MDM & GP Tips Blog

Nov 2018

What is Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 vs E5? (and which should you pick for Intune?)

There are a number of things that are complicated and hard to comprehend at first.  College algebra, quantum physics and Microsoft pricing when it comes to their cloud services.  For instance, here is a screenshot of just some of the available licensing for a school system that currently utilizes Microsoft cloud services.

At first glance, trying to wrap your head around all of the available licensing options can be as exhaustive as contemplating the size of the universe.  There are so many ways to slice and dice subscription licensing when it comes to Office 365, Intune, Azure, etc.  For the sake of this blog series, we are going to make it simple. 

You want the ability to do mobile device management, which means Intune.  You also want Azure AD.  That combination pairs your options down to one of two Enterprise Mobility Suite packages (EMS).  Before EMS, Microsoft only offered their products separately such as:

  • Azure Active Directory Premium
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Azure Information Protection
  • Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics

Microsoft then offered EMS combos that bundled features together in a single option for simplicity’s sake.  As of today, there are two EMS bundle offerings which are outlined below:


Enterprise Mobility + Security E3

Enterprise Mobility + Security E5

Azure Active Directory






Azure Information Protection



Advanced Threat Analytics



Cloud App Security



So what is P1 and P2?  Well P2 includes more advanced features and capabilities.  For instance, the P1 bundle for Azure Active Directory gives you the ability to secure single sign-on to cloud and on premise apps.  It also offers multifactor authentication (MFA) conditional access and advanced security reporting.  P2 includes all of that plus offers Identity Protection and Privileged Identity Management (PIM) and advanced capability concerning identity protection.

E5 of course is more expensive.  So should you get E3 or E5?  Well, just like buying a car, this isn’t a decision that a business should make without a little time and consideration concerning what the needs of the organization actually are, as well as their budget.  Your decision also depends on what other Microsoft cloud services you subscribe to as well such as Office 365.  I told you it was complicated.  If you want to test drive all of the features that E5 has to offer, the good news is that you can sign up for an E5 trial.  That part I can truly say, is easy.

Nov 2018

What is Intune MDM Enrollment vs. Azure Workplace Join?

When you join a Windows machine in the traditional way to a network, you have the choice of joining a workgroup or a domain.  A workgroup has limited features.  It really just gives just each device the ability to share files with one another and that is about it.  A domain was a far better choice in most instances because it offers all of the management and security abilities you need in an enterprise.

I use that analogy to describe the difference between MDM Enrollment and Azure Workplace.   Azure Workplace join is not the same as Intune MDM. 

It is however a first step to enrolling in MDM because a device has to joined to Azure AD before it can be enrolled in Intune.  With Azure Workplace, you’re really just “half way there” (as the man to Bon Jovi would say, well, sing really.),

And there is really minimal of advantages to just being "half way" there. 

Azure Workplace is really just about allowing other people to bring their own devices (BYOD) to join your Azure AD and enjoy a few benefits such as:

  • single-sign-on (SSO) functionality to cloud services
  • access to the Windows store
  • ability to logon a device using an organizational work or school account

What you can’t do with Azure Workplace is:

  • Deploy applications or
  • Manage settings or
  • Lockdown a machine
  • Wipe it
  • Control it. 

All of that takes full MDM enrollment.  But if you are looking for a quick way for a dozen temp workers or contractors to join your Azure AD, it is ample to get the job done.

You can tell if your device is only Azure Workplace joined.  If you click “Manage your account on your Windows Profile page, the page will open in a web browser.  In the screenshot below, you can see where the computer is only “Workplace joined” and not MDM enrolled.

But you can see for yourself if you click on the flag, click Manage your account, and open the page in a Browser, like Edge. You’ll see in Figure 2.23 where the computer is merely “Workplace joined” and not MDM enrolled. 

Note the Windows flag like icon which is also an indicator of Workplace joined status.  If the machine were MDM enrolled, it would be replaced by a briefcase.  In the end, if you want the full Monty, you need to complete the two-part process and become MDM enrolled on top of merely registering with Azure.

Nov 2018

(Jeremy's been right for years)... Don't bother disabling unused GP "half".

I've never met this author, but I like the author's breakdown of the problem.

In summary... I get this question all the time.. "Jeremy... If I disable the UN-used half of the GPO, will it speed up GP processing?"

For 800 years, I've said "Don't bother." You only GAIN headaches because now the other half of the GPO might not process if you end up using it.

Now, a great article with excellent workmanship to prove the point: Don't bother.

Enjoy the read.

Nov 2018

What is an MDM deep link (and how can I use it to enroll computers into Intune?)

The goal of IT today is to make IT processes as automated as possible so that your IT professionals that are being paid the big bucks don’t have to spend all of their time on trivial tasks such as MDM enrolling devices.  You also don’t want them answering help desk calls all day from users who are confused how to follow the steps on their own that you sent them. 

