Microsoft's Windows operating systems have increasingly leveraged new hardware capabilities to enable OS features. This began with Windows 8 and the Secure Boot feature. Windows 10 increases that list of hardware dependent features so customers need to ensure that their client hardware is "Future Ready" to enable those OS features.
Below we will highlight the 3 step process to make your Dell client systems "Future Ready".
1. Assess: Convert or Replace?
Dell can help you manage the migration to Windows 10 on your own. Most customers are just looking for what they need to know, and we can certainly do that, plus give you some recommendations. You might be aware of Dell’s Client Command Suite –the free tools to help manage your Dell systems more efficiently, which we suggest using with your migration.
First, you should identify which systems cannot be upgraded to Windows 10 (Dell has a published list) or which systems may be out of warranty and need to be replaced. Of course, we suggest that if your system is out of warranty to replace it with one of our new Windows 10 platforms.
You can use Dell Command | Monitor, our tool that can assess your hardware health state and BIOS settings to help you gather the needed BIOS and system health state information.
Also, we provide a Warranty Utility that can help retrieve Dell warranty information for a list of systems, specified with service tags through our Microsoft SCCM Integration tool.
2. Prepare & Convert to Future Ready State
One of the many restrictions of the Windows 10 inplace-upgrade process is that it doesn’t support changing BIOS to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). We don’t recommend that you migrate to Windows 10 without first enabling UEFI and disabling legacy BIOS in your current environment. You can deploy Windows 10 without moving to UEFI but it can be more overly complicated if you attempt to keep legacy BIOS on while trying to migrate to Windows 10. Plus you won’t be able to use the new OS features offered with Windows 10 such as Secure Boot, Device Guard, Credential Guard and more.
UEFI support goes back at least 4 years - most of the systems in your environment should have UEFI. We recommend that you turn off the legacy BIOS part of the UEFI system because it would prevent you from using a future ready file system and prohibit you from using new Windows 10 security features (such as SecureBoot, Credential Guard, Device Guard). It can become overly complicated if you attempt to keep legacy BIOS on while trying to migrate to Windows 10.
So once you have identified which systems you need to migrate, you need to make sure that you have the latest BIOS version on your existing hardware so it is Windows 10 ready by enabling UEFI which again is the current and future BIOS. Dell provides two tools you can take advantage of in order to do this: Dell Command | Configure or Dell Command | PowerShell Provider. These tools allow you to easily do the changes needed to multiple systems at once.
This means you:
The biggest issues we have heard from customers is that they do not know that they need to immediately deploy the new OS after those configurations are made. If you don’t, the system will not operate at all with the existing file system.
For background information on UEFI, please reference our UEFI whitepaper.
3. Deploy your new OS
Converting to UEFI will require you to immediately deploy Windows 10 –otherwise your systems won’t operate.
For deploying the new operating system, we have extremely simple integration with SCCM, as well as Dell KACE and even LANDesk. We have the drivers needed to deploy Windows 10 (for both OS and WinPE).
The 4.1 version of our integration with Microsoft SCCM brings an embedded, searchable catalog of driver packs into System Center which eliminates Admins having to leave the SCCM console to download the driver packs.
Following these 3 steps will ensure that your Dell client systems are Future Ready for Windows 10 and beyond.
Note: this information will be maintained and updated here.