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Preparing your organization for a seamless Windows 10 deployment

Microsoft has learned many lessons from years of deploying major operating system updates to a globally diverse and highly mobile workforce. Among the most important is this: A technically sound base of code isn't enough. Successfully transitioning to a new technology also requires that organizations plan ahead with thoughtful and proactive communications, deploy the upgrade with expertise and speed, and support employees with post-deployment training and materials. The good news is we're here to help.

Microsoft IT used the materials in this program to support the Windows 10 deployment to all employee devices within the Microsoft global enterprise. Now, you can use them to facilitate employee adoption, promote best practices, and ensure a direct path to productivity with the best Windows ever.

To get started now, you can download the full suite of Windows 10 deployment resources.

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Readiness and communication

When rolling out new technology, you can never be too prepared. Microsoft IT obsesses about our employees to create exceptional experiences and drive early adoption. The practice of amplifying the right messages through the right channels at the right time is key to driving awareness and inspiring action.

Reach out to employees early in the planning process using direct language that deliberately avoids technical jargon to convey a friendly, inviting, and aspirational tone. Use this opportunity to build excitement while educating employees on the new features and capabilities coming their way. Briefly describe what to expect before and after new software is installed, while providing optional opportunities to seek out more detailed information. Make sure internal help desk support is prepared for any anticipated increase in calls. And proactively address potential post-deployment issues by providing helpful resources before the deployment takes place.

See below for sample materials that supported the “Plan” stage of the Windows 10 deployment at Microsoft. You can customize them as appropriate to support your organization's move to Windows 10.

Featured content

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Timelines and schedules

Microsoft IT mapped out timelines and work-back schedules to provide a solid framework for executing against key milestones. Plans covering readiness communications as well as the actual deployment effort ensured alignment and facilitated adjustments as challenges were encountered.

Forward Icon   Readiness communications schedule

Forward Icon   Deployment timeline

A man working on Laptop.

Digital promotions

Digital and video promotions on the Microsoft intranet, digital office signage, and internal social media channels were developed to excite employees and direct them to additional information about the upgrade experience.

Forward Icon   Digital display units

Forward Icon   Intranet web banner units

Forward Icon   Internal social media units

Forward Icon   Windows 10 desktop backgrounds

A woman working on laptop.


Microsoft IT sent a series of emails to set employee expectations and ensure successful device upgrades. The first was a company-wide announcement highlighting the deployment process and new features in the upcoming release. The second was personalized for each individual and included critical information about that employee’s device, dates for self-driven upgrades, and deadlines after which the device would perform an automatic mandatory upgrade.

Forward Icon   Overview email (all company announcement)

Forward Icon   Personalized email (details specific to individuals)

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Intranet content

The Microsoft intranet hosted a series of webpages about Windows 10 to serve as the comprehensive source for information relevant to the employee upgrade, including:

Forward Icon   Getting started

Forward Icon   New features

Forward Icon   Application compatibility

Forward Icon   Hardware compatibility

Forward Icon   FAQs

Forward Icon   Known issues

Forward Icon   Feedback and support

A man working on desktop.


Technical reference and documentation

The global Windows 10 deployment inside Microsoft reached 96,000 employees using a variety of devices, and was completed in just nine weeks. Even with some devices attached directly to the corporate network and others accessing the network remotely, the upgrade experience was consistent and maintained productivity for all employees.

Performing a system-wide migration across such a complex environment was no easy task. But a variety of Windows 10 deployment options, streamlined application rollouts, and enhanced cloud capabilities facilitated its success.

These materials describe the Microsoft Windows 10 upgrade implementation strategies, best practices, and benefits, as well as lessons learned.

Featured content

Adopting Windows as a service at Microsoft
Dec 23, 2016 | 

Windows 10 introduces a new way to streamline operating system updates. With Windows as a service, Microsoft IT is embracing agile development and delivery models to reduce deployment timelines, enable more frequent updates, and reduce risk.

Deploying Windows 10 at Microsoft as an in-place upgrade
Dec 14, 2015 | 

This technical case study shares the story of the Windows 10 upgrade at Microsoft, presenting insights, lessons learned, and best practices from a high-level migration across a complex environment.

Insights in Windows Upgrade Analytics accelerate Windows 10 upgrades
Dec 20, 2016 | 

With a faster release cadence for Windows 10 upgrades, it’s important to quickly identify potential deployment blockers. Microsoft IT implemented Windows Upgrade Analytics to help make data-driven decisions about our upgrade readiness and enterprise application portfolio.

Streamlining application compatibility testing at Microsoft
Dec 23, 2016 | 

The way Microsoft delivers products and technology is evolving, along with our testing methodology. Find out how Microsoft IT has increased testing efficacy while reducing the time, cost, and effort of each test cycle.

Enabling remote access with Windows Hello for Business in Windows 10
Jul 06, 2016 | 

Windows Hello for Business has been enabled as an enterprise credential and incorporated for use within the existing VPN infrastructure at Microsoft, providing remote employees with an incredibly streamlined Windows 10 sign-in experience.

Implementing strong user authentication with Windows Hello for Business
Nov 28, 2016 | 

The strong two-factor authentication of Windows Hello for Business combines an enrolled device with a PIN or biometric user input, replacing passwords while improving security.

Two people discussing over a surface.


Post-deployment productivity

Microsoft hosts an internal readiness program that provides comprehensive guidance on how to best use corporate technologies and services. Whether they're at the office, in the cloud, or on their favorite mobile devices, employees have the freedom to learn about the latest technology tools on their own terms.

To expedite employee productivity after the Windows 10 deployment across Microsoft, the team developed a wealth of productivity guides focused on the new operating system, along with in-depth guidance on many of the new features including Cortana, Microsoft Edge, and OneDrive for Business.

These customizable guides can be used to enhance adoption and productivity among your own workforce on day one.

Featured content

Getting to know Windows 10
Nov 22, 2016 | 

This is a great starting point for introducing anyone to Windows 10 with helpful tips and tricks. Enhance your organization's Windows 10 experience and increase productivity with information on new and enhanced features.

Shortcut keys for Windows 10
Aug 24, 2015 | 

This list of shortcut keys for the Windows 10 desktop will help employees cut down on extra steps and stay productive.

Cortana for Windows 10
Jun 29, 2015 | 

Introduce users to their new personal digital assistant with this insightful guide. Cortana gets to know individuals and helps them get things done in a way that’s easy and natural.

Save and share files in the Cloud with OneDrive for Business in Windows 10
Aug 27, 2015 | 

OneDrive for Business is a safe way for organizations to store, sync, and share professional file libraries in the cloud.

Microsoft Edge
Jul 21, 2015 | 

Users can be more productive with Microsoft Edge, the new web browser for Windows 10 that provides an improved web experience with enhanced sharing, reading, and discovery features.

Using AutoVPN to connect remotely
Nov 07, 2016 | 

The new AutoVPN feature in Windows 10 Anniversary Update provides simple and secure access to work resources when away from the office. This guide will help your users connect their devices to corporate assets when working remotely.

Use Reset to restore your Windows 10 PC
Nov 20, 2015 | 

The Reset feature in Windows 10 can be used to restore the operating system, all system files, and even custom settings on a single PC, without the need for a separate recovery image.

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