Managed Home Screen: A Configuration Guide

As a business, it’s important to always be on the lookout for devices and applications that can improve the way you carry out your business operations. With platforms such as Managed Home Screen (MHS), the benefits to your business will be clear to see for everyone.

What MHS offers is an application for corporate Android Enterprise devices. This works for those enrolled via Intune and running in multi-app kiosk mode. Once installed on these devices, MHS will function as a launcher for other approved apps to run on top of it.

In previous articles, we have gone over the new features that Microsoft has added to MHS. We’ve also covered their benefits to your organization. In this article, we’ll be discussing some of the key configuration aspects of the Managed Home Screen platform.

When do you configure the Managed Home Screen app?

Start by verifying if your devices meet the prerequisites. This is because Intune only supports the enrollment of Android Enterprise dedicated devices for Android devices running OS version 8.0. In addition, these devices should be able to connect to Google Mobile Services.

Likewise, MHS only supports Android devices running OS version 8.0 and above. If you find that the settings are available through device configuration profiles, then you should configure the settings there. This will be faster, limit errors, and give you a better Intune-support experience.

Also, note that there are some MHS settings only available via the App configuration policies pane in the Intune admin center. When using App configuration:

  • Head over to the Microsoft Intune admin center and select Apps > App configuration policies.
  • Add a configuration policy for Managed devices running Android.
  • Select Managed Home Screen as the associated app
  • To configure the different available MHS settings, select Configuration settings.

Selecting a Configuration Settings Format

To define configuration settings for MHS, there are two methods available:

  • Configuration designer – enables you to configure settings with an easy-to-use UI. It allows you to toggle features on or off and set values. With this method, you’ll find a few disabled configuration keys with the value type BundleArray. The only way to configure these keys is by entering JSON data.
  • JSON data – with this option, you can define all possible configuration keys using a JSON script.

Moreover, by adding properties with Configuration Designer, you can automatically convert these properties to JSON. Do so by selecting Enter JSON data from the Configuration settings format dropdown.

Using Configuration Designer

Configuration designer will enable you to select pre-populated settings and their associated values. In the table below, you’ll find a list of the MHS available configuration keys, value types, default values, and descriptions. The description gives you the expected device behavior based on selected values. Note that the BundleArray type of configuration keys disable in the Configuration Designer.

Configuration to customize applications, folders, and general appearance of Managed Home Screen

