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Microsoft Touts 190,000 Windows 11 Employee Device Upgrades

Microsoft on Friday described its efforts in upgrading its own employees' devices to Windows 11.

The upgrade effort took five weeks to successfully upgrade 190,000 devices to Windows 11, according to a Friday Microsoft announcement. The move to Windows 11 was "99 percent successful," the announcement indicated.

Upgrade failure numbers weren't described. Microsoft just indicated that some devices weren't upgraded and are continuing to run Windows 10 until "their next device refresh."

Microsoft Tools
Microsoft used its "rings" triage approach of upgrading smaller groups first to Windows 11, before extending the upgrade. It used own tools in the process, as follows:

  • Update Compliance and Microsoft Endpoint Manager's endpoint analytics feature to gauge device readiness
  • The Windows Update for Business Deployment Service, which was said to reduce the number of policies needed for the Windows 11 deployments and allow for easy operating system rollbacks
  • The Windows Autopilot service for provisioning new machines built by original equipment manufacturer partners
  • Microsoft Power BI for tracking devices by "country and region" and Windows 11 upgrade "eligibility," and for notifying users not qualifying for an upgrade
  • "Yammer, FAQs, Microsoft SharePoint, email, Microsoft Teams, our internal homepage, and digital signage" for communicating with employees about the upgrade.

Microsoft also let its employees check the ability to upgrade to Windows 11 via use of the PC Health Check app. However, its support teams "didn't get many upgrade tickets" as a result.

Microsoft claimed that this Windows 11 upgrade effort represented the "fastest deployment in company history."

The announcement did not mention using Microsoft Intune, the company's PC and mobile device management service for the Windows 11 deployments, but it described not using images, which is a typically touted Intune benefit.

"Our success was built around several factors: far fewer app compatibility challenges than in the past, not needing to build out a plethora of disk images, and delivery processes and tools already that were greatly improved during the rollout of Windows 10," Microsoft indicated.

Windows 11 Use Still Lags
Of Microsoft's client operating systems, Windows 10 use predominates at 74.82 percent, vs. Windows 7's 12.11 percent and Windows 11's 8.45 percent, according to March 2022 information compiled by Statcounter.com. Windows 11 has stringent hardware requirements that precludes some Windows 10 machines from making a jump to Windows 11.

The Windows 11 hardware requirements enforce the use of newer processors and a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 chip for security. David Weston, vice president for OS security and enterprise at Microsoft, recently doubled down on the view that the stricter hardware upgrade requirements for Windows 11 was the right call in this Twitter post. Weston also recently described Windows 11 as just making the security protections in Windows 10 easier to access.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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