Autopilot vs Set up School PCs app

Microsoft is doing some pretty amazing things when it comes to helping customers set up multiple devices, fast. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the education space.

Windows Autopilot and the Set up School PCs app are proving invaluable in schools big and small, where IT resources are always stretched and teachers are pressured to make the most of every precious learning moment.

Windows Autopilot and the Set up School PCs app do similar things. The Set up School PCs app is designed to configure PCs with the apps and features students need, and remove the ones they don’t. Like Autopilot, the Set up School PCs app configures devices automatically, significantly reducing the burden on time-poor tech managers in schools. So, when would you use one over the other?

When do you use the Set up School PCs app?

Consider this scenario. On the first day of the new school year, teachers across 20 classrooms hand out devices to 400-odd students. The IT team has deployed these devices with Autopilot, so that students can unbox their device and immediately log into their new PC. Keen to kick-start their learning, the students attempt to set themselves up via Windows Autopilot … all at once.

However, Autopilot uses internet connectivity to set up devices, so if your school has a huge internet pipe, then Autopilot is a great option. Yet if bandwidth is limited, those 400 Autopilot deployments running at once could cause the internet connection to flatline.

Instead, to get hundreds of devices set up and ready for that crucial first day of teaching and learning, you may be better off using the Set up School PCs app on the first day of school.

Here’s how the Set up School PCs app works

The Set up School PCs app – a free application available on the Microsoft Store – enables you to create a ‘provisioning package’ of configured settings and applications. This package is basically one big file that will profile a machine to the configured standard, doing all the heavy lifting that Autopilot would normally do through an internet connection.

The key advantage for schools is that the provisioning can be done offline from a USB stick or network share. The provisioning package can be used in lieu of SCCM or MDT.

If the school has an IT team, then they can get the machines ready before the first day of school. If not, then staff and students can simply pass around the USB stick to run the program themselves. Another option is a device fulfillment service like that offered by Data#3.

Either way, it’s a fast, effective option for quickly onboarding student devices.

Beyond the first day of school, the Set up School PCs app proves its worth if a school performs a tech refresh midway through the year – for example, replacing ageing laptops with Microsoft Surface devices. Before all the Surface devices get issued out to students, the machines can be quickly configured with the right settings.

The Set up School PCs app is also valuable in BYOD scenarios, where students bring their own devices to school but need the school’s apps and settings applied to the machine. The USB stick containing the provisioning package can just be passed around – students can double-click the file and sit back while their machine gets provisioned correctly.

Windows Autopilot is great for rebuilds

As the school year progresses, students might need to rebuild their device. This is where Windows Autopilot shines.

The IT department can simply do a remote wipe of the device and the student can run Windows Autopilot from home, school or anywhere with an internet connection – and rebuild the machine to the same configuration as all the other devices at the school.

It helps them get their device back into shape for learning with minimal disruption – the IT department doesn’t even need to touch the machine.

If you’re keen to learn more about how the Set up School PCs app and Windows Autopilot could help your school, follow me on LinkedIn or contact Data#3 for a demonstration.

Tags: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Education, K-12 Education, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Windows Autopilot, Tertiary Education, The Anywhere Classroom


Subscribe to our blog


A guide to using Adobe Sign in Teams
A step-by-step guide to using Adobe Sign in Microsoft Teams

Are you tired of chasing paper or working manually with repetitive tasks? Do you need to reduce the gap between…

Device Review - Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen2
Set up your students for success with the Lenovo ThinkPad L13 Yoga Gen2

The pandemic is affecting many facets of our daily lives, none more so than the way we learn. As schools…

Customer Story: St Peter’s College

St Peter’s College innovates in the data decade For St Peter’s College, a leading independent boys primary and secondary…

What's new from Adobe DC and MS Teams
Here’s what’s new from Adobe Document Cloud and Microsoft Teams

With hybrid workplaces now the standard, digital document processes have become essential to business continuity. As a result, these once-manual…

A Day in the Life of MS Teams and Adobe DC Infographic
A Day in the Life with Microsoft Teams and Adobe Document Cloud

Today, we all rely on digital documents to keep businesses running – but managing approvals across a hybrid workforce is…

Citrix on Azure
Citrix on Azure: 4 things to know before moving from on-premises to the cloud

Over the last year, organisations around the world have had to rethink the workplace technology they provide to their people.

Remote Working on Citrix Azure
The security risks of remote working and how Citrix on Azure can help

We are living in a time of significant change when it comes to how and when we work. The events…

Microsoft Data#3 Certified
Data#3 leads the way with Microsoft certifications and advanced specialisations

August 10, 2021; Brisbane, Australia: Leading Australian technology services and solutions provider, Data#3, today announced that it has successfully renewed…