Configuration KeyValue TypeDefault ValueDescriptionAvailable in device configuration profile
Set allow-listed applicationsbundleArrayYou can find it under the Enter JSON Data sectionEnables you to define the set of apps you see on the home screen form along with the apps installed on the device. Entering the app package name of the apps that you want visible allows you to define the apps. Any app that you choose to allow-list in this section needs to be already installed on the device to be visible on the home screen.Yes
Set pinned web linksbundleArrayYou can find it under the Enter JSON Data section  Enables you to pin websites as quick launch icons on the home screen. Using this configuration allows you to define the URL and add it to the home screen for the end-user to launch in the browser with a single tap.Yes
Create a Managed Folder for grouping appsbundleArrayYou can find it under the Enter JSON Data sectionEnables you to create and name folders and group apps within these folders. End-users can’t rename or move folders and neither can they move the apps within the folders. Folders will appear according to the order of creation and apps according to alphabetical order. If you have apps that you want to group into folders, they must first be assigned as required to the device and must have been added to the Managed Home Screen.Yes
Set Grid SizestringAutoEnables you to set the grid size for apps to be positioned on the managed home screen. Use the format “columns ; rows ” to set the number of app rows and columns to define grid size. When defining grid size, the maximum number of apps visible in a row on the home screen is the number of rows you set. Likewise, the maximum number of apps visible in a column on the home screen is the number of columns you set.           Yes
Lock Home ScreenboolTRUEEliminates the ability of the end-user to move around app icons on the home screen. Enabling this configuration key locks the app icons on the home screen. End-users can’t drag and drop to different grid positions on the home screen. When turned to false, end-users will be able to move around the  app and weblink icons on the Managed Home Screen.Yes
Application Order EnabledboolFALSETurning this setting to True will enable you to set the order of apps, weblinks, and folders on the Managed Home Screen. After it’s enabled, you can set the ordering with app_order.Yes
Application OrderbundleArrayYou can find it under the Enter JSON Data sectionEnables you to set the order of apps, weblinks, and folders on the Managed Home Screen. You can only use this setting if Lock Home Screen is enabled, the grid size is defined, and the Application Order enabled is set to True.Yes
Applications in folder are ordered by nameboolTRUEFalse enables items in a folder to appear in the order they’re specified. If not for this, they will be displayed in alphabetical order.No
Set app icon sizeinteger2With this, you can define the icon size for apps displayed on the home screen. Below are the values that you can use in this configuration for different sizes:   0 (Smallest),1 (Small), 2 (Regular), 3 (Large)4 (Largest).Yes
Set app folder iconinteger0With this, you can define the appearance of app folders displayed on the home screen. The appearance can be selected from the values below:   Dark Square(0)Dark Circle(1)Light Square(2)Light Circle(3)Yes
Set screen orientationinteger1Using this, you can set the orientation of the home screen to portrait mode, landscape mode, or allow auto rotate. The orientation can be set by entering the values below:   1 (for portrait mode),2 (for Landscape mode),3 (for Autorotate).  Yes
Set device wall paperstringDefaultBy using this, you can select a wall paper of your choice. All you need to do is enter the URL of the image that you want to set as a wallpaper.Yes
Define theme colorstringlightDecide whether you want Managed Home Screen app to run in “light” or “dark” mode.No
Block pinning browser web pages to MHSboolFALSEBy turning this restriction to True, you can prevent users from pinning web pages from any browser onto Managed Home Screen.No
Enable updated user experience     boolFALSESwitching to True will enable the updated app design to be displayed along with the improvements to user workflows for usability and supportability, for MHS. However, if you keep it as False, users will continue to see previous workflows on the app   An important thing to note here is that from August 2024 onwards, previous Managed Home Screen workflows will no longer be available and all devices will need to use the updated app design.No
Top Bar Primary Elementchoice This key helps you choose whether the primary element of the top bar will be the device Serial Number, Device Name, or Tenant Name. You can only use this setting when the Enable sign in key is set to false. Otherwise, the user’s name will be shown as the primary element when the key is set to True. If you want the top bar to be visible on users’ devices, you must set Enable updated user experience to true.  No
Top Bar Secondary Elementchoice This key helps you choose whether the secondary element of the top bar will be the device Serial Number, Device Name, or Tenant Name.  If you want the top bar to be visible on users’ devices, you must set Enable updated user experience to true.  No
Top Bar User Name Stylechoice This setting enables you to select the style of the user’s name in the top bar based on the following list: display name last name, first name first name, last name first name, last initial You can only use this setting when the Enable sign in key is set to True. If you want the top bar to be visible on users’ devices, you must set Enable updated user experience to true.No

Key things to note

Ensure the Managed Home Screen app seamlessly meets Google Play Store’s requirements. This is contingent on the app’s available update at the API level. However, doing it this way translates to a few changes to how Wi-Fi configuration works from Managed Home Screen. So, some of the changes you should expect to encounter include:

  • Users won’t be able to change the Wi-Fi connection for the device, whether it be enabling or disabling the connection. However, despite not being able to turn the Wi-Fi on or off, users can still switch between networks.
  • In addition, users also won’t be able to automatically connect to a configured Wi-Fi network with a first-time password requirement. Instead, after entering the password for the first time, the configured network will then automatically connect.


All those who are using Android devices running OS 11 should note another aspect. Whenever an end-user tries to connect to a network via the Managed Home Screen app, a consent pop-up prompt will appear. This pop-up is from the Android platform itself and therefore not specific to the Managed Home Screen app.

Furthermore, users will see a request to enter a password. This happens when attempting to connect to a password-protected network via the Managed Home Screen app.

You’ll notice that the network will only change if the device does not have a connection to a network. This includes instance when you have input the right password. All devices already connected to a stable network won’t connect to a password-protected network via the Managed Home Screen app.


For individuals using Android devices running OS 10, there’s another consideration. When an end-user tries to connect to any network using the Managed Home Screen app, they will receive a prompt with a consent via notifications.

Because of this prompt, users whose devices are running OS 10 must have access to the status bar. Also, notifications to be able to complete the consent step. Therefore, IT admins may need to use General settings for dedicated devices to avail the status bar. They’ll also do so for notifications to the appropriate end-users whenever necessary.

Furthermore, users will see a request to enter a password. This happens when attempting to connect to a password-protected network via the Managed Home Screen app. You’ll notice that the network will only change if the device does not have a connection to a network. This applies even if you have input the right password.


