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Windows 8.1 also has a few business-oriented tricks up its sleeve

The Windows 8.1 Preview launched yesterday with much fanfare at Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco. On the other side of the planet, meanwhile, Microsoft was kicking off TechEd Europe, where it revealed the features and benefits of Windows 8.1 for business users.

The upcoming free update includes a massive number of tweaks and new features. Many of them—such as the ability to swipe your hand in front of a webcam to turn pages, and the ability to wirelessly stream media to a TV via an Xbox game console—are aimed exclusively at consumers.

Windows 8.1 makes Windows 8 much more functional for business use.

Some of the new features, however, will also appeal to business uers: The return of the Start button, for instance, and the ability to boot straight to desktop mode. I’ve never really understood or supported the brouhaha over the missing Start button in Windows 8, but I must say that I’m a fan of having it back. It’s so much more convenient to be able to right-click the Start button to access the Control Panel or Task Manager, or to shut down the PC.

Windows 8.1 for IT admins

Microsoft has also developed a number of features and improvements designed specifically for business customers, and to help IT admins deploy and manage Windows 8 devices. John DeVaan, corporate vice president for Windows Development at Microsoft, shared the business-centric aspects of Windows 8.1 at a keynote at TechEd Europe 2013.

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