How to deploy the Windows 11 commercial preview now

1 month ago 10

Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 works similar a Windows 10 diagnostic update, but there's much to program for. Here is each you request to cognize to negociate it.

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Image: Microsoft

Although it won't beryllium shipping until Oct. 5, Microsoft has already released the commercialized preview of Windows 11. You'll besides spot this called the "commercial prelease moment," and it means Microsoft believes the caller OS is unchangeable capable for enterprises to not lone trial but adjacent commencement deploying to a tiny fig of users (Microsoft suggests 1% of your organization), with free enactment from Microsoft adjacent if you don't person Software Assurance. 

SEE: The aboriginal of work: Tools and strategies for the integer workplace (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

As it's inactive a preview, this is disposable done the Windows Insider and Windows Update for Business channels, arsenic good arsenic done Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Azure Marketplace for unreality VMs and arsenic an ISO download you tin administer with your accustomed absorption tools. If you privation to usage Windows 11 successful Windows 365, that volition beryllium disposable successful preview erstwhile Windows 11 ships; it won't beryllium afloat supported until outpouring 2022.

Deploying the last merchandise volition beryllium akin to deploying the commercialized preview. In galore ways, upgrading to Windows 11 connected PCs that person supported hardware (or deploying it connected caller devices if you request to bash hardware upgrades) volition beryllium similar installing a caller Windows 10 diagnostic pack. 

You request to beryllium moving a supported mentation of Windows 10, presently 1909 oregon later, and to person applied immoderate indispensable cumulative updates. If not, upgrade those devices to astatine slightest 1909 and preferably 21H1 first. You'll besides request to migrate LTSB/LTSC installations if you privation to upgrade those devices now; the adjacent Windows LTSC volition beryllium based connected Windows 10 21H2, but the LTSC merchandise aft that volition beryllium based connected Windows 11.

Packs and swaps

As you'd expect, you tin usage the aforesaid tools to negociate Windows 11 PCs and OS updates arsenic you bash Windows 10, due to the fact that it's apt astir enterprises volition beryllium managing Windows 10 and 11 PCs broadside by broadside for the adjacent 3 to 5 years arsenic they bargain caller devices and discontinue aged PCs. You tin inactive bash things similar customizing the Out of Box Experience that users spot the archetypal clip they crook connected their PC.

But for managing Windows 11 upgrades, it's adjuvant to recognize the quality betwixt "enablement packs" and what Microsoft refers to arsenic an "OS swap." 

Regular Patch Tuesday updates see information patches and prime updates with fixes, but they whitethorn besides see other codification to hole PCs for the adjacent diagnostic update: They download and instal caller features but those features aren't disposable successful Windows. A diagnostic update that's delivered arsenic an enablement bundle installs precise rapidly (the reboot should instrumentality astir 5 minutes) due to the fact that it's truly conscionable mounting the registry keys to crook connected features that person been installed alongside regular Windows updates and changing the mentation fig of Windows. Microsoft says that besides means the aforesaid app compatibility arsenic the erstwhile mentation due to the fact that it has the aforesaid halfway OS. 

SEE: How to instal Windows 11 connected a Mac (TechRepublic) 

Windows 10 1909 was a diagnostic update delivered arsenic an enablement bundle to Windows 10 1903. Enablement packages lone enactment with versions of Windows that stock the aforesaid halfway OS, truthful you couldn't usage that bundle to upgrade Windows 10 1809 to 1903. But Windows 10 2004 was a "OS swap"; a full caller mentation of the operating strategy that was downloaded and installed connected apical of 1909. Windows 10 20H2 and 21H1 were besides delivered arsenic enablement packages and stock the aforesaid halfway OS arsenic 2004, but with other features added. That means if you inactive person a PC moving 2004, you tin instrumentality it consecutive to 21H1 with the enablement bundle alternatively than needing to upgrade it twice.

Windows 11 volition beryllium what Microsoft calls a caller "OS floor," and it volition beryllium delivered arsenic an OS swap, not an enablement package. OS swaps instrumentality longer to instal than enablement packages, but overmuch of the upgrade volition beryllium done online portion users are moving connected their PCs, and Microsoft claims it volition look similar a faster in-place upgrade than erstwhile OS swap releases.

Windows 11 absorption tools

If you usage Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager, you'll request mentation 2107 (or Technical Preview 2106 oregon later) to enactment with Windows 11, and the Assessment and Deployment Kit for Windows 11. In Configuration Manager, usage the physique fig (22000 oregon higher) to make a instrumentality postulation for Windows 11 PCs; you whitethorn privation to person this tally regular to update the database of which PCs person successfully upgraded.The Azure Update Compliance service whitethorn adhd much reports covering Windows 11 readiness and the Endpoint Analytics instrumentality successful some Intune and Configuration Manager includes hardware assessments for Windows 11. 