If a device is running Android 10+ and using Managed Home Screen, successful Bluetooth pairing on devices that require a pairing key requires certain conditions. IT admins will need to enable a few Android system apps and these are as follows:

  • Android System Bluetooth
  • Android System Settings
  • Android System UI

Managing troubleshooting issues

One of the best updates that Microsoft brought to Managed Home Screen is the introduction of enhanced troubleshooting features. Users now get access to a debug menu, which includes the pages for Get Help, Exit Kiosk Mode, and About.

This access aims to simplify the troubleshooting process for device users which can reduce downtime and thereby increase productivity. To help even further, you’ll find configurations in the table below. These help troubleshoot various problems that users can encounter on their devices:

Configuration KeyValue TypeDefault ValueDescriptionAvailable in device configuration profile
Exit lock task mode passwordstring Input a 4-6-digit code to use to temporarily drop out of lock-task mode for troubleshooting.Yes
Enable easy access debug menuboolFALSESwitch this setting to True and you can access the debug menu from the Managed Settings menu while in Managed Home Screen. If you want to exit kiosk mode, you’ll need to go to the debug menu to find the capability. With that done, you need to click the back button about 15 times. Alternatively, if you want to keep the entry point to the debug menu only accessible via the back button, you should keep the setting switched to False.Yes
Enable MAX inactive time outside of MHSboolFALSEIf you want to automatically re-launch Managed Home Screen after a set period of inactivity, you’ll need to switch this setting to True. Note that the timer will only count inactive time and, upon configuration, will reset each time the user interacts with the device while outside of MHS. To set the inactivity timer, use Max inactive time outside MHS. This setting is kept off by default. You can only access this setting if Exit lock task mode password has been configured.No
MAX inactive time outside MHSinteger180Specify the maximum amount of inactive time (in seconds) that a user can spend outside of MHS before it is automatically re-launched. Users will find this configuration set to 180 seconds by default. If you want to use this setting, Enable MAX inactive time outside of MHS must be set to true.No
Enable MAX time outside MHSboolFALSEIf you want to automatically re-launch MHS after a set period of time, you must set this setting to True. The timer considers both active and inactive time spent outside of MHS. You need to use MAX time outside MHS to set the inactivity timer. This setting is kept off by default. You can only use this setting after Exit lock task mode password has been configured.No
MAX time outside MHSinteger600You must specify the maximum amount of absolute time (in seconds) that a user can spend outside of MHS before it is automatically re-launched. Users will find this configuration set to 600 seconds by default. You can only use this setting if Enable MAX time outside of MHS is set to true.No

Microsoft ecosystem provides Android users with an optimal experience

Managed Home Screen and all its features are helping to enhance the user experience. MHHS supports Android users who rely on the Microsoft ecosystem for business purposes. For years, the relationship between Microsoft and Android has allowed for a better integration between the concerned platforms. It also provides end-users a better overall experience. All of this fits in perfectly with the evolution we have witnessed in the development of excellent mobility solutions.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in those who appreciate the possibility of remote work. Plenty are enjoying the option of being able to work from home. There are additional benefits, including creating their own schedules. But they can also maintain or even increase their productivity levels.

Android users make up a decent portion of Microsoft clients. So, it’s not surprising that Microsoft aims to provide users with all the solutions they need. And Microsoft outfits users to be successful in their business operations. And with Managed Home Screen, Android users get an app that can further enhance their interaction with the Microsoft ecosystem.

The ability for organizations to customize and control user experiences is paramount. It enables them to ensure that end-users will have access to everything they need while simultaneously putting in certain restrictions.

Additionally, end-users can enjoy a much-improved experience. This is because MHS enables businesses to create consistent and simplified experiences across device types and OEMs.

End-users can expect continued innovations and improved features thanks to the global network of experts established by Microsoft and Google. These client specialists, with deep knowledge of Android devices and services, significantly contribute to the ongoing development of services. They will also further enhance the user experience.

It’s because of collaborations like these and the expertise obtained that MHS users can access features that address issues on-device. It’s also how they painlessly equip Microsoft support to troubleshoot issues on-device. So, as the improvements continue to roll out, businesses and individuals will take a keen interest. All of these changes can improve how they do business.

Wrap up

If there is anything that we can expect with regard to technology, it’s that we will continue to see changes. Most intend to improve the end-user experience. The features that Managed Home Screen offers, as well as the available improvements, are a testament to Microsoft’s goal. Microsoft continuously aims to create the optimal experience for Android users.

With feedback from Android experts being a key part of development, end-users can expect ongoing improvements. They can also expect to reap the many benefits of an ever-improving Microsoft ecosystem. One only has to take a look at the depth of products and services available to Android device users. It’s then evident that businesses have plenty to benefit from with these programs and features.

