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jimerb1
Level 3 Contributor

Action Pack and Windows 11

Now that Windows 11 is officially released, any word when the final version will be included in the Action Pack?

 

Seems like a core thing that should be available for lab analysis.

63 REPLIES 63
JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@AdamDavis : Thank you for your feedback, I will forward this to the people responsible for the program. Yes would be great to have this in Action Pack earlier, for competency Partner this is already true, at least for Windows 11 E3. Also Action Pack can upgrade any device that has a Windows 10 license to Windows 11 (only not Enterprise edition). And for Office, a newer release of the apps is already in O365 and M365 benefits.

For early hands-on experience there are also the visual studio subscription benefit, which contain downloads for Windows Enterprise and Windows Server for Action Pack Visual Studio benefits, and almost all Microsoft software, all versions for Silver/Gold.

Kind regards, Janosch
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AdamDavis
Level 2 Contributor

Hi Janosch,

 

Thanks for the workarounds.

MAPS is either the place to come for this stuff or it isn't - it can't be sort of, at some random point in the future. Either make MAPS Software Benefits where we can get the latest software or get rid of it and point us directly to where it is instead.

 

Adam

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

Hi Adam,

 

It really depends on what you expect - if you want to see it only as a vehicle to get the newest version from day one to put on production servers, then I'm afraid it isn't. 

It provides immediate access for new Windows Server/client versions for testing, most of all it is meant as a discounted option to use a various Microsoft products on Partner's production environment for day-to-day business use. It is updated in certain intervals, but not immediately after each new release (and it never was, there was always some delay as far as I can remember).

Kind regards, Janosch
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sbrutsch
Level 2 Contributor

Hello Janosch,

thank you for your work here and for the information you share.
In our case, the problem is that we must test with the German Enterprise Versions of the Windows Clients and also with the German Server Versions. Specially in the deployment scenarios. And for this, we need the same ISO Files like our Customers have, and they get it directly after Release with the VL Program. In former time we had our TechNet and now only MAPS. Because we don't need Visual Studio.

So, it would really be helpful if Microsoft change its behavior regarding the MAPS Partners. Could you check this?

Kind regards,
Stefan

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@sbrutsch I can't test with MAPS, but within Visual Studio Subscriber download section (which you get with MAPS as well) there is a language choice:

JanoschUlmer_0-1639650274385.png

 

Also, technically there are really not differences between German or English Versions since some years though, and from a testing perspective you might also want to test on English ISO anyway - because customers might decide to use those languages as well (especially larger companies that have a worlwide IT team).

Note that the downloads for MAPS in Partner Center are meant for production use, not primarily for testing - every activation will consume a license. This is why I strongly recommend to use the Visual Studio Subscriber download section for test scenarios, and you get this MAPS as well even if you don't use Visual Studio IDE.

Finally there is also the eval versions: Windows Server | Microsoft Evaluation Center

 

Kind regards, Janosch
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sbrutsch
Level 2 Contributor

We have several customers. Some use English as base installation and some the German versions. And our experience, specially for Windows 10 upgrades, are shown us that German and English installation is not always the same.
And yes, we have a test environment where we use the Trial and Beta Versions. But you know, on a test PC you didn't find all the things. So, before we go into the environment of the customer, we use our own productive Environment to test it with normal users and normal installed PC. And for this, we need the corresponding ISO Files. Since TechNet isn't any more we use non Microsoft Links to get the ISO Sources. Because MAPS is always late.

Kind regards,
Stefan

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@sbrutsch : And you confirm that in the Visual Studio Subscriber downloads, available for users where you assign the Visual Studio Subscription you get via MAPS, the download for Windows 11 and Windows Server do not have an option to choose German as well? As said, I can not test, but I would be surprised if those are different than the ones I get access with Visual Studio Enterprise subscription (From MPN Silver/Gold benefits). VS Enterprise only provides downloads for all other products as well, where VS Pro., what is included in MAPs, only includes Windows Client and Server.

