Windows 8.1 features – Beyond the start button

win81With all the Windows 8.1 attention being given to the changes to the startĀ button here are a few features you may not know about.

Tap-to-pair printing
Rather than trying to locate the correct printer on your work network, you’ll simply tap a Windows 8.1 device against an NFC-ready enterprise printer and start printing

Broadband tethering
Support for broadband tethering, which turns a PC or tablet into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The feature has potential cost savings for remote users, as a single Windows 8.1 laptop with a cellular connection could provide Internet access for multiple devices

Tighter security for enterprise users. Its Windows Defender antivirus software will monitor network behaviour to seek and stop malware. And the included Internet Explorer 11 will use Windows 8.1’s anti-malware solution to scan ActiveX and other binary extensions.

All editions of Windows will add device encryption (enabled by default) that was limited previously to Windows RT and Windows Phone 8. Users of Windows 8.1 Pro and Enterprise versions can also add BitLocker protection and other management capabilities. Another plus: Windows 8.1 consumer devices, when using a Microsoft account, are automatically encrypted and protected

Remote Business Data Removal
Makes it easier for companies to mark which content on a user’s device is theirs, and then wipe the data — without touching any personal content — when their business relationship with the user ends. An enterprise can identify corporate data, encrypt it and later wipe it using the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) or EAS + OMA-DM protocol.

This feature must be implemented in both the client and server application (Mail + Exchange Server). The client app decides whether to delete the corporate data or simply make it inaccessible

Smart Search
By default, the new Smart Search in Windows 8.1 includes relevant results from Bing alongside files from your computer and SkyDrive. It won’t work for every search – and you can disable it if you don’t like it – but it’s a useful tool to have at your disposal.

The Start screen isn’t going away anytime soon, but you can now bypass it when you log in – Windows 8.1 lets you boot up to the Start screen, the Apps page or the desktop. What’s more, you can keep the same wallpaper on both the desktop and the Start screen if you want to make the change less drastic

Assigned Access
Turn your tablet into a kiosk. Convert any device into a kiosk with the new Assigned Access feature which allows customer access to only one app, not the system files or other apps.