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Windows 8 in education–which version of Windows 8 will you use?

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Windows 8 in education–which version of Windows 8 will you use?

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In the last couple of days, the Windows team have published more details about Windows 8, and what’s in which version. I’d encourage you to read the full blog posts for the detail (Announcing the Windows 8 Editions and Introducing Windows 8 Enterprise and Enhanced Software Assurance for Today’s Modern Workforce), but thought I’d provide my take on it in a short summary from a “Windows 8 in education” perspective.

There are four versions of Windows 8:

  • Windows 8
    The entry-level version that’s likely to be the version you find on a standard Intel-based PC, laptop or Slate bought from a store
  • Windows 8 Professional
    The standard business version of Windows 8, and likely to be the version you buy from B2B suppliers
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
    The version that’s (normally) included as an upgrade within a Microsoft academic subscription (eg an EES/Campus/School agreement)
  • Windows RT
    The version that will be pre-installed by the manufacturers of ARM-based slates

So the reality is that most education customers in Australia will have the rights to use the Windows 8 Enterprise edition in education, because they’ve licensed their computers through our academic subscription licences (I believe this is the case for most universities, TAFEs, government schools, many Catholic schools and many of the independent schools).

So what’s in which version of Windows 8?

There is a extensive table on the Announcing the Windows 8 Editions blog post, but I’ve narrowed that down to the feature differences that I think are important to education customers, plus I’ve added in a column for the Enterprise version:

 

Features

Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

Windows 8 Enterprise

Windows RT

Start Screen, Semantic Zoom, Live Tiles

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Store

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Office pre-installed

 

 

 

Yes

Internet Explorer 10

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microsoft Account
Optional linked cloud login, provides link to Microsoft cloud services (eg SkyDrive) and cross-device synchronisation

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Install desktop software (x86/64)

Yes

Yes

Yes

                  

Install Metro software

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Windows Defender
Anti-malware protection

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

File History
Allows you to automatically keep older copies of files as you update them

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Picture Password
Login by drawing a pattern on an image, rather than typing a password. I initially thought this was great for younger students, but am actually loving it for myself too!

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Remote Desktop (client)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Remote Desktop (host)

 

Yes

Yes

VPN Client

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

BitLocker and BitLocker to Go
Hard disk and removable storage encryption

Yes

Yes

Client Hyper-V
For virtualisation

Yes

Yes

Domain Join

Yes

Yes

Group Policy management

         

 

Yes

Yes

Windows To Go
A fully manageable corporate Windows 8 desktop on a bootable external USB stick. This could allow support for “Bring Your Own PC” and give access to the your IT environment for users’ own devices without compromising security

Yes

DirectAccess
Provide secure remote access without needing a separate VPN

Yes

AppLocker
Create lists of approved & banned apps which can be installed and/or run

Yes

VDI enhancements
Enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012, provide users with a rich desktop experience with the ability to play 3D graphics, use USB peripherals and use touch-enabled devices across any type of network (LAN or WAN) for VDI scenarios.

   

Yes

Windows 8 App Deployment
Domain joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise will automatically be enabled to side-load internal, Windows 8 Metro style apps.

   

Yes

Please bear in mind that this is my personal summary of the published info, as I think it applies to a typical education customer. I don’t have any special inside knowledge, so there’s a danger I’ve misinterpreted something too! If you spot any errors or manglements (no, not a real word), add a comment to this blog post and I’ll respond

Learn More about Windows 8For the full story, you should read these two blog posts from the Windows team:

  • No mention of the Media Centre software position for education, Ray? Maybe that not made clear yet? Suspect many schools will want to know whether they will get it included, or will it be a paid-for addition? And for which versions?

  • It will be an add-on that you will have to pay for.

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