Windows 8 Enterprise could fuel BYOD

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In a new post on The Windows Blog, senior director of Windows Erwin Visser outlined some of the features of the Enterprise edition of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

What caught my attention was a new feature called Windows To Go, which will only be available on Windows 8 Enterprise. As reported earlier, Windows To Go allows an entire Windows 8 desktop to be stored on a USB flash drive. Plugging this external drive into a desktop or laptop and booting it up will bring up a managed, corporate Windows 8 desktop.

The purpose of this feature is simple. As described by Visser, it will allow IT organizations to support the bring-your-own-device trend, giving staff access to the corporate environment without compromising security. Loading the entire operating environment from the flash drive negates the effect of any malware or security issues present on the physical machine.

In order to further enforce security, unplugging the flash drive from which Windows 8 was loaded will cause the machine to freeze for a minute, according to an Ars Technica article from late last year. A shutdown is forcibly performed if the disk is not returned within the stipulated amount of time.

Though there is no mention of minimum hardware specifications to support Windows To Go, there is no reason why any laptop or PC capable of meeting Windows 8's hardware specifications should not work.

Given the new Intel ultrabook-tablet hybrid demonstrated by the chip maker last week, I cannot help but envision a generation of workers toting their personal Windows 8 hybrid device or ultrabook to work. They can boot into Windows 8 Enterprise using Windows To Go when in the office, and unplug it before leaving for the day.

In this way, Windows 8 Enterprise could well fuel BYOD. - Paul Mah  (Twitter @paulmah)