Use Desktop Analytics & machine learning to get current and stay current

desktop analytics

Based on our work with consumers and organizations of all sizes, across more than 800 million Windows devices, we’ve learned that it’s easier to deploy Windows 10 when using the powerful intelligence of the cloud and machine learning. Since Windows 10 April 2018 Updates release, we’ve leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) at scale to improve the quality and reliability of our release rollouts. And along the way, we’ve learned the best ways to help ensure devices have a positive update experience. Today, we’re making these same learnings available to organizations through a public preview of Desktop Analytics, which is available now.

Desktop Analytics provides the insight and automation you need to efficiently get current and stay current. Desktop Analytics is a cloud-connected service that integrates with System Center Configuration Manager and will integrate with Microsoft Intune in the near future. With Desktop Analytics, it’s easier to deploy with confidence and keep your PCs up to date with the latest Windows 10 capabilities your employees need.

“With Desktop Analytics, we’re able to automate and pilot plans to ensure all application and hardware scenarios can be tested and validated prior to upgrading to the latest release of Windows 10.” – Jason Myers, End-User Senior Lead, Mars.

This service provides intelligence that helps you make more informed decisions about the update readiness of your Windows clients. In combination with Configuration Manager, Desktop Analytics is designed to create an inventory of the Windows apps running in your organization and then assess app compatibility with the latest feature updates of Windows 10. By combining data from your own organization with data aggregated from millions of devices connected to our cloud services, you can take the guesswork out of testing these apps and instead focus your attention on key blockers. Historically, getting a view of the compatibility of your apps with new Windows releases was a time-consuming and tedious process of human testing – but now this can be automated through the intelligence of what we learn at cloud scale.

Desktop Analytics brings you data-driven recommendations that allow you to quickly and easily run successful pilots that represent your entire application and driver estate. You can then use the health signals of your pilots to evaluate the readiness of your assets and implement an optimized production deployment plan with  Configuration Manager.

As Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, explained last year September, Desktop Analytics is the evolution of Windows Analytics, adding deeper integration with Configuration Manager and providing a ring-based approach to deployment using health signals. 

Resource Credit | Microsoft 365

What is Desktop Analytics?

Desktop Analytics is a cloud-based service that integrates with Configuration Manager. The service provides insights and intelligence for you to make more informed decisions about the update readiness of your Windows clients. It combines data from your organization with data aggregated from millions of devices connected to Microsoft cloud services.

Use Desktop Analytics with Configuration Manager to:

  • Create an inventory of apps running in your organization
  • Assess app compatibility with the latest Windows 10 feature updates
  • Identify compatibility issues, and receive mitigation suggestions based on cloud-enabled data insights
  • Create pilot groups that represent the entire application and driver estate across a minimal set of devices
  • Deploy Windows 10 to pilot and production-managed devices

digital analytics

Note: Desktop Analytics is a successor of Windows Analytics. The Windows Analytics service includes Upgrade Readiness, Update Compliance, and Device Health. All of these capabilities are combined in the Desktop Analytics service. Desktop Analytics also is more tightly integrated with the Configuration Manager.


Many customers have challenges with getting and staying current with Windows 10. The primary challenge is testing applications. This process is typically manual. It’s time-consuming for IT administrators and application owners to continually analyze existing applications. Then remediate any issues that arise.

Desktop Analytics provides the following benefits:

  • Device and software inventory: Inventory of key factors such as apps and versions of Windows.
  • Pilot identification: Identification of the smallest set of devices that provide the widest coverage of factors. It focuses on the factors that are most important to a pilot of Windows upgrades and updates. Making sure the pilot is more successful allows you to proceed more quickly and confidently to broad deployments in production.
  • Issue identification: Using aggregated market data along with data from your environment, the service predicts potential issues to getting and staying current with Windows. It then suggests potential mitigations.
  • Configuration Manager integration: The service cloud-enables your existing on-premises infrastructure. Use this data and analysis to deploy and manage Windows on your devices.


To use Desktop Analytics, make sure your environment meets the following prerequisites.


  • An active Azure subscription, with Global Admin permissions
  • Configuration Manager, version 1902 with update rollup (4500571) or later. For more information, see Update Configuration Manager.
    • Full Administrator role in Configuration Manager
  • Devices running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10
    • Install the latest updates. For more information, see Update Devices
    • Devices also need to have the Configuration Manager client, version 1902 with an update rollup (4500571) or later.

Note: Desktop Analytics doesn’t support upgrades to Windows 10 long-term servicing channel (LTSC). Desktop Analytics is designed to best support the in-place upgrade scenario. If you need to make major changes, such as from 32-bit to 64-bit architecture, use an imaging scenario. Desktop Analytics insights are still valuable in these classic OS deployment scenarios, but you can ignore the in-place upgrade specific guidance. For more information, see Scenarios to deploy enterprise operating systems with Configuration Manager


Desktop Analytics requires one of the following license subscriptions:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5; or Microsoft 365 F1, E3, or E5
  • Windows 10 Education A3 or A5; or Microsoft 365 A3 or A5
  • Windows VDA ES or E5

Next Steps

The following tutorial provides a step-by-step guide to getting started with Desktop Analytics and Configuration Manager: 

Resource Credit | Microsoft 365

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