Well, as you might expect, there is another way.  You can use deep links.  Let’s say you have a new employee with his own BYOD system, and you need their new device to be MDM enrolled.  You send them a nice friendly email that say something like:

Welcome aboard.  We need you to enroll your new Windows 10 laptop.  Please click here to do so.

(Don't worry, that link won't send you to siberia or anything.)

You can check it.. that embedded hyperlink actually points to:


You could also put a link on your company’s portal page and inform users to click the link to enroll a new device.  Clicking this link will launch the flow equivalent to the Enroll into device management option in Windows 10, except it will do the kickoff via the browser.  Note that only Edge and Internet Explorer appear supported however for deep links during my testing. 

Your users still have to input some information. 

Buuuut... If you want to make it even easier for them, you could append their username as a parameter in the link so that it would already be filled in the Email address box.

ms-device-enrollment:?mode=mdm&[email protected]

Note that this option parameter and others are only available in Windows 10, version 1703 or later.

Of course there are more MDM solutions than just Intune.  If you are using Workspace One as your MDM, you may be required to enter a specific server name.  Once again, you can bypass the process of having your users input these specifics in manually by adding the server name parameter.

ms-devicenrollment:?mode=mdm&username=mdm[email protected]&servername=

The result would look like this:

Note that there are other optional parameters such as ownership which denotes wheter the device is BYOD or owned by the business enterprise.  Another one is deviceidentifier which passes a unique identifier onto the device.

The point is that Deep Links is made to make it easy and comfortable for users to self enroll themselves.  Self deployment is one of the goals of cloud computing. 

Nov 2018

What is an MDM authority (and how do I set it up in Intune?)

Before you go about adding your first device to Intune, you have to choose your MDM authority for your tenant.  The mobile device management authority determines where you will perform mobile device management tasks.  In a domain joined network, the authority would be either Group Policy or SCCM for instance.  There are three options to configure the tenant-level MDM authority.

  1. Intune MDM Authority
  2. Configuration Manager MDM Authority
  3. None

Intune MDM Authority used to be known as Intune Standalone.  This is a better name descriptor in that using this option, all mobile device management tasks will take place within Intune exclusively.  The second option, Configuration Manager MDM Authority was once known as Hybrid MDM.  Using this option means that devices are managed through a combination of Intune and SCCM Configuration Manager.  You should know that this hybrid ability will be depreciated as of Sept. 1, 2019.  On that date, Microsoft will stop delivering "policy, apps or security updates" to hybrid MDM users.  You can interpret this as strong encouragement by Microsoft to transition to Intune on Azure.  Really, Hybrid Intune was only meant to be a transition state for companies to begin their migrations to the cloud.

Configuring the MDM Authority for your tenant couldn’t be easier.  If you are configuring your MDM Authority for the first time, you can simply logon to the Intune administrator console.  If you are currently running in Hybrid MDM or Configuration Manager MDM Authority, you can either access the Intune administrator console or the Configuration Manager console of your SCCM server to initiate the process.  In this case, I will use the example of assigning the MDM Authority for the very first time.  Once you are logged on, simply go to Device enrollment.

Then you will see the option “Choose MDM Authority.”  Note that if you have assigned your MDM Authority already, this option will not be visible. 

Note that you can only transition from Configuration Manager MDM Authority to Intune MDM Authority and not vise versa.  Also know that while it was true at one time that you had to contact Microsoft support to change from hybrid to stand alone, that requirement is now null and void.  The entire MDM Authority selection process is self serve and simple.  Keep in mind that there may be a transition time involved when changing between the two types of authority modes.  Once the MDM Authority assignment process is complete, you can begin the process of enrolling devices.

Nov 2018

What can I get from Office 365’s MDM versus Intune?

When it comes to Mobile Device Management, it can be a little confusing keeping all the various MDM offerings straight.  For many organizations that utilize Office 365 for their email and/or other office suite applications, O365 MDM may be quite appealing due to one captivating detail…its free!  Yes, MDM for O365 is included with many Office 365 commercial subscriptions.  Free is indeed a good thing.

Free of course usually denotes some limitations and shortcomings.  This is the case with O365 MDM as it does not have near the feature rich options nor device coverability of Intune.  Intune either requires a paid subscription or can be purchased with Enterprise Mobility Suite.  Cost is one of the main differences between the two.

