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Windows 8 on ARM will lack certain manageability features

Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows 8 ARM versions won't support some of the business manageability features available in the 32-bit and 64-bit PC versions.

Windows on ARM.
Windows on ARM. Microsoft

Businesses looking to support Windows 8 ARM tablets may find a few features missing in action.

Ahead of today's launch of the beta dubbed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, Microsoft has revealed that certain features used to manage Windows-based devices won't be available for the ARM platform.

"ARM-based tablets running Windows 8 are ideal for workers who are constantly on the go and need a long-lasting battery, Microsoft said in its Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business document released today.

"ARM-based tablets use less power than 32-bit and 64-bit devices and workers can rely on the extended uptime of these devices. Although the ARM-based version of Windows does not include the same manageability features that are in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, businesses can use these power-saving devices in unmanaged environments."

Microsoft did not reveal which specific manageability features would be missing. The company told CNET that it had nothing further to share.

However, large enterprises running Windows typically rely on such features as Group Policy and Active Directory to manage their networked and domain-based computers.

Microsoft did offer a potential alternative to businesses in the form of a feature called Windows To Go.

Employees working remotely would be given a Windows To Go portable drive or USB stick with the same applications and environment used on the job. This would let them perform their regular work on the go without storing corporate data on a personal device.

"When a user boots their PC from the Windows To Go drive, it creates a corporate desktop experience so they can quickly start working," Microsoft explained. "If they have enterprise network access, employees can use a virtual private network (VPN) connection or DirectAccess to access corporate resources. If the enterprise network is available, Windows To Go will automatically be updated by using standard desktop management processes."

Of course, Windows ARM devices may not be the best choice for corporate workers in general.

As AllThingsD's Ina Fried points out, Windows on ARM won't support traditional desktop applications other than Microsoft Office, forcing users to rely solely on Metro-based apps to get their work done.

Updated 7:30 a.m. PT with response from Microsoft.