Windows 8 will be released October 26, 2012. Since many consumers just recently upgraded to Windows 7, the release might not be greeted with as much fanfare as Microsoft hopes.

It’s not just consumers. Businesses are also expected to have a lukewarm reception to Windows 8. Many businesses still use Windows XP, and upgrading to Windows 7 was an expensive move that few businesses will be willing to make for another few years – even if the upgrade only costs $40.

However, Windows 8 is still a fairly cool operating system. It has many useful features that will appeal to both touch-screen tablet users and users of other types of computers. Here are some of Windows 8’s most popular features for businesses:

Faster and more secure booting process

It’s been a long time since Microsoft changed the boot sequence of its Windows operating system. However, all new Windows 8 PCs will have to move away from the traditional BIOS system that we’ve all known for years. The BIOS is the screen that pops up as soon as your computer starts. You press a key like F12 to enter the BIOS, after which you can change around important system settings.

However, instead of using BIOS, Microsoft will now force its manufacturers to use something called the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface. This is designed to make the boot sequence more secure and, more importantly, it should also make the boot sequence faster. Microsoft says that it shouldn’t take more than 8 seconds to go from the UEFI opening screen to the Windows 8 desktop. 8 seconds, huh? What a coincidence.

No more messy mobile operating systems

The world’s biggest software manufacture has decided to create a mobile operating system. In the past, consumers have been forced to use useful – albeit limited – operating systems like iOS or Blackberry. While Android is more functional than either of these two operating systems, it’s still a bit messy around the edges.

That’s why Microsoft’s entry into the mobile OS market is a big deal. For the first time, we have a software giant putting all of its experience, resources, and creativity into an operating system. That means tablet users and smartphone users will have the full Windows experience. As opposed to saying “Oh that won’t work on my tablet,” you can relax knowing that any Windows program will work on both your tablet and whatever other computers you may have.

Better networking

Windows 7 was a huge leap forward in terms of networking support. Adding a printer – something that was infamously difficult to do in Windows XP and Vista – suddenly became a lot easier. Windows 8 looks to build off that success with a wide range of networking improvements, including the new IP Address Management (IPAM) feature, which allows admins to control and monitor virtually everything on the network.

With Windows 8, business networks will be faster, easier, and more stable. For companies that spend hours of time trying to figure out networking problems, an upgrade to Windows 8 could make sense.

Easier troubleshooting and recovery options

Windows 8 introduces a different Blue Screen of Death for the first time since Windows 95. However, more importantly, recovering from errors has been noticeably improved. After experiencing an error, Windows 8 will give users the option to either Refresh or Reset.

Refresh will reinstall Windows but it will keep all your personal data, apps, programs, and customization options. The entire process will be completed in less than ten minutes – even on computers with a lot of personal data.

Meanwhile, Reset completely removes all data and reinstalls the operating system completely, just like a system reformat did in previous versions of Windows. Of course, for errors that aren’t serious enough to require a system restore, Microsoft has also improved Windows 8’s troubleshooting ability.

Bitter encryption

Businesses want their personal data to stay protected. Windows 8 will make that easier thanks to BitLocker, which will quickly encrypt hard drives and keep them protected from unwanted eyes.

Will these improvements be enough for companies to make the $40 jump to Windows 8? We’ll find out later this year.

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