Blog Series: Windows 8.1 for Business

Windows 8.1 Powers BusinessWelcome to March!  And not that I mean to alarm you, but welcome to the final month before support ends on Windows XP.  I know that many of you supporting IT and devices for your businesses have known this for a while, and are either already done or continuing to work on migrating to Windows 7 or Windows 8But which one, and why?

http://mschnlnine.vo.llnwd.net/d1/inetpub/kevinremde/KROmniture.htmWhat’s interesting to me is that there is a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) surrounding Windows 8.1 and whether or not there is any real benefit to providing and supporting it as the default, best-choice for business devices.  And while I know that most of you have indeed done proper due-diligence in order to come to the conclusion that Windows 7 is a better choice for your businesses, it just may be that not all of your information was based on fact, or was missing some very important beneficial tidbits which, if you had known, might very well have changed the equation.

That’s the purpose of this March blog series: “Windows 8.1 for Business”We, the 9 Microsoft Technology (IT Pro) Evangelists in the US, plus a few special guest authors, want to take this month to help dispel some myths and provide some useful resources for you as you evaluate (and hopefully choose) Windows 8.1 as your business desktop/laptop/tablet/phablet platform of choice.

Below is our schedule, which will be continually kept up-to-date with links to completed articles as they become available.  Stop back often, because we sincerely want you to benefit from this information.  And if you have any questions or comments, please please please post them in the comments either here, or at the articles themselves.

UPDATE: Thank you for your patience!  Due to the importance of the topics we are going to cover, we’ve had to delay posting to this series.  We will continue soon (this week of March 17), and I’ll add items to  the schedule as soon as we’re sure of their availability.  Keep watching…

All the best!
Kevin Remde

Date

Article

Author

March 3

Series Introduction (this article)

Kevin Remde / @KevinRemde

March 4

Oh Start menu, how do I miss thee…or do I?

Matt Hester / @MatthewHester

March 5

Beloved Desktop, Where Art Thou?

Jennelle Crothers / @jkc137

March 6

Windows 8 works great without a touch screen

Keith Mayer / @KeithMayer

March 7

Does Windows 8.1 require more hardware than Windows 7?

Kevin Remde / @KevinRemde

March 19 Getting started with Client Hyper-V Matt Hester / @MatthewHester
March 20 Is the “Cloud” a really big deal? Blain Barton / @Blainbar 
March 21 Remember Our Good Friend Group Policy Matt Hester / @MatthewHester
March 28 Build No-code Business Apps with Windows 8.1, Project Siena and Microsoft Azure

Keith Mayer / @KeithMayer

March 31 Build No-Code Business Apps with Windows 8.1, Project Siena and Microsoft Azure (Part 2) Keith Mayer / @KeithMayer
April 1 Build No-Code Business Apps with Windows 8.1, Project Siena and Microsoft Azure (Part 3) Keith Mayer / @KeithMayer
April 8 Top 5 Key Security Improvements Anthony Bartolo / @WirelessLife
April 10 XP EOS – Guidance for Small/Medium Businesses and Individual Consumers Pierre Roman / @PierreRoman
April 14 Series Wrap-up and Resources Kevin Remde / @KevinRemde

29 thoughts on “Blog Series: Windows 8.1 for Business

  1. I told folks from MS at a Hackfest in Aug 2012 that there would be ZERO corporation adoption because the Charm Bar was “auto hide”. I was told to go #*CK Myself….. HA the number do NOT Lie. So who got #*CKed? – Not Me, I consulted EVERYWHERE that Win 8.x is the current Version of Window ME. Now I consulted EVERYWHERE that Win 8.x Music App and Video App and Mail App PROVE that Microsoft Win.JS is NOT the way to CODE Apps. Since Window 8.1 removed “VPN Retry” as a existing feature, why would any one or company trust Microsoft anymore. Microsoft patches were safe, but not anymore. Wow, Microsoft has lost Trust of 10’s of thousands. Congrats on all the choices and kool-aid. With the new HP $179 Chrome Box, PC desktop are soon to be dead. Why? Chrome Box’s will be always on the wire. So much for that MS Ad.

