According to Information Week, Microsoft has received a lot of feedback from their loyal users about Windows 8 and many of them weren’t happy. Microsoft listened and made some updates in version 8.1 that addresses some of their concerns. They brought back the beloved “Start” button, made security enhancements, and changes to the interface, as well as including some great new features to help users stay up-to-date in our technology-driven world.
Shop Til’ You Drop!
The Near-Field Communication (NFC) revolution allows you to use your smartphone to make purchases by holding your “phone-close button” next to a receiver in a store. This way you won’t need to carry around a bunch of credit cards that can get lost or stolen, and it makes shopping easier!
Where’s The Printer?
No more looking around on your network for printers. Microsoft’s new NFC Tap-to-Pair Printing can find a printer on your network by just tapping your Windows 8.1 device next to an NFC-ready enterprise printer! It doesn’t get much easier than this.
With Wi-Fi Direct, you can connect devices without the bother of joining hotspot or home wireless network. Windows 8.1 devices can seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without the need for additional drivers or software.
School Days Were Never Better
With the new Assigned Access feature, you can run a single Windows Store application, and block any other applications or browsers. This is especially useful where teachers want students to use a single application without access to a web browser. Parents might like this too!
With Windows 8.1’s Native Miracast Wireless Display you can stream videos and music via Wi-Fi from one device to another, like when you want to watch a movie on your HDTV that’s on your computer or smartphone. Plus for business users, it’s easy to pair two Miracast-enabled work devices, such as your laptop to a conference room projector for crystal-clear presentations.
Don’t Have Internet Access? No worries.
With Windows 8.1 Broadband Tethering you can use your smartphone and your cellular-equipped laptop to connect to the Internet and act as a WI-Fi hotspot. Plus a single Windows 8.1 laptop with a cellular connection can provide Internet access to multiple devices.
You Can Never Have Enough Security
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are extremely useful for businesses to share confidential information online. Windows 8.1 and Windows RT now both have support for a wider variety of VPN clients, and apps will be able to automatically launch VPN connections when necessary. And with Windows 8.1 Auto-Triggered VPN feature you’ll automatically be prompted to sign in when you use an app that requires VPN. This way you know your information exchange will be protected and secure.
Windows 8.1 also has much improved biometric capabilities, with fingerprint login for various types of readers. You can use your biometric authentication for your Windows sign-in, remote access and User Access Control.
Windows Defender antivirus software continuously monitors network behavior and when malware is detected Nobler Defender immediately shuts it down. Internet Explorer 11 also uses Windows 8.1 anti-malware solution.
All editions of Windows OS now have added device encryption, and Windows 8.1 Pro/Enterprise version users can add BitLocker Drive Encryption protection as well. Consumer devices with 8.1 that use a Microsoft account are automatically encrypted for security.
You Can Bring Your Own Device To Work!
For today’s companies adopting BYOD (bring your own device) policies Windows 8.1 allows them to monitor company-sensitive content on a users’ device, and if necessary remove the data remotely without affecting the user’s personal content. Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) or EAS + OMA-DM protocol allows a company to encrypt their data, and then delete it when necessary when enabled in both the server and client application.
And to improve BYOD capabilities WorkPlace allows users to work on their own device while accessing corporate resources securely; Work Folders enables users to easily sync from their folder in the enterprise data center to their personal device.
You can preview Windows. 8.1 at https://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/preview The Windows 8.1 upgrade will be available for free later in the year, for both Windows 8 and RT users.