Microsoft sets a date for Windows 10 Enterprise availability

Don't you wish you already have Cortana to remind you when to upgrade?

Even though consumers are able to upgrade to Windows 10 Home and Pro editions on Wednesday, business customers will still have to wait a little while longer for Windows 10 Enterprise.

Fortunately, the wait ends this weekend, as the Enterprise edition of Microsoft's new operating system will be available to Software Assurance customers to download starting Saturday, August 1. Microsoft did not specify the exact time that the update will appear on its servers.

The Enterprise advantage

Windows 10 Enterprise delivers more flexibility for IT management. Users on the consumer versions of Windows 10 are forced to download all the software patches, security fixes and latest OS features as Microsoft makes them available through Windows Update.

This is a strategy that Microsoft is using to promote Windows as a service to give users a consistent user experience with the newest features as long as they're connected to the internet, and it's not unlike what Google is doing with Chrome OS.

However, to ensure software compatibility and business continuity, Microsoft will allow IT administrators greater flexibility in delaying and postponing non-critical updates. The Enterprise edition will also not come with the new Microsoft Edge browser, opting to stick to the familiar Internet Explorer of yore.

IT administrators can start testing Windows 10 Enterprise now with a 90-day evaluation.

"To support customer piloting and deployment, the latest service packs for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager include support for Windows 10 with existing Configuration Manager features, allowing customers to adopt Windows 10 while using their existing management infrastructure," said Jim Alkove, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, in a statement.

A Technical Preview 2 of the System Center Configuration Manager will be available later this year in the fourth quarter.

Features for the enterprise

Microsoft is also leveraging other assets with Windows 10 for enterprise customers, including the ability to join Azure Active Directory, a unified Mobile Device Management platform and streamlined in-place upgrades that will replace the "wipe and replace" deployments of the past.

For business end-users, Microsoft is promoting benefits like Continuum for 2-in-1 hybrid laptop owners, natural language interactions with inking and Cortana for voice input and a familiar experience with a new Start menu.