Editor's note: Simplifying Windows 8 deployments

Windows 8 is all about making the computing experience easier and safer for your users. And Microsoft has the tools and guidance to make Windows 8 deployment less complex and more successful for you.

By Mitch Irsfeld

During the launch of Windows 8 in late October, we talked about the new functionality and the benefits of Windows 8 for enterprise IT. This TechNet feature package is about next steps.

If you are coming up to speed on the features and capabilities of Windows 8, check out the free ebook Introducing Windows 8: An Overview for IT Professionals (Final Edition), which has been updated based on the final RTM software and includes insights for planning and deploying Windows 8 in an enterprise environment. And, if you are like most, you prefer to learn about Windows capabilities first hand. Download the Windows 8 Enterprise 90-day Evaluation designed specifically to help IT pros test their applications and hardware on the new operating system.

As you should be aware by now, Windows XP support ends April 8, 2014, and based on average lead times for Windows migration projects, it’s time get your deployment plan together if you still have users on that platform. The Windows TechCenter on TechNet now offers a host of tools and how-to articles to help you plan for Windows 8 and address issues like application and hardware compatibility, weigh deployment options, and conduct pilots. And for tips to help you prepare and determine the best configuration for your organization, catch the Windows 8 Deployment video and the Jump Start video on Windows 8 deployment.

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to deploying a new version of Windows, and your migration plan is driven largely by user and business scenarios. Stella Chernyak, senior director of product marketing for the Windows Commercial team addresses these considerations this month in TechNet Magazine article Windows 8: Identify you unique adoption path.

To drill down further on specific aspects of Windows 8 deployment, the Windows TechCenter has a dedicated resource highlighting the various tools, options and methodologies to consider. Check out Deliver and Deploy Windows 8 for guidance on everything from building a better desktop image to determining the best virtualization option. The TechNet Library also provides more detailed deployment information, including a basic Windows deployment step-by-step guide.

When you are ready to get going, we strongly recommend that you download a few free toolkits. The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 8 is a collection of tools that you can use to customize, assess and deploy Windows 8 on new computers. And the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit is a toolset for automating desktop and server deployment. It reduces deployment time and standardizes desktop and server images, along with offering improved security and ongoing configuration management.

And here’s some good news for those who have used these tools for Windows 7 deployments. The Windows 8 versions are based on the Windows 7 toolsets. The only differences are around the new Windows 8 features, further reducing the effort involved in Windows 8 deployments.

Thanks for reading,


Nina Ruchirat

Mitch Irsfeld*, Editor of TechNet, is a veteran computer industry journalist and content developer who managed editorial staffs at several leading publications, includingInformationWeek, InternetWeek and CommunicationsWeek. He is also an editor for TechNet Magazine and managing editor of the TechNet Flash newsletter.*