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Curtin University
Curtin Information Technology Services (CITS)

Windows 8

Windows 8Background

Windows 8.1 was officially released in November 2013. It represents a shift in strategy for Microsoft in that it is a unification of their desktop and handheld operating system platforms. Many parts of the operating system, especially focusing on the user interface, have been significantly changed from Windows 7 as a result. User education may therefore be more of a requirement for user adoption and acceptance than recent versions.

Windows 8.1 Versions

Microsoft has announced four separate versions of Windows 8.1:

  1. Windows 8.1 - the "consumer" version of Windows 8.1, roughly analogous to Windows 7 Home Premium, available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
  2. Windows 8.1 Pro - the "professional" version of Windows 8.1, roughly analogous to Windows 7 Ultimate, available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
  3. Windows 8.1 Enterprise - for customers with Software Assurance agreements, essentially Windows 8.1 Pro with some additional enterprise-oriented features.
  4. Windows RT - the tablet-only version of Windows 8 for ARM-based systems. Windows RT includes touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote but does not have the ability to run most Windows applications.

See http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/compare for a comparison of most of the above versions. Note: The Enterprise version is not included in the comparison.

Windows RT and Windows 8.1 differences

It is noted above but it is worth repeating that Windows RT does not have the ability to run most Windows applications like Windows 8.1 does. In the same way that an iPad cannot run most Mac applications, and that it can only run applications designed for the iPad, Windows RT is the same.

Windows 8 App Store iconIf you purchase Windows RT and want to load apps on to your device, you need to purchase apps through the Windows App Store.

It is worth noting that the Windows App Store can also be used by other versions of Windows 8.1. 

Software

Curtin software applications (available from the “Install Applications” folder) that are currently available for Windows 7.x, are also available for Windows 8.1, with the exception of Curtin's Corporate Applications Student One, Finance One and Alesco.

Recommendation

The University will defer rolling out Windows 8.1 on laptops and desktops until corporate application software used by the University has been confirmed by the vendor as supported on Windows 8.1. CITS will continue to work on Curtin’s future Windows 8.1 MOE in advance of that time.

A pilot of Windows 8.1 on Dell tablets and Microsoft Surface was undertaken. The result was that CITS recommends the Dell Venue 11. The Dell Enterprise class tablets will connect to the Curtin network and will be supported by CITS, whether Curtin owned or leased. Staff will be able to download available software to this device via the “Install Applications” folder, however Windows 8.1 is not certified to work with Corporate Applications.

CITS will provide limited support for Windows 8.0 for staff and students using Windows tablets. Support will be limited to assisting with connecting to the wireless network and email, in line with support currently provided for non-Curtin owned equipment and Apple iPads.

Future

CITS will continue to test Microsoft Windows 8.1 and devices (for software compatibility, stability and security issues) with business areas and advise accordingly.

Curtin’s corporate desktop environment will remain as Windows 7.

Windows 8 Tablet and mobile devices are available through the ICT Procurement portal.