You can now deploy the Windows 11 commercial preview: Here’s how

Upgrading from Home windows 10 to Home windows 11 works like a Home windows 10 function replace, however there’s extra to plan for. Right here is all you could know to handle it.


Picture: Microsoft

Though it will not be transport till Oct. 5, Microsoft has already launched the industrial preview of Home windows 11. You may additionally see this referred to as the “industrial prelease second,” and it means Microsoft believes the brand new OS is secure sufficient for enterprises to not solely check however even begin deploying to a small variety of customers (Microsoft suggests 1% of your group), with free assist from Microsoft even when you do not have Software program Assurance. 

SEE: The way forward for work: Instruments and techniques for the digital office (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Because it’s nonetheless a preview, that is obtainable by way of the Home windows Insider and Home windows Replace for Enterprise channels, in addition to by way of Home windows Server Replace Providers (WSUS), Azure Market for cloud VMs and as an ISO obtain you possibly can distribute together with your standard administration instruments. If you wish to use Home windows 11 in Home windows 365, that might be obtainable in preview when Home windows 11 ships; it will not be totally supported till spring 2022.

Deploying the ultimate launch might be just like deploying the industrial preview. In some ways, upgrading to Home windows 11 on PCs which have supported {hardware} (or deploying it on new units if you could do {hardware} upgrades) might be like putting in a brand new Home windows 10 function pack. 

You’ll want to be working a supported model of Home windows 10, presently 1909 or later, and to have utilized any essential cumulative updates. If not, improve these units to no less than 1909 and ideally 21H1 first. You may additionally have to migrate LTSB/LTSC installations if you wish to improve these units now; the following Home windows LTSC might be primarily based on Home windows 10 21H2, however the LTSC launch after that might be primarily based on Home windows 11.

Packs and swaps

As you’d count on, you should utilize the identical instruments to handle Home windows 11 PCs and OS updates as you do Home windows 10, as a result of it is doubtless most enterprises might be managing Home windows 10 and 11 PCs aspect by aspect for the following three to 5 years as they purchase new units and retire previous PCs. You’ll be able to nonetheless do issues like customizing the Out of Field Expertise that customers see the primary time they activate their PC.

However for managing Home windows 11 upgrades, it is useful to grasp the distinction between “enablement packs” and what Microsoft refers to as an “OS swap.” 

Common Patch Tuesday updates embody safety patches and high quality updates with fixes, however they might additionally embody additional code to organize PCs for the following function replace: They obtain and set up new options however these options aren’t obtainable in Home windows. A function replace that is delivered as an enablement bundle installs in a short time (the reboot ought to take about 5 minutes) as a result of it is actually simply setting the registry keys to activate options which were put in alongside common Home windows updates and altering the model variety of Home windows. Microsoft says that additionally means the identical app compatibility because the earlier model as a result of it has the identical core OS. 

SEE: Easy methods to set up Home windows 11 on a Mac (TechRepublic) 

Home windows 10 1909 was a function replace delivered as an enablement bundle to Home windows 10 1903. Enablement packages solely work with variations of Home windows that share the identical core OS, so that you could not use that bundle to improve Home windows 10 1809 to 1903. However Home windows 10 2004 was a “OS swap”; a complete new model of the working system that was downloaded and put in on prime of 1909. Home windows 10 20H2 and 21H1 have been additionally delivered as enablement packages and share the identical core OS as 2004, however with additional options added. Meaning in case you nonetheless have a PC working 2004, you possibly can take it straight to 21H1 with the enablement bundle reasonably than needing to improve it twice.

Home windows 11 might be what Microsoft calls a brand new “OS ground,” and will probably be delivered as an OS swap, not an enablement bundle. OS swaps take longer to put in than enablement packages, however a lot of the improve might be completed on-line whereas customers are engaged on their PCs, and Microsoft claims it is going to appear like a sooner in-place improve than earlier OS swap releases.

Home windows 11 administration instruments

Should you use Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Supervisor, you will want model 2107 (or Technical Preview 2106 or later) to work with Home windows 11, and the Evaluation and Deployment Equipment for Home windows 11. In Configuration Supervisor, use the construct quantity (22000 or larger) to create a tool assortment for Home windows 11 PCs; you could wish to have this run day by day to replace the listing of which PCs have efficiently upgraded.The Azure Replace Compliance service might add extra experiences masking Home windows 11 readiness and the Endpoint Analytics software in each Intune and Configuration Supervisor contains {hardware} assessments for Home windows 11. 