 

Kind regards, Janosch
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sbrutsch
Level 2 Contributor

Yes, there is only English available.
On MAPS i can choose any language.


JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@sbrutsch : Ok, that I did not expect. ISO for Win11 can also be downloaded for each language here: Download Windows 11 (microsoft.com) - but enabling Enterprise features depends on having the right cloud license, respectively product key - for this the keys you get in Visual Studio would work as well. However, Enterprise & Pro are the exact same bits since Windows 10 1607.

 

Kind regards, Janosch
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sbrutsch
Level 2 Contributor

Thanks, is there also a possible for Windows 10 21H2?

 

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

Yes, simply replace 11 with 10 in the URL - for Win10 you need to start Media Creation Tool to create the ISO, this is already updated to 21H2

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10 

Kind regards, Janosch
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sbrutsch
Level 2 Contributor

I tested this already. But the ISO i get have no install.wim in its sources. Only the install.esd. So it can't be used for deployment.
The Windows 11 is fine.

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@sbrutsch : There are solutions to this challenge 🙂

 

Kind regards, Janosch
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Mustang
Visitor 1

I was also disappointed that Windows 11 Enterprise wasn't added Action Pack.

 

I tried something that worked. I created the Windows 11 ISO with the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool. I looked at the versions in install.wim with dism /GetWim-Info. I could see that Pro was included, but Enterprise wasn't. Just for kicks I ran the ISO from a running Windows 10 Enterprise system. I expected to see a message that this version of Windows couldn't be upgraded. To my surprise the install ran to completion. I now have all my Windows 10 Enterprise systems upgraded to Windows 11 Enterprise.

Sergio526
Level 1 Contributor

After reading your post, I did a fresh install of Windows 11 Enterprise on a spare laptop using the ISO I downloaded from Visual Studio's download page. After install, I used the existing Windows 10 Enterprise key from Partner Center and it worked! Registered and Activated. Looks like 10 and 11 might just use the same keys, which is VERY convenient!

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@Sergio526 

OK, and why did you not use the keys provided on Visual Studio subscriber downloads? 

Note that the key provided as IUR benefit in Partner Center for production use has a limited number of activations, and activations will not be increased. So every activation, like here for a test machine, will actually decrease the number of usable internal use licenses. This is why it is better to use the Visual Studio keys for testing purposes.

Kind regards, Janosch
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jimerb1
Level 3 Contributor

Having keys in multiple places is confusing.   What is the future of MAPS?

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@jimerb1 Having keys for production use only accessible in the benefits area in Partner Center, only for authorized people to access, and having keys for testing available for those users that have Visual Studio without asking the MPN Admin to get those is in my experience very helpful.

Can not tell what the future of MAPS is.

 

Kind regards, Janosch
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Sergio526
Level 1 Contributor

Ah, good to know. My company is a Gold Certified Partner and we don't have a lot of employees, so I've never hit the activation limit before. Conceivably, if Windows 10 and 11 did use the same key, I might hit that limit several years from now after a few more generations of laptop swaps. Thanks for the info.

JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

@Mustang : As mentioned before, new software releases are not made available in Action Pack or Silver/Gold Benefits immediately, sometimes it takes a while.

Note on the option you used now: While this might technically work, unless you have a Windows Enterprise license with software assurance or a subscription license, you are not licensed to run Windows 11 Enterprise, even though technically it may work to upgrade. Action Pack licenses do not include Software Assurance, and subscription licenses are currently offered only for Silver/Gold competency partners (as part of M365 E3)

 

In Action Pack you have a Windows license for Test & development purposes though: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/visualstudio/subscriptions/program-mpn#subscriptions-for-partners-purchasing-the-action-pack 

Kind regards, Janosch
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pcomazzi
Level 1 Contributor

Interesting.  Not a 100% workaround if you want to do a clean install of 11.  But install W10E first then W11 - might be an option.  Thanks for testing that out.