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Microsoft enhances Windows Autopilot

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019

Microsoft enhances Windows Autopilot

Microsoft has introduced new capabilities to its Windows Autopilot deployment automation solution, designed to enable new devices to be ready for productive use within minutes.

The new capabilities include a process called white glove that enables IT to provision up-to-date applications, policies and settings before the device is delivered to the end user, without requiring custom imaging.

Using a wired network connection, the device can be pre-provisioned and then resealed to ensure that when it is next turned on it loads a pre-programmed autopilot set-up experience that IT has personalised for the individual organisation.

White glove requires Windows 10 version 1903 — the most recent update introduced earlier this month — and devices must support TPM 2.0 or higher.

Other capabilities include a preview mode for Windows Autopilot’s self-deploying mode; an enhancement to the Enrollment Status Page that can track Windows 32 apps being installed by Microsoft Intune management extensions; and an internal enhancement that will allow Microsoft to update Windows Autopilot through Windows Update, without waiting for a new Windows release.

The newest version of Windows Autopilot also includes several features that have now been taken out of preview and into final release, Microsoft Principal Program Manager Michael Niehaus said in a blog post.

“In Windows 10, version 1809, we introduced Windows Autopilot user-driven mode for Hybrid Azure AD Join, in which devices are deployed into Active Directory, where they can continue to leverage capabilities like Group Policy while also being connected to Azure AD for single sign-on to Azure AD-based services such as Microsoft Intune, OneDrive for Business, and Office 365. We are pleased to announce that, based on customer feedback and deployment activity, this scenario is no longer in preview,” he said.

“The Enrollment Status Page, introduced with Windows 10, version 1803, is also no longer in preview. With the addition of Office 365 ProPlus tracking with Windows 10, version 1809 and Win32 app tracking with Windows 10, version 1903, we believe the Enrollment Status Page should be enabled for all Windows Autopilot deployments, to ensure that devices are ready for productive use before users can access the Start menu.”

But Windows Autopilot self-deploying mode will remain in preview based on customer feedback related to issues around Trusted Program Module (TPM) attestation.

Another planned addition to Windows Autopilot will involve enhancements to the existing device functionality that will allow devices running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 to be migrated to Hybrid Azure Active Directory in addition to Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory, Niehaus said.

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