Enhancing the Intune Experience With Managed Home Screen

All the devices and applications that we use need both security and feature updates now and again to ensure that we always get the best possible performance. Whether these are personal or work devices, without regular improvements, the performances will eventually not be good enough to meet our requirements.

One of the platforms that helps to optimize the user experience is Managed Home Screen. Using this feature can deliver a better experience. Within the Intune environment, all users with enrolled devices as Android Enterprise dedicated devices can benefit.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what Managed Home Screen is and how it can improve workflows.

What is Managed Home Screen?

With Managed Home Screen, users get an Android application that is compatible on devices enrolled into Intune as Android Enterprise dedicated devices. The application means to cover corporate-owned devices that are running in multi-app kiosk mode.

On these devices, Managed Home Screen acts as the launcher for other approved apps to run on top of it. The benefit to IT admins is greater control over the customization of devices, as well as being able to restrict the capabilities that the end user can access. The availability of these features means that your business can:

  • Easily maintain control over how these devices work. The customization and control you have over the Android devices allows you to determine specifically what users can access.
  • Enhance the user experience by establishing a consistent and simplified experience across device types and OEMs that makes it significantly easier to perform all tasks to a high standard.
  • Gain access to all the relevant troubleshooting workflows that one would need to fix issues on-device. Or provide Microsoft support with the necessary tools to troubleshoot issues on-device.
  • Utilize an improved sign-in and sign-out experience with a device configured with Shared device mode.

Customization benefits

Additionally, the availability of customization will allow you to completely modify the overall appearance and feel of your home screen.

You can do things such as:

  • Set a custom wallpaper that can truly bring your branding to the fore. Or, you could use the custom wallpaper as a visual indicator to distinguish various devices.
  • You can relocate applications to the home screen so you have your important and most frequently used apps in a place that facilitates easy access. Not only that, but this can help you design a setup that is consistent across devices for your users.
  • Those who may have plenty of apps on the home screen can easily simplify things by categorizing apps into specific folders.
  • Because devices can have varying screen sizes, you’ll also get the option to modify the size of apps and folders appearing on the home screen.
  • To get even quicker access to vital app data, you can add custom widgets to the home screen.
  • When a device is inactive, you can set a screen saver to hide the home screen.

Dedicated devices

We just mentioned that Managed Home Screen is usable on devices enrolled into Intune as Android Enterprise dedicated devices. But, what exactly are ‘dedicated devices’? This term simply refers to corporate-owned devices not associated with a particular user. Additionally, these devices will normally be in use for performing specific tasks.

So, if you want to enroll Android devices with no user-affinity then this option will suit you. However, it’s also important to note that Intune’s Android Enterprise dedicated device solution will require that the devices run Android OS 8+ and be able to connect to Google Mobile Services (GMS).

Setting up Managed Home Screen

Setting up your device with Managed Home Screen is a process that will take several steps. But, once you have a device that meets the requirements, you can begin.

Setting up an Intune enrollment profile and device group

Start by creating an enrollment profile to generate an enrollment token first, and attach it to a device group. In the Endpoint Manager admin center, navigate over to  Devices > Android > Android enrollment > Corporate-owned dedicated devices. You’ll need to fill in the Name but filling in the Description is optional. After this, select Type. Be sure to select Corporate owned dedicated device with Azure AD shared mode if you expect that your devices may require users to access M365 applications, other App Protection Policies, or Conditional Access policies. When everything’s done, click Create.


Head over to Groups > All groups > New group. You’ll need to fill in the Group Name but filling in the Group Description is optional. Make sure that the Group type is set to “security”. Then, proceed to change Membership type to Dynamic device, after which you need to Add a dynamic query. By using dynamic queries, you can have your device automatically added to a group based on the property of your choice.

Approve and assign Managed Home Screen and MORE Managed Google Play apps

This next step will ensure that the Managed Home Screen successful downloads and installs on your enrolled devices. It should also automatically launch. You’ll find Managed Home Screen already synced in the console when you venture over to navigate Apps > All apps as soon as you have linked your Intune and Managed Google Play accounts. After that, you can:

  • Click Managed Home Screen.
  • Select Properties>Assignments (edit).
  • Add your device group from Step 2 officially to the Required assignments.
  • Save.

If you want to add public, private, or web applications, go ahead and stay in Apps > All apps and choose “add.” Navigate to Select app type and choose Managed Google Play app.

