One week after Microsoft delivered.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro to its MSDN and TechNet subscribers, the firm delivered Windows 8.1 Enterprise to MSDN, TechNet, and its volume license customers. General availability of all Windows 8 versions is still scheduled for October 18, 2013.
"Windows 8.1 is designed with businesses in mind," Microsoft's Erwin Visser writes in a post to the Windows For Your Business blog. "Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM comes with a host of new capabilities only available in the Enterprise edition, as well as new industry-leading security features."
As the topmost entry in the Windows 8.1 product family, Windows 8.1 Enterprise is a superset of Windows 8.1 Pro. It offers the following additional features:
Start screen control. Also new to Windows 8.1. New Windows 8.1 policies help IT control the layout of the Start screen on company-issued PCs and devices and prevent users from customizing their Start screen to ensure consistency across individual workgroups or the entire company.
Windows To Go Creator. New to Windows 8.1, this feature can be used by IT to create a fully manageable corporate Windows 8.1 desktop on a bootable external USB drive for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) scenarios or so that contingent staff can access the corporate environment securely.
AppLocker. A solution for blacklisting files and applications.
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. Encryption for fixed disks and removable storage.
BranchCache. For caching content downloaded over a WAN.
DirectAccess. A VPN replacement for Microsoft environments.
VDI enhancements. Like its predecessor, Windows 8.1 supports the client-side of a VDI infrastructure.