Set Your Deployment to Autopilot with Windows 10

Courtney Carey

How do you currently deploy Windows 10 on your Surface devices? Is it through the old way of maintaining custom images for drivers for every device and deploying it manually—taking up both time and money? There is now a better way. Windows Autopilot is a new cost-effective and time-saving way of deploying Windows images to your devices through your hardware partner, and Connection now supports Windows Autopilot on your Microsoft Surface devices. 

Automate with Cloud Services

Windows Autopilot was developed by Microsoft as a collaboration between multiple cloud services to make Windows 10 deployment easier and give more time back to the IT admins, partners, and end users. How does it work? Using Microsoft cloud services, the devices are registered into Autopilot and shipped out to the end users. During that time, either Connection or your IT admins can assign a user profile to the device. The user profile is the image that will be going on the device. For example, if all the executives need a certain application on their devices and the field team needs another, you’d set up two distinct user profiles for each group. Once the end user receives the device, they remove it from the packaging and boot it up for the first time. As soon as they connect to the Internet, the device gets pinged and downloads the user profile. When the profile is finished downloading, the device will have all of your corporate applications loaded, just as it would if it was manually imaged.

Other than saving time on imaging devices, there are other scenarios where Autopilot can become vital. I am personally fond of the following. Imagine you’re a road warrior who never goes into the office, and your device breaks down when you are out in the field. With the old mode of deployment, you’d have to get back to the office to get a replacement device, or IT would have to take the time to get a device, image it, and ship it to you. With Autopilot, the IT department can ship you a device overnight, you turn it on, and it’s ready to go with minimal downtime.  

Autopilot System Requirements

Interested in Autopilot? There are some basic requirements in order to deploy devices. For the device itself, you need Windows 10 version 1703 or higher (which comes with all the Surface devices), as well as Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise. You will also need Azure Active Directory and an MDM solution. We recommend you go with Intune as your MDM solution to get the best out of the Autopilot experience. Our Microsoft experts are always available to help you understand what type of licenses you require to have Azure Active Directory (automatic MDM enrollment and company branding features) and MDM functionality.

Work with a Trusted Partner

The value that Connection, as your cloud solution provider (CSP) of choice, can bring is that we can register your information directly into the Autopilot portal for you. As the IT admin, you can also do it yourself through your Microsoft Store for Business; however, you would need to turn on each device and run a script to get the hash ID (a ninety-six-character ID) from the device. Connection can do this on your behalf without ever opening the box. When you use the Autopilot service through Connection, we can also assist with Managed Services, like creating the user profiles and assigning them for you. If you haven’t already spoken to our team about CSP, and you would like to learn more about the CSP offerings at Connection, contact us today!

Courtney is a Partner Alliance Manager for Converged Data Center at Connection. She is a Microsoft Virtual Technology Solutions Professional and also enjoys running, flag football, and traveling in her spare time.