Manage Android Enterprise system apps

One thing that you will notice is that system applications will often disable by default upon enrollment. To enable these applications and show the icon on the device, you start by heading back to Apps > All apps in Intune and selecting Add in the top left corner. After choosing Select, proceed to fill out the App information, and assign it as “Required” or “Uninstall” to the group that you created in Step 2. At this point, you can select “Required” if you want the application to be available on the device or “Uninstall” if you prefer that it remain hidden on the device.

Creating a device configuration profile

Having this profile is crucial because it enables you to not only configure device-level behavior but to configure kiosk mode as well. To begin the process, navigate to Devices>Configuration profiles>Create profile. Next, go to Platform, and select “Android Enterprise.” With that done, head to Profile and  select “Device restrictions” beneath “Fully Managed, Dedicated, and Corporate-Owned Work Profile.”

After this, select Create, and then you need to fill in the Name of your profile but filling in the Description is optional. Once everything is ready you can select Next.

Creating an app configuration profile

Be mindful that this step is completely optional. Once you have completed the steps already given above, you will be ready to enroll your devices. So, this step is ideal for those who want to learn how to utilize all the available Managed Home Screen features. Additionally, this step will help you to configure the complete list of features that Managed Home Screen has to offer.

In the Endpoint Management admin center, head over to Apps>App configuration policies>Add>Managed devices. Then, you need to fill in the Name and as with other sections, the Description is optional. Select Android Enterprise for platform, Fully Managed, Dedicated, and Corporate-Owned Work Profile Only for profile type, and Managed Home Screen for targeted app. As soon as you are ready to continue, select Next.

A. Using configuration designer to setup Managed Home Screen features

Choose Use configuration designer from the Configuration settings format drop-down menu. Select Add to open a panel with all the available Managed Home Screen configuration keys. Choose the configuration keys that you want to edit and then click OK. All the configuration keys have default values and if you want to modify a configuration value, hover over and then interact with each row under the “Configuration value” column. Click Next as soon as all the necessary changes have been made.

Navigate to the Assignments page under Included groups, choose Select groups to include, next  and pick the device group you created in the second step. You can review by clicking Next, and once set, click Create.

B. Using JSON data to setup Managed Home Screen features

You can complete the configuration of the home screen by using JSON to create your folders, add widgets, and order items. If you need to edit your existing app configuration profile, you can do so by clicking on the policy you just created in Apps > App configuration policies. After that, select Properties > Settings (Edit). Choose Enter JSON data from the Configuration settings format drop-down menu. You should be able to see all your existing configurations in JSON format.

B.1. Add a managed folder to your home screen

You can organize your home screen better by creating a folder that you get to manage. This is something that you can only do using JSON data format in an app configuration policy. You’ll need to add the JSON snippet below in where feature configurations go:

  • Replace “PLACEHOLDER_FOLDER-NAME” with a name of your choice.
  • Replace “PLACEHOLDER_APP-PACKAGE-NAME” with the package name of the app that you want to put inside your folder. You have the option to add as many apps as you want.
  • B.2. Configure custom ordering of items on the home screen

A few things will happen if you want to create a custom ordering of items on the home screen. These include:

  • Apps, widgets, and folders should already be added to your home screen allow-list.
  • The home screen should be locked because this ensures that a user cannot make changes by moving things around themselves.
  • A grid size for all your home screen pages should be set.
  • App ordering mode should be enabled.

At this point, you can set the position of an item to an assigned grid position. Note that the positions will read from smallest to largest from left to right and then top-to-bottom.


As already alluded to earlier, devices should be running Android OS 8+ and run with Google Mobile Services (GMS). As soon as a device is ready, you can enroll from a factory-reset state using:

  • Near Field Communication
  • Token entry
  • QR code scanning
  • Google’s Zero Touch Enrollment
  • Samsung’s Knox Mobile Enrollment

User credentials are not necessary during enrollment or provisioning because these dedicated devices are not user-associated. Select the type of enrollment that you want and follow the instructions given in this section.


After the setup process finalizes, you’ll find yourself on the device’s home screen. Then, the device will proceed to sync policies with Intune after which apps will begin to download and install on the device. And after Managed Home Screen has been installed, it will auto-launch and show you all your configurations.

Improvements to Managed Home Screen

Pursuant to the feedback that Microsoft received from its clients, some eye-catching new design changes have been made to the app to optimize usability. However, these new features are only available on the updated experience.

Although, you can look forward to an improved user experience, Microsoft has not made any intentional changes to feature support and you can expect only minor changes in current functionality such as:

  • You’ll no longer see the company logo on the Session PIN screen, but you will still have it on the home screen.
  • Swiping down will no longer give you access to the Managed Home Screen settings.

