Windows Autopilot motherboard replacement scenario guidance

Applies to

  • Windows 10

This document offers guidance for Windows Autopilot device repair scenarios that Microsoft partners can use in Motherboard Replacement (MBR) situations, and other servicing scenarios.

Repairing Autopilot enrolled devices is complex, as it tries to balance OEM requirements with Windows Autopilot requirements. Specifically, OEM requirements include strict uniqueness across motherboards, MAC addresses, and so on. Windows Autopilot requires strict uniqueness at the hardware hash level for each device to enable successful registration. The hardware hash doesn't always accommodate all the OEM hardware component requirements. So these requirements are sometimes at odds, causing issues with some repair scenarios. The hardware hash is also known as the hardware ID.

Motherboard Replacement (MBR)

If a motherboard replacement is needed on a Windows Autopilot device, the following process is recommended:

  1. Deregister the device from Windows Autopilot
  2. Replace the motherboard
  3. Capture a new device ID (4K HH)
  4. Reregister the device with Windows Autopilot
  5. Reset the device
  6. Return the device

Each of these steps is described below.

Deregister the Autopilot device from the Autopilot program

Before the device arrives at the repair facility, it must be deregistered by the entity that registered it.

  • If the IT Admin registered the device, they likely did so via Intune (or possibly the Microsoft Store for Business). If so, they should deregister the device from Intune (or MSfB) because devices registered in Intune won't show up in Microsoft Partner Center (MPC).
  • If the OEM or CSP partner registered the device, they likely did so via the MPC. In that case, they should deregister the device from MPC, which will also remove it from the customer IT Admin’s Intune account.

Below we describe the steps an IT Admin would go through to deregister a device from Intune, and the steps an OEM or CSP would go through to deregister a device from MPC.

To avoid problems, an OEM or CSP should register Autopilot devices whenever possible. If the customer registers the devices, OEMs or CSPs can't deregister them if, for example, a customer leasing a device goes out of business before deregistering it themselves.

If a customer grants an OEM permission to register devices on their behalf using the automated consent process, an OEM can use the API to deregister devices they didn’t register themselves. This deregistration only removes those devices from the Autopilot program. It won't disenroll them from Intune or disjoin them from Azure AD. The customer can only do those steps through Intune.

Deregister from Intune

To deregister an Autopilot device from Intune, an IT Admin would:

  1. Sign in to their Intune account
  2. Navigate to Intune > Groups > All groups
  3. Remove the device from its group
  4. Navigate to Intune > Devices > All devices
  5. Select the checkbox next to the device you want to delete, then click the Delete button on the top menu
  6. Navigate to Intune > Devices > Azure AD devices
  7. Select the checkbox next to the device you want to delete, then click the Delete button along the top menu
  8. Navigate to Intune > Device enrollment > Windows enrollment > Devices
  9. Select the checkbox next to the device you want to deregister
  10. Click the extended menu icon (“…”) on the far right end of the line containing the device you want to deregister to expose an additional menu with the option to “unassign user”
  11. Click “Unassign user” if the device was previously assigned to a user. If not, this option will be grayed-out and can be ignored.
  12. With the unassigned device still selected, click the Delete button along the top menu to remove this device

These steps deregister the device from Autopilot, but also unenroll the device from Intune, and disjoin the device from Azure AD. It may appear that only deregistering the device from Autopilot is needed. However, there are barriers in Intune that require all the steps above to avoid problems with lost or unrecoverable devices. To prevent the possibility of orphaned devices in the Autopilot database, Intune, or Azure AD, it's best to complete all the steps. If a device gets into an unrecoverable state, you can contact the appropriate Microsoft support alias for assistance.

The deregistration process will take about 15 minutes. You can accelerate the process by clicking the “Sync” button, then “Refresh” the display until the device is no longer present.

More details on deregistering devices from Intune can be found here.

