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Microsoft unveil Enterprise enhancements in Windows 8.1

Today at TechEd North America in New Orleans, Microsoft announced several new features available in Windows 8.1 that deliver benefits for business customers. Windows 8.1 will be available for public preview on June 26th.

Below is a list of some of the new and updated features, according to the Windows Blog, when Windows 8.1 Preview becomes available later this month.

B.Y.O.D (Bring Your Own Device) Enhancements

  • Workplace Join – A Windows 8 PC was either domain joined or not. If it was a member of the domain, the user could access corporate resources (if permissioned) and IT could control the PC through group policy and other mechanisms. This feature allows a middle ground between all or nothing access, allowing a user to work on the device of their choice and still have access to corporate resources. With Workplace Join, IT administrators now have the ability to offer finer-grained control to corporate resources. If a user registers their device, IT can grant some access while still enforcing some governance parameters on the device to ensure the security of corporate assets.
  • Work Folders - Work Folders allows a user to sync data to their device from their user folder located in the corporation’s data centre. Files created locally will sync back to the file server in the corporate environment. This syncing is natively integrated into the file system. Note, this all happens outside the firewall client sync support. Previously, Windows 8 devices needed to be domain joined (or required domain credentials) for access to file shares. Syncing could be done with 3rd party folder replication apps. With Work Folders, Users can keep local copies of their work files on their devices, with automatic synchronization to your data centre, and for access from other devices. IT can enforce Dynamic Access Control policies on the Work Folder Sync Share (including automated Rights Management) and require Workplace Join to be in place.
  • Open MDM- While many organizations have investments with System Center and will continue to leverage these investments Microsoft also know that many organizations want to manage certain classes of devices, like tablets and BYOD devices, as mobile devices. With Windows 8.1, you can use an OMA-DM API agent to allow management of Windows 8.1 devices with mobile device management products, like Mobile Iron or Air Watch .
  • NFC tap-to-pair printing – Tap your Windows 8.1 device against an NFC-enabled printer and you’re all set to print without hunting on your network for the correct printer. You also don’t need to buy new printers to take advantage of this; you can simply put an NFC tag on your existing printers to enable this functionality.
  • Wi-Fi Direct printing – Connect to Wi-Fi Direct printers without adding additional drivers or software on your Windows 8.1 device, forming a peer-to-peer network between your device and any Wi-Fi enabled printer.
  • Native Miracast wireless display – Present your work wirelessly with no connection cords or dongles needed; just pair with project to a Miracast-enabled projector through Bluetooth or NFC and Miracast will use Wi-Fi to let you project wire-free.
  • Mobile Device Management – When a user enrols their device, they are joining the device to the Windows Intune management service. They get access to the Company Portal which provides a consistent experience for access to their applications, data and to manage their own devices. This allows a deeper management experience with existing tools like Windows Intune. IT administrators now have more comprehensive policy management for Windows RT devices, and can manage Windows 8.1 PCs as mobile devices without having to deploy a full management client.
  • Web Application Proxy - The Web Application Proxy is a new role service in the Windows Server Remote Access role. It provides the ability to publish access to corporate resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as apply conditional access policies to verify both the user’s identity and the device they are using resources, and enforce multi-factor authentication as well as verify the device being used before access is granted.
  • RDS Enhancements – Enhanced VDI in Server 2012 R2 which delivers improvements in Management, Value, and User Experience. Session Shadowing allows Admins to view and remotely control active user sessions in an RDSH server. Disk dedupe and storage tiering allow for lower cost storage options. User experience for RemoteApps, network connectivity and multiple display support has been improved. Administrators can now easily support users with session desktops to provide helpdesk style support. Administrators now have even more flexible storage options to support a VDI environment without expensive SAN investments. End users will find RemoteApp behavior is more like local apps, and the experience in low-bandwidth is better, with faster reconnects and improved compression, and support for multiple monitors.

