How to manage clients in Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch)

When the Configuration Manager client installs on a device and successfully assigns to a site, you see the device in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Devices node, and in one or more collections in the Device Collections node. Select the device or a collection, and then run management operations. However, there are other ways to manage the client, which might involve other workspaces in the console, or tasks outside of the console.

Note

If you install the Configuration Manager client, but it hasn't yet successfully assigned to a site, it might not display in the console. After the client assigns to a site, update collection membership, and then refresh the console view.

A device can also display in the console when the Configuration Manager client isn't installed. This behavior happens if the site discovers a device but the client isn't installed and assigned.

Mobile devices managed with the Exchange Server connector or on-premises MDM don't install the Configuration Manager client.

To manage a device from the console, use the Client column in the Devices node to determine whether the client is installed.

Manage clients from the Devices node

Depending on the device type, some of these options might not be available.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Assets and Compliance workspace, and select the Devices node.

  2. Select one or more devices, and then select one of these client management tasks from the ribbon. You can also right-click the device.)

Import user device affinity

Configure the associations between users and devices, so you can efficiently deploy software to users.

For more information, see Link users and devices with user device affinity.

Import computer information

Launch the Import Computer Information Wizard to import new computer information into the Configuration Manager database. You can import multiple computers using a file, or specify information for a single computer.

Add selected items

Provides the following options:

  • Add selected items to existing device collection: Opens the Select Collection dialog box. Select the collection to which you want to add this device. The device is included in this collection by using a Direct membership rule.

  • Add selected items to new device collection: Opens the Create Device Collection Wizard where you can create a new collection. The selected collection is included in this collection by using a Direct membership rule.

For more information, see How to create collections.

Install client

Opens the Install Client Wizard. This wizard uses client push installation to install or reinstall the Configuration Manager client on the selected device.

Tip

There are many different ways to install the Configuration Manager client. Although the Client Push wizard offers a convenient client installation method from the console, this method has many dependencies and isn't suitable for all environments. For more information about the dependencies, see Prerequisites for deploying clients to Windows computers. For more information about the other client installation methods, see Client installation methods.

For more information, see How to install Configuration Manager clients by using client push.

Run script

Opens the Run Script wizard to run a PowerShell script on the selected device.

For more information, see Create and run PowerShell scripts.

Install application

Install an application to a device in real time. This feature can help reduce the need for separate collections for every application.

For more information, see Install applications for a device.

Reassign site

Reassign one or more clients, including managed mobile devices, to another primary site in the hierarchy. You can individually reassign clients or select more than one to reassign them in bulk.

Client settings - Resultant client settings

When you deploy multiple client settings to the same device, the prioritization and combination of settings is complex. Use this option to view the resultant set of client settings deployed to this device.

For more information, see How to configure client settings.

Start

Approve

When the client communicates with site systems using HTTP and a self-signed certificate, you must approve these clients to identify them as trusted computers. By default, the site configuration automatically approves clients from the same Active Directory forest and trusted forests. This default behavior means that you don't have to manually approve each client. Manually approve workgroup computers that you trust, and any other unapproved computers that you trust.

Important

Although some management functions might work for unapproved clients, this is an unsupported scenario for Configuration Manager.

You don't have to approve clients that always communicate to site systems using HTTPS, or clients that use a PKI certificate when they communicate to site systems using HTTP. These clients establish trust by using the PKI certificates.

Block or unblock

Block a client that you no longer trust. Blocking prevents the client from receiving policy, and prevents site systems from communicating with the client.

Important

Blocking a client only prevents communication from the client to Configuration Manager site systems. It doesn't prevent communication to other devices. When the client communicates to site systems by using HTTP instead of HTTPS, there are some security limitations.

You can also unblock a client that is blocked.

For more information, ee Determine whether to block clients.

Clear required PXE deployments

You can redeploy a required PXE deployment by clearing the status of the last PXE deployment assigned to a Configuration Manager collection or a computer. This action resets the status of that deployment and reinstalls the most recent required deployments.

For more information, see Use PXE to deploy Windows over the network.

Client notification

For more information, see Client notifications.

Endpoint Protection

For more information, see Client notifications.

