Technology changes at a rapid pace and almost every month we witness something new and innovative in this domain. Microsoft is one such house that has been contributing to this change with its many useful software and utility. Recently, it has announced that the next Operating System in line, Windows 8 will be available to consumers in the following editions.
Two editions for PCs powered by x86 processors
One edition for ARM-based tablets, called Windows RT.
The two versions for PC are further sub-divided into “Windows 8″ and “Windows 8 Pro,” which is probably inspired by the two XP versions, Home and Professional. Windows 8 predecessors, Windows 7 and Windows Vista both were introduced in six different editions.
Windows 8 is the first and comparatively simpler version of the two in this category. You can compare it with the Windows 7 Home Premium. Its immediate superior, Windows 8 Pro can be compared with Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise. This edition of Windows 8 is inclusive of data encryption, virtualization, domain connectivity and PC management features. This is an advanced version and well-suited for IT professionals or people who are tech enthusiasts.
Apart from these, there is another version called Windows 8 Enterprise that includes everything that is in Windows 8 Pro + additional PC management tools. This version will be available only for large corporations who will buy in bulk.
The exclusive features of Windows 8 Pro are related to PC security, networking options and virtualization. You must acknowledge the fact that if you are going to upgrade your OS, then you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro only if you currently have Windows 7, Professional or Ultimate.
Windows 8 Pro has the following distinguished features:
BitLocker and BitLocker To Go
BitLocker is a hard drive encryption feature and it was first introduced with Windows Vista Business editions. This utility was useful in protecting data in stolen laptops. This feature was continued with Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate editions and was named as Bitlocker To Go. This was aimed at data protection on portable data storage devices including USB thumb drives.
Windows 8 Pro will have both the features: BitLocker and Bitlocker To Go. Combining these two features the user will enjoy full disk encryption that can be turned off only by an admin.
Domain Join and Group Policy
These two features are very useful and essential for all those IT professionals who are managing Windows machines. Domain Join is one such feature of Windows 8 Pro that will allow IT admins to access Active Directory. With this they can customize PC management and security policies by using the Group Policy feature. IT professionals verify passwords and distinguish whether users are system administrators or normal users by using the Active Directory.
Client Hyper V
Client Hyper V is a highly innovative virtualization technology that was previously available only with Windows Server editions. This time it is introduced with Windows 8 Pro, which is a client version of Windows.
A similar virtualization feature called as Windows XP mode was also used with Enterprise, Professional and Ultimate versions of Windows 7. With Windows XP Mode, the users were allowed to run older XP-only applications on Windows 7 with the help of a Microsoft virtual machine. Client Hyper V is a much more advanced and powerful virtualization tool that is expected to make Windows 8 Pro a favorite edition for users.
Booting from VHD
The Booting from VHD (virtual hard disk) is a high-end utility feature that was first introduced with Windows 7 Business editions. This has been carried forward with the latest Windows 8 Pro. It is very helpful for IT professionals in creating virtual drives required for testing apps or beta version of an operating system without affecting the performance of the actual OS.
Remote Desktop (Host)
Remote desktop functionality is not new and offered with Windows from quite some time. Both Windows 8 and Windows RT (Windows for ARM chips) include the feature of a remote desktop client. With Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise, you will be able to host the remote desktop session therefore it is very useful for IT professionals who often require hosting a remote desktop session on Windows computers.
However, the formal launch date for Windows 8 is yet to be announced but industry speculates that it will be out for consumers finally somewhere in the last quarter of 2012. The features discussed above are those that are so far revealed by Microsoft during beta launch or earlier. The entire set of features will be official only after its final launch. In the mean time, users around the world are awaiting this latest OS application to be launched and keeping their fingers crossed.