Mobility Enhancements

  • VPN - Support for a wider range of VPN clients in both Windows and Windows RT devices. Microsoft have also added the ability to have an app automatically trigger VPN connections.
  • Mobile Broadband – At Windows 8 launch, the devices had embedded radios that were separate components within the devices.  Windows 8.1 supports embedded wireless radio, which gives you increased power savings, longer battery life, also enables thinner form factors and lower cost devices.
  • Broadband tethering – Turn your Windows 8.1 mobile broadband-enabled PC or tablet into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing other devices to connect and access the internet.
  • Auto-triggered VPN –When you select an app or resource that needs access through the inbox VPN – like a company’s intranet site – Windows 8.1 will automatically prompt you to sign in with one click. This feature will be available with Microsoft and third-party inbox VPN clients.

Security Enhancements

  • Remote Business Data Removal - Businesses now have more control over corporate content which can be marked as corporate, encrypted, and then be wiped when the relationship between the corporation and user has ended. Corporate data can now be identified as corporate vs. user, encrypted, and wiped on command using EAS or EAS + OMA-DM protocol. This capability is requires implementation in the client application and in the server application (Mail + Exchange Server). The client application determines if the wipe simply makes the data inaccessible or actually deletes it.
  • Improved Biometrics - All SKU’s will include end to end biometric capabilities that enable authenticating with your biometric identity anywhere in Windows (Windows sign-in, remote access, UAC, etc.). Windows 8.1 will be optimized for fingerprint based biometrics and will include a common fingerprint enrollment experience that will work with a variety of readers (touch, swipe). Modern readers are capacitive touch based rather than swipe and include liveliness detection that prevents spoofing (e.g.: silicon emulated fingerprints). Access to Windows Store Apps, functions within them, and certificate release can be gated based on verification of a user’s biometric identity.
  • Pervasive Device Encryption – Device encryption previously found on Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 is now available in all editions of Windows. It is enabled out of the box and can be configured with additional BitLocker protection and management capability on Pro and Enterprise SKU. Consumer devices are automatically encrypted and protected when using a Microsoft account. Data on any Windows connected standby device is automatically protected (encrypted) with device encryption. Organizations that need to manage encryption can easily take add additional BitLocker protection options and manageability to these devices.
  • Improved Internet Explorer - Internet Explorer 11 improvements include faster page load times, side-by-side browsing of your sites, enhanced pinned site notifications, and app settings like favorites, tabs and settings sync across all your Windows 8.1 PCs. Internet Explorer 11 also now includes capability that enables an antimalware solution to scan the input for a binary extension before it’s passed onto the extension for execution.
  • Malware Resistance –Windows Defender, Microsoft’s free antivirus solution in Windows 8, will include network behaviour monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.
  • Assigned Access- With Assigned Access, a new feature offered in Windows 8.1 RT, Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 8.1 Enterprise, you can enable a single Windows Store application experience on the device.  This can be things like a learning application for kids in an educational setting or a Customer Service application at a boutique, Assigned Access can ensure the device is delivering the intended experience.

Modern UI experience

  • Variable, continuous size of snap views – You have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at once. You can resize apps to nearly infinite sized windows, share the screen between two apps, or have up to three apps on each monitor depending on resolution.
  • Boot to Desktop - Microsoft have made configuration options available which will allow you to boot directly to the desktop in Windows 8.1.
  • Desktop and Start screen – Improvements have been made to better support users who prefer a mouse and keyboard experience to access applications.

Tip: How to shut down or restart Windows 8 the quick way

Newer users of Windows 8 could be forgiven for getting frustrated at the menu navigation needed to do simple tasks such as log off, reboot or shut down.

Fortunately, there is a much quicker way to do this. Simply go to your desktop (this does not work in the “metro” interface) and press ALT+F4.

A window like this will appear:

Winndows 8 shutdown menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

From here you can do the familiar actions such as switch user, log off, shut down and restart.

Microsoft to shut off MSN Messenger service on 15th March.

MSN MessengerMicrosoft is switching off its Windows Live Messenger service on 15 March.

On that date Messenger log-ins will no longer work and users must turn to Skype, said Microsoft in an email sent to all Messenger users.

