Consumers have been playing around with the new features of Windows 8.1 for weeks now. But, finally big business can start the migration to Windows, or at least that's what Microsoft hopes, as the first major service pack arrives.

The Rule of Windows

In the past, the advice for business was only upgrade to the new version of Windows once the first service pack or major update arrived. The preview for that update is here now with a big wave off on the Windows blog. However, with Windows 8 being such a polarizing experience, along with the Windows RT schism, will business be in the mood to migrate? 

Tempting enterprises are many enterprise-friendly new features and major updates like the AppLocker, an updated PowerShell, side-loading, virtual desktops infrastructure, enterprise-wide Start screen control and remote data removal, plus much more for the IT departments across many enterprises to like. 

The preview is available for download today on TechNet with updated deployment tools like pre-release versions of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager R2 and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013, which are also available for download.

The Parting of the Ways

However, with many enterprises still happily attached or recently upgraded to Windows 7, it is more likely the laggards clinging onto Windows XP, struggling with older browsers and legacy apps, who will be the first to move.

Learning Opportunities

These businesses (if you add them up across the world) might also be looking to upgrade their hardware, which could provide some welcome news for the beleaguered PC vendors. Still, there is a feeling that the days of excitement around a big Windows upgrade are consigned to history with the immediate pain of upgrading and the hassle of mitigating the Windows 8 interface that is putting users and enterprises off. 

All of which leaves Microsoft with all the work to do in encouraging upgrades with more competitive pricing deals, improved access to its other major apps like Office and SharePoint, plus the need to fix the mess that is Windows RT, with those cut-price Surface tablets likely being snapped up by confused users.

And, if you're worried about being forced to upgrade again soon, with Microsoft's new faster-paced roadmap, then Windows 8.1 support is due to end in 2023, which should give you plenty of time to think ahead. Does this update make you more likely to use Windows 8 in the workplace? Or, has all the negative impressions, left you looking for other solutions.