In yet another effort to push more users toward Windows 11, Microsoft is releasing two new downloadable onboarding and test kits designed to help organizations plan, deploy, and support a Windows 11 environment as well as labs and evaluation software to help test the new operating system.
The new sources from Microsoft include the Windows 11 Onboarding Kit and the Windows 11 and Office 365 Deployment Lab Kit, and both are designed to help IT professionals smoothly migrate to the new Windows experience.
According to the company, the Windows 11 Onboarding Kit includes resources that can help IT teams plan and deploy a Windows 11 upgrade, as well as reference guides on Microsoft tools such as OneDrive for Business, Edge, Universal Print and keyboard shortcuts.
Documents in this kit are in both Word and PowerPoint formats, and can be customized with company branding with links to internal resources.
Meanwhile, the Windows 11 and Office 365 Deployment Kit brings IT teams a set of labs and evaluation software that can help them plan for, test, and validate a Windows 11 deployment, the company says.
IT professionals can explore and test advanced desktop management scenarios, with labs that cover Endpoint Configuration Manager, the Office Customization Tool, OneDrive, Windows Autopilot and others.
Microsoft says the guide is divided into eight sections:
- Lab setup. This section guides you through the steps required for setting up the on-premises (Hyper-V) lab environment and joining it to trial versions of Azure and Intune.
- Plan and prepare infrastructure. For a successful deployment you must first know what you have. That means taking an inventory of your devices and apps and verifying compatibility. Additionally, this section details how to concurrently manage Windows 11 devices by using both Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune. Co-management can help you get more out of your existing Configuration Manager deployment by unlocking additional cloud-powered capabilities like conditional access.
- Deploying Windows 11. With everything prepared, the next step is to deploy the OS images. This section will cover deploying Windows 11 using Configuration Manager to both bare metal systems, as well as existing capable Windows 10 systems via Upgrade. It also covers Windows 11 deployments using Windows Autopilot.
- Servicing Windows 11. Upgrading to Windows 11, both current and future versions, can be done using Windows Servicing. This section will cover how to use Configuration Manager and Windows Update for Business to upgrade using Windows Servicing.
- Managing Windows 11. This section covers how to manage Windows 11 using Microsoft Intune. First by enrolling devices, next, configuring Software Updates and other policies that can be enforced using Intune.
- Preparing/Deploying Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise. Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise is the modern office suite. This section will cover the various ways how Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise can be deployed using Intune, Configuration Manager or local methods. It also covers the different ways to manage and service Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise using each of these tools.
- Managing the new Microsoft Edge. The new Microsoft Edge enhances and extends the browser experience. It runs on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android devices and comes native on Windows 11. This section covers how to update it using both Intune and Configuration Manager, and how to manage policies using both Intune and GPO.
- Security and compliance. This section covers Windows 11 security capabilities that can enable organizations to become more secure, including BitLocker device encryption, Windows Defender Antivirus and Windows Hello for Business.
“Our goal is to make the Windows 11 upgrade process as smooth as possible,” the company says in a Tech Community blog. “We hope these kits help you go beyond our documentation by providing a fully independent test environment and materials to help employees get productive quickly on Windows 11.”
The announcement of the onboarding kits comes shortly after Microsoft announced new simulations designed to help IT pros and end users upgrade and become more familiar with the operating system.