An Overview of Windows 8 and 8.1 – CompTIA A+ 220-902 – 1.1

Microsoft Windows 8 and 8.1 includes a new user interface and a number of core operating system changes. In this video, you’ll learn about the Windows 8/8.1 editions and the features and hardware requirements for each.

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Windows 8 was introduced by Microsoft on October the 26 of 2012, and it had a brand new user interface and most notably removed the Start menu from the UI. About a year later, Microsoft introduced an update to Windows 8 called Windows 8.1.

This was not an upgrade to the operating system but simply an update from version 8 to 8.1. But not a lot of changes to the operating system itself. And whenever we talk about Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 in this course, we’re effectively referring to the same operating system.

With Windows Vista and Windows 7, there were many different editions of the operating system. But with Windows 8, we now only have to know about three different editions. There’s the Core Edition, which is usually just written as Windows 8 or 8.1. Another edition is Windows 8 Pro, and the third would be Windows 8 Enterprise.

The Core version of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are really designed for the home. There are both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of this operating system. And it also integrates into your Microsoft account so you can log on to one account, and it allows you access to your computer and all of the services that you might need.

This edition also includes a built-in antivirus and anti-malware application called Windows Defender. And if you want to be able to play audio CDs and play DVDs on your Windows 8 device, Windows Media Player is built in to the operating system.

The version of Windows 8 that you might find in a business is Windows 8 Pro. This is very similar to the Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate versions. It includes full support for full disk encryption with BitLocker or individual file encryption with the encrypting file system.

This Pro edition of Windows 8 can also be configured to join a Windows Active Directory domain. So that way your IT team can centrally manage all of your Windows 8 devices using Group Policy.

The Enterprise Edition of Windows 8 is designed for volume license customers that Microsoft calls their Software Assurance Customers. This includes a number of features that are useful to the enterprise– things like AppLocker that control the use or execution of different applications in Windows.

You have Windows To Go that allows you to boot Windows from a USB connected drive. You have Direct Access, which is useful for VPN connectivity, and BranchCache, which is an intelligent file sharing, especially over slower WAN links.

Windows 8 began to really push the capabilities of technology, and there were certain requirements for the processors to be able to run Windows 8. One of these requirements is PAE or Physical Address Extension. This allowed 32-bit operating systems to use more than 4 gigabytes of physical memory in the OS.

You also need a processor that enables NX. This can also be called the NX Processor Bit that allows you to restrict a malicious software from running in the processor of your computer.

Your processor also needs to have enabled a group of extensions called the SSE2, the streaming SIMD 2. This is an instruction set that’s increasingly used by a number of third-party drivers and applications.

The hardware requirements for Windows and Windows 8.1 are separated into 32-bit requirements and 64-bit requirements. We first need a processor for both of these that’s at least a 1 gigahertz processor and requires the PAE, NX, and SSE2 functions that we just spoke about in the processor.

For 32-bit version of Windows 8, we need at least 1 gigabyte of RAM, and for the 64-bit version, we need 2 gigabytes of RAM. We need at least 16 gigabytes of free disk space for the 32-bit version and 20 gigabytes for the 64-bit version. And both of these need to be able to support video that is standardized with Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device that’s running the Windows display driver model standard.

Here’s a functionality summary of how these three editions compare. We’re looking at the different Windows 8 and 8.1 editions for Core, Pro, and Enterprise and how they compare for Windows Media Player, the encrypting file system, the BitLocker full disk encryption, the Active Directory domain membership, the AppLocker capabilities, and BranchCache. You can also see the maximum memory supported for the 32-bit versions of these different editions and the 64-bit versions as well.