Switch to Windows 10 Pro Education from Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 S

Windows 10 Pro Education is a new offering in Windows 10, version 1607. This edition builds on the commercial version of Windows 10 Pro and provides important management controls needed in schools by providing education-specific default settings.

If you have an education tenant and use devices with Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 S, global administrators can opt-in to a free switch to Windows 10 Pro Education depending on your scenario.

To take advantage of this offering, make sure you meet the requirements for switching. For academic customers who are eligible to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, but are unable to use the above methods, contact Microsoft Support for assistance.

Requirements for switching

Before you switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, make sure you meet these requirements:

  • Devices must be running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher; or running Windows 10 S, version 1703
  • Devices must be Azure Active Directory joined, or domain joined with Azure AD Connect. Customers who are federated with Azure AD are also eligible. For more information, see Review requirements on devices.

    If you haven't domain joined your devices already, prepare for deployment of Windows 10 Pro Education licenses.

  • The Azure AD tenant must be recognized as an education approved tenant.

  • You must have a Microsoft Store for Education account.
  • The user making the changes must be a member of the Azure AD global administrator group.

Compare Windows 10 Pro and Pro Education editions

You can compare Windows 10 Editions to find out more about the features we support in other editions of Windows 10.

For more info about Windows 10 default settings and recommendations for education customers, see Windows 10 configuration recommendations for education customers.

Switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education

There are two ways to switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education, outlined below. Regardless of how you switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, note that you can only switch devices back to Windows 10 S through reimaging.

  1. Bulk switch through Microsoft Store for Education

    In this scenario, the global admin for the Azure AD education tenant can use Microsoft Store to switch all Windows 10 S devices on the tenant to Windows 10 Pro Education.

    See Switch using Microsoft Store for Education for details on how to do this.

  2. Asynchronous switch

    In this scenario, the global admin must acquire the necessary keys and then select a method for key distribution.

    Key acquisition options:

    • Volume Licensing customers - For schools with active Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements, global admins can obtain free MAK keys for Windows 10 Pro Education.

      Note

      Windows 10 S is a Qualified OS (QOS) for Academic Volume Licensing only.

    • Non-Volume Licensing customers - For schools without an active Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement, the global admin can contact CSS, fill out a form and provide a proof of purchase to receive MAK keys for Windows 10 Pro Education.

    Key distribution options:

    You can find step-by-step info on how to use each of the options described here in Switch options from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education.

    • Bulk key distribution - You can apply MAK keys to switch the operating system on select devices or groups of devices using one of these methods:
    • Manual key entry - You can also manually apply the MAK key using one of these methods:
      • Enter the MAK key in the Windows Settings > Activation page. See Switch using the Activation page for details on how to do this.
      • Install with a media and key through Windows setup. We don't recommend this option due to the potential for multi-reboot requirements.

Switch from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro Education

For schools that want to standardize all their Windows 10 Pro devices to Windows 10 Pro Education, a global admin for the school can opt-in to a free switch through the Microsoft Store for Education.

In this scenario:

  • The IT admin of the tenant chooses to turn on the switch for all Azure AD joined devices.
  • Any device that joins the Azure AD will switch automatically to Windows 10 Pro Education.
  • The IT admin has the option to automatically roll back to Windows 10 Pro, if desired. See Roll back Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 Pro.

See Switch using Microsoft Store for Education for details on how to do this.

Switch options from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education

If you want to switch only a few or a select group of Windows 10 S devices to Windows 10 Pro Education, you can use one of the following key distribution options once you've obtained the MAK keys for Windows 10 Pro Education. See Switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education for more info.

Switch using Intune for Education

  1. In Intune for Education, select Groups and then choose the group that you want to apply the MAK license key to.

    For example, to apply the switch for all teachers, select All Teachers and then select Settings.

  2. In the settings page, find Edition upgrade and then:

    1. Select the edition in the Edition to upgrade to field
    2. Enter the MAK license key in the Product key field

      Figure 1 - Enter the details for the Windows edition switch

      Enter the details for the Windows edition switch

  3. The switch will automatically be applied to the group you selected.

Switch using Windows Configuration Designer

You can use Windows Configuration Designer to create a provisioning package that you can use to switch the Windows edition for your device(s). Install Windows Configuration Designer from the Microsoft Store to create a provisioning package.

