In late June I was approached to record some short technical overview videos on Microsoft 365 Business, and now that they are recorded and published, it’s time to review them, and provide some additional resources and any important updates since the content was created. This is the the eleventh video in the series, and the focus is on Windows 10 deployment options.
This video focuses on three different scenarios – Autopilot, upgrade in place and traditional wipe and reload deployments. Because Autopilot will be covered in more detail in the next post, that leaves us with the two options that most are familiar with. Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you would perform in place upgrades or wipe and reloads.
In-place upgrades with Windows 10 are my preferred option for a machine that needs to be upgraded from Windows 7, Windows 8.x or an earlier version of Windows 10. While the process can take a while, having things where they left them is the preferred experience for most users. This story got better with the April 2018 update to Microsoft 365 Business, as the need for a user profile migration was reduced drastically due to hybrid domain join support. Seeing that Microsoft will support in-place upgrades with Windows Server 2019, I think we should be pretty confident this is a scenario that they have full confidence in.
So why would you still do a wipe and reload? In some cases, it’s going to be “that’s how we’ve always done it”, and these can be tougher conversations because sometimes it’s not about technology, it’s about process. If you are moving from 32 bit to 64 bit, then you would need to do a wipe and reload. Remember that if you need to do a BIOS to UEFI conversion that Windows 10 has the built in GPT2MBR, which will convert the disk partition layout to support the firmware switch. I’ve run that tool successfully on several devices, including the one that I’m typing this on right now.
While there might be other reasons to perform a wipe and reload, one that I encounter on a fairly regular basis is that the OS or installed apps aren’t behaving the way they should be, and these types of devices may have some of those issues carried forward, especially on the app side. Another is if the OEM preinstalls way too much bloatware. If there’s an option to get a clean image (Microsoft Store devices have the Signature image, and I’ve seen firsthand the difference between their install versus an OEM supplied version of the same laptop… it’s not a good story).
Regardless of the approach you use, it’s worth taking a look at Windows Analytics Upgrade Readiness, which I covered in more detail here. This will help to identify what needs to be addressed for devices that may have software or hardware issues that need to be addressed, and remember that it’s covered by your Windows 10 Pro licensing.
Before I wrap this post up, something that is important to understand with the Windows 10 Pro upgrade licence that is included with Microsoft 365 Business is that it is for upgrades from Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8.x Pro, it’s not an upgrade for Windows Home users. I mention this because it’s a frequently asked question, and wanted to make sure I addressed it.