It’s also possible to use the Desktop Analytics service for Configuration supervisor to do a listing or use your current administration instruments to assemble particulars to see which PCs you can set up Home windows 11 on. Generate experiences of which PCs have older variations of Home windows 10, lower than 64GB of disk house free or lower than 4GB of RAM (they’re going to want upgrading in the event that they meet the remainder of the {hardware} necessities). 

With the brand new system necessities for Home windows 11, you could have to make some configuration modifications to current units. If TPM 2.0 is not enabled within the firmware you will want to show it on. If PCs have been working with BIOS emulation (which can have been turned on to permit working a 32-bit OS on 64-bit {hardware}), you could transfer to UEFI, which implies changing the system disk from Grasp Boot Document to GPT partitions from inside Home windows or by way of Configuration Supervisor after which reconfiguring the firmware for UEFI. 

You must be capable of make these modifications with no need to scrub set up Home windows, however you will have to plan for and check the method prematurely. And if the explanation a PC has BIOS emulation is that it is working a 32-bit model of Home windows 10, you will have to do a clear set up anyway to maneuver it to a 64-bit model (Home windows 11 is 64-bit solely). You may additionally want to search out which PCs do not have Safe Boot enabled so you possibly can flip that on. 

SEE: Home windows evolves: Home windows 11, and the way forward for Home windows 10 (TechRepublic) 

Should you use rings to handle Home windows Replace for Enterprise, you possibly can select which rings will improve to Home windows 11 the identical method you’ll for brand new Home windows 10 releases; the default might be to remain on Home windows 10.

Should you use Intune or co-management in Microsoft Endpoint Supervisor, the function replace deployment possibility works with the brand new Home windows Replace for Enterprise deployment service to allow you to choose which model of Home windows you need PCs to remain on or improve to, together with Home windows 11.

It’ll additionally management which units are supplied Home windows 11 upgrades, primarily based on their telemetry. If a PC would not meet the system necessities or if it does, however that mannequin or particular {hardware} mixture is topic to what Microsoft calls a safeguard maintain as a result of there is a recognized compatibility concern, it will not waste time and bandwidth downloading an improve that may’t be put in. 

You can see which units aren’t eligible and why they are not being supplied Home windows 11 within the Configuration Supervisor replace compliance report and in Endpoint Analytics. Microsoft will even present scripts to assemble the identical info in case you use different administration instruments.

There is a group coverage (and a configuration service supplier setting in case you’re utilizing Intune or one other MDM software) to disable a safeguard maintain for a particular system in case you’re an IT administrator needing to check Home windows 11 on a tool that is not being supplied it—maybe to substantiate to a enterprise consumer that they can not get Home windows 11 but as a result of they actually will see issues on their system. That is not a solution to get across the {hardware} necessities although, and it could be extra helpful to make use of the Check Base service or perhaps a VM than to attempt to run Home windows 11 on unsuitable {hardware}.

Should you flip off a safeguard maintain to put in Home windows 11 after which wish to return to Home windows 10 (or when you have customers sad on the consumer interface modifications who wish to revert), Intune and Configuration Supervisor will can help you roll again the Home windows 11 improve as a result of, once more, it is like some other Home windows function replace.

It is extra work however you possibly can handle focusing on with group coverage, utilizing the goal launch product and goal model insurance policies underneath the Home windows Replace node. Should you use WSUS (Home windows Server Replace Service), you will want so as to add and sync the Home windows 11 product class. The Home windows 11 GPO settings have been redesigned (for instance to make clearer which apply to Home windows Replace and which solely to WSUS) however the registry keys they set are the identical. 

For organizations nonetheless utilizing group coverage although, Home windows 11 is an efficient alternative to maneuver to extra trendy system administration choices. The Intune Group Coverage Analytics software can take a look at your group insurance policies and inform you which you’ll implement in MDM utilizing CSPs. It will probably even convert these insurance policies to work with Intune, but it surely’s value taking the time to analyse their affect with Endpoint Analytics and ensure they’re nonetheless helpful reasonably than simply replicating previous insurance policies that would considerably decelerate Home windows startup instances.

And if you wish to plan and check your Home windows 11 deployment technique utilizing instruments like Configuration Supervisor and Autopilot and you do not have already got a check lab, Microsoft will even be updating the Home windows deployment lab equipment to cowl Home windows 11. 

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