by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : October 2012
The release of Microsoft's Windows 8 isn't expected to trigger a stam- pede among government agencies, but the operating system's features nonetheless intrigue agency IT man- agers. The new OS is arriving as many agencies continue to grapple with their transitions from Windows XP to Windows 7. Extended support for Windows XP expires in 2014, com- pelling agencies to complete their moves away from the platform. Other factors argue against an imminent Windows 8 migration. Budget-strapped agencies, hav- ing recently switched to Windows 7, may not be eager to support an additional OS. End-user training presents another concern, as the Windows 8's user interface marks a sharp departure from previous ver- sions of the OS. And while its improved security features are attracting attention, those capabilities must compete with other items on the IT depart- ment's agenda. "I've got 8 on my radar," said Rod Davenport, chief technology officer for Michigan. "My priority in the short term is to finish up our Windows 7 rollout." Michigan is pursuing its Windows 7 switch in conjunction with an Of- fice 365 cloud project, which is ex- pected to take 10 months to com- plete. So with so many shifts to Windows 7 in progress or recently completed, it's unlikely that many agencies will jump immediately to Windows 8. But that's not to say government technologists are ignoring it. IT managers expressed interest in Windows 8's features and its ar- rival on a new crop of tablet devices. Indeed, Windows 8 could debut in some government offices on tablets rather than on the desktop, espe- cially if there is demand for its apps. Another way the OS could initially work its way into agencies is via vir- tual desktops, an idea that is catch- ing on in government. WINDOWS 7 FOCUS Davenport's view is shared by oth- ers in government IT. The U.S. Pat- ent and Trademark Office recently deployed new universal laptops running Windows 7, but a USPTO manager said there are no plans to upgrade to Windows 8 at this time. In a similar position, most of the Department of Commerce is on XP, though some agencies have already FEATURE ANALYSIS Most of the keyboard shortcuts from the desktop are simply replaced with hand gestures on the tablet, but everything looks and works exactly the same. Once the new OS proliferates, if you learn how to use Windows 8 on a notebook in France, you can run it on a desktop in the United States or on a tablet in Japan. Changing the language options is easy to do, but al- most not necessary since all devices will work the same way. BYE, BYE BIOS Beyond usability and the new interface, the biggest focus for Windows 8 is secu- rity, which is the No. 1 concern of federal agencies. Here we find that new systems shipping with Windows 8 will benefit more than older ones being upgraded be- cause of two key new features, with the biggest surprise being the elimination of the system BIOS. The Basic Input/Output System was invented in 1976 and still acts as a bridge between hardware and most operating systems today. If you ever needed to hold down a function key during the boot pro- cess to type on that DOS-like screen in or- der to do things like changing your system clock, then you've been inside your BIOS. It works OK, but it's also a vulnerable part of the computing landscape and a favorite target of root kits, malware and modern viruses. SECURE BOOT Windows 8 will work with BIOS, but it's designed to function securely with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which should start replacing BIOS quite soon after Windows 8 ships. In fact, to be considered Windows 8 certified, systems will need to use UEFI instead of BIOS. The biggest security feature with UEFI is that it allows Windows 8 to reach out to the master boot record and check to ensure that everything is still in a pristine state, a process called Secure Boot. If any GCN OCTOBER 2012 • GCN.COM 13 WINDOWS 8'S PATH TO AGENCY NETWORKS Wholesale migrations aren't expected soon, but IT managers say there are several ways the new OS could start showing up. BY JOHN MOORE