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  2. Hello LiveFromRaleigh – I’m going to leave your rather explicit post up here because you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and I’m sure there are a few people who share that opinion. My opinion is that you’re waaay off (and not just because I work for Microsoft), and there are many users of Windows 8.1 who agree with me, too. So let’s you and I try to keep the conversation in the comments a bit more positive, and allow the series articles to perhaps shed some light on areas and benefits that you might not yet have been aware of, shall we? Feel free to remind me of this discussion again someday when the chromebook installed base has surpassed devices running Windows.Thanks!

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  3. Would that be the installed base of Window 8? – because your SEC posting and stock price tell that number is not very hard to pass. The repeated statements of Microsoft VP’s comments that OEM are the reason to blame does not wash with Wall St. As for myself, I have bet tons on Microsoft and Thank God for Your New CEO – but don’t hide for talking about the real facts – your new VP Joe B. did not at the Mobile World conference. Too bad zero press cared about him admitting 8.x failures. Good Luck with your new series.

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  4. @LiveFromRaleighLooks like you are stuck in past buddySince 5-6 month we have grown our team to help customers with Windows 8.1 deployment project. The feedback has been amazing and very positive. (We are a SI company)It is perfect…no. It is (in 2014) a good OS with plenty of possibilities and customization…..yes.I honestly had a different opinion 2 years ago …especially with Windows 8….which I agree WAS NOT Enterprise ready.But today is a different and Windows 8.1 is just amazing for the enterprise.And do you really want to start comparing Chromebook wth let’s say a Surface ??? Do you really want to go down that path?Chromebook is good for my kids , but no way it is Enterprise ready…

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  5. If you have to tell the customer they are wrong, then they are not wrong. The capricious removal of the start menu is just the beginning of it – it is Microsoft's apparent tone deafness to the demands of its users. We never asked you to turn our computers into giant cell phones. You never heard from us that our productivity machines should look like XBoxes. You did this anyways, and we slowed our purchases of your product and installed Classic Shell by the millions. So why do you guys insist that all is well, that nothing is wrong, that we just have to get used to it and accept it?Maybe you should do a little more listening to us, and a little less telling us how it is.

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  6. Thanks for the comments, Bob. I appreciate your opinion, and I know you’re not alone. But let me just address a couple of things you said, if you don’t mind…”We never asked you to turn our computers into giant cell phones.” No.. but you asked us (because the market forced us) finally to do something about people choosing small/thin/light/long-battery-life devices like iPads over PCs. “You never heard from us that our productivity machines should look like XBoxes.”The idea was that you could (and can) still be just as productive, and now you have more device choice for where or how you are productive. Again, I appreciate that it doesn’t meet everyone’s taste, but something had to be done. Personally, I love how much more I can do on my Surface Pro, and how much flexibility it gives me. Purely my opinion, but I don’t think I’m alone, either.The whole purpose of this series is to help address (or even workaround, if that’s required) your concerns in the best way that we know how, based on the state of the OS as it exists in this first part of March of 2014. I know that Microsoft continues to want to improve. Who knows what the next months will bring? (Answer: Not me. They don’t tell me that stuff. 🙂 ) Sincerely, I do appreciate your comment and your point of view. Thank you, and keep ’em coming! -Kevin

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  7. I agree with Bob. The second I read this title I knew I needed to look into this more and see what firestorm I must be missing. Turns out it's just a lot of work arounds for features that should have been included. A lot of shortcuts are great, when nothing tells you what they are after logging into a new computer though? Waste of time. I was on the 8 Beta through MSDN and other services and seeing how our feedback was taken left me wanting to tear my hair out. I've migrated most of my folks over to ubuntu and open source projects instead of office due to having to train people on new software with either jump. Made more sense money wise and in the long term.I would gladly give windows a try at home again if this next update being released actually returns the OS to something usable, but I was not a fan of touch screen windows, nor a fan of windows 8 for phones, and while you say we forced you to do something about changing the look of the OS and device choice, we were sticking with our regular windows xp or windows 7 machines at the time because they just worked. On those OS's, you got things right and they sold well until saturation and then maintained install base. There wasn't competition from iPad's(which are not good for work anyways), it was a secondary device to use. Heck the things required connecting to PC's and Mac's when they were first released to sync and backup any sort of data! Windows phone isn't doing well from all standards available to show us how it is doing and that should show you something about the market with windows 8. We want something that works with minimal fuss like windows 7 was. If there is a learning curve, then what's the point? People may as well check out other os's and devices at that rate. Just my two cents about why you are wrong about windows 8.1.

