Get the free preview of Windows 8.1 Enterprise, which is available for download now.
The Windows 8.1 Enterprise preview includes "premium" features, plus the special business features in Windows 8.1, so you're getting the full shebang.
You can download either the 32 bit or a 64-bit version. Microsoft's web site states you'll need either 16 GB of space for the 32 bit or 20 GB for the 64 bit version. You can read more information here about different ways to download it, including the ISO files.
READ THIS BEFORE DOWNLOADING! As tempting as it is to take a look at any new version of Windows, as with any preview version, this preview should only be installed on a test machine. This version will stop working on January 14, 2014. Not only that, Microsoft states that after it "expires" you won't be able to upgrade to a licensed working version of Windows.
The Microsoft web site states: "...there is always some risk involved when using it, so testing on lab and other non-critical computers is recommended. For broad deployments we recommend that you target final Windows 8.1 release later this year.
Still, no doubt there are a few of our readers with larger networks and the need for more complex Windows features. If that's you, then perhaps your IT people might be interested in the new features coming in Windows 8.1 Enterprise.
Windows 8.1 will be a free download which Microsoft states will be coming later this year (we don't know when exactly, at the time of writing this).
Superficially, Windows 8.1 smooths over some of the concerns some have had with the fancy new tiled, touchscreen interface in Windows 8. There's now a Start button again, you have a bit more control over the look of the Start Screen and there's been some tweaking to things like settings. There is also the ability to have your computer start in the "desktop" mode, instead of the tiled Start Screen.
On top of that, Windows 8.1 adds various other features including some new apps, changes to the way apps are shown, changes to the way Windows syncs your files over the Internet and other key functions.
Then there are new business features, which include:
Tweaks to the abilities third party VPN clients have.
Your IT people can manage more settings for tablets and laptops, using third party tools.
"Trusted" devices can get access to "secured enterprise data."
Your IT people can delete company data on a worker's device, while leaving their personal data alone.
On top of that, Windows 8.1 Enterprise adds:
- The ability to "side-load" your businesses apps
- A way to create a bootable version of Windows 8.1 on a USB to minimise security risks when staff bring in their own laptops
- More control over which company apps are displayed on the Start screen,
- Enhancements to virtual desktops.
- Better ways to control who can load what apps.