Windows 8 for business users

Windows 8 is coming out, and MIS Technology managed service clients and network clients may be considering upgrading to this new Microsoft operating system. Since our clients are businesses based in the Chicago, Illinois area, it is important to understand what versions of Windows 8 are applicable to their business environment. Here is a brief rundown on the versions of Windows 8 that are applicable to their business environment.

There are four versions of Windows 8: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows Enterprise, and Windows RT. Windows 8 is mainly targeted for home use, and won’t work for a domain-based office network. Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise are for professional and business use. Windows RT has very limited business use.

Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise are stand-alone operating systems, and can be bought separate from your computer. Both can be installed on x86 and x64 PCs. Both can join a Windows domain and accept group policies. You can use these to connect to the office using VPN or remote desktop. Both support encryption to protect your office files. Both also support Hyper-V virtual machines.

The important differences between Windows 8 Pro/Enterprise and the Windows RT are the following:

Windows Pro/Enterprise can be installed on x86 and x64 systems, whereas Windows RT can only be installed on ARM-based devices, like the ARM-based Microsoft Surface and other tablet PCs.

The Windows Pro/Enterprise can be bought independently of your hardware, whereas the Windows RT can only be bought bundled in a device. The Windows Pro/Enterprise can be installed on the Intel-based Microsoft Surface, and this tablet can be used for a business environment.

With Windows Pro/Enterprise, you can install third party applications, whereas all applications for Windows RT can only come from Windows Store. Custom-made apps for your business are out.

Although Windows RT comes with Microsoft Office productivity suite, it does not have an Outlook, and a Windows Media Player. Also, Windows RT cannot join a Windows domain, and does not accept group policy. It can do remote desktop only as a client.

For more information on the different Windows 8 versions, you can read this comparison chart.