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  8. I believe windows is a very solid and great OS. I have installed it throughout my house and use my surface pro at work. Do I miss the start menu, yes perhaps in the beginning when win 8 first came out. I got over my problem by buying start 8. When Win 8.1 came out, I actually remove start 8 and started using it the new normal way. When I talk to people about Win 8, they express the same fear as I did in the beginning. They don't understand it, but after some tutorial and same encouragement. They decide to upgrade. They realize that they have an OS, that can do everything, apps and work. My surface pro for work does many functions. It is my notepad for notes, my ultra book for VPN and remote work. I use it instead of a laptop. For those who never gave windows 8 a chance, please do and you will see the difference. Just in case I do not work for Microsoft, I have had both an iPad and android tablet and never looked back after I purchase my surface pro.Thanks for hearing me out

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  9. We are in a technology transition period which is seeing the adaption of touch and other hardware. Microsoft's Windows 8 is the ONLY operating system which actually accommodates all of the different varieties and configurations for today's computing platforms. Have you tried using Chrome with your finger? Sure, people will complain, but people also complained when Microsoft introduced the Start menu with Windows 95. (oh, btw, try using a start MENU with your finger). I LOVE Win8 and I especially love how it performs and it's capabilities. I also love the Start screen.

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  10. @Robert- I see and understand a lot of your grief about the original windows 8- it was an utter catastrophe from a shock value standpoint. However, with 8.1 and what appears to be moving forward, MS has been doing a great deal of work to sweet-talk enterprise users to utilize their system. You can now boot to desktop, and troubleshooting is simpler than ever. I totally agree with you about implementation though, it should be as clear as day when you boot up for the first time with a selection of "I want to use a keyboard and mouse and have the same setup I have had for years", which would still have some positive changes from windows 7 and take some getting used to, but be totally acceptable and eventually preferred by keyboard and mouse users. Win8.1 makes it incredibly easy to uninstall and set up an enterprise computer by right clicking with easy contextual menus on the start screen, which if you have used windows 7, is similar but better. The start menu on 7 was nice, but it was a preference to begin with, that I personally never really cared for. It was messy because it had every single thing on the computer in one folder-style setting, and I used work around for start up to begin with so I would have an easier time navigating… Win7 you had to right click each individual item on the start menu when you wanted to remove them and was very tedious esp when it had to be performed for each user- win 8 is "right click, click click click click etc for all my items, then click "remove from start screen" for all of them all at once. Not to mention contextual search is amazing on win8, I am finally liking windows 8 (in a business setting) with the .1 upgrade. The original windows 8 is really nice for personal use, and 8.1 makes it even better with MS sign in for all apps. Once you are signed in, you don't even have to remember your Wifi password, even on a new, different computer! Super nice. I don't work for MS, and am not trying to sway anyone, but 8.1 seems to be effective, secure, and extremely easy, and I think you should *try* it. Not switch all your computers over, by any means. Just try.

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  11. Your subtitle "Why you’re wrong about Windows 8.1" would have read better to an audience you've largely alienated if it said "Why we were wrong about Windows 8.0", at least if you were willing to admit you made some major mistakes you'd have convinced me you were willing to take real corrective action and had our interests at heart (not your own). A third party company (Start8) was almost instantly able to restore the features we all loved in Windows 7 for out desktops. And Windows 8.1 apes some, but not all those features, You could have done the same as that company with an update within weeks/months of the badly received Windows 8 release and made everyone a lot happier a lot faster and restored faith in the platform.