Addition of the top bar

A top bar is now available to the Managed Home Screen page with the intention of simplifying access as well as to enable quick access to device-identifying information. This top bar can configure as necessary and thus allows for the display of two descriptive elements.

IT administrators can decide between serial number, device name, and tenant name for the top and bottom element in situations where the device is not configured with sign-in. On the other hand, if the device is configured with sign-in, the top element will display the signed in user’s name.

Easily discoverable settings and sign out button

Another benefit of the top bar is that it enables quick navigation to settings as well as the sign-out button. However, for the latter, this is only possible when sign-in is configured. If you go to the upper right-hand corner of the top bar, you’ll now find a settings wheel icon.

When a user taps this icon, they’ll see which settings the IT administrator has selected to reveal to them within MHS settings. One thing to note with the updated experience is that swiping down on the device will no longer give you access to settings.

You can now find the Settings icon located on the top bar by default. IT admins get to decide which settings a user can configure or disable it altogether by enabling or disabling the configuration key “Show managed settings”. There are a couple of situations in which the Settings icon will still display, and these are:

  • When a user is signed in, the Settings icon is available to view the user’s profile information.
  • When device permissions are required but no user is signed in, the Settings icon will be available for the user to grant permissions. Moreover, you won’t see any additional settings unless configured.

Updated permissions flow

Updating the permissions granting flow has been necessitated by the desire to ensure that device users do not miss essential permissions. Upon launching MHS initially, a dialogue will appear requesting users to grant any required permissions. Users can get to the settings screen where the required settings will be clearly laid out by tapping either the message or the settings wheel.

By tapping on the message, users will be redirected to the correct page in the Android settings page to grant the permission that is needed for the functionality of all configurations that are set by the IT administrator for Managed Home Screen.

In the event a user rejects the permission, a message will then be displayed on the screen and a red dot will appear on the settings app icon. Ultimately, this update to the permissions flow has been designed to prevent permissions from being missed and to optimize the functions of Managed Home Screen.

Enhanced troubleshooting features

Managed Home Screen is helping to simplify the process of troubleshooting device issues. The new features that have been introduced will give users access to a debug menu, which includes the pages for Get Help, Exit Kiosk Mode, and About.

Users can now go to the Get Help page and easily upload logs. In addition, users can also view Management Resources, allowing them to launch adjacent management apps whenever necessary.

And if you want important information on Managed Home Screen, including the privacy statements, accessibility statements, and third-party configurable compliance links, if enabled, you’ll easily find it on the About page.

The updated debug menu can only appear within settings after an IT admin has configured easy access to the debug menu. Without this action, users will need to tap the back button 15 times to unhide the debug menu. 

Start using the updated experience

To begin using the updated experience, you need to follow the steps given below:

  • Start by verifying that the target devices are running version or higher of Managed Home Screen.
  • Within the Intune admin center, head over to Apps > App configuration policies > Add > Managed devices. (And if you already have an app configuration policy in place for the target devices, you can skip the next step)
  • Filling in the Name will be required, but the Description is optional. Select Android Enterprise for platform, Fully Managed, Dedicated, and Corporate-Owned Work Profile Only for profile type, and Managed Home Screen for targeted app. When everything’s done, click Next.
  • To configure your settings, you can use either configuration designer or JSON data. Navigate to the Configuration settings format drop-down menu, and select Use configuration designer . Choose Add and this will open the panel with the available Managed Home Screen configuration keys.
  • Next, you need to choose the configuration key Enable updated user experience and switch it to True. For those using JSON data, they need to add the key and value below:

“key”: “enable_updated_user_experience”,

valueBool: true

  • Lastly, head over to the Assignments page and look under Included groups. Then, you need to choose Select groups to include and select the device group that you want to include in the public preview. You can review by clicking Next, and once all is set, click Create.

Another important thing to note is that this updated experience only works on the newest version of the Managed Home Screen application. So, you need to turn on the updated app experience and then verify that your devices are running the latest version of Managed Home Screen. If everything is in order, you should expect to see the updated workflows on the device.

Wrap up

Technology has been improving at a lightning speed and an ever-increasing pace for a long time now. The devices available to us, the operating systems, as well as the countless applications, have all gotten significantly better. So, it’s not surprising that businesses want platforms that can empower their workers to operate more efficiently and thus be more productive.

