Microsoft Windows 10 AutoPilot To Delight IT Admins With Zero-Touch PC Deployment

IT admins rejoice! Microsoft just announced Windows AutoPilot this week, which is new service promises that users will receive new Windows 10 PC’s without having to fiddle with reimaging and drivers. 

A Microsoft representative noted, “The Surface team is working with customers and partners to roll out the Windows AutoPilot Deployment program and expects to make it broadly available to customers later this year”.

microsoft surface pro 2
Image from: Vernon Chan, Wikimedia Commons

This service will reportedly offer a “zero-touch” set-up. When a device is ordered, a PC vendor will send a “device ID file”. This file is then uploaded by the purchasing organization’s IT department to the Windows AutoPilot service and a deployment profile is created and assigned. Once the device arrives, users need to simply turn the device on and sign-in with their Azure Active Directory password.

This service naturally includes its fair share of stipulations. Organizations will need to have Azure AD Premium P1 or P2 licensing as well as a mobile device management (MDM) service such as Microsoft Intune. Thankfully, most Azure AD Premium subscriptions automatically enroll customers into a MDM service. If users want to take advantage of the automatic upgrade through AutoPilot from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise, they will also need Windows 10 Enterprise E3 licensing.

This service is already available with Windows 10 version 1703 or the Creators Update. Windows AutoPilot will be available later this year to organizations that use Windows Surface devices. Microsoft hopes to add more to Windows AutoPilot this autumn through the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Devices will be able to be reset to a “business ready state” but still retain their Active Directory domain join and MDM enrollment states. It will also be possible to “pre-assign a new Windows 10 device to a specific user” and there will be a "self-service Active Directory domain join" feature.