Playbook: Device Refresh / Back to School

Step into the 'Device Refresh' Playbook, your go-to resource for handling large-scale device re-enrollments. Suitable for any organization, this playbook simplifies the process from device auditing to post-enrollment support. Discover how to utilize FileWave's powerful features for automation, security, and effective communication. With this playbook, achieving efficient device management has never been easier.

Back to School / Device Refresh Introduction


computers.jpgAs we head into the fall, many organizations find it's a prime time to refresh, replace, and (re)Enroll devices. Whether you're an academic institution preparing for a new school year or a business updating your technology for the next fiscal year, the task of managing, replacing, and (re)Enrolling devices is a significant one.

With FileWave, our comprehensive toolsets allow you to streamline these projects and ensure a smooth transition. Our system is designed to be efficient, effective, and user-friendly, regardless of your organization's industry. Here are some best practices we recommend for device (re)Enrollment/replacement that will help make your project a success:

Considering the above practices and how they can/should apply to your organization will ensure a smooth and efficient device refresh and (re)Enrollment process for your organization. And FileWave's features will help you here as well, but keep in don't have to go it alone!  Our Professional Services team has years and years of experience, and we'd be happy to help you with your project at quite reasonable rates.  You can reach our team at

Preparing for (re)Enrollment

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As with all projects, preparing well for your device refresh project before the project start is THE key to success.  Hoping the project will go well without proper preparation is simply a recipe for failure, and none of us want that!  So, here are some things to consider before you start, and how FileWave capabilities can help:

Device Reclamation

Brian is running a project to retrieve and reassign all iPads in his district.  2/3 of the devices will simply be retrieved, wiped, updated, and (re)Enrolled with new users.  However, 1/3 of his devices were on a 2 year lease, which is now at an end.  Those devices need to be retrieved and returned to the lease company.

Brian is going to do an on-site student return of devices in three locations, with a technician receiving devices at each.  Now, Brian could instruct his team to record the serial number or asset tag from each device, and compare it to the spreadsheet of leased devices, thus determining whether it goes into the "return" or "re-assign" pile.  But, that would be cumbersome, slow, and error prone.

FileWave tools to the rescue!  Because the serial numbers to return are known, a custom field called "Return?" can be created weeks before devices are returned, and that field can be populated by a simple import from the spreadsheet.  With that data, custom wallpapers can be assigned to devices ahead of return (like a yellow lock screen background), that allow the technician to simply look at the lock screen, and immediately know which pile the device goes into!

Emily is running a summertime project to replace all of the Windows devices in the Finance department.  "Department" is assigned as a custom field within FileWave, so Emily uses that list of devices as her guideline, and she has decided to use a custom field to track device return.  It is a simple true/false field.  And, as each device is returned, Emily will simply change the custom field from False to True.  Using FileWave Anywhere and looking each device up quickly by asset tag will be a great way for her technicians to get the job done quickly (and to report status).


If devices are coming into the environment, you are going to want to put "stuff" on them.  And that stuff is software, configurations, and utilities...aka filesets.  So two questions to ask yourself about content:

Pre-Assigning Content:

Did you know you can pre-assign content for FileWave managed devices, even BEFORE they are enrolled in your system?  You can...devices can match based on serial number, mac address, and even just the device name.  This means you can setup everything we have mentioned above in a simple csv import, and have everything ready to go before anyone yells "start your engines"!

What does this mean practically?  It means you don't even necessarily need to touch a device before it is assigned to your can let them do the unboxing, and we'll take care of the rest.


Want success?  Write down your plan, share with your colleagues.  Everything you don't document will be a question asked of you on D-Day.  So, for your own sanity plan and document items such as:

In general, just think it through before you start.  This isn't rocket science, but if you don't plan, you'll feel like it is!

During (re)Enrollment

The actual (re)Enrollment phase is where the rubber meets the road regarding your planning effectiveness.  No planning is ever perfect, but the more prepared you are, the more successful you are going to be.

During the enrollment and (re)Enrollment phase, the process becomes more hands-on as devices are reset, reconfigured, unboxed, assigned, and redistributed.  That is a lot of steps, but this doesn't mean that the task has to be overwhelming or complicated. With FileWave, you can utilize a range of tools and features to make the (re)Enrollment process smooth and efficient, and we have a list of best practices for you to follow too.

Start Small

Your process was written as 1) Unbox, 2) Assign Asset Tag, 3) Affix Tag, 4) Put device in case.  But you find out with your first batch of devices that the user needs to read the asset tag in a later step, but they can't see it because of the case being in the way.  Now, do you want to find that out with a 500 students in the room, or 5?  It is by far best to approach the day in small batches, and scale up as the system is proven effective.

Employ Efficient (re)Enrollment

Once your system is proven, batching or grouping (re)Enrollment is an effective way to manage the process without becoming overwhelmed. FileWave provides capabilities to organize devices into logical groups based on your organization's needs, such as by department, device type, or user role. This allows for batch operations, enabling a more organized and efficient (re)Enrollment process.

Don't Bite of More than You Can Chew

I have 5000 devices, surely I can enroll them all at once, no?  No.  There are many considerations to the enrollment process.  Some are physical...for instance, how many boxes can actually be opened by 3 people in 10 minutes?  But others are more subtle.  For instance, enrolling Apple Devices concurrently means a lot of requests going to Apple at the same time, and there could be processing bottlenecks both on your local server and in the cloud.  And the thing everyone forgets about is the actual network itself...can it handle all of that traffic at the same time?