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Windows 8 at Stanford

Users and departments using Windows 8 should ensure that they are deploying Windows 8.1 Enterprise or Ultimate editions as required by University policy to protect data on the system, using BitLocker for whole disk encryption.


Windows 8 is available in four versions:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Professional
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows RT

The versions are differentiated by the features they provide. Windows RT and "Windows 8" are marketed to the home user, whereas Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise are marketed to the business user. Windows RT mobile devices run on the ARM processing platform and are not compatible with most existing Windows software.

Due to security concerns and incompatibility with our campus computing infrastructure, IT Services will support Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise since they meet the University requirement for support of BitLocker whole disk encryption.

System requirements

The minimum computer hardware requirements for running Windows 8, as recommended by Microsoft, are:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 2 GB RAM 
  • 20 GB available disk space
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • Metro style applications requires a minimum screen resolution of 1024x768 and 1366x768 for the snap feature
  • TPM 1.2 or later is requires for BitLocker support for use in the Stanford Whole Disk Encryption (SWDE) service

There may be additional requirements to use certain features. See Microsoft's Windows 8 System Requirements page for the official list of system requirements.

Window 8 Professional and Enterprise has very similar minimum hardware requirements as Windows Vista and Windows 7. While Windows Vista and Windows 7 certified computer should run Windows 8 Professional or Enterprise, we encourage you to run the Windows 8 Upgrade Assistant to confirm the computer meets the requirements. This utility analyzes your system and identifies possible compatibility problems with your hardware and software.

Note: You can do an in-place upgrade to Windows 8 Professional from all version of Windows 7 except Windows 7 Enterprise. You can do an in-place upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise from Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise. Contact your local IT support person for assistance.

Obtaining Windows 8

Windows 8.1 Enterprise is available for Stanford-owned computers through Stanford's campus agreement with Microsoft.  Check with your desktop support staff for more information.

Those who wish to purchase a copy for personal use only can do so at the Stanford Bookstore

Software compatibility

Essential Stanford Software (ESS)

  • Sophos: The latest version of Sophos, available through the ESS site, is compatible with Windows 8.
  • BigFix Client: The latest version of the BigFix client, available through the ESS site, is compatible with Windows 8.
  • Kerberos for Windows: Testing suggests KfW functions normally on Windows 8.
  • Stanford Desktop Tools:  The current release of Stanford Desktop Tools is compatible with Windows 8.
  • SecureCRT/SecureFX: The latest version, available through ESS,  is compatible with Windows 8.

Administrative Systems applications (e.g., Oracle Financials, PeopleSoft/Axess)

Internet Explorer 10 is the only version of IE that will run on Windows 8.  Please see Administrative Systems' Browser Recommendations to verify the Administrative Applications you need are compatible with IE 10 before moving to Windows 8.

Other applications

  • Zimbra Web Client: Most functionality will work with IE 10, but some of the icons do not display correctly.  Zimbra will add official support for IE 10 in an upcoming release due Fall 2012.  Until Stanford has upgraded to that release, Windows 8 users should use a fully supported version of Chrome or Firefox to access the Zimbra web client. 
  • Zimbra Connector for Outlook:  ZCO is not currently compatible with Windows 8.  An upcoming release (date TBD) will provide Windows 8 support.
  • Google Apps:  Access to Google Apps via Internet Explorer 10 is supported.  The Google Drive sync client does not yet support Windows 8.
  • Cisco VPN Client: The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client is compatible with Windows 8. See the VPN site for more information .
  • OpenAFS for Windows: OpenAFS 1.7.17 is compatible with Windows 8.  See the OpenAFS for Windows site for more information.
  • Stanford Whole Disk Encryption (SWDE): Windows 8 is supported in SWDE through BitLocker, the native whole disk encryption feature, available in Windows 8 Professional and Enterprise. More information is available on the Stanford Whole Disk Encryption site.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 are compatible with Windows 8.


Last modified March 12, 2015