Windows 10 Deployment Improvements

Microsoft are improving the Windows 10 deployment process by providing several migration options to make it easier, faster and more cost effective to move to the new platform. Microsoft are focusing on the following deployment methodologies:

  • Traditional ‘Wipe-and-Load’
  • In-place upgrade
  • Provisioning

Windows 10 Deployment Improvements

The end of wipe and reload!

Microsoft are moving away from the traditional wipe-and-load deployment methodology and focusing on improving the in-place upgrade experience in Windows 10. Historically, the in-place upgrade experience has been painful and problematic, often leaving the operating system in an unusable state. With Windows 10, Microsoft have put in a significant amount of effort to improving this upgrade process, particularly around application compatibility to ensure the migration to Windows 10 is fast and minimises user downtime.

Windows 10 in-place upgrade process


Microsoft have improved it by using the operating system itself to perform the upgrade. Windows Vista introduced the Windows Image format (WIM) which allowed for file based imaging rather than the sector based imaging traditionally used by products such as Symantec Ghost. File based imaging allows for data to be moved to other areas of the disk and Windows 10 takes advantage of this feature. During the in-place upgrade, the operating system is essentially ‘moved out of the way’ – Windows 10 is then installed and existing data is restored. This means that user files and settings, applications and configuration are all preserved during the upgrade process. As a result, when the user first logs onto their machine it’s exactly as it was prior to the upgrade.

In-place upgrade process support includes ConfigMgr and MDT

Microsoft will still support the traditional wipe-and-load methodology to migrate workstations to Windows 10, however they are recommending the in-place upgrade process for a faster, more cost effective approach to deploying Windows 10 for existing Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 devices. Another advantage of the in-place upgrade is if the process is disrupted or fails (e.g. by a power outage), then automatic rollback will ensure the device is restored to its original state. I saw this in action with early builds of Windows 10 and it worked well.

Windows 10 build 10159 post in-place upgrade

Device provisioning

Microsoft are introducing a new deployment method to allow existing ‘off the shelf’ BYOD or CYOD devices running a non-enterprise edition of Windows 10 to be provisioned with a corporate standard configuration without the need for reimaging.

Windows 10 provisioning process

The Windows 10 Automated Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) includes the Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer (Windows ICD) tool which is used to create provisioning packages that are then used to customise the operating system. There are several methods that can be used to deploy provisioning packages from USB and cloud to NFC and QR codes. As a result, IT departments won’t need to manage images for individual devices in their environment and instead they can manage provisioning packages and configuration policies. These packages can be used to change Windows edition (e.g. from Professional to Enterprise) without needing to reimage the device.

Windows ICD can be used to change Windows editions without reimaging

Provisioning packages can also be used to install corporate applications and apply configuration policies to ensure the device is ready for use on the corporate network. They can also be used to enroll devices in MDM and support Windows Phone 10.

This is just a small insight into the deployment improvements coming to Windows 10. Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the final release.

TD is officially launching Windows 10 in Melbourne and Sydney late July. If you would like to attend the event, contact us here.