Let me answer this question immediately: NO – AutoPilot is not the cure for all mishaps in this world!
With that out of the way, let us dig into what AutoPilot is and equally important what it is not.
What is Windows AutoPilot?
According to Microsoft, “Windows AutoPilot is a collection of technologies used to set up and pre-configure new devices, getting them ready for productive use. In addition, you can use Windows AutoPilot to reset, repurpose and recover devices. This solution enables an IT department to achieve the above with little to no infrastructure to manage, with a process that’s easy and simple.”
The keyword in the above paragraph is process. This is important to keep in mind when continue to read below.
Windows AutoPilot is NOT:
• A deployment tool (!!!)
• Not a replacement for ConfigMgr
Windows AutoPilot IS:
• A process – not a product
• A way of getting a Windows 10 device under Modern Management
• A way of delivering a Windows 10 device to the end-user without imaging
Now that this is cleared up, let us look at what it means Windows AutoPilot being a process and where exactly Atea Global Services with our services plugs in.
In short, the process looks as follows:
- The hardware vendor (OEM) or the harvested device IDs from existing devices are send to Atea Global Services for further processing;
- Atea Global Services configures the Windows AutoPilot profiles;
- Atea Global Services uploads the device IDs to the Windows AutoPilot Deployment Service.
That’s it and thus it is also clear why we are talking about a process here and not an advanced technology solution!
The magic happens in the Windows AutoPilot Deployment Service/Cloud, which is handled by Microsoft. The hard work is getting a hold of the device IDs – either by having an OEM supplier providing them for new devices or by harvesting them from existing devices.
Microsoft is working hard with several OEMs like Lenovo, HP and Dell to automate the delivery of device IDs to partners like Atea and progress on this matter is expected during 2018. For Microsoft Surface devices, Atea is one of only three partners worldwide working with Microsoft – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/itpro/surface/windows-autopilot-for-surface.
What are the Windows AutoPilot requirements and what do you get?
The following are the requirements for Windows AutoPilot to work properly:
- Devices must be pre-installed with Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise or Education – version 1703 or later;
- Device must have access to the Internet when switched on for the first time;
- Network connectivity to cloud services used by Windows AutoPilot;
- Azure AD Premium P1 or P2;
- Users must be allowed to join devices into Azure AD;
- Microsoft Intune or other MDM services to manage devices;
- Device IDs – either provided by the OEM for new dives or harvested from existing devices.
The other two prerequisites needing to be in place Atea Global Services as a service provider will take care of:
- Registering devices to the organization based on provided device IDs;
- Company branding/profiles need to be configured.
With the above in place you will get the following:
- Skipping Work or Home usage selection (Automatic);
- Skipping OEM registration, OneDrive and Cortana (Automatic);
- Skipping privacy settings;
- Skipping EULA (starting with Windows 10 – version 1709);
- Preventing the account used to setup the device from getting local administrator permissions.
Additionally, Microsoft is working additional capabilities available during 2018 and going forward.
The purpose of this blog post has not been to in all technical details describe Windows AutoPilot, but we hope it has given you an idea of what Windows AutoPilot is and what not. Furthermore, we hope it shows you that Windows AutoPilot is primarily a process and not a product/deployment solution.
And yes, Atea Global Services does support the Windows AutoPilot process and technology – it is an integrated part of our DaaS and Client Operations services.
If you would like to dig into technical bits and pieces about Windows AutoPilot, Modern Management and Enterprise Mobility in general, we highly recommend visiting Per Larsen’ blog at https://osddeployment.dk/. Per is an industry recognized Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility.