Windows 8

Everything IT needs to know about Windows 8

Whether you're still considering upgrading to Windows 8 or you're already in the thick of Microsoft's latest OS, TechRepublic has the resources you need.

Microsoft shops have been in a difficult position with regard to OS upgrades the last several years. They had a good run with Windows XP, and most sat out the release of Vista after it was panned by critics on release. At that point, XP was regarded as good enough by most organizations and many looked at the lauded improvements in Vista as consumer-driven fluff rather than features that would compel a corporate change.

Windows 7 arrived to positive press, but many CIOs opted to wait for its first service pack to see if it "proved itself."  And there was no problem with waiting since Microsoft continued to support Windows XP. (XP even underwent a resurgence of sorts with the rise of netbooks.) With XP finally getting stale and Microsoft focusing its most important tweaks and updates on Windows 7, a lot of businesses have been slowly transitioning their company PCs from XP to Windows 7.

But now we have Windows 8, an OS that promises big business improvements, particularly for tablet-friendly organizations. Whether you're in the undecided camp or are gearing up for the big upgrade, here are some great resources that will help:

For those weighing the upgrade:

  • Five reasons to take a pass on Windows 8
  • Five reasons businesses should adopt Windows 8
  • Windows 8 early adopters beware
  • CIOs: Five Windows 8 training issues you need to consider
  • Six Windows 8 enhancements that will benefit the business
  • Don't panic, we've been though Windows interface changes before
  • Should Windows 8 be in your future? Part 1
  • Should Windows 8 be in your future? Part 2
  • Windows 8: A developer's first impressions
  • Five reasons to take a pass on Windows 8
  • What those who've decided to upgrade need to know

    If you want to look at some other great tactical tips for optimizing Windows 8 in your organization, see our Windows 8 Resource Center. And don't forget our live webcast Microsoft Windows 8: What You Need to Know Right Now on Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 12:00 pm ET/9:00 am PT/16:00 GMT.

    About

    Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

    8 comments
    cbemerine
    cbemerine

    If you are not putting Win 8 on a tablet, it does not buy you anything while causing you allot of grief, as one poster pointed out, many drivers will not be ready for 3 to 4 months, around January. If company's auto-update / auto-upgrade, I would not want to be a Sys Admin there...why historically you first test in a sand box and only if everything works do you update/upgrade...and that process should not be automatic, but a reasoned decision after effective testing against your company's environment (hardware and software, operating systems, applications, etc...). Too many have gotten away from this for expediency introducing unnecessary risk. This quote says it all "Microsoft shops have been in a difficult position with regard to OS upgrades the last several years. They had a good run with Windows XP". I would suggest that it goes farther back than that, but most people have convenient memories. Since historically most shops complain, but do not churn away from MS for a more sane (opensource) and flexible alternative (Linux) most will follow the same painful path that they have followed with XP and be eventually forced to go there. And Linux is not perfect either, just 100% controllable, making it more effective with a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over time. Every change from Dos/Windows to Win95; Win95 to Win NT; Win NT to Win 2000 (left out ME on purpose as I skipped it on purpose after testing against my environment exposed multiple problems); from Win 2000 to Win XP; from Win XP to Vista; from Vista to Win 7 has required your users to learn a new interface. There are no exceptions to this fact. You could have started them (your users) on a more effective path around the 2006 timeframe and migrated them to Linux. Its not harder as many grandparents and small children can attest (with Linux). Of course your users would still have to learn a new interface with each update, but that update would not be impacting your budget as severely (with Linux). Even more important, you would have control, deciding when it made since from a business perspective to upgrade, effectively controlling your risk. And your hardware, if purchased from a Linux vendor (ie. ZaReason, System 76, etc... would not come back to haunt you down the road because of proprietary badness (can you say UEFI...did you form the cross with your fingers at the thought of UEFI as many have, thought so). I no longer recommend Ubuntu, only because their focus on Unity (Unity is also focused on touch devices). Sure it will run on desktops and multiple desktop interfaces (Gnome, KDE, many others) are available for non tablet computers, however over time Unity is focused on touch devices only. Instead look at Debian, Mint, or maybe Fedora...though Redhats decision (As with Canonical / Ubuntu) to buy in to UEFI (paying a fee to Microsoft) is highly questionable IMO. Better to just not purchase any hardware that has proprietary UEFI on it. Do you give the keys to your data center to just anyone? If you do not give the keys to your company's computers to the bad guys (crackers) to come in and install rootkits, etc... do things with your systems than UEFI is not going to buy you anything anyway. UEFI is focused on 'local access issues' which should be non issues if your keys stay in your pocket. It simply introduces additional headaches for not enough reward....just say NO to UEFI. There are more effective ways to control remote access. Both Windows 8 and Ubuntu Unity are meant to be used on touch pad devices. If you work on a desktop, net book, laptop they both are going to be more hassles than they are worth. If you have a touch pad, look at both, than decide. Really look at your hardware, is it rootable, can you install what you want and need? Yes is the only effective answer or the device is NOT SMART! Ignore the FUD around both Linux and Windows, remember any problems you might encounter in either Windows or Linux operating systems that there are other 'equivalent' problems of similar frustration with the other. This has been most of our (those of us that use both) experience for well over 15 years...its not going to change. The main difference, IMO, is with Linux you control your infrastructure if you want to. With Windows, ever since Windows 2000, you could change settings to control your hardware and software, however those settings were ignored during auto-updates and auto-upgrades...thus you could NOT control your infrastructure 100%. All that hardware is at risk at becoming very expensive paper weights. Actually has happened at least once in recent history, though it did not last more than a week...the point is it should not happen even once, ever, if you control your IT infrastructure. If an exploit requires 'local access' than its a non issue for 99% of the companies, therefore to have a knee jerk reaction (UEFI) that might introduce other problems for your user base is simply not smart. Worth repeating...Any other problems outside of local access issues are completely controllable by other means, network firewalls, uninstalling software that opens security holes and more. The best thing about this article is the list of sources both PRO and CON, don't take anyone's word for it, not even mine, find out for yourself, research and if you still want to go for it, install it on a device that it is meant to be run on (a touch device) and see what happens. As to hardware, I can not emphasize enough to purchase ONLY from Linux vendors (ZaReason, System 76 are two of many) that hardware will always run Windows operating systems if you want too. (Of course they could introduce software install prevention that forces it to ONLY load on UEFI hardware...which means if you do not churn you are insane.) However if you purchase hardware designed to run primarily on Windows, often there are proprietary chip-sets and BIOS settings to prevent it from running other operating systems (Linux) correctly...sure Linux users can get around these proprietary planned gotchas, but why bother...just avoid them all together, just buy superior hardware (no UEFI) that will run either Linux or Windows in the first place. Remember there are more device drivers for Linux than any other operating system in the history of computers...anyone who says otherwise is simply spreading Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) for their own proprietary reasons ... their solutions should be suspect and avoided if you value your sanity and your company's IT infrastructure. Who needs unnecessary business risk anyway?

    Jackober
    Jackober

    we are running SQL-now my question is-how do you load 'firewall client" on these tablets? Fact of the matter is that we, at present have to change firewall rules to give our users, who are running tablets [apple inclusive] full access to the internet and open our network server to abuse. Kind regards

    chdchan
    chdchan

    Is it more of a productivity gain or revenue gain?

    captgreg
    captgreg

    Sometime if you find yourself rained in for the weekend and feel a need to have something to do, just download your new operating system from Microsoft called Windows 8. Of course you'll need to forego your interest in televised football (actually televised anything), in your family and friends and acknowledge the new found aggression toward your cat or any other creature who has the misfortune to wander into your sanctum of prayerful delirium and frustration. Especially fun is when you spend a few hours tracking down why your dependable multi-function printer is now nearly useless as a mono-functional piece of, uh hum, equipment. Furthering your amazement is getting on line with a chat help desk who informs you the new device being sold in bundle with a new MS 8 computer will have the drivers supporting its use therewith will be available probably in January. Those surprises are joined with the fact that two essential programs will not work at all. Fortunately my Android phone has an app which scans to pdf format and I have an old laptop with XP mounted which will run the other software.

    Deadly Ernest
    Deadly Ernest

    as the device has been designed to work only with a specific version of Windows without a driver. However, once you have a device driver for Linux for the device, it works with every later version of Linux or Unix, something not true of Windows. And don't forget, there are a heck of a lot more device drivers out there for Windows systems because a device designed to work out of the box with Win XP needs a driver for Vista, Win 7, Win 98, etc and the Windows community won't always put in the effort to make them.

    CharlieSpencer
    CharlieSpencer

    Try reposting this in the 'Q&A' forum. The 'Discussion' forum is for matters of general discussion, not specific problems in search of a solution. The 'Water Cooler' is for non-technical discussions. You can submit a question to 'Q&A' here: http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/questions/post?tag=mantle_skin;content There are TR members who specifically seek out problems in need of a solution. Although there is some overlap between the forums, you'll find more of those members in 'Q&A' than in 'Discussions' or 'Water Cooler'. Be sure to use the voting buttons to provide your feedback. Voting a '+' does not necessarily mean that a given response contained the complete solution to your problem, but that it served to guide you toward it. This is intended to serve as an aid to those who may in the future have a problem similar to yours. If they have a ready source of reference available, perhaps won't need to repeat questions previously asked and answered. If a post did contain the solution to your problem, you can also close the question by marking the helpful post as "The Answer".