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How to download Windows 8.1 Enterprise Trial right now

November 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Original Post: http://www.ghacks.net/2013/10/17/download-windows-8-1-enterprise-trial-right-now/?_m=3n%2e003a%2e154%2evh0ao03kwj%2e5n3

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You have probably already noticed that Microsoft has released the Windows 8.1 update a bit early today. All Windows 8 users can install the upgrade by visiting the built-in store of the operating system. That’s very convenient, even though it is not that different from distributing the update via Windows Update.

Installation via the store is just one of the options to upgrade to Windows 8.1. It is likely that Microsoft will make available ISO images of the operating system as well, but those are not yet available.

But what if you want to test the new version of Windows first before you make the plunge and upgrade your operating system to it?

Microsoft has released a trial version of Windows 8.1 Enterprise that you can install for that purpose.

Windows 8.1 Download

windows 8.1 enterprise download

You can download Windows 8.1 Enterprise from Microsoft’s TechNet Evaluation Center. Here are the most important requirements and information about it:

  • The evaluation version is provided as a 32-bit and 64-bit ISO image.
  • The following languages are available: English (United States), English (Great Britain), German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Russian, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional).
  • You do need a Microsoft account to download the ISO image from the site.
  • The trial version is good for 90-days.

Hardware Requirements

  • CPU: 1 GHz processor or faster.
  • RAM: 1 Gigabyte (32-bit) or 2 Gigabyte (64-bit).
  • Hard Disk space: 16 Gigabyte (32-bit) or 20 Gigabyte (64-bit).
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

To download, select whether you want to download the 32-bit or 64-bit ISO image of Windows 8.1 and proceed. You are asked to sign in to your Microsoft account on the next page, and are taken to a form on the page thereafter.

Most fields are filled out automatically, but you need to make a couple of choices manually before you can start the download. Probably the most important choice is the language of the download. Make sure you pick the right language here and select data for the other fields that are not auto-filled.

If you prefer direct download links, here they are for the English version:

32-bit English Windows 8.1 Enterprise

64-bit English Windows 8.1 Enterprise

Note: The downloads may change at any time. Please notify us when that is the case so that we can correct the download links. They point to official Microsoft servers.

Windows 8.1 to be released officially on October 17

August 18, 2013 1 comment

You will have to wait another two months before you can install the final Windows 8.1 update on existing Windows 8 machines or buy computer systems that ship with it pre-installed. Many users expected Microsoft to release the update in August, but that was never more than a rumor.
Windows 8.1 will hit the market about a year after the official release of the Windows 8 operating system, and it will be free for existing users.

The update will be available for all Windows 8 users through the Windows Store on October 17th, and as a retail version starting October 18th. While not explicitly mentioned, it is likely that the update will also be made available as a standalone download.

Interested users can still download and install the Windows 8.1 Preview which provides them with some but not all of the new features that Microsoft has integrated in the update.

Some of the features that are already available are Internet Explorer 11, a revamped search behavior, a redesigned Windows Store, integrated cloud connectivity with SkyDrive or more personalization options.

Features that were not included in the preview are a new bunch of tutorials that help you understand how to operate Windows 8.1 new cues that help users find and use features in the operating system, or the new “motion accents” personalization feature that animates the background when you scroll on the start screen interface of the operating system.

windows 8.1 help

New features added after the Windows 8.1 Preview

  • Windows-X menu now with sign-out option.
  • New “motion accents” feature on start screen.
  • New tutorials, including screenshots, short textual explanations, animations or links to Internet contents.
  • Apps list extended.
  • Several core apps have received updates.
  • Tooltips in the lower right corner for additional options are displayed in many core Microsoft apps which shows more commands (similar to right-clicking on pages or using Windows-Z)
  • Assigned Access is back. Select a (user) account to have access to only one Windows Store app.
  • SkyDrive fully integrated in the system. You can now change the location of the SkyDrive folder on your hard drive.

The most likely scenario right now is that Microsoft will finish up testing of the operating system in August, get the RTM release of Windows 8.1 out soon thereafter and distribute it to OEMs and partners so that they can start integrating it into their products.

It is interesting to note that Microsoft may not make the RTM version available on MSDN or Technet soon after it is hitting RTM status. That’s however just a rumor at this time and not something that got confirmed by Microsoft yet.

If you want to get your hands on the update at the earliest possible – legal – moment, you may need to download and install it by visiting Windows Store.

Here is a video that highlights many of the changes of the latest Windows 8.1 build.

It is clear that Microsoft is addressing several of the issues that users of Windows 8 had with the operating system. Windows 8.1 attempts to provide users with additional visual cues and tutorials to understand features of the system.

Windows XP users: what will you do on April 8, 2014?

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

By on August 16, 2013in Windows 42
So what is happening on April 8, 2014 that is affecting all Windows XP users? It is the end of support for the operating system. What this means is that Microsoft won’t release any more security updates, or other updates for that matter, for the operating system.

There is one exception to that, and that is that companies can pay Microsoft money to get security vulnerabilities patched. But that is not really feasible for most as it would cost a lot of money to patch a single vulnerability.

While that is not really something that you do need to worry about if your computer running Windows XP is not connected to the Internet, you may enter a world of vulnerabilities shortly after that date. Vulnerabilities that get detected after the date won’t get fixed anymore, which means that the operating system will remain vulnerable to them.

There may be mitigating factors, like running applications in a sandbox or exploit mitigation tools, but those are usually only run by experienced users and not average ones.

Attackers may come up with new exploit code of their own, or by reverse engineering updates for other versions of Windows to find out if Windows XP is also vulnerable. Since the operating system won’t receive any more updates after April 8, 2014, it gives attackers many more opportunities to attack the system.

But it is not only users who will run into issues on that date. Microsoft too is in a precarious situation. If you look at operating system usage stats, you will notice that Windows XP is still placed second in the most used operating system. Only Windows 7 managed to pass it by, while Windows 8 just managed to pass Windows Vista to climb to the third place.

It is obvious that the company does not wan’t to “lose” that user base.  So what can Microsoft do to convince users that it is a good time to update? One approach seems to highlight the dangers of running Windows XP right now and after the end of support date.

windows xp security

Malware infection probabilities

The question is if this is enough to convince users and organizations to switch to another version of Windows that is still supported.

And what will Windows XP users do when doomsday comes?

  • Keep running the system even though it may have known vulnerabilities that are exploited in the wild?
  • Update the operating system to Windows 7 / Windows 8?
  • Switch to a different operating system such as Ubuntu Linux?

Closing Words

What I would do? I would probably update to Windows 8. Not because I think it is the superior operating system, but because it is possible to ignore the Metro / Start Screen interface for the most part, which means that you get an updated Windows 7 operating system with 3 more years of support.

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