Microsoft has evidently decided to deploy a new strategy for talking about its Fall Creators Update. Instead of revealing all of its information in one go, we’re seeing data trickle out in blog posts and direct communication. The company unveiled a new service, dubbed Autopilot, which can deploy a full suite of productivity software from the cloud, rather than dealing with standard image installation tools.
Here’s how Microsoft describes its service. (It begins by noting that getting a new PC should be a “magical experience for an employee,” which makes me wonder if anyone at Microsoft has ever gotten a standard business system for anything, ever.)
Imagine being able to take a new device out of the box and with just a few clicks fully configuring it for productive use – no more images to create and maintain, no infrastructure to manage, and a simple process. Now imagine that any member of the organization can easily setup a new device without needing any IT assistance.
For most organizations, this represents a significant departure from how Windows 10 devices are deployed and managed today, but brings with it significant benefits, both from a process perspective and an economic one. We are announcing today Windows AutoPilot Deployment, a new cloud service that enables IT to customize the Windows 10 out of box setup experience using a cloud configuration, delivering a self-service deployment experience with new Windows 10 devices.
Windows AutoPilot Deployment works seamlessly with existing Azure Active Directory and Intune mobile device management (MDM) services, enabling a new PC to be easily transformed into a business-ready device: joined to Azure Active Directory, enrolled in Intune, transformed to Windows 10 Enterprise, settings applied, Office 365 apps and line-of-business apps installed.
OEM support for Autopilot will roll out later this year, with Surface systems leading the way. Microsoft is also adding additional device security measures, including the option to run Edge from within a virtualized sandbox while simultaneously saving data across sessions (making the entire affair rather more practical). The company will also offer a new Device Health option, allowing IT to scan which systems are having problems and which aren’t at a glance.
So far, I’ve got to say that the Fall Creators Update is shaping up as one of the most interesting updates Microsoft has pushed. Granted, many of these features are aimed at professionals and businesses (the ‘Creators’ branding seems tenuous), but overall some genuinely useful functionality is being added. It may not win the OS any fans — I don’t know anyone who picks an OS based on a personal love for its deployment software — but it won’t hurt Microsoft’s business markets, either.
Now read: Windows 10: The Best Hidden Features, Tips, and Tricks
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