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Advancement of Windows Kitting Automation: Introducing Windows Autopilot

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Introduction

Hello! I am Uemura from KINTO Technologies' Development Support Division.

As a corporate engineer, I am mainly responsible for mobile device management (MDM).

We recently held a "case study presentation & roundtable study session, specializing in the field of corporate IT" under the title "KINTO Technologies MeetUp! - 4 cases to share for information systems by information systems."

In this article, I will introduce the contents of the case study "Advancement of Windows Kitting Automation: Introducing Windows Autopilot" which was presented in our recent study session, along with supplementary information.

What is Windows Autopilot?

Windows Autopilot is a way to register Windows devices in Intune. By pre-registering the hardware hash (HW hash) of the device, it is automatically registered in Intune during the setup.

I would like to talk about how we introduced this Windows Autopilot into KINTO Technologies' environment to improve the efficiency of PC kitting.

How Windows Autopilot automates kitting

Firstly, I will explain the mechanism of kitting automation with Windows Autopilot.

  1. The vendor or administrator should register the HW hash of the PC in Intune in advance before kitting.

  2. Then, the user (or administrator) starts the PC and signs in. By pre-registering the HW hash, the PC will be automatically registered in Intune.

  3. By creating a dynamic group that includes the PC registered with Windows Autopilot, any PC registered in Intune will automatically enrolled to that dynamic group.

  4. By assigning the dynamic group shown in step 3 to each configuration profile and app deployment settings, device control and app deployment will be performed automatically.

As Windows Autopilot itself is responsible for the device registration function, it falls under step 1 and 2.

Dynamic groups should be utilized so that profile control and app deployment of registered devices can be done automatically at step 3 and 4.

In other words, it is possible to automate kitting by configuring not only Windows Autopilot registration settings but also device control settings and app deployment to run automatically.

Introducing Windows Autopilot

It took us about a month and a half to introduce Windows Autopilot, including research and verification.

In KINTO Technologies' environment, the HW hash registration of all PCs had already been completed, so only the following two things were done this time.

  1. Assigning the Autopilot profile, which is the first thing to be executed during kitting, to the HW hash that had already been registered.

  2. Replacing static groups for kitting that have been used for kitting with dynamic groups

Autopilot Profile Configuration

Assigning the Autopilot profile to the HW hash determines that the corresponding PC is registered in Intune by the Windows Autopilot method.

As for the contents of the profile, it is possible to set whether or not to skip the selection such as "Language Setting" and "Windows License Agreement" that are mainly selected on the PC setup screen.

Dynamic Group Configuration

Since Autopilot-registered devices have an Autopilot device attribute, set this attribute to a dynamic membership rule.

*For details, please refer to the following Microsoft site.
Create a device group for Windows Autopilot | Microsoft Learn

Then specify the dynamic group you created to the "Assign" in configuration profile and app deployment settings.

This makes it possible to automate the process from device registration to device control.

This completes the kitting automation with Windows Autopilot.

Results of Introduction

How effective has the introduction of Autopilot been?

As a quantitative result, we were able to reduce the work items by about 40% compared to before the introduction. On the other hand, we were not able to achieve that much efficiency in working hours due to the significant time required for installing apps and performing Windows Updates.

As a qualitative result, the automation and simplification of kitting process has made it less likely to cause human errors, such as work omissions.

Conclusion

Ideally, I would like to achieve so-called zero-touch kitting, but if asked whether it has been achieved with the introduction of Autopilot, manual work is still necessary.

However, I think that being able to automate a series of processes from device registration to device control has greatly improved the efficiency of PC kitting.

We will continue to incorporate new features in our ongoing efforts to further improve efficiency!

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