Mobile Device Management for Office 365 is designed for securing and managing mobile devices.  This includes such things as iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows Phones and tablets that are connected to Exchange Online.  You can create MDM policies to secure these devices by remotely wiping them or removing sensitive information.  This is one of the most important security management features for corporate mobile devices.  Other functions of O365 MDM include:

  • Remotely wipe emails from any device
  • Set up device policies like password requirements and security settings
  • Ensure email and documents can only be accessed by company managed mobile devices
  • Access reports and alerts concerning the jailbreaking of devices
  • Review reports concerning which devices are not compliant

O365 MDM is a good fit for a company that fully utilizes domain joined services to manage their traditional workstations and laptops and need to manage and secure mobile devices as well.  For those organizations that want to go all in and manage all of their Windows 10 computer devices (including traditional PCs) using an MDM solution, Intune is the only choice between the two.  With Intune, it is possible to manage your devices without any on premise infrastructure as long as they are all Azure joined.

Another key difference is how you access each of the CSP interfaces.  O365 MDM is accessed using the Security and Compliance Center as is shown below.


Intune on the other hand is accessed through the Azure portal.


Intune has a lot more functionality than O365 MDM such as the following:

  • You can integrate Intune with System Center Configuration Manager to coincidingly manage both on and off prem devices
  • Supports Mac OS X as well as Linux and Unix servers
  • Deploy your internal line-of-business apps and apps in stores to users
  • Provide additional security for web browsing
  • Implement Mobile Application Management policies for all your users

Which one is best depends on the needs of your organization. 

Nov 2018

What is Intune for Education?

Microsoft puts a lot of emphasis on the education market.  In an effort to cater to the K12 educational organizations, Microsoft offers a separate product called Intune for Education.  While large metro school districts that have students numbering in the tens of thousands or more will most likely opt for the full Intune Console, Intune for Education is a very attractive alternative for private schools and public schools with a student body of less than 10,000 students. 

First off, Intune for Education is simpler.  Smaller school systems often lack high level fulltime inhouse IT staff with the knowledge base to granularly administer advanced settings for their enterprise.  Often a single staff member is assigned the duty of supporting everything.  In some cases, schools may rely on teachers themselves to manage their classroom students and devices.  This is where Intune for Education comes in.  It has a simplified management interface that is inviting and extremely user.  Task creation is wizard driven so that the user is guided through the setup process.  The interface makes use of graphical icons that make it less intimidating for teachers and non-technical staff.  Below is an example of the Express Configuration area that is designed to quickly achieve a desired task.


Simplicity does come at a cost.  Intune for Education lacks the advanced configuration functionality that the full console version boasts.  It does do a great job of the essentials however such as the basic management of users and devices (both Windows 10 and iOS), deploying mobile apps and ensuring basic security compliance.  It is a simplified Windows 10 experience, but for many schools, that is all that is needed.

Intune for Education is designed for the modern day educational organizations.  For instance, teachers can create “Take a Test” profiles.  These test profiles secure the browser during an online testing experience.  These secure testing profiles prevent students from using other computer or internet resources during a test.  Intune for Education also integrates with other Microsoft products such as School Data Sync and Minecraft Education Edition.


Screenshot originally from:

And then of course, there is cost.  Intune for Education is affordable for smaller school systems that face challenging budgets.  Currently, educational customers have two options.  The first is a “one and done” per device fee at the time of the device’s enrollment.  This license is good for the life cycle of the product.  The other option is to license it per user on an annual basis.  The good news here is that student account are free.  School administrators will have to run the numbers to decide which option is best for them.

Keep in mind that Intune for Education is for “schools” only and Microsoft does verify this.  While Intune for Education isn’t for everyone in education, it certainly makes sense for some.

Oct 2018

Windows 1809 Group Policy Blue Screen After Upgrading (that you don't have to panic about)

Hi Team..!

As some of you know, Windows 1809 rollout was paused for upgrade problem (

But I got a copy before it got yanked. When I did some tests.. in upgrading from Windows 1803 to 1809 on  some machines ,

I found this interesting "Blue Screen" which.. you should NOT FREAK OUT ABOUT.

GPSVC service failed UUID Blue Screen

The good news is that this only occurs ONE time per machine, on the first attempted login. Then.. never again.

Maybe again the next time Windows is upgraded... maybe maybe you'll see it again.. but ... maybe not.

 Anyway: If you get people reporting this.. you can cheerfully just say "Got it" and then.. don't worry about it.

It's the one blue screen.. NOT to freak out about.

My friend Thorbjorn Sjovold from SpecopSoftware explains also how this can occur: 

Another great read !


Also, and totally unrelated.. I'm doing a live webinar with my friends at NetWrix.. 

What: Group Policy Changes - What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You"
When: October 25 at 1.00 PM EST.
Who: You. Me. Them.
Anything else? : Not that I can think of.

Great? So what are you waiting for? Sign up and see you there.

See ya soon.

-Jeremy Moskowitz

Jul 2018

Edge in Windows 17718 just got more policies and new ADMX templates just shipped.


Microsoft just pre-announced a bunch of interesting new policies for a future version of Windows. 

And, the latest ADMX items, which fix a small problem I mentioned several weeks back... is now available:

Go forth and go policy my friends !