The email also encouraged users to update to Skype and familiarise themselves with the service before the switch-off.

The service switch is a consequence of Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in October 2011 for $8.5bn (£5.3bn).

In November 2012, Microsoft announced that it was switching off Live Messenger in early 2013 but gave no firm date. At the same time, Microsoft made it possible for Messenger users to talk to and swap messages with contacts via Skype.

To help people migrate before 15 March, Microsoft has added an upgrade button to its desktop Messenger that when clicked uninstalls Messenger and puts Skype in its place.

Until the switch-off date Messenger would work as it always did, said Microsoft.

The Windows Live Messenger instant messaging program was known as MSN Messenger when it first launched in 1999. The service is believed to be used by about 300 million people every month.

China is the only nation in which Messenger will keep operating, because it is run under licence there.

[via BBC News]

Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

Windows 8 Logo

New to Windows 8? Microsoft have included a huge array of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate around the new menu systems. Here is a list of Windows 8 specific keyboard shortcuts:

Windows key: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application

Windows key + C: Access the charms bar 

Windows key + Tab: Access the Modern Desktop Taskbar

Windows key + I: Access the Settings charm

Windows key + H: Access the Share charm

Windows key + K: Access the Devices charm

Windows key + Q: Access the Apps Search screen

Windows key + F: Access the Files Search screen

Windows key + W: Access the Settings Search screen

Windows key + P: Access the Second Screen bar

Windows key + Z: Brings up the App Bar when you have a Modern Desktop App running

Windows key + X: Access the Windows Tools Menu

Windows key + O: Lock screen orientation

Windows key + . : Move the screen split to the right

Windows key + Shift + . : Move the screen split to the left

Windows key + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications

Windows key + Shift + V: View all active Toasts/Notifications in reverse order

Windows key + PrtScn: Takes a screenshot of the screen and automatically saves it in the Pictures folder as Screenshot

Windows key + Enter: Launch Narrator

Windows key + E: Open Computer

Windows key + R: Open the Run dialog box

Windows key + U: Open Ease of Access Center

Windows key + Ctrl + F: Open Find Computers dialog box

Windows key + Pause/Break: Open the System page

Windows key + 1..10: Launch a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number

Windows key + Shift + 1..10: Launch a new instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number

Windows key + Ctrl + 1..10: Access the last active instance of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number

Windows key + Alt + 1..10: Access the Jump List of a program pinned on the Taskbar in the position indicated by the number

Windows key + B: Select the first item in the Notification Area and then use the arrow keys to cycle through the items Press Enter to open the selected item

Windows key + Ctrl + B: Access the program that is displaying a message in the Notification Area

Windows key + T: Cycle through the items on the Taskbar

Windows key + M: Minimize all windows

Windows key + Shift + M: Restore all minimized windows

Windows key + D: Show/Hide Desktop (minimize/restore all windows)

Windows key + L: Lock computer

Windows key + Up Arrow: Maximize current window

Windows key + Down Arrow: Minimize/restore current window W

indows key + Home: Minimize all but the current window

Windows key + Left Arrow: Tile window on the left side of the screen

Windows key + Right Arrow: Tile window on the right side of the screen

Windows key + Shift + Up Arrow: Extend current window from the top to the bottom of the screen

Windows key + Shift + Left/Right Arrow: Move the current window from one monitor to the next

Windows key + F1: Launch Windows Help and Support

PageUp: Scroll forward on the Modern Desktop Start screen

PageDown: Scroll backward on the Modern Desktop Start screen

Esc: Close  a charm

Ctrl + Esc: Switch between Modern Desktop Start screen and the last accessed application

Ctrl + Mouse scroll wheel: Activate the Semantic Zoom on the Modern Desktop screen

Alt: Display a hidden Menu Bar

Alt + D: Select the Address Bar

Alt + P: Display the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer

 lt + Tab: Cycle forward through open windows

Alt + Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through open windows

Alt + F: Close the current window Open the Shut Down Windows dialog box from the Desktop

