How to set-up Windows 10 with Azure Active Directory (AD)

Windows 10 was released on the 29 July 2015 as a free update for users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. But how does this new operating system differ from previous versions? How do you install it? And how do you link it to an Azure Active Directory? In the first of two articles on Windows 10, I’ll explain how to install Microsoft’s new operating system onto a clean system.

This does not relate to the Enterprise edition, but does apply to genuine copies of all other versions, including Home and Professional.

Since it was released, I have installed it onto five or six different systems as upgrades or clean builds. The process is fairly straightforward, and for the normal upgrades the activation key is not even required. Upgrading the Enterprise edition does need the activation key though. The install looks very familiar and follows the same steps as Windows 8.1.

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It is only when the build is complete that you will notice any real difference, although the status screens for the install have been redesigned.

Once all of the security updates have been installed the system will continue to configure itself. With the Enterprise version you also need to tell it how you plan to connect.

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This is really asking if you want to have a traditional domain joined PC or if you want to use the cloud based Azure AD. For OCG we use Azure AD.

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This will link the Windows 10 PC with the Azure AD, enrol the system and allow the user (in this case me) to be able to sign in to the workstation using an authentication against the Azure environment.

The system will then allow you to set up a PIN for authentication instead of the traditional password.

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The PIN can be set up quite easily. With OCG, we also have additional security in place. This also requires configuration.

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A number of verification methods are available.

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I chose the phone call option and was asked to confirm my phone number.

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After answering the phone and verifying my identity, the system moves on with setting up the PIN.

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During this phase of the installation, a number of security policies must be agreed to. With my install, this popped up while I was setting up the PIN.

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After all of this is complete, I can use the Windows 10 initial desktop.

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This looks very much like a Windows 7 screen with the Windows button at the bottom left and a fairly empty desktop. I have not yet installed any applications, but I do get access to any Office 365 systems that are linked to my Azure AD account. When I sign out, the standard pre-login screen is shown.

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Pressing any key brings up the login screen.

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Since I set up a PIN, the system asks me for that rather than a password.

So we now have a Windows 10 system in place linked to Azure AD. This should now allow us to start using the operating system and get the feel for the integration. In the next part of my Windows 10 blogs, I will look at what the link to Azure AD means for accessing services online such as Office 365.

 

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