SINGAPORE, 22 SEPTEMBER 2011 - Microsoft is urging its enterprise customers to continue migrating into Windows 7 even as it has been showing off a version of Windows 8.
"Windows 7 is where businesses need to be right now, and is the best path to Windows 8," said Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows Commercial Marketing, Microsoft.
Microsoft first unveiled a preview build version of Windows 8 at its Build conference in Anaheim, California early this month. One of Windows 8's key features has its user interface (UI) taking on a "Metro-style" that resembles Windows Phone 7 with applications' organised in groups, or tiles.
While it is still early days for a publicly available Windows 8, Reynolds was keen to highlight Windows 8's enterprise grade features that will appeal to IT departments.
One of them is Windows 8 being able to support all Windows 7 applications. New features include a push button reset function that change to factory settings, and a refresh key that restores to standard corporate image for IT personnel troubleshooting software.
New security features include a secure boot function that will only allow the operating system to boot from approved and secure hardware devices. There will be an enhanced Bit Locker where encryption can now be selectively applied to sectors of the drive that have data. Previously, encryption needs to be applied to the entire drive taking up time and efforts of users.
There are also improvements to what Reynolds termed as "fundamentals", including faster boot-up times. Reports indicate that the time has been shortened to some seven seconds.
Another is a feature called Windows To Go that allows users to run Windows 8, along with their own applications, data, and settings, directly from a USB stick. This would appeal to office environments that have contractors or outsourcers.
Windows 8 has a client Hyper-V that provides full operating system virtualisation services for developers that need to test on different installations or languages.
Rather than delivering the system on a specific timeline, Microsoft's focus is to "give developers a chance to think about writing applications for Windows 8, and get feedback from customers and integrate their suggestions into the OS," Reynolds said.
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