  1. In Windows Configuration Designer, select Provision desktop devices to open the simple editor and create a provisioning package for Windows desktop editions.
  2. In the Set up device page, enter the MAK license key in the Enter product key field to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education.

    Figure 2 - Enter the license key

    Enter the license key to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education

  3. Complete the rest of the process for creating a provisioning package and then apply the package to the devices you want to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education.

    For more information about using Windows Configuration Designer, see Set up student PCs to join domain.

Switch using MDM

To switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education, enter the product key for the Windows 10 Pro Education edition in the UpgradeEditionWithProductKey policy setting of the WindowsLicensing CSP.

Switch using scripting

You can switch from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education by running the changepk.exe command-line tool. To do this, run the following command:

changepk.exe /ProductKey MAK_key_or_product_key

Replace MAK_key_or_product_key with the MAK key that you obtained for the Windows 10 edition switch.

Switch using the Activation page

  1. On the Windows device that you want to switch, open the Settings app.
  2. Select Update & security > Activation, and then click Change product key.
  3. In the Enter a product key window, enter the MAK key for Windows 10 Pro Education and click Next.

Education customers with Azure AD joined devices

Academic institutions can easily move from Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro Education without using activation keys or reboots. When one of your users enters their Azure AD credentials associated with a Windows 10 Pro Education license, the operating system switches to Windows 10 Pro Education and all the appropriate Windows 10 Pro Education features are unlocked. Previously, only schools or organizations purchasing devices as part of the Shape the Future K-12 program or with a Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreement could deploy Windows 10 Pro Education to their users. Now, if you have an Azure AD for your organization, you can take advantage of the Windows 10 Pro Education features.

When you switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, you get the following benefits:

  • Windows 10 Pro Education edition. Devices currently running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher, or Windows 10 S, version 1703, can get Windows 10 Pro Education Current Branch (CB). This benefit does not include Long Term Service Branch (LTSB).
  • Support from one to hundreds of users. The Windows 10 Pro Education program does not have a limitation on the number of licenses an organization can have.
  • Roll back options to Windows 10 Pro

    • When a user leaves the domain or you turn off the setting to automatically switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, the device reverts seamlessly to Windows 10 Pro edition (after a grace period of up to 30 days).
    • For devices that originally had Windows 10 Pro edition installed, when a license expires or is transferred to another user, the Windows 10 Pro Education device seamlessly steps back down to Windows 10 Pro.

      See Roll back Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 Pro for more info.

      For devices that originally had Windows 10 S installed, Windows 10 Pro Education cannot step back down to Windows 10 S. You will need to reimage these devices with Windows 10 S if you need to step down from Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 S.

Switch using Microsoft Store for Education

Once you enable the setting to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, the switch will begin only after a user signs in to their device. The setting applies to the entire organization or tenant, so you cannot select which users will receive the switch. The switch will only apply to Windows 10 S and Windows 10 Pro devices.

To turn on the automatic switch to Windows 10 Pro Education

  1. Sign in to Microsoft Store for Education with your work or school account.

    If this is the first time you're signing into the Microsoft Store for Education, you'll be prompted to accept the Microsoft Store for Education Terms of Use.

  2. Click Manage from the top menu and then select the Benefits tile.

  3. In the Benefits tile, look for the Switch to Windows 10 Pro Education for free link and then click it.

    You will see the following page informing you that your school is eligible to switch free to Windows 10 Pro Education from Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Pro.

    Figure 3 - Switch Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro Education

    Eligible for free Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro Education switch

  4. In the Switch all your devices to Windows 10 Pro Education for free page, check box next to I understand enabling this setting will switch all domain-joined devices running Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 S in my organization.

    Figure 4 - Check the box to confirm

    Check the box to confirm

  5. Click Switch all my devices.

    A confirmation window pops up to let you know that an email has been sent to you to enable the switch.

  6. Close the confirmation window and check the email to proceed to the next step.

  7. In the email, click the link to Switch to Windows 10 Pro Education. Once you click the link, this will take you back to the Microsoft Store for Education portal.

