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    What is Windows Autopilot: A Step by Step Admin’s Guide

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    As businesses move towards a digitally equipped infrastructure that incorporates modern technologies like windows autopilot while maintaining user preference and ease of use to be a top priority, one of the most overlooked aspects is that of the cognitive IT load. IT teams today have more than one task at hand and have to simultaneously juggle multiple tasks- from device provisioning to software enablement, from security maintenance to device troubleshooting. 

    What is Windows Autopilot
    Windows Autopilot

    One of the most important tasks that IT teams have to undertake is the configuration of devices for security and usability with an MDM solution. IT teams have to spend several hours individually provisioning devices for work/education. And this is why a remote provisioning program to configure the devices for work without touch is crucial.

    According to gs StatCounter¹, Windows enjoys a substantial market desktop and laptop share of around 77%.  In this article, let us discuss the out of the box provisioning of Windows 10 devices with Windows Autopilot program supported by Scalefusion. 

    What is Windows Autopilot?

    Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies that can be used to pre-configure Windows 10 devices and set them up for productivity. It can be also used by the IT teams to recover, refurbish and reuse old, pre-provisioned Windows 10 devices. Windows autopilot enables IT teams to streamline device provisioning with minimum infrastructure and simplifies remote set device up. 

    Windows Autopilot makes use of the OEM-optimized OS version in new Windows 10 devices and eliminates the need for custom images and drivers for every model of device being used to make it ready for business deployment. 

    Once deployed, these Windows 10 devices can be managed using the Windows MDM solution

    windows autopilot

    How to use Windows Autopilot?

    For using Windows Autopilot it is crucial to have a supported version of Windows 10 semi-annual channel or Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019. You can check out the Windows Autopilot software requirements here². 

    To use Windows Autopilot with Scalefusion MDM, IT admins need to have Azure AD with Azure AD Premium Subscription.

    How to Setup Windows Autopilot?

    To set up Windows Autopilot to enable device provisioning out of the box with Scaleusion MDM, you first need to sign up on Scalefusion using Azure AD-credentials. 

    Let us have a look at the step-by-step instructions to configure Windows Autopilot in combination with Scalefusion Windows device management.

    Windows 10 Autopilot step-by-step Process:

    Step 1: 

    • Sign up on the Scalefusion dashboard using Office 365 credentials. 
    • If you have already signed up on Scalefusion using any other account credentials, you can easily achieve Microsoft Office 365 migration.

    Step 2: 

    • Complete the Azure AD setup on the Scalefusion dashboard. 
    • Sign in to your Azure portal, select a default configuration- this deployment profile will be applied to your devices when they are auto-enrolled. 
    • Choose device type- kiosk (company-owned) or BYOD (employee-owned) to configure OOB experience.
    • Enter your organization info and complete the set up by providing the necessary permissions. Set up Scalefusion as your MDM provider in Azure AD.

    Read more

    Step 3: 

    • Generate hardware IDs of the devices to be enrolled. These can be obtained from the vendor or can be extracted using a hardware script.
    • Upload the hardware IDs to Azure portal and assign users to the hardware IDs
    • Check the devices in the Autopilot section of the Scalefusion dashboard.

    You can now ship your new devices/factory reset devices to the users. On their first power-up after connecting to a network, the devices will be prompted to enroll the devices using their Azure AD credentials. On log-in, the device will be ready with a deployment profile and the admin can push any desired device profile on the devices to make it further ‘business-ready’!

    What can you do with Windows Autopilot?

    Windows is essentially most beneficial for IT teams who spend productive time customizing settings on each device after it is already set up. Windows Autopilot enables IT teams to:

    • Automatically join devices to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) or Active Directory (via Hybrid Azure AD Join). 
    • Auto-enroll Windows 10 devices into Scalefusion MDM 
    • Restrict the Administrator account creation
    • Create and auto-assign devices to configuration groups based on a device’s profile.
    • Customize out of the box content specific to the organization.

    Windows 10 Autopilot Provisioning – Use Cases

    1. In enterprise setup

    In enterprises, IT teams can leverage the Windows 10 autopilot program to provision devices out of the box without manual intervention. The devices can be provisioned over the air and can be directly shipped to the employees. On the first power-up, the devices will be enrolled into corporate usage policies, the device will be equipped with business apps and content.

    Learn more: How to Secure your Workstation with Kiosk Lockdown Software

    2. In customer-facing setup

    For retail and customer-facing devices, Windows 10 devices can be provisioned as digital signage or as single/multi-app kiosks and be directly shipped to diverse locations without IT teams having to individually provision the devices. 

    Read more: How to Lockdown Windows 10 Devices in Multi-App Kiosk Mode

    3. In education:

    In schools/educational institutions, devices to be used by students can be provisioned with educational content and apps, and the student can simply power up the device and start using it for learning. 

    Also read: Windows 10 for Education: Overview, Benefits, Challenges, Management

    Conclusion

    As IT teams handle multiple tasks critical to business continuity and security, Windows Autopilot helps to streamline and automate one major task of Windows device provisioning over the air. With Scaleusion and Windows Autopilot, IT teams can exercise enhanced control over Windows device operations for business and education.

    FAQ’s

    1. Why do we need Windows Autopilot?

    Windows Autopilot simplifies the deployment and management of Windows devices, streamlining the setup process for IT administrators. It ensures a seamless out-of-the-box experience for users, reducing manual intervention and saving time and resources typically associated with traditional device provisioning methods.

    2. What are the benefits of using Windows Autopilot?

    Windows Autopilot streamlines device deployment for IT administrators by enabling them to preconfigure settings, apps, and policies. It enhances user experience by simplifying the out-of-the-box setup process, reducing manual intervention, and ensuring devices are ready for productive use quickly and securely.

    3. How do I start Autopilot on Windows?

    To activate Autopilot on Windows, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program. Enroll in the program, select “Dev Channel,” and download Insider builds. Then, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options, and select “Start” under “Automatic (recommended).”

    4.How does Windows Autopilot work?

    Windows Autopilot is a cloud-based deployment service by Microsoft that simplifies the setup and configuration of Windows devices. It allows IT admins to preconfigure settings, apps, and policies, enabling users to easily set up their devices out of the box with minimal intervention.

    Sources:

    1. Gs statcounter.com
    2. microsoft.com

    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane
    Renuka Shahane is an avid reader who loves writing about technology. She is an engineering graduate with 10+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for web-based startups.

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