Deregister from MPC

To deregister an Autopilot device from the Microsoft Partner Center (MPC), a CSP would:

  1. Log into MPC
  2. Navigate to Customer > Devices
  3. Select the device to be deregistered and click the “Delete device” button

Screenshot of delete device

Deregistering a device from Autopilot in MPC does only that. It doesn't do either of the following:

  • unenroll the device from the MDM (Intune)
  • disjoin the device from Azure AD

So, if possible, the OEM/CSP ideally should work with the customer IT Admin to have the device fully removed per the Intune steps in the previous section.

Or, an OEM partner that has integrated the OEM Direct APIs can deregister a device with the AutopilotDeviceRegistration API. Make sure the TenantID and TenantDomain fields are left blank.

Because the repair facility won't have the user’s login credentials, they'll have to reimage the device as part of the repair process. The customer should do three things before sending the device to the facility:

  1. Copy all important data off the device.
  2. Let the repair facility know which version of Windows they should reinstall after the repair.
  3. If applicable, let the repair facility know which version of Office they should reinstall after the repair.

Replace the motherboard

Technicians replace the motherboard (or other hardware) on the broken device. A replacement Digital Product Key (DPK) is injected.

Repair and key replacement processes vary between facilities. Sometimes repair facilities receive motherboard spare parts from OEMs that have replacement DPKs already injected, but sometimes not. Sometimes repair facilities receive fully-functional BIOS tools from OEMs, but sometimes not. So, the quality of the data in the BIOS after an MBR varies. To ensure the repaired device will still be Autopilot-capable following its repair, check to make sure the new (post-repair) BIOS can successfully gather and populate the following information at a minimum:

  • DiskSerialNumber
  • SmbiosSystemSerialNumber
  • SmbiosSystemManufacturer
  • SmbiosSystemProductName
  • SmbiosUuid
  • TPM EKPub
  • MacAddress
  • ProductKeyID
  • OSType

For simplicity, and because processes vary between repair facilities, we've excluded many of the additional steps often used in an MBR, such as:

  • Verify that the device is still functional
  • Disable BitLocker*
  • Repair the Boot Configuration Data (BCD)
  • Repair and verify the network driver operation

*BitLocker can be suspended rather than disabled if the technician can resume it after the repair.

Capture a new Autopilot device ID (4K HH) from the device

Repair technicians must sign in to the repaired device to capture the new device ID. If the repair technician doesn't have access to the customer’s login credentials, they'll have to reimage the device to gain access:

  1. The repair technician creates a WinPE bootable USB drive.

  2. The repair technician boots the device to WinPE.

  3. The repair technician applies a new Windows image to the device.

    Ideally, the same Windows version that was originally on the device should be reimaged onto the device. Some coordination will be required between the repair facility and customer to capture this information at the time the device arrives for repair. Such coordination might include the customer sending the repair facility a customized image (.ppk file) via a USB stick, for example.

  4. The repair technician boots the device into the new Windows image.

  5. Once on the desktop, the repair technician captures the new device ID (4K HH) off the device using either the OA3 Tool or the PowerShell script, as described below.

Those repair facilities with access to the OA3 Tool (which is part of the ADK) can use the tool to capture the 4K Hardware Hash (4K HH).

Instead, the WindowsAutoPilotInfo PowerShell script can be used to capture the 4K HH by following these steps:

  1. Install the script from the PowerShell Gallery or from the command line (command-line installation is shown below).

  2. Navigate to the script directory and run it on the device when the device is either in Full OS or Audit Mode. See the following example.

    md c:\HWID
    Set-Location c:\HWID
    Set-ExecutionPolicy -Scope Process -ExecutionPolicy Unrestricted -Force
    Install-Script -Name Get-WindowsAutopilotInfo -Force
    Get-WindowsAutopilotInfo.ps1 -OutputFile AutopilotHWID.csv
    
  • If you are prompted to install the NuGet package, choose Yes.
  • If, after installing the script you get an error that Get-WindowsAutopilotInfo.ps1 isn't found, verify that C:\Program Files\WindowsPowerShell\Scripts is present in your PATH variable.
  • If the Install-Script cmdlet fails, verify that you have the default PowerShell repository registered (Get-PSRepository) or register the default repository with Register-PSRepository -Default -Verbose.

