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Windows 8 Is Ready For Your Enterprise

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Originally posted on the the Windows Blog.

Earlier this month, we announced that Windows 8 reached the RTM milestone. Windows 8 Enterprise is now available to Software Assurance customers via the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.

For those customers who are interested in trying out the key features in Windows 8 Enterprise, you can also now obtain Windows 8 Enterprise through your TechNet Professional Subscription or MSDN Subscription. For those IT professionals that don’t have access through these other sources, a 90-day evaluation version is now available for download through the TechNet Evaluation Center. For more information about this evaluation version, please see the Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation FAQ.

For customers who will be deploying Windows 8 Enterprise, be assured that the KMS and MAK volume activation methods that were available with Windows 7 Enterprise are still there and work as they did before. But there is also a new Active Directory-based Activation method, offering a way to leverage your existing Active Directory infrastructure to simplify the activation process.

In order to use KMS or MAK activation, you will need to obtain new keys from the VLSC. If you are using a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 computer as your KMS host, you will also need to install a hotfix to enable Windows 8 Enterprise activation. For more information about volume activation, please see the Volume Activation Overview on TechNet.

To help with the planning, image engineering, and deployment processes for Windows 8 Enterprise, some key free tools are also now available for downloading:

  • The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), which replaces the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7, contains many key deployment tools that are essential for IT pros, including new versions of Windows PE and the User State Migration Tool. Tools that used to be available separately, such as the Application Compatibility Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit, are now included in the ADK. Additionally, a new Windows Assessment Toolkit has been added to measure the performance, reliability and functionality of Windows in your lab environment. You can also access the Windows ADK online.
  • The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012 Update 1 (MDT) automates and accelerates the deployment of Windows 8 Enterprise by integrating all of the ADK tools into a single, easy-to-use deployment process. By leveraging MDT, you can easily create your own custom Windows 8 Enterprise images that can then be deployed throughout your enterprise.
  • The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 7.0 can quickly and efficiently collect detailed infrastructure information you need for planning your migration to Windows 8 Enterprise. It includes detailed hardware and operating system information about each desktop, indicates which computers meet the hardware requirements for Windows 8 and also lists applications installed.

To find additional resources to help you plan for Windows 8 in your organization, bookmark the Springboard Series for Windows 8 and check out our step-by-step Plan for Windows 8 guide.

Thanks for your interest in Windows 8 Enterprise. Start your testing and evaluation today!

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