Windows 8.1 released

General

Released on October 17, 2013, Windows 8.1 is the latest update of the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. A pre-release version of Windows 8.1 was tested for compatibility with typical university applications in order to verify that UVic is ready for the Windows 8.1 update.

The most significant problem facing UVic users who wish to use Windows 8.1 is compatibility with Internet Explorer 11. Internet Explorer is not compatible with many UVic applications and Windows 8.1 does not allow users to downgrade to another version of Internet Explorer.

University Systems does not recommend upgrading to any new OS immediately after its release due to unforseen bugs or compatibility issues. When University Systems is ready to adopt Windows 8.1, a release will be made available through the Technology Solutions Centre.

Web browsers

Internet Explorer 11

The latest version of Internet Explorer has compatibility issues with mail.uvic.ca and other UVic applications such as Banner, FMIS and Workflow. University Systems strongly recommends that anyone who requires UVic applications such as Banner Exchange email through mail.uvic.ca does not use Internet Explorer 11.

For further details regarding Internet Explorer compatibility, please consult our University Systems help centre.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox has no issues and performs typically with Windows 8.1, version 24.0 installs normally and exhibits no abnormal behaviour.

Productivity applications

Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 does not appear to have any compatibility issues with Windows 8.1. Documentation for configuring Outlook 2010 for use with UVic’s Microsoft Exchange Email and Calendaring system is available here.

Windows Mail

Please note that the following is provided for informational purposes only. University Systems does not support the use of Windows Mail with the Microsoft Exchange Email and Calendaring system at UVic.

Windows Mail was completely overhauled in Windows 8. Microsoft now requires the user to log in to a Microsoft account before they can configure additional accounts. Once a Microsoft account has been configured, Exchange can be set up through Windows Mail using ActiveSync, and will need to be compliant with UVic ActiveSync policies.

Networking and printing

Wireless

Wireless connectivity with the UVic, UVicOpen and eduroam wireless networks was without issue. When connecting to UVic and eduroam a prompt opened asking for a username and password. Entering netlinkid and an associated password worked as expected without requiring any certificate configuration. Instructions to configure UVic wireless networks are available here.

Network storage

University storage resources work as expected with netdrive.uvic.ca shares setup being identical to previous versions of Windows.

Printing

Printing configuration has not changed over the previous release of Windows. Before upgrading to Windows 8.1 please ensure that your Kyocera printer has supported drivers for Windows 8.1.

UVic applications

PGP Whole Disk Encryption

Symantec has not yet released a version of PGP Whole Disk Encryption that is compatible with Windows 8.

University Systems recommends BitLocker for all Windows encryption requirements. Details on BitLocker can be found on the University Systems website

Symantec Endpoint Protection

Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1.4 has been tested and is compatible with Windows 8.1. 

Tivoli Storage Manager

UVic does not yet operate a version of Tivoli Storage Manager that is compatible with Windows 8.1.

University Systems strongly recommends that anyone who requires TSM does not upgrade to Windows 8.1 at this time.

VPN client

UVic uses a Cisco Systems virtual private network for securing remote connections to the university's network. The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client version 3.1.01065 is compatible with Windows 8.1.

A test of connection stability was satisfactory.

Windows Live, SkyDrive and the cloud

Windows 8.1 includes integration with cloud based features that were introduced in Windows 8. Users will be prompted to log in with a Microsoft account or to link their local user account to a Microsoft account to sync files, preferences and more between multiple devices running Windows 8 and Windows RT. The syncronization is mostly implemented using SkyDrive, but can also sync to different web based applications such as Facebook, Flickr, etc.

Before using any SkyDrive or cloud based features, University Systems recommends that you review the internet storage section of the secure your data page. This section outlines relevant UVic policies and provincial legislation surrounding privacy and the use of cloud services.

University Systems recommends that faculty and staff refrain from using SkyDrive to store any university data as the privacy of this data can not be guaranteed.

Questions about Windows 8.1?

If you have any questions about Windows 8.1, please contact the Computer Help Desk for additional information.