Edit primary users

View users of this device in the last 90 days, or specify the primary users of this device.

For more information, see Link users and devices with user device affinity.

Wipe a mobile device

You can wipe mobile devices that support the wipe command. This action permanently removes all data on the mobile device, including personal settings and personal data. Typically, this action resets the mobile device back to factory defaults. Wipe a mobile device when it's no longer trusted. For example, if the device is lost or stolen.

Tip

Check the manufacturer's documentation for more information about how the mobile device processes a remote wipe command.

There's often a delay until the mobile device receives the wipe command:

  • If the mobile device is enrolled by Configuration Manager, the client receives the command when it downloads its client policy.

  • If the mobile device is managed by the Exchange Server connector, it receives the command when it synchronizes with Exchange.

To monitor when the device receives the wipe command, use the Wipe Status column. Until the device sends a wipe acknowledgment to Configuration Manager, you can cancel the wipe command.

Retire a mobile device

The Retire option is supported only by mobile devices enrolled by on-premises MDM.

For more information, see Help protect your data with remote wipe, remote lock, or passcode reset.

Change ownership

If a device isn't domain-joined and doesn't have the Configuration Manager client installed, use this option to change the ownership to Company or Personal.

You can use this value in application requirements to control deployments, and to control how much inventory is collected from users' devices.

You may need to add the Device Owner column to the view by right-clicking any column heading and choosing it.

For more information, see Hybrid MDM with Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune.

Delete

Warning

Don't delete a client if you want to uninstall the Configuration Manager client or remove it from a collection.

The Delete action manually removes the client record from the Configuration Manager database. Only use this action to troubleshoot a problem. If you delete the object, but the client is still installed and communicating with the site, Heartbeat Discovery recreates the client record. It reappears in the Configuration Manager console, although the client history and any previous associations are lost.

Note

When you delete a mobile device client that was enrolled by Configuration Manager, this action also revokes the issued PKI certificate. This certificate is then rejected by the management point, even if IIS doesn't check the certificate revocation list (CRL).

Certificates on mobile device legacy clients are not revoked when you delete these clients.

To uninstall the client, see Uninstall the Configuration Manager client.

To assign the client to a new primary site, see How to assign clients to a site.

To remove the client from a collection, reconfigure the collection properties. For more information, see How to manage collections.

Refresh

Refresh the console view with the latest data in the database. For example, if a device appears in the list from discovery, but doesn't show as installed. After you install the client and make sure it's assigned to the site, select Refresh.

Properties

View the discovery data and deployments targeted for the client.

You can also configure variables that task sequences use to deploy an OS to the device. For more information, se Create task sequence variables for computers and collections.

Manage clients from the Device Collections node

Many of the tasks that are available for devices in the Devices node are also available on collections. The console automatically applies the operation to all eligible devices in the collection. This action on an entire collection generates additional network packets and increases CPU usage on the site server.

Consider the following questions before you run collection-level tasks. Once started, you can't stop the task from the console.

  • How many devices are in the collection?
  • Are the devices connected by low-bandwidth network connections?
  • How much time does this task need to complete for all the devices?

For more information, see How to manage collections.

Restart clients

Use the Configuration Manager console to identify clients that require a restart. Then use a client notification action to restart them.

Tip

Enable automatic client upgrade to keep your clients up-to-date with less effort. For more information, see About automatic client upgrade.

To identify devices that are pending a restart, go to the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Configuration Manager console and select the Devices node. Then view the status for each device in the details pane in a new column named Pending Restart. Each device has one or more of the following values:

  • No: there's no pending restart
  • Configuration Manager: this value comes from the client reboot coordinator component (RebootCoordinator.log)
  • File rename: this value comes from Windows reporting a pending file rename operation (HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager, PendingFileRenameOperations)
  • Windows Update: this value comes from the Windows Update Agent reporting a pending restart is required for one or more updates (HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\Auto Update\RebootRequired)
  • Add or remove feature: this value comes from the Windows component-based servicing reporting the addition or removal of a Windows feature requires a restart (HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Component Based Servicing\Reboot Pending)

Create the client notification to restart a device

  1. Select the device you want to restart within a collection in the Device Collections node of the console.
  2. In the ribbon, select Client Notification, and then select Restart. An information window opens about the restart. Select OK to confirm the restart request.