With Managed Home Screen, Microsoft offers its clients a tool that will do that and more. Businesses can get a tool with a lot of great features that will help users to get more from the available technology while eliminating time-consuming distractions.

And as updates like the ones we discussed today continue to be developed, MHS users can look forward to even more improvements that will optimize workflows and enhance their interaction with Intune.

Latest Updates for Windows 10 Driver Management

Microsoft claims that the main cause of Windows 10 Driver Management or hardware failures has been the hardware drivers themselves. And this happens to be an area in which Microsoft has had no control.

In the past, Microsoft has given the driver update authority to the various hardware manufacturers. As a result of that, these manufacturers retain the ability to directly push drivers to their users through the system update.

Given the number of issues that users continue facing, Microsoft decided to make some adjustments to their driver update management policy. These updates will likely have a significant impact so let’s take a look and see what this means for us all.

Addressing the issues

In early 2020, Microsoft quietly went about the process of starting to address the driver issues that have been plaguing users. It started with the announcement that there was going to be an introduction of rolling out drivers in phases.

And this would differ from the past, where all Windows 10 computers were receiving major and minor updates automatically. These updates via Windows Updates released on the same day for everyone. The idea with the phase system is to allow the pushing of updates to highly active devices from where Microsoft can then collect diagnostic data that helps to assess compatibility issues.

Also, Microsoft mentioned implementing a new policy where their hardware partners can now ask them to block Windows 10 feature upgrades on a PC running an incompatible driver. The widespread problems that arose from Microsoft being the only one doing the assessing and blocking necessitated this change in approach. By doing all of this, Microsoft can begin the process of resolving the countless headaches that we have been facing.

Driver installation

So to bring an answer to this issue, Microsoft made another announcement to the effect that they would be adjusting the automatic driver installation strategy for Windows 10 20H2 from November 2020.

This update is meant to provide users with a greater degree of control over the driver update and in this way you will have better stability. This new driver management model is going to give hardware manufacturers options, either automatic or manual.

This is what Microsoft has said regarding the adjustments that came in to effect on the 5th of November last year:

1. Automatic driver updates will automatically be installed on your machine either when you plug-in a peripheral device for the first time, or when a device manufacturer publishes a driver to Windows Update. In other words, there will be no change to the plug-and-play scenario when an automatic driver is available on Windows Update.

2. Manual driver updates can be installed manually on your machine if you specifically request them by navigating to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View optional updates.

However, these changes will only affect devices that receive updates directly from Windows Update. So if you’re an IT professional who manages drivers for a business, then these adjustments won’t affect the way you operate.

Manual driver updates

According to Microsoft, the abovementioned adjustments should now enable you to see a clear distinction between automatic and manual updates in Windows Update. With the end goal being to create a total transformation of the management of drivers, something that began earlier in the year with the rolling out of updates in phases.

All this should give users greater control by redefining the servicing of manual drivers for machines running Windows 10, version 2004 and later. Previously, when a user would connect a peripheral device with an optional driver such as a camera to their machine for the first time, there would be an automatic installation of that driver. Instead, with the changes that Microsoft has implemented, you now have control over how you proceed.

Driver distribution

When you submit a driver to Windows Update, the Driver Delivery Options section will present you with two radio buttons: Automatic and Manual. Under the Automatic option, there are two further options:

  • Automatically delivered during Windows Upgrades – under this option, drivers are classified as a Dynamic Update. When upgrading the OS, this is where Windows will automatically preload drivers.
  • Automatically delivered to all applicable systems – when you select this option, the drivers will be downloaded and installed automatically on all applicable systems once they are released.

How to submit a driver to Windows Update

Publishing a driver to Windows Update will require the creation of a hardware submission. Once that is done you can then proceed with the steps given below:

1) Find the hardware submission with the driver that you want to distribute.

2) Head over to Distribution and select New shipping label.

3) Under shipping label, go to Details and enter a name for the shipping label in the space provided. It’s this name that will allow you to search for and organize your shipping labels.

4) In the Properties section you will need to fill in the following fields: Destination, Specify the partner (if any) that is allowed visibility into this request, and Driver Delivery Options.

5) Go to Targeting and choose the driver package that you want to publish.

6) At this point, Select PNPs is now available so you can go ahead and choose the hardware IDs that you want to target.

7) Enter each CHID into the text box and select Add CHID(s) if you would like to add them.

8) You can limit public disclosure of your Shipping Label in the Windows Update Catalog and WSUS Catalog, by checking the Limit Public Disclosure of this Shipping Label information box.

9) If your driver targets Windows 10 in S mode, then you will need to select both boxes.

