Today Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) made the Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview available as a free download to users with the current Windows 8 version. The company said the Enterprise version adds to the Windows 8.1 Preview edition by incorporating mobility, security, management, and virtualization features.

Microsoft wrote in a blog post that the new features of Windows 8.1 Enterprise include:

  • Windows To Go Creator: A fully manageable corporate Windows 8.1 desktop on a bootable external USB drive for bring-your-own-device use, or to securely access corporate environments.
  • Start Screen Control: This feature allows companies to control which apps are accessible on the Start screen, as well as app layout.
  • DirectAccess: Users can access information inside a corporate network and make updates to desktops remotely.
  • BranchCache:¬†Files and content can be downloaded once and cached across an entire Wide Area Network for branch offices, instead of being downloaded multiple times.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: Adds the ability to play 3-D graphics and use USB peripherals and touch-enabled devices across LAN or WAN networks.
  • AppLocker:¬†Companies can use this feature to restrict which apps and files are downloaded to a PC.
  • Windows Enterprise Side-Loading: Microsoft said internal Windows apps can be side-loaded on domain-joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

The company also said in the blog post that Windows 8.1 Enterprise support will have the same life cycle as Windows 8 and will end support on Jan. 10, 2023. The Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview can be downloaded at

Fool contributor Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.