The script creates a .csv file that contains the device information, including the complete 4K HH. Save this file so that you can access it later. The service facility will use this 4K HH to reregister device as described below. Be sure to use the -OutputFile parameter when saving the file, which ensures that file formatting is correct. don't attempt to pipe the command output to a file manually.

Note

If the repair facility can't run the OA3 tool or PowerShell script to capture the new 4K HH, then the CSP (or OEM) partners must do it for them. Without some entity capturing the new 4K HH, there's no way to reregister this device as an Autopilot device.

Reregister the repaired device using the new device ID

If an OEM can't reregister the device, you have two options:

  • The repair facility or CSP can reregister the device using MPC.
  • The customer IT Admin should reregister the device via Intune (or MSfB).

Both ways of reregistering a device are shown below.

Reregister from Intune

To reregister an Autopilot device from Intune, an IT Admin would:

  1. Sign in to Intune.
  2. Navigate to Device enrollment > Windows enrollment > Devices > Import.
  3. Click the Import button to upload a csv file containing the device ID of the device to be reregistered. The device ID was the 4K HH captured by the PowerShell script or OA3 tool described previously in this document.

The following video provides a good overview of how to (re)register devices via MSfB.

Reregister from MPC

To reregister an Autopilot device from MPC, an OEM or CSP would:

  1. Sign in to MPC.
  2. Navigate to the Customer > Devices page and click the Add devices button to upload the csv file.

Screenshot of Add devices button
Screenshot of Add devices page

When reregistering a repaired device through MPC, the uploaded csv file must contain the 4K HH for the device, and not just the PKID or Tuple (SerialNumber + OEMName + ModelName). If only the PKID or Tuple was used, the Autopilot service would be unable to find a match in the Autopilot database. No match would be found because no 4K HH info was previously submitted for this essentially “new” device. The upload will fail, likely returning a ZtdDeviceNotFound error. So, again, only upload the 4K HH, not the Tuple or PKID.

When including the 4K HH in the csv file, you don't also need to include the PKID or Tuple. Those columns may be left blank, as shown below:

hash

Reset the device

The repair facility must reset the image back to a pre-OOBE state before returning it to the customer. This reset is needed because the device was required to be in Full OS or Audit Mode to capture the 4K HH. One way to reset the image is by using the built-in reset feature in Windows, as follows:

On the device, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and click on Get started. Under Reset this PC, select Remove everything and Just remove my files. Finally, click on Reset.

Screenshot of rest this PC

However, it’s likely the repair facility won’t have access to Windows because they lack the user credentials to sign in. In this case they need to use other means to reimage the device, such as the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool.

Return the repaired device to the customer

The repaired device can now be returned to the customer. It will be auto-enrolled into the Autopilot program on first boot-up during OOBE.

Important

If the repair facility did NOT reimage the device, they could be sending it back in a potentially broken state. For example, there’s no way to log into the device because it’s been dissociated from the only known user account. So, they should tell the organization that they need to fix the registration and OS themselves. A device can be “registered” for Autopilot before being powered-on. But the device isn’t actually “deployed” to Autopilot until it goes through OOBE. Therefore, resetting the device back to a pre-OOBE state is a required step.

Specific repair scenarios

This section covers the most common repair scenarios, and their impact on Autopilot enablement.

NOTES ON TEST RESULTS:

  • Scenarios below were tested using Intune only (no other MDMs were tested).
  • In most test scenarios below, the repaired and reregistered device needed to go through OOBE again for Autopilot to be enabled.
  • Motherboard replacement scenarios often result in lost data. Repair centers or customers should be reminded to back up data (if possible) before repair.
  • When a repair facility can't write device info into the BIOS of the repaired device, new processes need to be created to successfully enable Autopilot.
  • Repaired device should have the Product Key (DPK) preinjected in the BIOS before capturing the new 4K HH (device ID)

In the following table:

