How to use the Configuration Manager console

Applies to: Configuration Manager (current branch)

Administrators use the Configuration Manager console to manage the Configuration Manager environment. This article covers the fundamentals of navigating the console.

Open the console

The Configuration Manager console is always installed on every site server. You can also install it on other computers. For more information, see Install the Configuration Manager console.

The simplest method to open the console on a Windows 10 computer, press Start and start typing Configuration Manager console. You may not need to type the entire string for Windows to find the best match.

If you browse the Start menu, look for the Configuration Manager console icon in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager group.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager start menu icons

Note

The Start menu path changed in version 1910. In version 1906 and earlier, the folder name is System Center. When you update Configuration Manager to version 1910 or later, make sure to update any internal documentation that you maintain to include this new location.

Connect to a site server

The console connects to your central administration site server or to your primary site servers. You can't connect a Configuration Manager console to a secondary site. During installation, you specified the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the site server to which the console connects.

To connect to a different site server, use the following steps:

  1. Select the arrow at the top of the ribbon, and choose Connect to a New Site.

    Connect the console to a new site

  2. Type in the FQDN of the site server. If you've previously connected to site server, select the server from the drop-down list.

    Site Connection window, enter the FQDN of the site server

  3. Select Connect.

Starting in version 1810, you can specify the minimum authentication level for administrators to access Configuration Manager sites. This feature enforces administrators to sign in to Windows with the required level. For more information, see Plan for the SMS Provider.

Some areas of the console may not be visible depending on your assigned security role. For more information about roles, see Fundamentals of role-based administration.

Workspaces

The Configuration Manager console has four workspaces:

  • Assets and Compliance

  • Software Library

  • Monitoring

  • Administration

Configuration Manager workspaces with context menu

Reorder workspace buttons by selecting the down arrow and choosing Navigation Pane Options. Select an item to Move Up or Move Down. Select Reset to restore the default button order.

Navigation Pane Options window to reorder workspaces

Minimize a workspace button by selecting Show Fewer Buttons. The last workspace in the list is minimized first. Select a minimized button and choose Show More Buttons to restore the button to its original size.

Minimized workspaces in the Configuration Manager console

Nodes

Workspaces are a collection of nodes. One example of a node is the Software Update Groups node in the Software Library workspace.

Once you are in the node, you can select the arrow to minimize the navigation pane.

Example node and highlight minimize arrow

Use the navigation bar to move around the console when you minimize the navigation pane.

Configuration Manager minimized navigation pane

In the console, nodes are sometimes organized into folders. When you select the folder, it usually displays a navigation index or a dashboard.

Configuration Manager software updates navigation index

Ribbon

The ribbon is at the top of the Configuration Manager console. The ribbon can have more than one tab and can be minimized using the arrow on the right. The buttons on the ribbon change based on the node. Most of the buttons in the ribbon are also available on context menus.

Example ribbon, highlighting multiple tabs and minimize arrow

Details pane

You can get additional information about items by reviewing the details pane. The details pane can have one or more tabs. The tabs vary depending on the node.

Configuration Manager example details pane

Columns

You can add, remove, reorder, and resize columns. These actions allow you to display the data you prefer. Available columns vary depending on the node. To add or remove a column from your view, right-click on an existing column heading and select an item. Reorder columns by dragging the column heading where you would like it to be.

Configuration Managers add column

At the bottom of the column context menu, you can sort or group by a column. Additionally, you can sort by a column by selecting its header.

Configuration Manager group by column

Reclaim lock for editing objects

If the Configuration Manager console stops responding, you can be locked out of making further changes until the lock expires after 30 minutes. This lock is part of the Configuration Manager SEDO (Serialized Editing of Distributed Objects) system. For more information, see Configuration Manager SEDO.

Starting in current branch version 1906, you could clear your lock on a task sequence. Starting in version 1910, you can clear your lock on any object in the Configuration Manager console.

This action only applies to your user account that has the lock, and on the same device from which the site granted the lock. When you attempt to access a locked object, you can now Discard Changes, and continue editing the object. These changes would be lost anyway when the lock expired.

View recently connected consoles

Starting in version 1902, you can view the most recent connections for the Configuration Manager console. The view includes active connections and those connections that recently connected. You'll always see your current console connection in the list and you only see connections from the Configuration Manager console. You won't see PowerShell or other SDK-based connections to the SMS Provider. The site removes instances from the list that are older than 30 days.

Prerequisites to view connected consoles

View connected consoles

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace.

  2. Expand Security and select the Console Connections node.

  3. View the recent connections, with the following properties:

    • User name
    • Machine name
    • Connected site code
    • Console version
    • Last connected time: When the user last opened the console
    • Starting in version 1910, the Last Console Heartbeat column has replaced the Last Connected Time column.
      • An open console in the foreground sends a heartbeat every 10 minutes.

View Configuration Manager console connections

Start Microsoft Teams Chat from Console Connections

(Introduced in version 1910)

Starting in version 1910, you can message other Configuration Manager administrators from the Console Connections node using Microsoft Teams. When you choose to Start Microsoft Teams Chat with an administrator, Microsoft Teams is launched and a chat is opened with the user.

Prerequisites

Start Microsoft Teams Chat

  1. Go to Administration > Security > Console Connections.
  2. Right-click on a user's console connection and select Start Microsoft Teams Chat.
    • If the User Principal Name isn't found for the selected administrator, Start Microsoft Teams Chat is grayed out.
    • An error message, including a download link, appears if Microsoft Teams isn't installed on the device from which you run the console.
    • If Microsoft Teams is installed on the device from which you run the console, it will open a chat with the user.

Known issues

The error message notifying you that Microsoft Teams isn't installed won't be displayed if the following Registry key doesn't exist:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall

To work around the issue, manually create the Registry key.

In-console documentation dashboard

Starting in Configuration Manager version 1902, there's a Documentation node in the new Community workspace. This node includes up-to-date information about Configuration Manager documentation and support articles. It includes the following sections:

Product documentation library

  • Recommended: a manually curated list of important articles.
  • Trending: the most popular articles for the last month.
  • Recently updated: articles revised in the last month.

Support articles

  • Troubleshooting articles: guided walkthroughs to assist with troubleshooting Configuration Manager components and features.
  • New and updated support articles: articles that are new or updated in the last two months.

Troubleshooting connection errors

The Documentation node has no explicit proxy configuration. It uses any OS-defined proxy in the Internet Options control panel applet. To retry after a connection error, refresh the Documentation node.

Command-line options

The Configuration Manager console has the following command-line options:

Option Description
/sms:debugview=1 A DebugView is included in all ResultViews that specify a view. DebugView shows raw properties (names and values).
/sms:NamespaceView=1 Shows namespace view in the console.
/sms:ResetSettings The console ignores user-persisted connection and view states. The window size isn't reset.
/sms:IgnoreExtensions Disables any Configuration Manager extensions.
/sms:NoRestore The console ignores previous persisted node navigation.

Next steps