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Windows 8 Statement

This statement was published in October 2012

Microsoft released the Windows 8 operating system for general availability, Friday 26 October 2012. This document outlines Computing Services position and guidance in respect of Windows 8 use and support at the University.

What is Windows 8?

Windows 8 is an operating system designed by Microsoft for use on PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. You can find out more in this Guardian independent review. Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the platform, primarily focused on improving the experience on touch-enabled devices such as tablets or touch-enabled laptops.  This is a bold step by Microsoft. If successful it would be the first to bring together desktop and mobile interfaces, perhaps allowing the best from both worlds.

Will Computer Services be deploying Windows 8 on University computers?

We will not be deploying Windows 8 on University computers at this time. Our first investigations suggest Windows 8 makes most sense on a touch-enabled device, which excludes the vast majority of computers and laptops currently in use at the University.

Windows is the most commonly used desktop operating system at the University and careful consideration needs to be given before deploying Windows 8. It is prudent with any new release to monitor how the operating system matures. Comprehensive testing will also need to be carried out on all essential University applications.  This strategy was followed after Vista was introduced and it became clear Vista would not be a sound choice for our campus computers.

Will Computer Services be deploying Windows 8 on the Library computers and in General Teaching Areas?

Windows 8 will not be installed on any University teaching area computer or public-access computer during this academic year.  In order to best meet the requirements of lecturers and students, Computer Services keep the public computer systems stable and consistent throughout each academic year.

A view will be taken later this academic year as to whether it will be rolled out next year.

What if I’m really keen to get access to Windows 8?

The Windows 8 ISO will be made available via Secure Downloads to your local IT supporter for testing and for ‘cutting edge' installations.  This service will be made available once new licensing mechanisms are confirmed. 

What about my personal desktop computer and laptop?

Unless you are buying a new touch-enabled laptop or tablet, Computer Services advice would be to stay with Windows 7 for now.

What support will Computer Services provide for users of Windows 8?

We are working on documentation for key services, such as VPN, Eduroam and ResNet. Support will initially be available on a "best effort" basis.

Computer Services will make an updated statement in February 2013

Steve MacDonald - Windows Team Leader