Office 365 Mobile MDM – Modern Device Management with Microsoft 365 Business Premium–Part 1
Endpoint Manager – Modern Device Management with Microsoft 365 Business Premium – Part 4
So far the discussions in this series has focused largely around security and configuration. However, modern device management also brings with it a new way to deploy devices and applications. It provides the ability to do this in a completely hands off approach. That means, that it is now possible to purchase the device, deploy the device, manage and maintain the devices and retire that device without every having to physically touch the device.
A great example of this is Windows Autopilot. This is a services, surfaced through the Endpoint Manager console, that allows you to set deployment policies for device initial set up, automatically from the cloud. The end user is largely shielded from the initial Windows OEM on boarding experience and are typically only required to provide their credentials to configure the device.
Initially, Windows Autopilot was designed as a service largely available with the purchase of a new device. However, importantly, it is now something that can be, and should be, applied to all Windows 10 devices in your environment going forward.
The first requirement to take advantage of Windows Autopilot is that the user requires a license that supports it. The good news is that Microsoft 365 Business Premium includes a license for Windows Autopilot.
Next, unique information about the devices needs to be obtained and uploaded into the Endpoint Manager console. If the devices is a new purchase, this will be available from the distributor. However, if the device already exists then it will need to be ‘harvested’ using a simply PowerShell script. You can read more about this here:
The script that you use is here:
and the commands are:
Install-Script -Name Get-WindowsAutoPilotInfo
Get-WindowsAutoPilotInfo.ps1 -OutputFile AutoPilotHWID.csv
just make sure you run PowerShell as an administrator so the Autopilot module can be installed.
When you run this script it will create a CSV output file that looks like:
Basically the file contains the device serial number, Windows product id and a hardware hash. In essence, file allows that machine to be uniquely identified.
The next step in the process is to upload the machine CSV file into the Endpoint Manager console. To do this, navigate to Devices, then Enroll devices as shown above.
You’ll then need to select Windows enrollment and Devices as shown above.
You’ll then need to select the Import button from the menu at the top. You’ll then see a dialog for where you can upload the machine CSV file as shown above.
When you upload the file will be checked for integrity.
You will the result as shown above. You can also have multiple devices in this CSV file and that number will also be reflected here.
When ready, select the Import button.
The import process will take a few minutes per device to digest but after that you should see the machine you imported as shown above.
What will also happen now is that Endpoint Manager will look for a match between the devices you imported and any machine that may already be enrolled in the environment. This is why it is important to all any existing Windows 10 machine here, even if they didn’t have Autopilot applied to them initially.
You’ll also note that you can assign a user to the device, as shown above. Doing so will mean that upon completing Autopilot it will be ready for that user, without the need for them having to log in during the Autopilot process. This allows device enrolment WITHOUT the need for a user on the device!
Now that Endpoint Manager can recognise the devices as they boot up, the next step is to set the process through which these devices will run during that initial boot phase. This is set via Deployment Policies as shown above, in the Windows Autopilot Deployment Program area of Enroll devices in Endpoint Manager..
Here, select the option to Create profile, as shown above
Give the new policy a name and generally set the Convert all targeted devices to Autopilot as Yes.
The next stage is where you set the the Out Of the Box Experience (OOBE) for the user. For example, you can hide the Microsoft Software License Terms, Privacy settings, etc. Generally here, you want to minimise what the user is presented with as the machine boots.
You then assign the policy as you would any other in Endpoint Manager and complete the process.
The policy should now be displayed in the list of deployment profiles. You can edit the existing profile or create new ones if you wish.
Now that Endpoint Manager can identify devices as they boot and apply a deployment profile to them as well, you can target these devices for an Autopilot Reset as shown above.
To do this, simply navigate to the device in Endpoint Manager, select the ellipse (three dots) in the top right, and from the menu that appears select Autopilot reset.
The device will receive a warning as shown above, indicating the process will start in 45 minutes. If however, the machine is rebooted prior to this, the Autopilot process will commence.
When the Autopilot process does commence, the device will re-initialise Windows to being ‘Out Of the Box’. If a user has been assigned to that device, it will used to join to Azure AD and enrol in Endpoint manager automatically, without user interaction. When complete, the device will be ready for the user to access the new clean environment.
In summary then, Windows Autopilot is part of Endpoint Manager and allows you to provide an ‘Out Of the Box Experience’ (OOBE) for users and automatically enrol the device in your environment. You can do this with new devices shipped to the user directly from a distributor and you can also incorporate any existing Windows 10 device in your environment by harvesting the unique device information and then uploading that into the Endpoint Manager console.
Once a machine appears under Autopilot in the Endpoint Manager console, it means you can fully manage and redeploy that device if you need to, without ever having to touch that machine. That is what modern device management is all about!