Microsoft yesterday announced that Windows 8.1 Update is available on MSDN and TechNet. For consumers, it will be made available via Windows Update (WU) beginning on April 8th and for Volume Licensing customers later this month. This Windows 8.1 update delivers important capabilities designed for the enterprise that includes updated Internet Explorer 11 with new Enterprise Mode, extended Mobile Device Management and more. Read about it in detail below.
- Better Internet Explorer Compatibility – Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer improves Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. Meaning that IE11, the most secure and enterprise-ready browser, can now run legacy IE8 web-based applications and modern sites seamlessly side-by-side. Companies can standardize on the latest version of Internet Explorer across all Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 devices, experiencing increased performance, improved security, better backward compatibility, and support for modern web standards.
- UI Improvements – The modern Windows UI and Windows Store apps are now easier for mouse and keyboard users: move your mouse to the top of your screen for the familiar functions of minimize and close; move your mouse to the bottom of your screen to get the taskbar for fast app launching, status or switching. You can also pin Windows Store apps directly to the taskbar for easy access on the desktop.
- Mobile Device Management – Get deeper control over your organization’s policy settings with extended Mobile Device Management (MDM), including configuring Windows Store app whitelists or blacklists, URL filters, and Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer settings.
- Easier Deployment – Delivering Windows 8.1 Update via Windows Update allows businesses to deploy updates with increased predictability. And, to help businesses develop and deploy modern apps for their workforce, we are enabling sideloading for any domain-joined Windows Pro PC or tablet.
- Low-Cost and Latest Hardware Support – Windows 8.1 Update enables the latest hardware innovations across a broad array of devices to fit any business need. We’ve enabled our hardware partners to deliver low-cost machines that only require 1 GB of RAM and 16GB HDD. Last, we’re pleased to see even more, new, highly-productive tablet and 2-in-1 options come to market, including support for 64-bit Windows on Intel Atom processors.
Windows 8.1 Update will be delivered through Windows Update. Additionally, enterprise management tools such as Windows Server Update Services, System Center Configuration Manager, and Windows Intune, can update existing Windows 8.1 devices. Finally, updated Windows 8.1 Update images will be available later this month to make it easier for enterprises to deploy across all devices. Windows 8.1 Update represents a new baseline for future Windows 8.1 servicing going forward – Windows 8.1 customers will need to install Windows 8.1 Update to receive future updates. For more information on deployment, see the Springboard blog.