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Microsoft Device Health Preview Now Available

Microsoft this week released a public preview of Device Health, a new service that checks Windows 10 client devices for crashes and driver issues.

The service also checks for misconfigurations when devices are enrolled under the Windows Information Protection service (formerly known as the "Enterprise Data Protection" service). Windows Information Protection is an Office 365 ProPlus data protection scheme for organizations that enforces copy-and-paste restrictions, printing restrictions and restrictions on application access to certain data.

The Device Health service is conceived as a detection and remediation kind of service. Device Health addresses the following issues, according to a blog post by Marc Shepard, a principal program manager lead for Device Health, although more functionality gets added each month:

  • Frequently crashing devices that may need to be rebuilt or replaced
  • Device drivers that are causing device crashes, and alternative versions of those drivers that may reduce the crash rate
  • Windows Information protection misconfigurations that result in end-user prompts

The Device Health preview is part of Windows Analytics, a component within Microsoft's Operations Management Suite (OMS). Microsoft designed OMS for managing public cloud workloads, but the new tools it has been adding lately to the suite seem more useful for client device-monitoring purposes. For instance, the Windows Analytics component has an Upgrade Readiness feature that shows device upgrade readiness details, along with information about application and driver upgrade readiness. Windows Analytics also has an Update Compliance feature (in preview) that checks compliance details with regard to Windows Update and Windows Defender security updates.

These device-monitoring capabilities in OMS are sometimes described by Microsoft as being free to use, even though OMS is a subscription-based offering. Possibly that's the case with the Device Health preview.

"This preview release is free for customers to try and will not incur charges on your OMS workspace for its use," Microsoft's Device Health "Introduction" document stated.

An OMS free account is accessible at this page. Additionally, Shepherd stated in the blog post that "usage of Device Health (Preview) is not counted towards any of your existing OMS subscription/quota or the Azure subscription/pay-as-you-go model." He pointed to setup subscription agreements to sign for "new customers" and "existing OMS customers" to use the Device Health preview.

There are some requirements to use Device Health, according to a "Getting Started" document. It's just for Windows 10 devices. Users of Windows 10 versions prior to version 1703 need to check if outbound proxy authentication is required by running a PowerShell cmdlet.

Lastly, organizations have to turn on "Enhanced" telemetry reporting for Windows 10 for the Device Health service to work. The Enhanced telemetry setting in one step away from "Full" telemetry reporting, which sends the most information to Microsoft, per Microsoft's Telemetry document description.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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