You tin besides usage the Desktop Analytics service for Configuration manager to bash an inventory oregon usage your existing absorption tools to stitchery details to spot which PCs you'll beryllium capable to instal Windows 11 on. Generate reports of which PCs person older versions of Windows 10, little than 64GB of disk abstraction escaped oregon little than 4GB of RAM (they'll request upgrading if they conscionable the remainder of the hardware requirements). 

With the caller strategy requirements for Windows 11, you whitethorn request to marque immoderate configuration changes to existing devices. If TPM 2.0 isn't enabled successful the firmware you'll request to crook it on. If PCs person been moving with BIOS emulation (which whitethorn person been turned connected to let moving a 32-bit OS connected 64-bit hardware), you request to determination to UEFI, which means converting the strategy disk from Master Boot Record to GPT partitions from wrong Windows oregon done Configuration Manager and past reconfiguring the firmware for UEFI. 

You should beryllium capable to marque those changes without needing to cleanable instal Windows, but you'll request to program for and trial the process successful advance. And if the crushed a PC has BIOS emulation is that it's moving a 32-bit mentation of Windows 10, you'll request to bash a cleanable instal anyhow to determination it to a 64-bit mentation (Windows 11 is 64-bit only). You'll besides request to find which PCs don't person Secure Boot enabled truthful you tin crook that on. 

SEE: Windows evolves: Windows 11, and the aboriginal of Windows 10 (TechRepublic) 

If you usage rings to negociate Windows Update for Business, you tin take which rings volition upgrade to Windows 11 the aforesaid mode you would for caller Windows 10 releases; the default volition beryllium to enactment connected Windows 10.

If you usage Intune oregon co-management successful Microsoft Endpoint Manager, the diagnostic update deployment enactment works with the caller Windows Update for Business deployment service to fto you prime which mentation of Windows you privation PCs to enactment connected oregon upgrade to, including Windows 11.

It volition besides power which devices are offered Windows 11 upgrades, based connected their telemetry. If a PC doesn't conscionable the strategy requirements oregon if it does, but that exemplary oregon circumstantial hardware operation is taxable to what Microsoft calls a safeguard hold due to the fact that there's a known compatibility issue, it won't discarded clip and bandwidth downloading an upgrade that can't beryllium installed. 

You'll beryllium capable to spot which devices aren't eligible and wherefore they're not being offered Windows 11 successful the Configuration Manager update compliance study and successful Endpoint Analytics. Microsoft volition besides supply scripts to stitchery the aforesaid accusation if you usage different absorption tools.

There's a radical argumentation (and a configuration work supplier mounting if you're utilizing Intune oregon different MDM tool) to disable a safeguard clasp for a circumstantial instrumentality if you're an IT head needing to trial Windows 11 connected a instrumentality that isn't being offered it—perhaps to corroborate to a concern idiosyncratic that they can't get Windows 11 yet due to the fact that they truly volition spot problems connected their device. That's not a mode to get astir the hardware requirements though, and it whitethorn beryllium much utile to usage the Test Base service oregon adjacent a VM than to effort to tally Windows 11 connected unsuitable hardware.

If you crook disconnected a safeguard clasp to instal Windows 11 and past privation to spell backmost to Windows 10 (or if you person users unhappy astatine the idiosyncratic interface changes who privation to revert), Intune and Configuration Manager volition let you to rotation backmost the Windows 11 upgrade because, again, it's similar immoderate different Windows diagnostic update.

It's much enactment but you tin negociate targeting with radical policy, utilizing the people merchandise merchandise and people mentation policies nether the Windows Update node. If you usage WSUS (Windows Server Update Service), you'll request to adhd and sync the Windows 11 merchandise category. The Windows 11 GPO settings person been redesigned (for illustration to marque clearer which use to Windows Update and which lone to WSUS) but the registry keys they acceptable are the same. 

For organizations inactive utilizing radical argumentation though, Windows 11 is simply a bully accidental to determination to much modern instrumentality absorption options. The Intune Group Policy Analytics instrumentality tin look astatine your radical policies and archer you which you tin instrumentality successful MDM utilizing CSPs. It tin adjacent person those policies to enactment with Intune, but it's worthy taking the clip to analyse their interaction with Endpoint Analytics and marque definite they're inactive utile alternatively than conscionable replicating aged policies that could importantly dilatory down Windows startup times.

And if you privation to program and trial your Windows 11 deployment strategy utilizing tools similar Configuration Manager and Autopilot and you don't already person a trial lab, Microsoft volition besides beryllium updating the Windows deployment laboratory kit to screen Windows 11. 

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