Kevin Remde's IT Pro Weblog

Blog Series: Windows 8.1 for Business

Blog Series: Windows 8.1 for Business

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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?

What’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




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
  • 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.

  • 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.


  • 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.

  • That would be devices running any supported version of Windows. Thanks. Good luck with your chromebook. :)

  • @LiveFromRaleigh

    Looks like you are stuck in past buddy

    Since 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 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...

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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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