    Figure 5 - Click the link in the email to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education

    Click the email link to switch to Windows 10 Pro Education

  8. Click Switch now in the Switching your device to Windows 10 Pro Education for free page in the Microsoft Store.

    You will see a window that confirms you've successfully switched all the devices in your organization to Windows 10 Pro Education, and each Azure AD joined device running Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 S will automatically switch the next time someone in your organization signs in to the device.

  9. Click Close in the Success window.

Enabling the automatic switch also triggers an email message notifying all global administrators in your organization about the switch. It also contains a link that enables any global administrators to cancel the switch if they choose. For more info about rolling back or canceling the switch, see Roll back Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 Pro.\

Figure 6 - Email notifying all global admins about the switch

Email notifying all global admins about the switch

Explore the switch experience

So what will users experience? How will they switch their devices?

For existing Azure AD joined devices

Existing Azure AD domain joined devices will be switched to Windows 10 Pro Education the next time the user logs in. That's it! No additional steps are needed.

For new devices that are not Azure AD joined

Now that you've turned on the setting to automatically switch to Windows 10 Pro Education, the users are ready to switch their devices running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher or Windows 10 S, version 1703 to Windows 10 Pro Education edition.

Step 1: Join users’ devices to Azure AD

Users can join a device to Azure AD the first time they start the device (during setup), or they can join a device that they already use running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher, or Windows 10 S, version 1703.

To join a device to Azure AD the first time the device is started

There are different methods you can use to join a device to Azure AD:

  • For multiple devices, we recommend using the Set up School PCs app to create a provisioning package to quickly provision and set up Windows 10 devices for education.
  • For individual devices, you can use the Set up School PCs app or go through the Windows 10 device setup experience. If you choose this option, see the following steps.

To join a device to Azure AD using Windows device setup

If the Windows device is running Windows 10, version 1703, follow these steps.

  1. During initial device setup, on the How would you like to set up? page, select Set up for an organization, and then click Next.

    Figure 7 - Select how you'd like to set up the device

    Select how you'd like to set up the device

  2. On the Sign in with Microsoft page, enter the username and password to use with Office 365 or other services from Microsoft, and then click Next.

    Figure 8 - Enter the account details

    Enter the account details you use with Office 365 or other Microsoft services

  3. Go through the rest of Windows device setup. Once you're done, the device will be Azure AD joined to your school's subscription.

To join a device to Azure AD when the device already has Windows 10 Pro, version 1703 or Windows 10 S, version 1703 installed and set up

If the Windows device is running Windows 10, version 1703, follow these steps.

  1. Go to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school.

    Figure 9 - Go to Access work or school in Settings

    Go to Access work or school in Settings

  2. In Access work or school, click Connect.

  3. In the Set up a work or school account window, click the Join this device to Azure Active Directory option at the bottom.

    Figure 10 - Select the option to join the device to Azure Active Directory

    Select the option to join the device to Azure Active Directory

  4. On the Let's get you signed in window, enter the Azure AD credentials (username and password) and sign in. This will join the device to the school's Azure AD.

  5. To verify that the device was successfully joined to Azure AD, go back to Settings > Accounts > Access work or school. You should now see a connection under the Connect to work or school section that indicates the device is connected to Azure AD.

    Figure 11 - Verify the device connected to Azure AD

    Verify the device is connected to Azure AD

Step 2: Sign in using Azure AD account

Once the device is joined to your Azure AD subscription, the user will sign in by using his or her Azure AD account. The Windows 10 Pro Education license associated with the user will enable Windows 10 Pro Education edition capabilities on the device.

Step 3: Verify that Pro Education edition is enabled

You can verify the Windows 10 Pro Education in Settings > Update & Security > Activation.

Figure 12 - Windows 10 Pro Education in Settings

Windows 10 activated and subscription active

If there are any problems with the Windows 10 Pro Education license or the activation of the license, the Activation panel will display the appropriate error message or status. You can use this information to help you diagnose the licensing and activation process.