10) Select Publish to send your request to Windows Update or Save if you don’t want to publish as yet.

Optional installation

The optional updates feature is now available to users that have upgraded to Windows 10 20H2. With this feature, the system will let you know of the availability of device drivers other than the ones that the PC is currently using. If you go to the View optional updates section, you’ll see where it says Driver updates. And if you click on it, it will display a list of all the device drivers that are available for the target PC. Essentially what you get with this feature is the ability to install specific drivers if and when necessary. Otherwise, automatic updates will keep your drivers updated.

To install any of these drivers, simply follow the steps below:

1) Press WinKey + I to launch the Settings app.

2) Go to Update & Security and click on Windows Update.

3) Over on the right side, you’ll see View Optional updates just under the Check for updates button. Click on it.

4) Under the Driver Updates section, you’re going to find a list with all of the available updates for the computer.

5) Check all the boxes corresponding to the device drivers that you want to install. Click Download and install.

Windows 10 October 2020 Update common problems — and the fixes | Windows  Central

Windows 10 will then immediately start downloading the chosen driver updates. Once the process is complete, the system will install the updates and prompt the users to Restart Windows.

Should you install optional updates?

As mentioned above, you can install optional device drivers if the need for them arises. For instance, when doing a clean install of Windows 10, some may find it preferable to manually install graphic drivers that you download from Intel and NVIDIA.

However, it’s important to note that Windows will still automatically install all mandatory updates, including security updates and non-optional cumulative updates. Therefore you don’t need to worry about automatic driver updates because this new approach won’t affect them. This is because they will continue to be installed via Windows Update when they are published by the manufacturer or when you connect the device.

So with optional updates, Microsoft has changed the system such that driver updates are no longer forced on you. You can select those that you want and block any that give you problems. Most users will probably be leveraging this functionality for those times when compatibility issues arise.

Potential issues

Microsoft’s new model for driver management aims at resolving the multitude of problems that users have been grappling with. However, this new model is not without its potential issues. As much as it may give users more control, it’s also going to present challenges for peripherals that don’t have automatic drivers readily available.

This is because not everyone may be aware that they need to go to Windows Update and manually download the necessary driver for the hardware to work. Without this, Windows will return a Driver Not Found error that may leave more than a few people stuck.

Since Microsoft is also going to be blocking users from applying OEM or manufacturer drivers if Windows can’t verify software publisher, this will probably lead to a few driver errors when Microsoft is unable to verify the drivers. If verification fails, there are two error messages that you’ll likely see with the first being “Windows can’t verify the publisher of this driver software” and the second “No signature was present in the subject”. Microsoft’s advice in these scenarios is that you contact the manufacturer and ask them to upload the driver with appropriate fixes.

Key differences

Under the View Optional updates link, users get to view the optional updates that they won’t receive automatically. Using this link will replace having to use Windows 10’s Device Manager controls to find optional updates.

With Microsoft making minor adjustments to how Windows 10 drivers arrive for Windows Update service users, it’s important to note that this change is more than just a simple user-interface modification.

Those using the newer version of Windows 10 will get updated drivers only when they search for them using the View optional update command. And they’ll be getting only the drivers that are already on the device without searching for new ones via the Windows Update service.

In Windows 10, including version 1909 and earlier, Windows Update automatically distributes manual drivers and does so when:

a) a device has no applicable drivers available within the Driver Store (raising a “driver not found” error); additionally there is no applicable Automatic driver

b) a device only has a generic driver in the Driver Store, which provides basic device functionality only, and there is no applicable Automatic driver

But for users of Windows 10 and version 2004, Windows Update distributes only Automatic drivers for a system’s devices. When Manual drivers are available for devices on the computer, the Windows Update page in the Settings app displays View optional updates.

Time to enhance driver management

The challenges that we have all witnessed in recent years were in dire need of a solution. And a major one at that. The countless incompatibility issues that saw the trashing of Windows 10 were slowly but surely eroding the confidence that users have in the operating system.

Problems such as audio not working, system crashes, slow performance, etc, are significant issues that can severely hinder the productivity of a business. So it’s not really a surprise when we look at all the updates that Microsoft made to its driver management policy in 2020.

Security has improved and the new driver management model is a more stable platform that gives users greater control. And all of this you’ll get without having to worry about key updates being affected. Those are still performed automatically to ensure that your system remains as secure as possible. Undoubtedly, there are still a few bugs to iron out here and there, but the rapidly improving system is certainly enhancing the Windows 10 experience.