Microsoft has announced a partial list of features of Windows 8 Enterprise, with the majority already available in previous operating systems.
One new feature in a list published by Microsoft on Wednesday was 'Windows To Go', a Windows 8 desktop which can be loaded onto USB stick, aimed at businesses keen to let employees bring their own devices to work (BYOD). The feature is similar to a feature in Windows 3.11. The idea is to allow employees to use corporate systems on their own devices, Microsoft senior director of Windows Erwin Visser said in a blog post.
Visser said that Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing scheme will be updated to allow companies Windows To Go usage rights. Employees using a company PC licensed with Windows Software Assurance will be able to use Windows To Go on their home PC. Microsoft's Software Assurance scheme is unlikely to provide cost benefits for Microsoft customers, according to analysis by technology publication Betanews.
Other Windows 8 Enterprise features enumerated by Visser exist in previous Microsoft operating systems. 'DirectAccess', a remote access feature, and 'BranchCache', WAN content-caching software, were available in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. 'AppLocker', which restricts user permissions, was also available in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
Windows 8 Enterprise will allow 'Metro' apps to be sideloaded — which was possible by modifying Windows Phone 7 devices. 'Sideloading' allows Metro apps to be shared between Windows devices running in the same Windows domain. Metro was seen in Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 user interface, and is characterised by a 'tile' format — the desktop, and various different apps, are presented in their own non-overlapping windows on a screen. Non-overlapping windows were previously seen in Windows 1.0.
Microsoft said that Windows 8 virtual desktop interfaces (VDIs) would allow virtual image use on tablets. Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012 will let users play 3D graphics and use USB peripherals with virtual machines, Microsoft added.