Windows 8.1 Enterprise is the enterprise-level version of the latest Microsoft operating system. It works best when used in an enterprise environment along with Windows Server 2012. This 32-bit version will operate only on a computer with a 32-bit processor and 32-bit drivers.
This donation provides one upgrade license for Windows 8.1 Enterprise. You should request one upgrade license for each computer you are upgrading to Windows 8.1. If you have Windows 8, the Windows 8.1 upgrade is free from the Volume Licensing Service Center. If you prefer to upgrade to the Pro edition of Windows 8.1 instead of the Enterprise edition, you can use this license to download Pro from the VLSC. See the Product Use Rights Summary for Desktop Operating Systems for specific licensing details.
Benefits for Organizations
If you have system administration experience, you can use Windows 8.1 Enterprise with Windows Server 2012 to:
- Provide mobile workers with access to your organizational network without the need for VPN
- Allow employees to securely take a bootable version of their Windows 8.1 Enterprise desktop on a USB drive to other computers
- Enhance network performance and minimize bandwidth usage
Upgrade License Only
Only certain editions of the Windows operating system qualify for upgrade licenses under TechSoup's Volume Licensing agreements with Microsoft. See the system requirements to make sure your device qualifies.
If your device doesn't meet the requirements for an upgrade product, you might be eligible for a full operating system license through Microsoft's Get Genuine Windows Agreement for Small and Medium Organizations program.
- All Windows 8.1 Pro capabilities: Windows 8.1 Enterprise provides all the capabilities of Windows 8.1 Pro, including a modern interface, apps, cloud integration, and enhanced security.
- DirectAccess: Mobile workers can connect securely to your organizational network anytime they have Internet access — without the need for VPN. IT administrators using Windows Server can manage mobile computers by updating Group Policy settings and distributing software updates anytime the mobile computer has Internet connectivity.
- Windows To Go: You can create a copy of an employee's Windows 8.1 workspace on a USB drive. This allows employees to access a secure, bootable version of their Windows 8.1 Enterprise desktop on another PC regardless of that PC's operating system. The device must meet Windows hardware certification requirements.
- BranchCache: Your organization's PCs can cache files, websites, and other content from central servers running Windows Server 2012 so that content is not repeatedly downloaded across your network. This can minimize network traffic between branch offices and the main office.
- BitLocker drive encryption: BitLocker encrypts hard drives more quickly to protect sensitive data from being accessed by unauthorized users who come into possession of any of your organization's computers.
- Start screen control: Administrators can control the layout of the Start screen to ensure that certain apps are accessible and also to enforce consistency across all devices.
Installing Windows 8.1
Unless you are upgrading from Windows 7, this installation requires a "clean install." This means that if the computer has an existing operating system, you must remove all operating system files and applications, install the system, and reinstall the applications. For complete information, see TechSoup's How to Upgrade to Windows 8.
Windows 8.1 Enterprise requires significant system resources, as detailed in the system requirements. It is likely that PCs currently running an operating system older than Windows Vista might not be able to run Windows 8.1. For a good start on evaluating whether to upgrade, see TechSoup's Should You Upgrade to Windows 8? Questions to Consider.
Important Volume Licensing Information
With Windows 8.1, your organization can choose between two types of volume license keys for product activation: a Key Management Service (KMS) license key or a Multiple Activation Key (MAK). A Key Management Service (KMS) key for Windows 8.1 is available to your organization by default on the Microsoft Volume Licensing website; that is, this is the only type of key you will see unless you request a MAK.
A KMS key requires at least 25 computers on a network for activation. If your organization has fewer than 25 computers, you should request a MAK from the Volume Licensing website after receiving this product. For information about obtaining a MAK or deciding which type of key to use, see TechSoup's Volume Licensing Service Center — Product Keys page.
Obtaining This Product
Installing this product requires you to download the software from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and enter a license key. You can download any available version or language for your product. After you download the software, learn how to install it or burn it to a disc for later use.
The license key allows you to install the product on as many computers as you have received licenses for. This quantity is specified in the email you receive from TechSoup after requesting this product.
Expect two emails:
- When your donation request has been approved, TechSoup will send a message to your organization email address. This email will confirm the number of licenses you have requested and provide information about how to use the VLSC once Microsoft accepts your license agreement. Make sure the organization email that is registered with TechSoup is up-to-date. Visit My Member Profile and verify the address in your active organization profile.
- Microsoft will send an email welcoming your organization to the VLSC. This email will indicate that Microsoft has accepted your license agreement. After you receive this email, you'll be able to follow the steps in the first email you received from TechSoup to obtain your donation through the VLSC.
Under the Software Assurance program, you have the right to install any new release of products covered in the agreement during the term of your coverage.