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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Win8 vs Win8-Pro Small Business Use

    MS has made clear the differences between Win8 and Win8-Pro (no domain join, no bitlocker, no vhd boot, no rdc, and more). However, what's not clear is whether these limitations are a deal-breaker in a small and simple workgroup environment (just a simple server containing documents and data, no domain, a few queue printers, a simple sql application). Specifically, can a Win8 (not Pro) machine used as a workstation . . .

    1. Map a shared folder (either using file explorer or with net use . . . ?
    2. Use a queue print?
    3. Run a simple sql application (running under express) hosted on the workgroup server?
    4. Link (within Outlook) to a hosted-exchange environment (rpc over http)?

    Past experiences with XP home/premium vs Pro, Vista home/premium vs Business, Win7 home/premium vs Pro would suggest that Win8 should prove adequate as a workstation in a simple network environment, but you never know, and I have not been able to get my hands on a Win8 for testing.

    The reason for these questions is that many very beefy machines come pre-loaded with Win8 and live at price points that are quite attractive.

    Anyone have experiences with a Win8 box as a workstation in a small business workgroup server environment.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Every point of your 4 should be possible without any issues, if you are talking about a network without a domain controller. As you say, Windows 7 Home Premium and Vista Home before it, were able to do all of that. I see no reason for that not being possible in Windows 8 (although I am running the Pro version).

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  4. #3
    New Lounger
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    Many thanks for reinforcing my essential sense of things.

    I'm hoping to generate some observations from people who have had hands-on with plain Win8, since after 30 years in the biz I've been burned many times by elemental things that used to work but either stopped working or could be made to work but only in a more convoluted way. I'm a huge fan of MS but sometimes strange things crop up in the progression of OS.

  5. #4
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    Ok, let's hope someone who has used the regular version can confirm that too.

  6. #5
    New Lounger
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    Indeed. This became an issue two days ago when one of our clients expressed an interest in getting two very capable Lenovo machines, which were available from TigerDirect, LenovoDirect, and Staples. We checked the specs, and the only thing that required clarification was Win8 (preload). Checked with TigerDirect and they were clueless; referred us to Lenovo. Checked with Lenovo, "should work" was the best they could do. The tech people at Staples were more helpful, even though they also couldn't comment based on experience.

    They suggested we get the machine (14-day unconditionally returnable even if used) and put it through it's paces. We offered to provide a full report as to its performance and suitability in a non-domain small business network environment.

    Depending on what develops in the lounge, we may just go this route. And we'll post our report here.

  7. #6
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    The last one depends on Outlook only, so not a Windows issue. Care to clarify 3? What app is that? Or do you simply want to connect to the SQL Server server?
    Also, on 2, you mean access a shared printer? 1 is a networking feature, any shared folder that does not depend on domain authentication to access it will allow that, since Windows 8 supports networking.

  8. #7
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    Great Feedback.

    Agreed #4 is entirely an Outlook 2007 issue (unless some brain-deadening lives in Win8). Item #3 is Maximizer CRM. Currently running perfectly on the workgroup server (2003R2) with their disti or SQL 2005. XP (anything) machines have no probs. Win7 (anything) machines have no probs. You would think it would be the same for Win8 machines. Item #2 -- exactly, a shared printer queue on the workgroup server.

    I think we will press forward with the offer of the Win8 box (no obligation for 14 days) and try everything against it. Nothing to lose. And then we'll be able to report back the finding based on actual hands-on experience.

  9. #8
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    I would think Maximizer just requires a TCP/IP network connection to work, so it will work on Windows 8. I really think you won't have issues with any of those scenarios.

  10. #9
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    There may not yet be many people with Win 8 Standard, although the numbers should be going up. Until Jan. 31st the price made it common sense to go with the Pro version for upgrades.

    Now that the price is at normal values, you should see more.

    Most new PCs are coming pre-loaded with Win 8 Standard. With the few differences, Wikipedia has a descent comparison. For Remote Desktop, just use Team Viewer. It works great and has gotten fabulous reviews. I used it for 2 solid days helping my sister with her PC (she is about 1500 miles away).

    For the small operation you describe, the Standard edition S.B. fine. If after starting with it you find you need Pro, you can always upgrade with the Pro Pack.

    I will suggest reading through the Sticky Threads in the Win 8 forum for many tips on customizing your PCs with Win 8.
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  11. #10
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    Wrap Up.

    We have had hands-on with just plain Win8 (not pro) (Lenovo H520s, i5/3gHz, 6gb ram, 1TB drive, Win8/64).

    The machine is faster than any we have had in our hands.

    No networking element (other than domain acquisition) fails to function (network shares, network queues, UNC browsing, mapping, etc...).

    Though billed as a "home" machine, we can't find any difference between it and "business" machines (other than the limitations within Win8 vs Win8Pro).

    Whether the result of fewer built-in services or something else, this machine is actually faster than comparable Win8Pro units we have had our hands on.

    The question originally posed -- the functionality of Win8 (not Pro) in a non-domain small business environment -- is now answered. Perfect, and then some.

  12. #11
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    Great. Thanks for posting back with your experience .

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