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  12. I really like Windows Phone 8. I've had one now for over a year. I also have an iPhone at work which I dislike immensely. So, when I spend my own money on a phone, I chose Windows Phone 8. If you haven't really tried the Windows Phone 8 devices, you're just guessing that you don't like it. As far as Windows 8 on PCs, my only real issue is that programs that ran on XP don't always run on 8. I have 2 PCs with 8 and their is nothing wrong with using tiles on the interface, especially to support touch tablets and devices.

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  13. Des – I agree that the subtitle didn’t really read well. It certainly didn’t reflect what I meant. Obviously not everybody is wrong. But if you’re one of the many people who believe something about Windows 8 that isn’t actually correct, what would you call it? Wrong?Because of the many comments on the title, I’ve changed it slightly to better reflect my intent.

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  14. Already deploying Windows 8.1 to replace our aging Windows XP machines and so far the feedback is positive. No one has complained about the Start Menu!

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  15. @Kevin, in this day and age, when you have to spend countless blog entries explaining how to use your OS, how to navigate the new UI, how to make it usable for business, etc, don't you think perhaps there was a failure on the software company's side in designing it? It is inconceivable that most users have to download a 3rd party tool just to make it usable for them (yes, I am aware of how to 'come close to" a start menu functionality) It's too easy now to find alternatives to Windows that don't require 3rd party downloads or not intuitive work-arounds. I don't doubt some find Windows 8 to be a great OS, but the market is speaking loud and clear that it isn't. Hence this blog article (and many others). People are finding that Windows 8 doesn't work the way they want it to, work-arounds or not. I've been a MS fan for a long time, but am shocked at how much of a misstep Windows 8 was. I'm shocked at how little 8.1 has done to fix the issues. To me, it shows how obscenely out of touch Microsoft has been about this. Let's hope some egos can be put aside so that Windows 9 is more attractive to business and consumers.

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  16. Kevin,Understandably, who wouldn't want to boast the products or service of the company they work for. It is even more so if you believe in them, use them and take pride in them.But Kevin, you display the same fallacies in speech and almost condescending writing that has been steadily flowing from Redmond the last few years. Such a perfect example, instead of changing the title to reflect a far more friendlier and inviting title, you insert in capital form "MAY", as a central figurehead of snarkiness after a good deal of textual replies pointing out the forceful nature of the previous titles wording. You couldn't resist. And neither has Redmond's previous leader, Steve Ballmer. Make no mistake, the market has decided in near unison that their notion of Windows 8/8.1 is "not", in fact, wrong. There is no harm in defending your product from factually incorrect statements or notions. It is exactly what a company should do, indeed. However, there are real issues, real concerns and very real problems over several products, not just Windows 8.x, that Microsoft has refused to address and simply prances out on stage telling us akin to Steve Job's infamously silly rebuttal; "We're holding it wrong".Are we really "holding it wrong" Kevin?Nadella, Penn, Elop; They hide behind a promised curtain of analytical data, they keep saying, which shows them they are steering the ship into the right direction. I ask you:-Is this same data or information that was used to determine Windows 8 would be a "winner"-Or the data that said Xbox One's invasive and restricted (facts, Kevin) DRM was the right choice-And what about the data that said canceling TechNet was the way to goThis is departing off topic slightly, but it is the same defense we keep hearing over and over when we ask for redress. "Microsoft's research has shown"…this phrase is now horribly over used and has shown, by example, they Microsoft has continued a disturbing stubbornness at ignoring the needs of the market. Such as:-The failed Kin products-The downfall of TechNet-Failed promise of rapid release for WP7To segway back to my main point Kevin, You and Microsoft need to stop being childishly defensive about your current state, admit and acknowledge your mistakes and failures, and begin to listen to your consumers and audience rather then alienate them by insulting their intelligence or down right ignoring their cries. The power of the market is showing its force, and the steady course would be to heed its warnings.This isn't a grey concept. It's simple black and white concepts.Microsoft, at least in the consume market, faces near total obscurity in the rise of their competitors.You both would do well to re-aquaint yourself with humility while enjoying a few more helpings of humble pie.