  • Supported = Yes: the device can be reenabled for Autopilot
  • Supported = No: the device can't be reenabled for Autopilot
ScenarioSupportedMicrosoft Recommendation
Motherboard Replacement (MBR) in generalYesThe recommended course of action for MBR scenarios is:
  1. Autopilot device is deregistered from the Autopilot program
  2. The motherboard is replaced
  3. The device is reimaged (with BIOS info and DPK reinjected)*
  4. A new Autopilot device ID (4K HH) is captured off the device
  5. The repaired device is reregistered for the Autopilot program using the new device ID
  6. The repaired device is reset to boot to OOBE
  7. The repaired device is shipped back to the customer

*It’s not necessary to reimage the device if the repair technician has access to the customer’s login credentials. It’s technically possible to successfully re-enable MBR and Autopilot without keys or certain BIOS info (like serial #, model name, and so on). But doing so is only recommended for testing/educational purposes.

MBR when motherboard has a TPM chip (enabled) and only one onboard network card (that also gets replaced)Yes
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard
  3. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  4. Write device info into BIOS
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
MBR when motherboard has a TPM chip (enabled) and a second network card (or network interface) that isn't replaced along with the motherboardNoThis scenario breaks the Autopilot experience. The resulting Device ID won't be stable until after TPM attestation has completed. Even then registration may give incorrect results because of ambiguity with MAC Address resolution. Therefore, we don't recommend this scenario.
MBR where the NIC card, HDD, and WLAN all remain the same after the repairYes
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard with a new Replacement Digital Product Key (RDPK) preinjected in BIOS
  3. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  4. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)*
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled

*For this and later scenarios, rewriting old device info wouldn't include the TPM 2.0 endorsement key, as the associated private key is locked to the TPM device

MBR where the NIC card remains the same, but the HDD and WLAN are replacedYes
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard (with new RDPK preinjected in BIOS)
  3. Insert new HDD and WLAN
  4. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
MBR where the NIC card and WLAN remains the same, but the HDD is replacedYes
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard (with new RDPK preinjected in BIOS)
  3. Insert new HDD
  4. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
MBR where only the MB is replaced (all other parts remain same). The new MB was taken from a previously used device that had never been enabled for Autopilot.Yes
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard (with new RDPK preinjected in BIOS)
  3. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  4. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
MBR where only the MB is replaced (all other parts remain same). The new MB was taken from a previously used device that HAD been Autopilot-enabled before.Yes
  1. Deregister old device from which MB will be taken
  2. Deregister damaged device (that you want to repair)
  3. Replace motherboard in repair device with MB from other Autopilot device (with new RDPK preinjected in BIOS)
  4. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  5. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  6. Capture new 4K HH
  7. Reregister repaired device
  8. Reset device back to OOBE
  9. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  10. Autopilot successfully enabled

The repaired device can also be used successfully as a normal, non-Autopilot device.

BIOS info excluded from MBR deviceNoRepair facility doesn't have BIOS tool to write device info into BIOS after MBR.
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard (BIOS does NOT contain device info)
  3. Reimage and write DPK into image
  4. Capture new 4K HH
  5. Reregister repaired device
  6. Create Autopilot profile for device
  7. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  8. Autopilot FAILS to recognize repaired device
MBR when there's no TPM chipYesWe don't recommend enabling Autopilot devices without a TPM chip (which is recommended for BitLocker encryption). However, it's possible to enable an Autopilot device in “standard user” mode (but NOT Self-deploying mode) that doesn't have a TPM chip. In this case, you would:
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard
  3. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  4. Write old device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reset device back to OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
New DPK written into image on repaired Autopilot device with a new MBYesRepair facility replaces normal MB on damaged device. MB doesn't contain any DPK in the BIOS. Repair facility writes DPK into image after MBR.
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard – BIOS does NOT contain DPK info
  3. Reimage device (to gain access), unless you have access to customers’ login credentials
  4. Write device info into BIOS (same s/n, model, and so on)
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reset or reimage device to pre-OOBE and write DPK into image
  7. Reregister repaired device
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
New Repair Product Key (RDPK)YesUsing a motherboard with a new RDPK preinjected results in a successful Autopilot refurbishment scenario.
  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace motherboard (with new RDPK preinjected in BIOS)
  3. Reimage or rest image to pre-OOBE
  4. Write device info into BIOS
  5. Capture new 4K HH
  6. Reregister repaired device
  7. Reimage or reset image to pre-OOBE
  8. Go through Autopilot OOBE
  9. Autopilot successfully enabled
No Repair Product Key (RDPK) injectedNoThis scenario violates Microsoft policy and breaks the Windows Autopilot experience.
Reimage damaged Autopilot device that wasn't deregistered before repairYes, but the device will still be associated with previous tenant ID, so should only be returned to same customer
  1. Reimage damaged device
  2. Write DPK into image
  3. Go through Autopilot OOBE
  4. Autopilot successfully enabled (to previous tenant ID)
Disk replacement from a non-Autopilot device to an Autopilot deviceYes
  1. don't deregister damaged device before repair
  2. Replace HDD on damaged device
  3. Reimage or reset image back to OOBE
  4. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  5. Autopilot successfully enabled (repaired device recognized as its previous self)
Disk replacement from one Autopilot device to another Autopilot deviceMaybeIf the device from which the HDD is taken was itself previously deregistered from Autopilot, then that HDD can be used in a repair device. The newly repaired device won't have the proper Autopilot experience if the HDD wasn't previously deregistered from Autopilot before being used in the repaired device.

