Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is synonymous with mixed-reality computing, but the software maker hasn't forgotten the countless business users who may never experience augmented- and virtual-reality, at least not at their work desks.
In corporate circles, the update will be judged mainly by security enhancements it delivers to harried IT administrators and businesses coping with the endless barrage of cyber-security threats and data breaches.
On the management front, Microsoft is endeavoring to make Windows 10 setup process as seamless as possible with a new feature called AutoPilot.
"Windows AutoPilot is a new cloud service that makes it possible for any PC to be enterprise-ready, with a simple self-service out of box user experience that IT can personalize for their organization and eliminate the need for IT to reimage, touch or manually provision Windows 10, explained Rob Lefferts, partner director of the Security and Enterprise unit at Microsoft Windows and Devices, in an Oct. 23 blog post.
As its name suggests, AutoPilot automates many of the tasks commonly associated with setting up a Windows 10 desktop or handing workers a Windows 10 laptop. Provided that businesses have already invested in Microsoft's device and identity management solutions, AutoPilot allows IT organizations to distribute PCs to their workforces that can automatically join their Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) environments and are instantly enrolled in mobile device management platforms like Microsoft Intune.
AutoPilot also enables organizations to restrict the creation of administrator-level accounts, which typically offers users unfettered access to powerful settings that can allow users to run unsanctioned software or weaken security if used incorrectly. The feature also allows businesses to assign and customize the out-of-the-box experience to fit their needs, among other time-saving capabilities.
Microsoft isn't alone in making AutoPilot a part of administrators' lives. Select hardware partners also plan to support the platform in their Windows 10 PC models.
"Starting in January 2018, OEM partners Lenovo, HP, Panasonic, Toshiba and Fujitsu will join surface in supporting Windows AutoPilot," Lefferts said.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update also helps organizations bridge the gulf between the Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows 10. The operating system update uses a subscription-activation feature to help users with the proper credentials step up to Windows 10 Enterprise without entering new product keys or rebooting the device when they log in.
To help their PC fleets run more smoothly and avoid downtime, Microsoft has added a new Device Health section to the Windows Analytics suite, Lefferts announced.
Its aim is to proactively find device issues, allowing businesses to address them before they stop their workers' productivity in their tracks. Meanwhile, a new diagnostics setting allows businesses to glean insights pertaining to PC maintenance, further reducing the chances that they are caught off-guard by device issues.