When the notification is received by a client, a Software Center notification window opens to inform the user about the restart. By default, the restart occurs after 90 minutes. You can modify the restart time by configuring client settings. Settings for the restart behavior are found on the Computer restart tab of the default settings.

Configure the client cache

The client cache stores temporary files for when clients install applications and programs. Software updates also use the client cache, but always attempt to download to the cache regardless of the size setting. Configure the cache settings, such as size and location, when you manually install the client, when you use client push installation, or after installation.

You can specify the cache folder size using client settings in the Configuration Manager console. For more information, see Client cache settings.

The default location for the Configuration Manager client cache is %windir%\ccmcache and the default disk space is 5120 MB.

Important

Don't encrypt the folder used for the client cache. Configuration Manager can't download content to an encrypted folder.

About the client cache

The Configuration Manager client downloads the content for required software soon after it receives the deployment but waits to run it until the deployment scheduled time. At the scheduled time, the Configuration Manager client checks to see whether the content is available in the cache. If content is in the cache and it's the correct version, the client uses the cached content. When the required version of the content changes, or if the client deletes the content to make room for another package, the client downloads the content to the cache again.

If the client attempts to download content for a program or application that is greater than the size of the cache, the deployment fails because of insufficient cache size. The client generates status message 10050 for insufficient cache size. If you increase the cache size later, the result is:

  • For a required program: The client doesn't automatically retry to download the content. Redeploy the package and program to the client.
  • For a required application: The client automatically retries to download the content when it downloads its client policy.

If the client attempts to download a package that's less than the size of the cache, but the cache is full, all required deployments keep retrying until:

  • The cache space is available
  • The download times out
  • The retry count reaches its limit

If you later increase the cache size, the client attempts to download the package again during the next retry interval. The client tries to download the content every four hours until it tries 18 times.

Cached content isn't automatically deleted. It remains in the cache for at least one day after the client uses that content. If you configure the package properties with the option to persist content in the client cache, the client doesn't automatically delete it. If the cache space is used by packages that were downloaded within the last 24 hours, and the client must download new packages, either increase the cache size or choose the option to delete persisted cache content.

Use the following procedures to configure the client cache during manual client installation, or after the client is installed.

Configure the cache during manual client installation

Run the CCMSetup.exe command from the install source location and specify the following properties that you require, and separated by spaces:

  • DISABLECACHEOPT

    • SMSCACHEDIR

    • SMSCACHEFLAGS

    • SMSCACHESIZE

      Note

      Use the cache size settings available in Client Settings in the Configuration Manager console instead of SMSCACHESIZE. For more information, see Client cache settings.

For more information about how to use these command-line properties for CCMSetup.exe, see About client installation properties.

Configure the cache during client push installation

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Site Configuration, and select the Sites node.

  2. Select the appropriate site. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Settings group, select Client Installation Settings, and choose Client Push Installation. Switch to the Installation Properties tab.

  3. Specify the following properties, separated by spaces:

    • DISABLECACHEOPT

    • SMSCACHEDIR

    • SMSCACHEFLAGS

    • SMSCACHESIZE

      Note

      Use the cache size settings available in Client Settings in the Configuration Manager console instead of SMSCACHESIZE. For more information, see Client cache settings.

      For more information about how to use these command-line properties for CCMSetup.exe, see About client installation properties.

Configure the cache on the client computer

  1. On the client computer, open the Configuration Manager control panel.

  2. Switch to the Cache tab. Set the space and location properties. The default location is %windir%\ccmcache.

  3. To delete the files in the cache folder, choose Delete Files.

Configure client cache size in Client Settings

Adjust the size of the client cache without having to reinstall the client. Use the cache size settings available in Client Settings in the Configuration Manager console. For more information, see Client cache settings.

Uninstall the client

You can uninstall the Configuration Manager client software from a computer by using CCMSetup.exe with the /Uninstall property. Run CCMSetup.exe on an individual computer from the command prompt, or deploy a package to uninstall the client for a collection of computers.