Troubleshoot the user experience

In some instances, users may experience problems with the Windows 10 Pro Education switch. The most common problems that users may experience are as follows:

  • The existing operating system (Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher, or Windows 10 S, version 1703) is not activated.
  • The Windows 10 Pro Education switch has lapsed or has been removed.

Use the following figures to help you troubleshoot when users experience these common problems:

Figure 13 - Illustrates a device in a healthy state, where the existing operating system is activated, and the Windows 10 Pro Education switch is active.

Windows 10 activated and subscription active

Figure 14 - Illustrates a device on which the existing operating system is not activated, but the Windows 10 Pro Education switch is active.

Windows 10 not activated and subscription active

Review requirements on devices

Devices must be running Windows 10 Pro, version 1607 or higher, or Windows 10 S, version 1703 and be Azure AD joined, or domain joined with Azure AD Connect. Customers who are federated with Azure AD are also eligible. You can use the following procedures to review whether a particular device meets requirements.

To determine if a device is Azure AD joined

  1. Open a command prompt and type the following:

    dsregcmd /status
    
  2. Review the output under Device State. If the AzureAdJoined status is YES, the device is Azure Active Directory joined.

To determine the version of Windows 10

  • At a command prompt, type:

    winver
    

    A popup window will display the Windows 10 version number and detailed OS build information.

    Note

    If a device is running a previous version of Windows 10 Pro (for example, version 1511), it will not be switched to Windows 10 Pro Education when a user signs in, even if the user has been assigned a license.

Roll back Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 Pro

If your organization has the Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Pro Education switch enabled, and you decide to roll back to Windows 10 Pro or to cancel the switch, you can do this by:

  • Logging into Microsoft Store for Education page and turning off the automatic switch.
  • Selecting the link to turn off the automatic switch from the notification email sent to all global administrators.

Once the automatic switch to Windows 10 Pro Education is turned off, the change is effective immediately. Devices that were switched will revert to Windows 10 Pro only after the license has been refreshed (every 30 days) and the next time the user signs in. This means that a user whose device was switched may not immediately see Windows 10 Pro Education rolled back to Windows 10 Pro for up to 30 days. However, users who haven't signed in during the time that a switch was enabled and then turned off will never see their device change from Windows 10 Pro.

Note

Devices that were switched from Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro Education cannot roll back to Windows 10 S.

To roll back Windows 10 Pro Education to Windows 10 Pro

  1. Log in to Microsoft Store for Education with your school or work account, or follow the link from the notification email to turn off the automatic switch.
  2. Select Manage > Benefits and locate the section Windows 10 Pro Education and follow the link.
  3. In the Revert to Windows 10 Pro page, click Revert to Windows 10 Pro.

    Figure 15 - Revert to Windows 10 Pro

    Revert to Windows 10 Pro

  4. You will be asked if you're sure that you want to turn off automatic switches to Windows 10 Pro Education. Click Yes.

  5. Click Close in the Success page.

    All global admins get a confirmation email that a request was made to roll back your organization to Windows 10 Pro. If you, or another global admin, decide later that you want to turn on automatic switches again, you can do this by selecting Switch to Windows 10 Pro Education for free from the Manage > Benefits in the Microsoft Store for Education.

Preparing for deployment of Windows 10 Pro Education licenses

If you have on-premises Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domains, users will use their domain-based credentials to sign in to the AD DS domain. Before you start deploying Windows 10 Pro Education to users, you need to synchronize the identities in the on-premises AD DS domain with Azure AD.

You need to synchronize these identities so that users will have a single identity that they can use to access their on-premises apps and cloud services that use Azure AD (such as Windows 10 Pro Education). This means that users can use their existing credentials to sign in to Azure AD and access the cloud services that you provide and manage for them.

Figure 11 illustrates the integration between the on-premises AD DS domain with Azure AD. Microsoft Azure Active Directory Connect (Azure AD Connect) is responsible for synchronization of identities between the on-premises AD DS domain and Azure AD. Azure AD Connect is a service that you can install on-premises or in a virtual machine in Azure.

Figure 16 - On-premises AD DS integrated with Azure AD

Illustration of Azure Active Directory Connect

For more information about integrating on-premises AD DS domains with Azure AD, see these resources:

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