Managing Windows Insider Preview Builds within the organization

This week is al around managing Windows Insider Preview Builds. Even though it’s not a new subject, it’s good to at least get a refresher. Especially when mentioning the Windows Insider Preview for Business program, as it’s often still unknown. The fun part, however, is that it’s actually pretty simple to get started. For organizations, the Windows Insider Preview for Business program enables them not having to register each device or user in the program and to easily set important policies around preview builds. The only requirement is to register an Azure AD tenant, so it can be used for authentication.This post walks through that requirement and more, as prequisites for configuring Windows Insider Preview Builds within the organization, followed with the steps for creating …

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Allowing users to opt-in for Windows 11 by using access packages

This week is all about providing users with an easy method to opt-in for using Windows 11. That easy method can be created by using standard functionality that is provided by Azure AD entitlement management – an identity governance feature – and that can be used to automate access request workflows, access assignments, reviews, and expiration. More specifically, entitlement management introduces the concept of an access package and those packages provide an easy method to govern access. In a way, an access package can be used to create a simple automated flow to allow users to opt-in for Windows 11. That can be achieved adding the user to an Azure AD group and using that group for the assignment of a feature update deployment. This …

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Customizing the default app associations on Windows 11 devices

This week is another follow-up on the posts of the last weeks about customizing Windows 11 devices. This week, however, is focused on customizing the default app accosiations on Windows 11 devices. Customizing the default app associations enables organizations to associate specific apps with file and link types, for their users. Besides that, this post is also an updated version of this post of over four years ago. Even though not a lot has changed, the configuration did become easier. This post goes through the creation of the required app assocations file, folowed with applying that file on Windows 11 devices. This post ends with showing the user experience with the customized app assoications. Important: My personal opinion is that – as with every other …

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Customizing the Taskbar on Windows 11 devices

This week is a follow-up on last weeks post about customizing the Start menu layout on Windows 11 devices. This week, however, is focused on customizing the Taskbar layout on Windows 11 devices. Customizing the Taskbar layout enables organizations to create a standardized layout for their users. With the arrival of Windows 11, the configuration options for customizing the Taskbar layout have changed. Especially from a setting-by-setting perspective the options are now rather limited. This post does a quick breakdown of the Taskbar layout in Windows 11 and the different configurations that are available, per section. That breakdown is followed with a zoom-in on the actual configuration for creating the standardized layout. This post ends with showing the user experience with a customized Taskbar layout. …

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Customizing the Start menu layout on Windows 11 devices

This week is all about customizing the Start menu layout on Windows 11. Customizing the Start menu layout enables organizations to create a standardized layout for theirs users by pinning apps, removing default apps, ordering apps and more. The configuration of such a standardized layout has changed from Windows 10 to Windows 11. To create a standardized layout for Windows 11, the IT administrator must use a JSON-file. In previous versions of Windows, that required a XML-file. That configuration change, justifies an explanation about the Start menu layout in Windows 11 and the different configuration options. This post breaks down the new Start menu layout in Windows 11 and the different configuration options that are available, per section. That breakdown is followed with a zoom-in …

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Controlling devices connected to Windows devices

This week is all about device control. Device control is often referred to as a feature of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and is focused on preventing data leakage. That is achieved by limiting the devices that can be connected to a Windows device. The idea is also pretty straight forward: control which devices can connect to a Windows device. That can be achieved by looking at the hardware device installation, at the removable storage and at the bluetooth connections. Besides that it’s even possible to get creative with printers. Most of these settings – with exception of the printer settings – are configurable via the endpoint security options, but most settings are actually configured via different CSPs on the Windows device. This post will walk …

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Getting started with Test Base for Microsoft 365

This week is about something relatively new, but especially something rather unknown. And that is Test Base for Microsoft 365 (Test Base). Test Base is a validation service based in a secure Azure environment, that enables Software Vendors (SVs) and System Integrators (SIs) to validate their applications against pre-released Windows security and feature updates. The best part is that it also enables customers and partners to do the same. That enables organizations to automatically test their critical business app with the upcoming Windows security and feature updates. A sort of automated testing. That helps organizations to be even better prepared for the upcoming Windows security and feature updates. This post is to create more awareness for Test Base and to make sure that organization are …

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Configuring Windows Hello for Business dynamic lock

The last few weeks – before my vacation – were all around Windows Hello for Business. And especially around unlocking devices by using Windows Hello for Business functionalities. This week, however, is a little different. This week is around the automatic lock functionality of Windows Hello for Business. That functionality is Windows Hello for Business dynamic lock. Dynamic lock enables organizations to automatically lock devices when users step away from their device. That automatic lock can be achieved by using the bluetooth signal of a paired phone. The device will automatically lock when the signal of that paired phone falls below the configured minimum value. Of course, automatically locking the device doesn’t prevent users from forgetting to lock their device, but it does prevent the …

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Configuring Windows Hello for Business multi-factor unlock

This week continues the journey through Windows Hello for Business. The last weeks were all about requiring the use of Windows Hello for Business, while this week is all about requiring the use of something extra with Windows Hello for Business. That something extra is a second unlock factor. By default, Windows requires the use of a single authentication factor to verify the identity of a user and to unlock the device. And even though the construction of Windows Hello for Business can be considered multi-factor authentication, as it combines something that you have (e.g. a device with a hardware TPM) with something that you know (e.g. a PIN) or with something that you are (e.g. a fingerprint), the unlock factor of the device with …

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