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Microsoft Windows Server 8 review: First Look

Microsoft has unveiled Windows Server 8 - but is there more to this upcoming server operating system than just the new Metro user interface? Mary Branscombe finds out in our sneak peek.

Search for files, apps and settings.

Search for files, apps and settings.

VPN-less remote DirectAccess isn't new, but instead of being an IPv6 option too complicated for anyone but the most expert network architects, it's now simple enough to set up with a wizard that also handles VPN configuration and connections between branch offices, data centres, public cloud services and just about anything else you need to send data to. It also opens up a management connection to remote PCs whenever they're online; no more waiting for users to connect to the corporate network to apply policies and updates. DirectAccess is an ideal complement to improved BranchCache, a hosted or peer-to-peer cache that speeds up file transfers for anything accessed by multiple users. This takes advantage of the new file deduplication feature.

Securing documents that ought to be confidential gets far easier with the new Dynamic Access Control. For example, it should be much easier to ensure that only users who are in the Active Directory finance group have access to files that belong to the finance department, or using regular expressions to identify documents that ought to be confidential and only letting the document owner access them (or automatically locking them with Rights Management Services). Admins will also be glad of the tool that lets a user request access to files and you can see why they can't open the file.

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