Alt + Spacebar: Access the Shortcut menu for current window

Alt + Esc: Cycle between open programs in the order that they were opened

lt + Enter: Open the Properties dialog box of the selected item

Alt + PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the active Window and place it in the clipboard

Alt + Up Arrow: Move up one folder level in Windows Explorer (Like the Up Arrow in XP)

Alt + Left Arrow: Display the previous folder

Alt + Right Arrow: Display the next folder

Shift + Insert: CD/DVD Load CD/DVD without triggering Autoplay or Autorun

Shift + Delete: Permanently delete the item (rather than sending it to the Recycle Bin)

Shift + F6: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box

Shift + F10: Access the context menu for the selected item

Shift + Tab: Cycle backward through elements in a window or dialog box

Shift + Click: Select a consecutive group of items

Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program

Shift + Right-click on a Taskbar button: Access the context menu for the selected item

Ctrl + A: Select all items

Ctrl + C: Copy the selected item

Ctrl + X: Cut the selected item

Ctrl + V: Paste the selected item

Ctrl + D: Delete selected item

Ctrl + Z: Undo an action

Ctrl + Y: Redo an action

Ctrl + N: Open a new window in Windows Explorer

Ctrl + W: Close current window in Windows Explorer

Ctrl + E: Select the Search box in the upper right corner of a window

Ctrl + Shift + N: Create new folder

Ctrl + Shift + Esc: Open the Windows Task Manager

Ctrl + Alt + Tab: Use arrow keys to cycle through open windows

Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Access the Windows Security screen

Ctrl + Click: Select multiple individual items

Ctrl + Click and drag an item: Copies that item in the same folder

Ctrl + Shift + Click and drag an item: Creates a shortcut for that item in the same folder

Ctrl + Tab:  Move forward through tabs

Ctrl + Shift + Tab: Move backward through tabs

Ctrl + Shift + Click on a Taskbar button: Launch a new instance of a program as an Administrator

 Ctrl + Click on a grouped Taskbar button: Cycle through the instances of a program in the group

F1: Display Help

F2: Rename a file

F3: Open Search

F4: Display the Address Bar list

F5: Refresh display

F6: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box

F7: Display command history in a Command Prompt

F10: Display hidden Menu Bar

F11: Toggle full screen display

Tab: Cycle forward through elements in a window or dialog box

PrtScn: Take a screen shot of the entire screen and place it in the clipboard

Home: Move to the top of the active window

End: Move to the bottom of the active window

Delete: Delete the selected item

Backspace: Display the previous folder in Windows Explorer  Move up one folder level in Open or Save dialog box

Esc: Close a dialog box

Num Lock Enabled + Plus (+): Display the contents of the selected folder

Num Lock Enabled + Minus (-): Collapse the selected folder

Num Lock Enabled + Asterisk (*): Expand all subfolders under the selected folder

Press Shift 5 times Turn StickyKeys on or off

Hold down right Shift for 8 seconds Turn FilterKeys on or off

Hold down Num Lock for 5 seconds Turn ToggleKeys on or off

Thanks to Microsoft’s Yash Tolia for compiling the list.

Microsoft Unveils a New Look and Logo

New Microsoft LogoIn advance of one of the most significant waves of product launches in Microsoft’s history, today they are unveiling a new logo for the company.

It’s been 25 years since the Microsoft logo was last updated and they have now is the time for a change. This is an incredibly exciting year for Microsoft as they prepare to release new versions of nearly all of their products. From Windows 8 to Windows Phone 8 to Xbox services to the next version of Office, you will see a common look and feel across these products providing a familiar and seamless experience on PCs, phones, tablets and TVs.

This wave of new releases is not only a reimagining of their popular products, but also represents a new era for Microsoft, so the logo should evolve to visually accentuate this new beginning.

The Microsoft brand is about much more than logos or product names. Microsoft play a role in the lives of more than a billion people every day. The ways people experience the products are their most important “brand impressions”.

That’s why the new Microsoft logo takes its inspiration from thier product design principles while drawing upon the heritage of their brand values, fonts and colors.

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