Note

You can't uninstall the Configuration Manager client from a mobile device. If you must remove the Configuration Manager client from a mobile device, you must wipe the device, which deletes all data on the mobile device.

  1. Open a Windows command prompt as an administrator. Change the folder to the location in which CCMSetup.exe is located, for example: cd %windir%\ccmsetup

  2. Run the following command: CCMSetup.exe /uninstall

Tip

The uninstall process displays no results on the screen. To verify that the client successfully uninstalls, see the following log file: %windir%\ccmsetup\logs\CCMSetup.log

If you need to wait for the uninstall process to complete before doing something else, run Wait-Process CCMSetup in PowerShell. This command can pause a script until the CCMSetup process completes.

Manage conflicting records

Configuration Manager uses the hardware identifier to attempt to identify clients that might be duplicates and alert you to the conflicting records. For example, if you reinstall a computer, the hardware identifier would be the same but the GUID used by Configuration Manager might be changed.

Configuration Manager automatically resolves conflicts by using Windows authentication of the computer account or a PKI certificate from a trusted source. When Configuration Manager can't resolve the conflict of duplicate hardware identifiers, a hierarchy setting determines the behavior.

Change the hierarchy setting for managing conflicting records

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Site Configuration, and select the Sites node.

  2. In the ribbon, select Hierarchy Settings.

  3. Switch to the Client Approval and Conflicting Records tab, and select one of the following options:

    • Automatically resolve conflicting records
    • Manually resolve conflicting records

Manually resolve conflicting records

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Monitoring workspace, expand System Status, and select the Conflicting Records node.

  2. Select one or more conflicting records, and then choose Conflicting Record.

  3. Select one of the following options:

    • Merge: Combine the newly detected record with the existing client record.

    • New: Create a new record for the conflicting client record.

    • Block: Create a new record for the conflicting client record, but mark it as blocked.

Manage duplicate hardware identifiers

You can provide a list of hardware identifiers that Configuration Manager ignores for PXE boot and client registration. This list helps to address two common issues:

  1. Many new devices don't include an onboard Ethernet port. Technicians use a USB-to-Ethernet adapter to establish a wired connection for purposes of OS deployment. These adapters are often shared because of cost and general usability. The site uses the MAC address of this adapter to identify the device. So reusing the adapter becomes problematic without additional administrator actions between each deployment. To reuse the adapter in this scenario, exclude its MAC address.

  2. While the SMBIOS attribute should be unique, some specialty hardware devices have duplicate identifiers. Exclude this duplicate identifier and rely on the unique MAC address of each device.

Use the following process to add hardware identifiers for Configuration Manager to ignore:

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, expand Site Configuration, and select the Sites node.

  2. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Sites group, choose Hierarchy Settings.

  3. Switch to the Client Approval and Conflicting Records tab. To add new hardware identifiers, choose Add in the Duplicate hardware identifiers section.

Start policy retrieval

A Configuration Manager client downloads its client policy on a schedule that you configure as a client setting. You can also start on-demand policy retrieval from the client. For example, for troubleshooting or testing situations.

Start client policy retrieval with client notification

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Assets and Compliance workspace, and select Devices.

  2. Select the device that you want to download policy. On the Home tab of the ribbon, in the Device group, select Client Notification, and then choose Download Computer Policy.

    Note

    You can also use client notification to start policy retrieval for all devices in a collection.

Start client policy retrieval from the Configuration Manager client control panel

  1. Open the Configuration Manager control panel on the computer.

  2. Switch to the Actions tab. Select Machine Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle to start the computer policy, and then select Run Now.

  3. Select OK to confirm the prompt.

  4. Repeat the previous steps for any other actions. For example, User Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle for user client settings.

Start client policy retrieval with Support Center

Use Support Center to request and view client policy. For more information, see Support Center reference.

Start client policy retrieval by script

  1. Open a script editor, such as Notepad or Windows PowerShell ISE.

  2. Copy and insert the following sample PowerShell code into the file:

    $trigger = "{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000021}"
    Invoke-WmiMethod -Namespace root\ccm -Class sms_client -Name TriggerSchedule $trigger
    

    Tip

    For more information about the schedule IDs, see Message IDs.

  3. Save the file with a .ps1 extension.

  4. Run the script on the client.