Getting Started


Desktop Analytics has a few requirements that you need to fulfill before you get started.
Most of these should be easy, but some might be more difficult, such as the license requirements.
In this post, I will show you how to get started with Desktop Analytics.


  • An active Azure subscription
  • System Center Configuration Manager 1902 with roll-up 4500571 or later (Recommended but not required)
  • Devices running Windows 7, 8.1 or 10
  • You need an Office 365 subscription, but this might change in the future

Windows 10 Licenses

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5; or Microsoft 365 F1, E3, or E5
  • Windows 10 Education A3 or A5; or Microsoft 365 A3 or A5
  • Windows 10 Education A3 or A5; or Microsoft 365 A3 or A5

Other Costs

Except for the license costs, there are no additional storage costs to consider for the logs. This is because the data types for Desktop Analytics are free from Log Analytics data ingestion and retention.

You usually have a free 500mb/day to use with Log Analytics, but Desktop Analytics is except from that limit, which means we can safely use our telemetry data from thousands of devices.

The data sent to Microsoft is stored for 90 days and this timeframe is fixed for the free pricing plan. You can change this of you go for a payed version. The range is 30-730 days.

No additional costs for Desktop Analytics

Creating the Desktop Analytics Workspace

The first thing you need to do to get started with Desktop Analytics is to create a Workspace in Azure that will house your Desktop Analytics information. Use the following steps to get that done.

  1. Open the Desktop Analytics portal in Device Management as a user with the Global Admin role. Select Start.
  2. Review the service agreement and select Accept.
  3. Confirm your subscription page, switch the setting to Yes next to Do you have one of the supported or higher subscriptions, and then select Next.
  4. Give users access page:
    1. Allow Desktop Analytics to manage Directory roles on your behalf: Desktop Analytics automatically assigns the Workspace Owners the Desktop Analytics Administrator role.
    2. The Wizard automatically allows the Workspace Owners security group in Azure Active Directory to create and manage workspaces and deployment plans.To add a user to the group, type their name or e-mail address in the Enter name or email address section.
desktop analytics permissions
  1. Set up your workspace page:
    • If you have an existing workspace you want to use, select it here.
    • To create a new workspace for Desktop Analytics, select Add workspace.
      1. Enter a Workspace name.
      2. Choose the subscription you want to use in the drop-down list.
      3. Select an existing resource group or create a new one.
      4. Pick the correct Region from the list then select Add.
  2. Select a new or existing workspace and then select Set as Desktop Analytics workspace. Then select Continue to proceed.
  3. In the new tab that opens, sign in with an account that has permissions to the workspace. Select the option to Consent on behalf of your organization and select Accept.
  4. Back on the page to Set up your workspace, select Next.
  1. Last steps page, select Go to Desktop Analytics to finish the workspace creation.

The Azure portal shows the Desktop Analytics Home page. You now have a workspace that will receive the telemetry and parse it for your use.

Connect SCCM to the Desktop Analytics Workspace

Next up is to connect System Center Configuration Manager to the newly created Workspace, which you do this from inside the console.

  • Open the SCCM console, select Administration, expand Cloud Services, and select Azure Services.
  • Right click the services view and select Configure Azure Services.
  1. Enter a name for the Azure Service that will be visible in SCCM. Make sure you select Desktop Analytics and press Next.
    Enter Azure service name and select Desktop Analytics
  2. Select the Azure environment you want, usually AzurePublicCloud. Browse for a Web app and create a new Server App. Call it something that you will recognize, like Microsoft Desktop Analytics, and choose the key validity period you want.
    Enter a friendly name and key validity period
  3. Copy your Commercial ID since you need this later. If you want to use all features of Desktop Analytics, you should choose Enhanced (Limited).
    Copy Commercial ID and choose diagnostic level.
  4. View the functionality based on your selections.
    Desktop Analytics functionality summary.
  5. You should enter a name you recognize, as this will be visible in Desktop Analytics in Azure. Select the collection you want to use with Desktop Analytics. This will configure Commercial ID and Diagnostic data level for us and prepare the devices for Desktop Analytics. Add collections that you want to use for pilot deployments and such.
    Enter friendly name and select target collection
  6. Press Next and Finish to complete the wizard.

Enroll Devices in Desktop Analytics

Depending on what versions of windows you are using, you have different requirements.

Windows 10 already supports Desktop Analytics, which means you don’t have to do anything extra for those.

On other versions, however, you need to install specific updates to prepare the devices. Check this link to read more about Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

You can verify if a device has received the configuration by checking the registry. We can find these settings using regedit.exe in the path HKLM:SOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesDataCollection.

After you do the enrollment of devices, it will take around 48 hours until you can see data in the Desktop Analytics. This is because Microsoft needs to crawl through the logs and create something readable to present to you.

Upgrade Readiness it something that helps you out with planning for Windows 10, but was never any good at it. The user experience wasn’t very good and in the beginning you couldn’t even go back without restarting the browsing of the data.

Desktop Analytics is really what Upgrade Readiness should have been. Including Update Compliance and Device Health into one interface is a great design choice that makes it easier for us.

Desktop Analytics components.

My favorite feature of Desktop Analytics is that you can get suggestions on what devices you should include in your pilot deployment. It takes into consideration what applications, drivers and computer models you have in your environment and gives you a group with the best coverage.

In an upcoming post, I will show you how to use the gathered data, since that is what we really want to do.


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