Microsoft today announced its plans to modernize the way IT interacts with Windows devices: a new feature called Windows AutoPilot, as well as enhancements to Mobile Device Management and Windows Analytics. Just like the enterprise security features unveiled earlier this week, these device management improvements are coming as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which is slated to arrive later this year (likely in September).
Windows AutoPilot, a collection of technologies designed to simplify the setting up of new PCs, is the biggest chunk of the news. The goal is to let employees take a new device and configure it for “productive use” in “just a few clicks.” That means no more images to create and maintain, no infrastructure to manage, and no need for IT support. Additionally, the Microsoft Store for Business will also soon provide Windows AutoPilot capabilities so that organizations can enroll existing devices.
The Windows AutoPilot Deployment Program will meanwhile take things to the next level by letting Microsoft (when selling Surface devices), OEMs, distributors, and resellers to link new devices to an organization. The devices can also be joined to Azure Active Directory, enrolled in Intune mobile device management (MDM) services, upgraded to Windows 10 Enterprise, and have settings applied and business apps (including Office 365 ProPlus) installed. Windows AutoPilot Reset will let employees reset a PC to a known good state while maintaining MDM and AAD connection state.
Speaking of MDM, the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will let businesses deploy and configure Windows Defender Application Guard, security baseline settings (such as account and logon policies), and Windows Firewall rules. Tying this back to Windows AutoPilot, there will be options to show device provisioning progress (pictured above, so the employee can see what’s happening and when the device will be ready) and what an organization is managing (available in Settings on the device, for transparency purposes).
Microsoft also teased more upcoming management features without providing much detail. The Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will add MDM support for Active Directory domain joined devices, new kiosk configuration and management features, support for new multi-app scenarios, and simplified lockdown configurations.
Windows Analytics is getting new functionality called Device Health. As its name implies, Device Health helps identify issues that could affect an employee’s Windows 10 experience before the user even notices any problem, while also identifying steps needed to resolve those issues proactively. For businesses, this reduces help desk calls and support costs, saving time and money. Other proactive improvements include Upgrade Readiness, which puts low-risk apps upfront, along with insights for prioritizing app and driver testing.
The device deployment enhancements announcement today and the security improvements shown off earlier this week offer a deeper dive into Microsoft’s enterprise plans for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. They also show how much the company is willing to invest so businesses switch to Windows 10.