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IT Increases Efficiencies in its Laptop Leasing Program

Autopilot helps to save hundreds of hours of work per year.


William & Mary Information Technology has recently added Windows Autopilot technology to loaner computers throughout campus. Autopilot is a service that pre-configures computers so that they are ready to be used right out of the box.

IT has been working on this project for the past few months and has officially sent out the first batch of leased computers to faculty and staff with the Autopilot installation and has already received outstanding feedback.

Prior to implementing Autopilot, IT would need to manually image, set up, and then repackage 200 computers at a time for each new order. It can take up to two hours to set up computers to be ready for distribution throughout campus. The installation of Autopilot has saved approximately two hours per machine by pre-installing the Windows Client background program. Overall, this saves IT several hundred hours of work a year by removing the task of setting up computers around campus.

This program applies to any campus computer or leased laptop. The first wave of Autopilot was installed on 50 loaned computers for faculty and staff. Of these 50, nearly all of them have been distributed, and even more are on the way.

This first wave of the new program allowed Danny Clouser, hardware equipment service technician, to work out the initial hiccups of the program and get it running smoothly for future installations. Other members of the team worked on the difficult task of connecting the new computers to eduroam when unpacking them. Now they can automatically connect these computers to the campus network and save time on making the wireless connection. 

According to Clouser, Autopilot allows IT to pre-provision new computers before they even ship to campus. “This saves a substantial amount of hands-on time from multiple IT employees per machine,” he says. “We’re also pairing Autopilot with Intune to enable remote management of devices, for everything from software installation to remote reimaging, and remote wiping for retirement when machines reach end of life. With the hundreds of new computers we deploy each year, this represents a significant time savings for our team.”

The beauty of Autopilot is that it works together with Windows OneDrive. This allows faculty and staff to login to their leased computers from anywhere on campus and access their documents and information. This also reduces the amount of calls coming into the Technology Support Center from faculty and staff because they can connect to their OneDrive immediately. Overall, Clouser, his team, and IT are excited about this change and look forward to the future of Autopilot as it continues to be implemented on all campus computers.