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  17. Brandon – As you see, I publish all relevant comments; even those I disagree with, and even those that would insult me personally. But I do take offense at your accusation that I somehow lack humility. You don’t know me well enough personally to make that claim.Also, you seem to give me much more credit personally for Microsoft’s product direction and decisions than I deserve. Quite frankly, it’s not my job to apologize if the company decides to take a product in one direction or another that SOME may dislike. My job is to understand our direction and our products and solutions, and hopefully to explain them (and yes, sometimes defend them) as best I can, and in ways that IT Pros can put to good use. Yes, I work for the company. Yes, I’m a fan of what we do here. I’m not ashamed of that. Your passion about this topic is admirable. Your opinions are, well.. they’re your opinions. It’s okay for us to disagree. Let’s keep the comments constructive, and not turn them into personal attacks and insults.

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  18. Kevin,Please do not take any of my wording as a personal attack. I'm sure outside of Microsoft you're a fine and decent citizen. So if it came through as such, I do sincerely apologize. I realize now that neither your standpoint nor Microsoft's will change anytime soon in the face of overwhelming evidence, consumer unrest and market avoidance. Microsoft's policy over Windows 8 and most of its controversial products seems to be that if you beat a dead horse vigorously enough its constant twitching and juttering will at least give a semblance of activity. Microsoft is selling itself on the future promise that they will eventually get it right by throwing everything on the wall to see what sticks and we should all just be patient while it attempts to find itself during its sabbatical of inner self exploration.Sorry, we need a leader that listens, not a dictator that abandons.Back to my point, yes it is your job to be apologetic. You work for the company, you engage people, you are a face that will enhance or hinder public perception and opinion. This is business 101 stuff.My other points stand as is with no acknowledgement or refute. There isn't really "FUD" going around about Windows 8. It's been shown that near all complaints are real, not imagined like Redmond keeps screaming at us with their fingers in their ears.And at no time should you be ashamed of your career or the fact you are a fan. I am too. Huge fan. But what can we do when the product has been shown to be overwhelmingly disliked, largely shunned and the comments and complaints we log are nearly unanimously ignored? Apparently, the solution it is to hold workshops with snarky titles to tell us why we are wrong. And this is what I take offense to (your title isn't the first I've seen come out of Microsoft).You do and should show the benefits of your product, absolutely. But at the same time, no one at your company should ignore or shun the very people who use your products when they have shown you, in great numbers, they are displeased.I know I've repeated myself often, but it is apparent that no one is really listening. I really do wish you and your colleagues luck in telling us how we are just wrong. But remember, "you can't fool all the people all the time".Enjoy your weekend!

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  19. Kevin,I truly appreciate your willingness to publish ALL our comments. You're getting some very strong opinions here, because like you, many of us have our careers tied to Microsoft products, and we also have to be able to pitch the benefits of it relative to other vendor's technology stacks. And that's harder now than it has been in awhile. But with a new CEO and departure of some top management most closely identified with recent end user miss-steps THERE'S GOING TO BE CHANGEBy all means continue to target the consumer/touch market, but also please continue to restore the love to desktop/developers. Put back our favorite Windows features with priority, so we all can return to the Microsoft love fest we like to be part of.Thanks and regards,Des Nolan

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  20. Two missed blogs? Did you guys realize that the very existence of this blog and all of these workarounds validates the majority of complaints people have had with this latest version of Windows, and decided to give up?

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  21. Hi Kevin – March 10, 11, 12 seem to have disappeared from your blog 'agenda'. Have these proposed entries been cancelled? thanks.

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  22. As my original post says, the schedule is a fluid thing, and subject to change. Be patient, and stay tuned. More to come soon!

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  23. Very fluid since you've now missed a weeks worth…I say you're having trouble finding a way to spin this thing as a positive, while not validating everyone's criticisms.

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  24. Sorry to disappoint you, Ed. 🙂 I get e-mails I depend upon for telling me I have new unpublished comments, but the links to publish them weren’t working. It’s fixed now. And while delayed, the series continues.

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  25. Actually, I was more disappointed that the series of articles proposed were not going to continue. I'm enjoying the show Microsoft is putting on, trying to convince us we are wrong for not accepting the "Modern" interface in a mouse and keyboard environment. Please, continue with the series.

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