Windows 8 for IT Pros

Mike Halsey MVP
Mar 2, 2012
Updated • Jun 25, 2018
Windows, Windows 8

In order to properly review Windows 8, as Microsoft have said that they consider it to be essentially finished and feature-locked, I thought it would be best to split my review into the four categories of people who would be using it.

So here at gHacks and on our sister site Windows8News I will be reviewing the new operating system for IT Pros and businesses (here at gHacks) and Consumers and Enthusiasts at Windows8News, the former of which has already been published and you can read it here.

In the first round it's a win for consumers, who have traditionally had a rough time with what is essentially a business operating system and that has, until now anyway, always been that.  But what about IT Pros?  These will be people who will use Windows for both work and play and who will commonly switch between these roles regularly throughout the day during the same computing session.  So what, if anything, does Windows 8 offer IT Pros?

Consumers win resoundingly with the new Metro interface, but so far IT Pros have reacted with mixed feelings and some strong emotions.  Frankly they either love it or hate it.  I have expressed my own strong feelings on occasion upon discovering that some of the major, and very useful, administrative features are so well buried or hidden within the operating system that it becomes frustrating to use.  But let's look at this objectively, how often do I actually need or use them and how easy or difficult are they really to find?


Looking at my own usage of my PC I spend the majority of my time in Internet Explorer on the desktop, with commonly six or so tabs open at a time, I can still do this.  I also have Word or Excel files open, sometimes many in a single session and all scattered across a large desktop, I can still do this too.  So surely if I can still do everything I used to in the same way then this is a good thing... right?

Well this is where the new Metro interface comes into the frame.  Already, and for those who want shot of it, patches are appearing that will get rid of it and restore the original Start Menu (of which I was never a fan).  I want to be able to pin all of my commonly used apps to the Windows Taskbar and find the others easily through search.  Pinning programs to the Taskbar is now a bit more fiddly than it was before but only a tiny bit, as is search which you cannot do directly from the desktop in the way you can with the new Start Screen.  In fairness this means that Windows 8 will take longer for an IT Pro to set-up or configure than Windows 7 does.  While this might initially be annoying, it's a one-time only job.

So what about this new Metro interface?  It's interesting when you think that I began this article by saying that IT Pros switch between work and play roles frequently on their computers.  Each individual will have to decice whether they want to work with two different interfaces on a single computer, but it is rather a nice way to keep them apart.  At work I can concentrate on work, when I'm not at work I don't have to look at it.  I like this approach and I can see it becoming very popular.

But what if you really don't want to use the Metro interface for launching programs?  Here it could become a very useful information dashboard with live tiles giving you valuable information at the press of a single button on almost every aspect of your online life.  This is much in the way desktop widgets have been used in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and OS X.  The desktop gadgets still exist in Windows 8 on the desktop but with Metro I can't see why you'd want to use them.

In many ways the transition for IT Pros to Windows 8 will be a difficult one, not the least of which is that many of the advanced features have been buried in places where, without Start Menu access, they're difficult to find.  IT Pros want to see and know what's going on with their computer, they want flexibility with it and they want to be able to customise it.  Windows 8 is not aimed at these people, it's not about customisation and this will be the first version of Windows since XP where I can see myself and others installing third-party customisation software to allow us to do just that.

But Windows is flexible, certainly in respect to it being easily hackable.  Microsoft haven't removed even the classic Start Menu, it's all still in there waiting to be switched back on if you want it.  In many ways this is a strength as Windows 8 really can be whatever we need it to be.  Whether the extra effort required in getting it to where we need it to be is enough of an incentive to move away from Windows 7 is a choice each IT Pro will have to make for themselves.  Some might love new features like the improved multi-monitor support, Storage Spaces or Hyper-V.  Others may never want to use these and may be perfectly happy living without them.  That makes this review too close to call.  It could go either way with some people loving it and others hating it.

Windows 8 for IT Pros
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Windows 8 for IT Pros
Mike analyzes Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system from an IT professional and business point of view.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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