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How does Windows 8.1 support affect Active Directory?

Windows 8.1 support for endpoint security includes Open MDM and biometrics, but removing Remote Server Administration Tools can affect Active Directory.

As with previous editions of Windows, administrators rely on Active Directory in Windows 8.1 to ensure software gets updated and to troubleshoot connections between network endpoints. Active Directory is also the primary means for authenticating users, which has become more important given security concerns for bring your own device programs.

Microsoft Windows 8.1 provides an application programming interface for mobile device management (MDM) support through Open MDM. This is good news for users of MDM applications from vendors like Air Watch and Mobile Iron.

Windows 8.1 also offers improved biometrics with support for fingerprint-based access. Microsoft has provided fingerprint biometrics in the past, but it depended on other vendors for drivers.

It's also possible to set encryption to always be on in Windows 8.1, but admins will need to understand the hardware requirements and know which drives are affected.

In addition, Group Policy settings, such as enabling the local administrator account, can affect password policies and how a PC joins a domain.

Operating system patches and updates are generally welcome, but we do encounter occasional problems. For instance, upgrading to Windows 8.1 can remove Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), and this can disrupt Active Directory services. You can download RSAT directly from Microsoft.

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