Research Hub > How Windows Autopilot Can Streamline New Device Deployments

February 15, 2024

4 min

How Windows Autopilot Can Streamline New Device Deployments

By automating setup and configuration tasks, this Microsoft tool can deliver a better experience for both IT teams and users.

I’m always excited when I get new technology to use. It’s fun to see what capabilities and features a new laptop or tablet has. But not everyone feels this way. When they receive a new work computer, many users are hesitant to pull it out of the box and get started because they know that before they can be productive and start exploring new features, they’ll have to get through hours of setup and configuration, making sure all the necessary software is downloaded and the security settings are correct.

What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if these devices were ready to use right out of the box? That’s what Windows Autopilot can do. Autopilot is a Microsoft technology that assists IT teams in deploying client devices by enabling them to be pre-configured over a wireless cloud connection, making them ready for immediate use.

For organizations that use it effectively (and this is an area where CDW can help), Windows Autopilot can greatly improve the experience of a device deployment for both IT staff and users. IT teams will appreciate how Autopilot handles a lot of the heavy lifting of getting a device provisioned and removes the need for on-premises infrastructure to accomplish this. It also creates a seamless, streamlined experience for end users so they can be up and running in minutes.

How Windows Autopilot Works

Users need specific applications on their devices, depending on their roles. Some might need general productivity software such as Microsoft Office, while others need specialized tools for specific job tasks. These devices also must be configured to meet an organization’s requirements for security and other considerations, such as connecting to an enterprise network.

Autopilot handles all of this without requiring users or IT staff to complete repetitive tasks. It does this with a series of automations that make the process so much easier for IT teams. It uses application settings in a user profile that is managed by Microsoft Intune (a cloud-based mobile device management solution), and it pushes those down to the device.

Generally, an IT staff member or a third-party service provider will initiate the kickoff with Autopilot, which connects with Intune to learn exactly what needs to be done to set up a specific device. It pushes those settings and applications down to the device to make it ready to use right out of the box. When the device arrives, the user can get started and be productive immediately.

How IT Teams Can Best Use Windows Autopilot

IT teams can take advantage of Autopilot’s features in a variety of ways. It enables IT staff to set up user profiles that allow them to push down applications and settings to users who fit those profiles. This lets the organization provide different capabilities and controls to different users. Autopilot can also allow some users to use a device while it is pushing down applications, or it can lock down the device so users have to wait until all apps — including security software — are installed.

IT teams know that there's a lot of upfront work in getting devices ready for end users — setting them up and making sure the environment is able to deploy features that are specific to certain users. The more pre-configuring Autopilot does on the front end, the more likely the IT team will be able to deliver a zero-touch experience for the end user.

A solution partner can help organizations optimize their use of Windows Autopilot to improve the experience for both users and IT teams. CDW’s Configuration Services can help an organization scale its Autopilot initiative to meet specific needs.  For example, an organization looking to deploy a new fleet of laptops to remote users can have them enrolled in Autopilot, pre-provisioned by CDW, and then shipped directly to users. This initial setup can push down about 90 percent of the software users need automatically before they receive the laptop.

Ultimately, these services save organizations the cost of shipping devices twice — first to the IT team and then to individual users — while getting users up to speed quickly and reducing the burden on IT staff.

Story by Scott Erickson, who has been with CDW for 20 years and is a Practice Lead for configuration services.


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Scott Erickson

CDW Expert
Scott Erickson has been with CDW for 20 years and is a Practice Lead for configuration services.