Thursday, November 26, 2015

ConfigMgr Toolkit 2012 R2

Time again for a toolkit refresh. 

Server Based Tools
  • * DP Job Manager - A tool that helps troubleshoot and manage ongoing content distribution jobs to Configuration Manager distribution points.
  • * Collection Evaluation Viewer - A tool that assists in troubleshooting collection evaluation related issues by viewing collection evaluation details.
  • * Content Library Explorer - A tool that assists in troubleshooting issues with and viewing the contents of the content library.
  • Security Configuration Wizard Template for Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager - The Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) is an attack-surface reduction tool for the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Security Configuration Wizard determines the minimum functionality required for a server's role or roles, and disables functionality that is not required.
  • Content Library Transfer – A tool that transfers content from one disk drive to another.
  • Content Ownership Tool – A tool that changes ownership of orphaned packages (packages without an owner site server).
  • Role-based Administration Modeling and Auditing Tool – This tool helps administrators to model and audit RBA configurations.
  • Run Metering Summarization Tool - The purpose of this tool is to run the metering summarization task to analyze raw metering data

Client Based Tools
  • Client Spy - A tool that helps you troubleshoot issues related to software distribution, inventory, and software metering on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
  • Configuration Manager Trace Log Viewer – A tool used to view log files created by Configuration Manager components and agents.
  • Deployment Monitoring Tool - The Deployment Monitoring Tool is a graphical user interface designed help troubleshoot Applications, Updates, and Baseline deployments on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
  • Policy Spy - A policy viewer that helps you review and troubleshoot the policy system on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
  • Power Viewer Tool – A tool to view the status of power management feature on System Center 2012 Configuration Manager clients.
  • Send Schedule Tool - A tool used to trigger a schedule on a client or trigger the evaluation of a specified DCM Baseline. You can trigger a schedule either locally or remotely.
  • Wakeup Spy – A tool that provides a view of the power state of Configuration Manager client computers and which operate as managers or manages.

Note: Items with an * are new in the R2 Toolkit and require Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager for full functionality

Monday, November 23, 2015

Configuration Manager (next Version) and TP4

In case you missed the new ConfigMgr will no longer have a year marker on it.  It will simply be called  (Configuration Manager)  this aligns the product with the Windows 10 release in which it will simply be build code difference as the application slowly evolves.  And as the change is set to evolve, MS should still be on target to release the newest version/changes by the end of the year. 

Just a few days ago another Technical Preview was released with some fixes and new features.

Most notable are some MDM solution and more Windows 10 changes:

New features in this technical preview include:
  • Mobile Device management (MDM): enhanced feature parity with Intune standalone – With this technical preview, many of the MDM features that are supported via Intune standalone (cloud only) are also enabled for Configuration Manager integrated with Intune (hybrid). We will publish additional information later this year about the specific capabilities which will be supported with a hybrid deployment. 
  • Integration with Windows Update for Business – With Technical Preview 4, you have the ability to view the list of devices that are controlled by Windows Update for Business.  
  • Certificate provisioning for Windows 10 devices managed via on-premises mobile device management

More information can be found here:

With all the changes that are due to come quickly, it is recommended that the enterprise users upgrade their environment as soon as the update is released so they can properly manage Windows 10 environments.

Today Gartner released a statement, "Windows 10 is poised to become the most widely installed version of Windows ever, following on the path of Windows XP and Windows 7 before it, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that 50 percent of enterprises will have started Windows 10 deployments by January 2017"

I think with this latest TP we see the end of the preview in sight and the realm of Windows 10 deployments set to happen. Hopefully, many companies have been testing with the 90 Trial Version with simply OSD deployments or using MDT.  Either way.  I expect to see a slow uptake in the next 6 months of Windows 10 deployments as more users are use to seeing the technology at home and then later in the office.

Start your application compatibility testing now as to not lose ground when the CIO asks when it can be deployed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Now Available: October Update for System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 3

Many people are asking, "why so many updates and Previews for the next Configmgr release" 
Well you have to understand the speed at which Microsoft is now moving. Look at the updates made to Intune and the new Windows Servicing Model. 

In line with that change we have a the more Windows 10 management coming to the next update, Windows 10 Services. 

More information can be found here:

Windows 10 Servicing works of a what is referred to as "branches" These branches determine how fast the update is applied to your machine.  Branches are NOT security or stability updates, these come to all machines.  The branches are the features or a major jump in the OS. Like a 10.1 to 10.2.

This will allow you to see what branch is running and the progress. 

I think a good article about the branches and servicing can be found here:

A link to the TechNet article can be found in the Team blog mentioned above.

Why do we need to be concerned with Servicing with ConfigMgr?
Well put simply, you need to know what you have in your environment so you can properly prepare the machines and keep them moving forward.

Do you have an MRI machine running from a Windows 10 device. These devices are typically kept in a steady state and don't want much change per the manufacture of the external devices.  For this reason you would use the LTSB Long Term Servicing Branch because you don't want OS change every few months.  This change in years.  No exact length is known because Microsoft is now just releasing 10.  But this allows these special machines to be maintained without much change.

What is cool about this update is that it uses the "Updates and Servicing" node in the Preview.

Please remember to add your "voice" to the changes and features via the User Voice feed back page: