What's new in Windows client deployment
This article provides an overview of new solutions and online content related to deploying Windows client in your organization.
- For an all-up overview of new features in Windows 10, see What's new in Windows 10.
[Preview] Windows Autopilot diagnostics page
When you deploy Windows 11 with Autopilot, you can enable users to view additional information about the Autopilot provisioning process. A new Windows Autopilot diagnostics Page is available to provide IT admins and end users with a user-friendly view to troubleshoot Autopilot failures. For more information, see Windows Autopilot: What's new.
Check out the following new articles about Windows 11:
- Overview of Windows 11.
- Plan for Windows 11.
- Prepare for Windows 11.
- Windows ADK for Windows 11 is available.
- SetupDiag is included with all currently supported versions of Windows.
- New capabilities are available for Delivery Optimization and Windows Update for Business.
- VPN support is added to Windows Autopilot.
- An in-place upgrade wizard is available in Configuration Manager.
The Modern Desktop Deployment Center
The Modern Desktop Deployment Center has content to help you with large-scale deployment of supported version of Windows and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise.
Microsoft 365 is a new offering from Microsoft that combines:
- A currently supported version of Windows.
- Office 365.
- Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS).
Windows servicing and support
Windows PowerShell cmdlets for Delivery Optimization is improved:
- Get-DeliveryOptimizationStatus has the -PeerInfo option for a real-time peek behind the scenes on peer-to-peer activity (for example the peer IP Address, bytes received / sent).
- Get-DeliveryOptimizationLogAnalysis is a new cmdlet that provides a summary of the activity in your DO log (# of downloads, downloads from peers, overall peer efficiency). Use the -ListConnections option to for in-depth look at peer-to-peer connections.
- Enable-DeliveryOptimizationVerboseLogs is a new cmdlet that enables a greater level of logging detail to help in troubleshooting.
Other improvements in Delivery Optimization include:
- Enterprise network throttling is enhanced to optimize foreground vs. background throttling.
- Automatic cloud-based congestion detection is available for PCs with cloud service support.
- Improved peer efficiency for enterprises and educational institutions with complex networks is enabled with new policies. These policies now support Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise updates and Intune content.
The following Delivery Optimization policies are removed in the Windows 10, version 2004 release:
- Percentage of Maximum Download Bandwidth (DOPercentageMaxDownloadBandwidth).
- Reason: Replaced with separate policies for foreground and background.
- Max Upload Bandwidth (DOMaxUploadBandwidth).
- Reason: impacts uploads to internet peers only, which isn't used in enterprises.
- Absolute max throttle (DOMaxDownloadBandwidth).
- Reason: separated to foreground and background.
Windows Update for Business
Windows Update for Business enhancements in this release include:
Intune console updates: target version is now available allowing you to specify which supported version of Windows you want devices to move to. Additionally, this capability enables you to keep devices on their current version until they reach end of service. Check it out in Intune, also available as a Group Policy and Configuration Service Provider (CSP) policy.
Validation improvements: To ensure devices and end users stay productive and protected, Microsoft blocks devices from updating when there are known issues that would impact that device. Also, to better enable IT administrators to validate on the latest release, a new policy is available that enables admins to opt devices out of the built-in safeguard holds.
Automatic Restart Sign-on (ARSO): Windows automatically signs in as the user and locks their device in order to complete the update. This automatic sign-on ensures that when the user returns and unlocks the device, the update is completed.
Windows Update for Business: There's now a single, common start date for phased deployments (no more SAC-T designation). In addition, there's a new notification and reboot scheduling experience for end users, the ability to enforce update installation and reboot deadlines, and the ability to provide end user control over reboots for a specific time period.
Update rollback improvements: You can now automatically recover from startup failures by removing updates if the startup failure was introduced after the installation of recent driver or quality updates. When a device is unable to start up properly after the recent installation of Quality of driver updates, Windows will now automatically uninstall the updates to get the device back up and running normally.
Pause updates: The ability to pause updates for both feature and monthly updates is extended. This extension ability is for all currently supported editions of Windows, including Home. You can pause both feature and monthly updates for up to 35 days (seven days at a time, up to five times). Once the 35-day pause period is reached, the device needs to update before pausing again.
Improved update notifications: When there's an update requiring you to restart your device, a colored dot appears on the Power button in the Start menu and on the Windows icon in the taskbar.
Intelligent active hours: To further enhance active hours, users now can let Windows Update intelligently adjust active hours based on their device-specific usage patterns. You must enable the intelligent active hours feature for the system to predict device-specific usage patterns.
Improved update orchestration to improve system responsiveness: This feature improves system performance by intelligently coordinating Windows updates and Microsoft Store updates, so they occur when users are away from their devices to minimize disruptions.
Microsoft previously announced that we're extending support for Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education editions to 30 months from the version release date. These editions include all past versions and future versions that are targeted for release in September (versions ending in 09, ex: 1809). Future releases that are targeted for release in March (versions ending in 03, ex: 1903) will continue to be supported for 18 months from their release date. All releases of Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise will continue to be supported for 18 months (there's no change for these editions). These support policies are summarized in the following table:
Windows 10 Enterprise upgrade
Windows 10 version 1703 includes a Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 benefit to Microsoft customers with Enterprise Agreements (EA) or Microsoft Products & Services Agreements (MPSA). These customers can now subscribe users to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 and activate their subscriptions on up to five devices. Virtual machines can also be activated. For more information, see Windows 10 Enterprise Subscription Activation.
Windows 10 Enterprise E3 launched in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) channel on September 1, 2016. Previously, only organizations with a Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreement could deploy Windows 10 Enterprise to their users. With Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP, small and medium-sized organizations can more easily take advantage of Windows 10 Enterprise features.
For more information, see Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP.
Deployment solutions and tools
Windows Autopilot streamlines and automates the process of setting up and configuring new devices, with minimal interaction required from the end user. You can also use Windows Autopilot to reset, repurpose, and recover devices.
With the release of Windows 10, version 2004 you can configure Windows Autopilot user-driven Microsoft Entra hybrid join with VPN support.
If you configure the language settings in the Autopilot profile and the device is connected to Ethernet, all scenarios now skip the language, locale, and keyboard pages. In previous versions, these language settings were only supported with self-deploying profiles.
The following Windows Autopilot features are available in Windows 10, version 1903 and later:
- Windows Autopilot for pre-provisioned deployment is new in Windows 10, version 1903. Pre-provisioned deployment enables partners or IT staff to pre-provision devices so they're fully configured and business ready for your users.
- The Intune enrollment status page (ESP) now tracks Intune Management Extensions.
- Cortana voiceover and speech recognition during OOBE is disabled by default for all Windows 10 Pro Education, and Enterprise SKUs.
- Windows Autopilot is self-updating during OOBE. From Windows 10 onward, version 1903 Autopilot functional and critical updates begin downloading automatically during OOBE.
- Windows Autopilot sets the diagnostics data level to Full on Windows 10 version 1903 and later during OOBE.
Microsoft Configuration Manager
An in-place upgrade wizard is available in Configuration Manager. For more information, see Simplifying Windows 10 deployment with Configuration Manager.
Windows 10 Subscription Activation
Windows 10 Education support is added to Windows 10 Subscription Activation.
With Windows 10, version 1903, you can step up from Windows 10 Pro Education to the enterprise-grade edition for educational institutions - Windows 10 Education. For more information, see Windows 10 Subscription Activation.
SetupDiag is a command-line tool that can help diagnose why an update of Windows failed. SetupDiag works by searching Windows Setup log files. When log files are being searched, SetupDiag uses a set of rules to match known issues.
During the upgrade process, Windows Setup extracts all its sources files to the
%SystemDrive%\$Windows.~bt\Sources directory. SetupDiag.exe is also installed to this directory. If there's an issue with the upgrade, SetupDiag automatically runs to determine the cause of the failure. If the upgrade process proceeds normally, this directory is moved under
%SystemDrive%\Windows.Old for cleanup.
Upgrade Readiness helps you ensure that applications and drivers are ready for an upgrade of Windows. The solution provides up-to-date application and driver inventory, information about known issues, troubleshooting guidance, and per-device readiness and tracking details.
Input from the community heavily influenced the development of Upgrade Readiness and the development of new features is ongoing. To begin using Upgrade Readiness, add it to an existing Operation Management Suite (OMS) workspace or sign up for a new OMS workspace with the Upgrade Readiness solution enabled.
For more information about Upgrade Readiness, see the following articles:
Update Compliance helps you to keep supported Windows devices in your organization secure and up-to-date.
Update Compliance is a solution built using OMS Logs and Analytics that provides information about installation status of monthly quality and feature updates. Details are provided about the deployment progress of existing updates and the status of future updates. Information is also provided about devices that might need attention to resolve issues.
For more information about Update Compliance, see Monitor Windows Updates with Update Compliance.
Device Health is the newest Windows Analytics solution that complements the existing Upgrade Readiness and Update Compliance solutions by helping to identify devices crashes and the cause. Device drivers that are causing crashes are identified along with alternative drivers that might reduce the number of crashes. Windows Information Protection misconfigurations are also identified. For more information, see Monitor the health of devices with Device Health.
MBR2GPT.EXE converts a disk from Master Boot Record (MBR) to GUID Partition Table (GPT) partition style without modifying or deleting data on the disk. Previously, it was necessary to image, then wipe and reload a disk to change from MBR format to GPT.
There are many benefits to converting the partition style of a disk to GPT, including the use of larger disk partitions, added data reliability, and faster boot and shutdown speeds. The GPT format also enables you to use the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) which replaces the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) firmware interface. Security features of supported versions of Windows that require UEFI mode include: Secure Boot, Early Launch Anti-malware (ELAM) driver, Windows Trusted Boot, Measured Boot, Device Guard, Credential Guard, and BitLocker Network Unlock.
For more information, see MBR2GPT.EXE.
Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT)
MDT version 8456 supports Windows 10, version 2004 and earlier operating systems, including Windows Server 2019.
For the latest information about MDT, see the MDT release notes.
MDT doesn't support versions of Windows after Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019.
Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)
IT Pros can use the tools in the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) to deploy Windows.
Download the Windows ADK and Windows PE add-on for Windows 11 here.
For information about what's new in the ADK, see What's new in the Windows ADK.
Testing and validation guidance
Windows 10 deployment proof of concept (PoC)
The Windows 10 PoC guide enables you to test Windows 10 deployment in a virtual environment and become familiar with deployment tools such as MDT and Configuration Manager. The PoC guide provides step-by-step instructions for installing and using Hyper-V to create a virtual lab environment. The guide makes extensive use of Windows PowerShell to streamline each phase of the installation and setup.
For more information, see the following guides:
- Step by step guide: Configure a test lab to deploy Windows 10.
- Deploy Windows 10 in a test lab using Microsoft Deployment Toolkit.
- Deploy Windows 10 in a test lab using Microsoft Configuration Manager.
Resolve Windows 10 upgrade errors was published in October of 2016 and continues to be updated with new fixes. The article provides a detailed explanation of the Windows upgrade process and instructions on how to locate, interpret, and resolve specific errors that can be encountered during the upgrade process.