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Windows Autopilot is a collection of technologies used to set up and pre-configure new Windows 10 devices, getting them ready for productive use. You can also use Windows Autopilot to reset, repurpose and recover existing Windows 10 devices that are enrolled in Intune. This solution enables an IT department to achieve the above tasks with little to no infrastructure to manage, using a process that's easy and simple.
When initially deploying new Windows devices, Windows Autopilot uses the OEM-optimized version of Windows 10 that is pre-installed on the device, saving organisations the effort of having to maintain custom images and drivers for every model of device being used. Instead of re-imaging the device, your existing Windows 10 installation can be transformed into a “business-ready” state, applying settings and policies, installing apps, and even changing the edition of Windows 10 being used (e.g. from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise) to support advanced features.
Once deployed, Windows 10 devices can be managed by tools such as Microsoft Intune, Windows Update for Business, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and other similar tools. Windows Autopilot can also be used to re-purpose a device by leveraging Windows Autopilot Reset to quickly prepare a device for a new user, or in break/fix scenarios to enable a device to quickly be brought back to a business-ready state.
Windows Autopilot is designed to simplify all parts of the life cycle of Windows devices, for both IT and end users, from initial deployment through the eventual end of life. Leveraging cloud-based services, it can reduce the overall costs for deploying, managing, and retiring devices by reducing the amount of time that IT needs to spend on these processes and the amount of infrastructure that they need to maintain, while ensuring ease of use for all types of end users.
Windows Autopilot depends on specific capabilities available in Windows 10 and Azure Active Directory. It also requires an MDM service such as Microsoft Intune. Whilst Intune is not necessary, the integration between Intune and Azure Active Directory provides are more seamless configuration and roll out process.
Before deploying a device using Windows Autopilot, the device must be registered with the Windows Autopilot deployment service. Ideally, this would be performed by the OEM, reseller, or distributor from which the devices were purchased, but this can also be done by the organisation by collecting the hardware identity and uploading it manually.
As a supported version of Windows 10 is required, customers should consider enabling Windows Subscription Activation to automatically step up devices from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise. Customers will need to be aware of networking requirements so that configurations, policies and applications can be seamlessly pushed out to devices.
Traditionally, IT admins spend a lot of time building and customising images that will later be deployed to devices. These devices are then purchased from OEM vendors, shipped to corporate offices, updated with the customised image and then shipped out to end-users. Windows Autopilot introduces a new approach.
From the user’s perspective, it only takes a few simple operations to make their device ready to use.
From the IT admin’s perspective, the only interaction required from the end user is to connect to a network and to verify their credentials. Everything beyond that is automated.
Windows Autopilot enables IT admins to: