Windows Autopilot

What Is Windows Autopilot and How to Set It Up

Windows Autopilot and Microsoft Intune simplify endpoint management for IT teams and offer a solution for device deployment. This post will explain the basics of Windows Autopilot, how it works with Intune, and guide you through the setup process.

What is Windows Autopilot?

Windows Autopilot sets up and configures new devices for use. It can reset, repurpose, and recover devices. IT departments can perform these tasks with minimal infrastructure and a simple process.

How Does Windows Autopilot Work With Microsoft Intune?

Combining Windows Autopilot with Intune streamlines device provisioning and management. This saves IT administrators time and effort setting up and maintaining Windows devices. It’s useful when users get new devices or need to reset existing ones. Here’s an overview of how Windows Autopilot and Intune work together:

1. Device Enrollment in Autopilot

To enroll a device in Autopilot, register it in Azure Active Directory. Next, add the device to the Autopilot deployment profile with the provisioning configuration settings.

2. Device Provisioning

An end user gets the new device and turns it on. The device connects to the internet and identifies itself to the Autopilot service. Autopilot uses the deployment profile and policies to set up the device according to the business’s needs.

3. Configuration with Intune

During Autopilot provisioning, the device enrolls in Intune. Intune applies profiles, policies, and applications to the device. This configures the device according to the organisation’s security and management policies.

4. Application Deployment

Intune deploys apps and settings to enrolled devices. Applications are installed silently in the background, ensuring necessary software is added without user participation.

5. Policy Enforcement and Updates

Intune manages the device by enforcing security policies. It applies updates to applications over the air. It ensures compliance with your business standards.

Pros and Cons of Using Windows Autopilot

Pros and Cons of Using Windows Autopilot

Pros

  1. Remote device setup. Windows Autopilot allows remote application of settings and app installations on a Windows PC with little to no user interaction. User devices don’t need to be on-site or on a corporate network.
  2. Integration within Microsoft ecosystem. Autopilot can integrate with other Microsoft solutions. It can automate domain joins to Microsoft Entra ID or Active Directory and device enrollments into MDM services like Microsoft Intune.

Cons

  1. Complex setup. Setting up Windows Autopilot is complicated and involves many prerequisites, including software, networking, licensing, and configuration. Configuring Microsoft 365 alone can be very challenging.
  2. Limited visibility. Windows Autopilot offers a limited view of the complex dependencies and configurations involved in deployment. Troubleshooting can be difficult if something goes wrong during the process.
  3. OEM bloatware. Windows Autopilot works with the default operating system on devices, which usually comes with preloaded OEM bloatware that can cause security and performance issues.

How to Setup Windows Autopilot?

Setting up Windows Autopilot involves several steps. Ensure you have the necessary prerequisites before you begin. Here’s a simple guide to setting up Autopilot:

1. Access Azure Active Desktop AD and Intune

Log in to the Azure portal at https://portal.azure.com/. Use an account with the required administrative privileges.

2. Configure Autopilot Deployment Profile

In the Azure portal, go to “Microsoft Endpoint Manager” > “Device enrollment” > “Windows enrollment” > “Deployment Profiles.”.

Create a new deployment profile. Specify settings like the out-of-box experience, user account type, and enrollment status page options.

3. Make a Preparation of Devices

Ensure the devices you enrol are registered in Azure AD. Confirm they are running a supported version of Windows.

4. Assign the Autopilot Deployment Profile

Assign the Autopilot deployment profile to devices or groups in the Azure portal.

5. Deploy Intune Configuration Profiles

In the Endpoint Manager, go to “Devices” > “Configuration profiles.” Create and deploy policies for settings like security configs, Wi-Fi profiles, and other device settings.

6. Implement Intune Configuration Profiles

Use Intune to deploy applications to devices enrolled in Autopilot. Deploy apps as required or available and tailor installation behaviour.

7. Test and Troubleshoot the Autopilot Deployment

Test the autopilot deployment on some devices. Monitor the deployment status in Endpoint Manager.

FAQs

Why do I need Windows Autopilot?

Windows Autopilot makes it easy to deploy and configure new devices for your business. It saves time and reduces the workload of your IT team. Devices can be set up and customized with minimal user interaction. This is perfect for remote workers and new device rollouts. It ensures consistency and compliance with your organization’s standards.

What’s the difference between Intune and Autopilot?

Intune is a cloud service from Microsoft that helps manage and secure devices and applications. It allows IT administrators to control mobile devices, desktops, and apps using policies and profiles. Autopilot is a tool that automates the setup and configuration of new Windows devices. Intune manages the device throughout its lifecycle, while Autopilot handles initial provisioning and deployment. Together, they provide a seamless way to deploy, configure, and manage devices.

Can I use Windows Autopilot without Intune?

Windows Autopilot operates separately from the organisation’s Modern Device Management tool. It does not need Microsoft Intune.

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