Windows 8.1 Now Officially Available and is Loaded with New Features

Windows logo overlayed on a silhouette of a man

17th October saw Microsoft release Windows 8.1 as a full-fledged free upgrade to Windows 8. The new OS has been a year in the making and first started off as a preview launch by the name of Windows 8.1 Blue, which allowed existing Windows 8 users to test the OS and come up with feedback. After fixing the issues reported in such feedback, Microsoft has gone ahead and launched it as Windows 8.1.

Related Reading: What’s new in Windows 11?

Windows 8.1 offers a remarkable improvement over Windows 8, both in terms of UI and performance. A major UI change is the return of the ubiquitous ‘Start’ button that PC users were so accustomed to. Another improvement is a greater integration between touch enabled devices and other computers through touch and gesture updates, and onscreen keyboard swipes.

Some of the key highlights that accompany the new Windows 8.1 are:

Browser Specific Updates

Internet Explorer 11
As with all new operating systems, Windows 8.1 comes with a new IE version, the Internet Explorer 11. With CurrentWare’s BrowseControl software being compatible with this latest IE version, you can be rest assured of total protection from trojans, malwares and viruses.

Security update for Windows 8.1
Microsoft has also released a cumulative security update (KB2884101) on 8th October. This security patch helps fix security gaps and make your OS and computer better protected from hackers and external threats.

Security Updates

Remote Business Data Removal
Allows companies to establish link between corporate and encrypted content, and then remove the relation once the task/activity is over, using the EAS or EAS + OMA-DM protocol

Enhanced Biometrics
All types of login (remote, sign-in) will come with fingerprint enabled biometrics on touch screen devices and include liveliness detection that will check for fakes such as silicon based fingerprints.

Malware defense
Microsoft’s free antivirus solution, Windows Defender, is now improved and also includes monitoring of network behavior. This type of tracking assists in detecting and halting the execution of malware (both known and unknown). Currentware’s AccessPatrol too provides a strong additional layer of protection from data theft, illegal transfer of data and online threats. This helps overcome online vulnerabilities and allows users to control endpoint devices and administer different levels of security depending on where the device is being used.

Power Management

Windows 8.1 features of power management remain same as Windows 8. One can either choose the manufacturer supplied power management options (such as those provided by Dell and Lenovo) or opt for Windows’ power management options that include:

  • Choosing what closing the laptop lid does
  • Scheduling sleep/shutdown time for the computer

In addition, Currentware’s enPowerManager helps create an effective all-round power management system with features such as

  • Remote deployment of policies pertaining to power management
  • Assign hibernate, sleep or shutdown policies based on tasks or time of the day
  • Optimize power of individual units (monitors, hard drives etc) to conserve power

With these essential updates, Microsoft aims to fend off the competitors that have eroded its dominance in the Operating System market. Will it be successful? Only time will tell.

Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu
Sai Kit Chu is a Product Manager with CurrentWare. He enjoys helping businesses improve their employee productivity & data loss prevention efforts through the deployment of the CurrentWare solutions.