Preparing Windows Systems for Autopilot Deployment

Configuring new devices for company use is traditionally a complicated and time-consuming process. Windows Audit mode condenses the number of steps it takes to get new devices up and running through hardware-agnostic configuration profiles that can be deployed anywhere with internet access. Devices can be sent from HP straight to users, who, once registered with Autopilot, just need to log in with their work email to get quickly provisioned and start work. 

Audit Mode would be a local option to prepare the system for an AutoPilot deployment. IT will have the option to update the system with the latest drivers without configuring the Windows OS with a local user account and resetting the system, which can also be very useful for redeploying systems and getting them ready for Autopilot deployment. This would leverage the factory image without going through OOBE (Out Of Box Experience) the first time. You can update drivers and/or applications without having to wait for autopilot PPKG downloads or pre-provisioning steps.

This process gives IT staff the ability to: 

  • Update any system with drivers.

  • Make applications available that can be installed now or later.

Performing this process will  give you the ability to update your system without having to log in to the system with a user account. After completing this you place the system back into OOBE. This allows the end user to go through first experience like a new system. 

This article shows step-by-step instructions on how to use Windows Audit mode for image updates and how to prepare for autopilot provisioning.

Using Audit Mode

Step One: Place system in Audit mode

  • Power on the system with a clean OEM image or Corporate Ready Image or Customer custom image. (Any image that has not been initialized)

  • Boot the system to the first Windows screen This would be the language screen (OOBE). If the system is already in setup mode it can be reset. See appendix A:

    • If the system has been booted into Windows without Audit Mode, again see Appendix A.

Step Two: Configure settings on the language screen

  • When you arrive at the language screen, press CRTL+Shift+f3 to place the system into audit mode.

  • The system will boot into Windows and log in with the built-in Administrator account.
  • The system will now be in Audit Mode, and the Sysprep box will open.
    • Do not close the Sysprep box.


Step Three: Update the System

  • Go ahead and update drivers, perhaps with HPIA (HP Image Assistant) or a method of your own. 
    • You shouldn’t experience any issues because a local User account has not been created. 
    • IT could also install certain default applications like 7z, PDFreader or other user shared applications. 

Step Four: Resetting the system

  • When you’re finished doing your updates or application installs, you can reset the system back to the factory start up as if the system was booting for the first time, This would be the OOBE.
  • From the System Preparation (Sysprep) dialog box:
    • Under “System Cleanup Action”, select Enter System Out-of_Box Experience (OOBE).
    • Ensure "generalize" is checked.
    • Make sure from the shutdown drop down box you select shutdown options for your needs. 

This will place the system back for factory boot and allow the end-user to go through the OOBE or Endpoint Manager (Autopilot) Steps.

On the next boot by the user, the system will go through the OOBE.

Wrapping Up

When using this Audit Mode as an alternative solution, keep in mind that this is done per individual system.  Giving IT the ability to update the system with any update. This makes it easier when the user completes their login and not having to wait for driver updates. This differs from the PPKG and pre-provisioning processes, in which you create a package that can be deployed during the Endpoint Management (intune) Autopilot process. 

This option should be used instead of booting the system, creating a user account, running your updates, and performing a Windows 10 reset option. Performing a Windows 10 reset doesn’t always clean out the user account information successfully. 

This process can also be used if you want to create a gold image that can be sent to the HP factory and preloaded. Leveraging a OEM or Corp Ready image and adding updates to save time building from scratch. 


Appendix A:

Windows reset option to set the system back to first boot, Factory default. 

This option is only used if you want to use Audit mode and you have already booted and initialized the system with a user account. 


 How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC:



Author : dale.scott

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