Upgrading to Windows 10 with EasiPC – the Simon de Senlis story


The following Windows 10 deployment story comes to use courtesy of Paul Dredge at EasiPC, who oversaw the summer upgrade at Microsoft Showcase School Simon de Senlis Primary in Northamptonshire. Paul was also on hand at a recent #RedefineLearn event at the school to talk through some of the benefits of cloud computing within schools, particularly through the use of Office 365 and Azure.

Simon de Senlis Primary is hosting another #RedefineLearn event on December 9th which is free to attend.

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Upgrading to Windows 10 with EasiPC – the Simon de Senlis story

by Paul Dredge

As I’m sure you are all aware Windows 10 came out on the 29th July which was during the summer holidays for schools. This made it the perfect time for schools to upgrade to Windows 10. At EasiPC we found that not many were ready to make that jump but a Microsoft Showcase School, that I work with, wanted to take that leap and this is their story.

FotoFlexer_PhotoSimon de Senlis is a two form entry primary school in Northamptonshire, with around 200 Windows devices. I have been working very closely with this school for the past 5 years and they have always been a school that is keen to be ahead of the game when it comes to IT. In the summer, I spent two days on site upgrading their devices to Windows 10 and getting them configured ready for use in September.

The school wanted to offer students a mix of devices so they purchased some Surface 3s, Acer Switch 10s and 7″ Toshiba Encores. These came shipped with various versions of Windows 8.1 ranging from the Pro to Home edition. The first challenge I had was getting the devices to pick up the Windows 10 upgrade, as the upgrade is done through Windows Update. I tried numerous times but some of the devices would find the update and others wouldn’t see the download, which left me a little frustrated. I put this down to the fact that Windows 10 had only been released the day before. Thanks to Microsoft, I was able to download an ISO of Windows 10 using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This saved me no end of time and I was able to extract the ISO and copy the necessary files to each device. Once the files were copied I could run the installer locally and proceed through the wizard, without having to wait for downloads to complete. This process took around 30 minutes per device and I was impressed at the quickness and ease of the installation.

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The student devices at Simon de Senlis are all non-domain devices, which could be seen as a headache for any technical support company. With the integration of Office 365 throughout the school having non-domain devices is a problem of the past. No longer does the school have the issues of slow boot up and login times. The student can pick up the device, turn it on, log into Office 365 and they are ready to use instantly.

Tom Rees, the Headteacher at Simon de Senlis wanted Windows 10 across all of the devices in the school. This wasn’t possible at the time, as they had some restrictions in place. The first being that the school has 60 Surface RT’s, which will only update to Windows 8.1 and the second being that the school uses Capita SIMS for their MIS system. After a phone call to Capita, they confirmed that Windows 10 wasn’t currently supported by themselves and it would be a while before it was. This meant that all staff devices also had to be left as Windows 8.1. Since then we have done some testing at the school and found that SIMS functions as they would like on Windows 10, so the next step at Simon de Senlis is to upgrade all staff devices to Windows 10.

“Windows 10 has been problem free”

With the school already using Office 365 moving to Windows 10 has been problem free. We haven’t experienced any issues with compatibility of software or with the devices. The school has been able to transform how they use IT with the use of Windows 10.

EasiPC are an education focused support provider with an aim to encourage teaching and learning through the confident use of technology.

You can follow Paul Dredge on Twitter via @EasiPC_Paul, and read more of his own posts on ‘The Dredge Blog’.

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