5 Windows 8 features IT should know about

While much of the discussion regarding the upcoming Windows 8 has dealt with the operating system’s radically different, tablet-centric interface, there are other features worth knowing about for IT departments. 

Here are five planned features in the upcoming operating system that could be useful for IT:

1. Secure boot — Windows 8 will make use of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), the replacement for the age-old BIOS system. In addition to allowing more extensive management options for IT, UEFI will allow Windows 8 to authenticate boot components and prevent malware from infecting the machine before the operating system starts.

2. Reset and Refresh — Windows 8 will simplify the process for returning a machine to its default install (Reset) and restore factory settings but keep data and applications (Refresh). IT will also be able to control which of those options users can access.

3. Windows to Go — Cloud services and remote desktop clients give users a way to access their work desktops from wherever they are, but some companies have security concerns about those methods. For them, Windows to Go is a new feature that will allow IT to load a copy of user’s local Windows 8 install onto a thumb drive where it can be accessed on any machine.

4. Enhanced Task Manager and Windows Assessment Console — Windows 8′s Task Manager will show a lot more information than previous versions, along with a simplified display. Also, the Windows Assessment Console will allow IT to run benchmark tests for things like battery use, energy efficiency, boot times and hardware performance.

5. Virtualization — Windows 8 installations will include Hyper-V, Microsoft’s virtualization client, so users can run other operating systems on the same machine, making it easier to support legacy applications and other software that won’t run on Windows 8. The Hyper-V client will have more configuration options for IT compared to Windows 7′s Virtual PC feature.

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