simple mechanism for migrating all existing computers to Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
But we can’t talk about deploying Windows 8.1 Enterprise without also talking about compatibility, from a few different perspectives:
For those migrating from Windows 7 or Windows 8, this overall level of compatibility should make Windows 8.1 very easy to deploy. For those migrating from Windows XP, a prudent level of app testing is suggested (using a process like that described in Chris Jackson’s blog), but as the April 8th, 2014 end-of-support date for Windows XP is rapidly approaching, we hope this process is already well underway.
We strongly believe that Windows 8.1 Enterprise will be the new baseline for all enterprises, offering the best mobility, security, performance, and manageability. This is true not only for tablet and other touch-enabled systems, but also for traditional laptops and desktops. All will benefit from the Windows 8.1 improvements.
For more information about Windows 8.1 Enterprise, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 8 on TechNet and the Windows 8.1 Enterprise sites.
Michael NiehausSenior Product Marketing Manager
How do I get proxy authentication to work with the Windows Store Apps? We use TMG2010 and we don't want to open unauthenticated access to every site for every app, this is my first deployment issue.
Take a look at windows enterprise here www.mobileosworld.com/.../microsoft-launches-windows-81.html