Sometimes quality really is better than quantity. Remove the duplicates and Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 add a mere 45 new Group Policy Administrative Template settings, plus seven more for Internet Explorer 11. These numbers compare with more than 350 new settings found in the last Microsoft OS releases.
While Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 offered more configuration options, the fewer choices in new Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 are perhaps more widely in demand.
Take for example the eight new settings in User Configuration | Start Menu and Taskbar. These intend to deliver the Start Menu control many of you need to overcome concerns with the look and feel of Windows 8:
Start screen layout
List desktop apps first in the Apps view
Search just apps from the Apps view
Go to the desktop instead of Start when signing in or when all the apps on a screen are closed
Prevent users from uninstalling applications from Start
Show the Apps view automatically when the user goes to Start
Show Start on the display the user is using when they press the Windows logo key
Pin Apps to Start when installed
The setting "Start screen layout" is particularly compelling. This lets you define and enforce a standard Windows 8.1 Start screen. That standard is enforced, meaning you prevent users from changing the configuration once it's set.