What's in the new Windows 8 Enterprise SKU

Microsoft has released a partial list of features in the coming Windows 8 Enterprise SKU for volume-license business users.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is sharing more details on what's in the Windows 8 Enterprise edition that the company said would be available to its volume license customers with Software Assurance later this year.

In an April 18 post to the "Windows for Your Business" blog, Microsoft officials outlined the Windows 8 Enterprise feature list that complement/build on the Windows 8 Pro SKU features that company officials detailed earlier this week.

Microsoft officials said on April 16 that there would be four primary Windows 8 SKUs: Windows 8 (for most consumers); Windows 8 Pro; Windows RT (the SKU formerly known as Windows on ARM); and Windows 8 Enterprise. There's also a China/emerging market-specific edition that seems to be a replacment for Windows Starter.

Here's a partial list of what's in Windows 8 Enterprise, according to the Softies:

  • Windows To Go: A corporate Windows 8 desktop on a bootable external USB stick (Note: This seems to be the only one of the Windows 8 SKUs that will get this particular feature.)
  • DirectAccess: A feature which allows remote users to seamlessly access resources inside a corporate network without having to launch a separate VPN
  • BranchCache: A feature which allows users’ PCs to cache files, websites, and other content from central servers
  • AppLocker: Restricts the files and apps that users or groups are allowed to run.
  • VDI enhancements: Enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012
  • New Windows 8 app-deployment support: Domain-joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise will automatically be enabled to side-load internal, Windows 8 Metro style apps

Software Assurance users will automatically get Windows To Go use rights, Windows RT Virtual Desktop Access rights (i.e.,"access to a full VDI image running in the datacenter which will make Windows RT a great complementary tablet option for business customers," according to the post); and a Companion Device License, which provides rights to access a corporate desktop either through VDI or Windows To Go on up to four personally owned devices.

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