The last few times that I bought a new mobile phone, I had the device syncing all emails, contacts, documents, etc. by the time I hit the exit door. The same principle should apply to laptops and even workstations. All of these devices are vessels into which one pours data and applications.

A common scenario is to buy a new computer. But quite often, an existing computer will have hard drive issues. Instead of bothering with expensive recovery methods, just pop a new drive into the machine and boot to a pre-configured USB drive to re-install the Windows 10 operating system.

When you have a pristine computer, the first thing to do is to get it connected to perform updating. Protect the temporarily vulnerable environment by the latest Windows Updates and by the latest virus definitions for Windows Defender.

The next thing is to log into the Office/Microsoft 365 portal to gain access to the Install Software button. This installs your Office applications of course. While in the portal, go to OneDrive and click the Sync button to start getting copies of your documents represented on your machine. The same goes for SharePoint, which also uses the OneDrive sync utility. Depending on your settings, full documents will be downloaded or merely place marker icons will be established as Files On-Demand.

At this point, you’re nearly done. If you have a line-of-business (LOB) application for your industry, then install that. In most cases, though, LOB apps merely tap into the data you need from the web or from an online account. The data storage is cloud-based.

If your managed services provider maintains your computers, then they will have an installation file for you to install the remote monitoring and management (RMM) agent. During the installation of the agent, it communicates with the cloud-based system.

In some cases, your IT organization will manage your device with Intune, Microsoft’s own device management tool included with Microsoft 365 Business. Intune is tied directly to the identity management platform of Office/Microsoft 365, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), so when you first log on to a pristine installation of Windows, the end-user will enter their work email address and password, which will join the machine and its respective user to Azure AD. The result is that the machine can be maintained remotely by your IT people, as well as the end-user only gains access to their appropriate data and applications.

The time it takes to complete these tasks? 15 minutes to open your machine and insert a new SSD drive, 20 minutes to install the operating system, 20 minutes for updates, 15 minutes to install Office, 10 minutes to establish OneDrive sync for OneDrive and SharePoint, and maybe another 30 minutes for various other installations and settings. In less than two hours, your IT person can have you back up and running as you were before.

Just like when you crack a wine glass and then reach for a new one, so can you do the same with your devices.