Assuming the used HDD was previously deregistered (before being used in this repair):

  1. Deregister damaged device
  2. Replace HDD on damaged device using an HDD from another deregistered Autopilot device
  3. Reimage or rest the repaired device back to a pre-OOBE state
  4. Go through Autopilot OOBE (customer)
  5. Autopilot successfully enabled
Non-Microsoft network card replacement NoAny scenario where a third party (not onboard) network card is replaced will break the Autopilot experience. This includes any of the following scenarios:
  • from a non-Autopilot device to an Autopilot device
  • from one Autopilot device to another Autopilot device
  • from an Autopilot device to a non-Autopilot device

We don't recommend any of these scenarios.

A device repaired more than three timesNoAutopilot isn't supported when a device is repeatedly repaired. Parts NOT replaced become associated with too many parts that have been replaced. This makes it difficult to uniquely identify that device in the future.
Memory replacementYesReplacing the memory on a damaged device doesn't negatively affect the Autopilot experience on that device. No de/reregistration is needed. The repair technician simply needs to replace the memory.
GPU replacementYesReplacing the GPU(s) on a damaged device doesn't negatively affect the Autopilot experience on that device. No de/reregistration is needed. The repair technician simply needs to replace the GPU.

When scavenging parts from another Autopilot device, we recommend unregistering the scavenged device from Autopilot, scavenging it, and then NEVER REGISTERING THE SCAVENGED DEVICE (AGAIN) FOR AUTOPILOT, because reusing parts this way may cause two active devices to end up with the same ID, with no possibility of distinguishing between the two.

The following parts may be replaced without compromising Autopilot enablement or requiring special additional repair steps:

  • Memory (RAM or ROM)
  • Power Supply
  • Video Card
  • Card Reader
  • Sound card
  • Expansion card
  • Microphone
  • Webcam
  • Fan
  • Heat sink
  • CMOS battery

Other repair scenarios not yet tested and verified include:

  • Daughterboard replacement
  • CPU replacement
  • Wifi replacement
  • Ethernet replacement

FAQ

Question Answer
We have a tool that programs product information into the BIOS after the MBR. Do we still need to submit a CBR report for the device to be Autopilot-capable? No. Not if the in-house tool writes the minimum necessary information into the BIOS that the Autopilot program looks for to identify the device, as described earlier in this document.
What if only some components are replaced rather than the full motherboard? It’s true that some limited repairs don't prevent the Autopilot algorithm from successfully matching the post-repair device with the pre-repair device. Even so, it's best to ensure 100% success by going through the MBR steps above even for devices that only needed limited repairs.
How does a repair technician gain access to a broken device if they don’t have the customer’s login credentials? The technician will have to reimage the device and use their own credentials during the repair process.

Device guidelines