Link users and devices with user device affinity in Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager (Current Branch)

User device affinity in Configuration Manager associates a user with one or more devices. This behavior can eliminate the need to know the names of a user's devices to deploy an application to the user. Instead of deploying the application to each of the user's devices, you deploy the application to the user. Then, user device affinity automatically makes sure that the application installs on all devices that are associated with that user.

Define primary devices that users use every day for their work. When you create an affinity between a user and a device, you gain more app deployment options. For example, if a user requires Microsoft Visio, you can install it on the user's primary device by using a Windows Installer deployment. However, on a device that's not a primary device, you might deploy Visio as a virtual application. You also can use user device affinity to predeploy software on a user's device when the user isn't signed in. Then when the user logs on, the app is already installed and ready to run.

You only manage user device affinity information for computers. Configuration Manager automatically manages user device affinities for the mobile devices that it enrolls.

Manually set up user device affinity

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

  2. Select a device. On the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Device group, choose Edit Primary Users.

  3. In the Edit Primary Users dialog box, search for and then select the users to add as primary users for the selected device. Choose Add.

    Note

    The Primary Users list shows users who are already primary users of this device, and the method by which each user-device relationship was assigned.

Set up primary devices for a user

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

  2. Select a user. On the Device tab in the ribbon, choose Edit Primary Devices.

  3. In the Edit Primary Devices dialog box, search for and then select the devices to add as primary devices for the selected user. Choose Add.

    Note

    The Primary Devices list shows devices that are already set up as primary devices for this user, and the method by which each user-device relationship was assigned.

Automatically create user device affinities (Windows PCs only)

Configuration Manager reads data about user logon events from the Windows event log. To automatically create user device affinities, turn on these two options in the local security policy on client computers to store logon events in the Windows event log:

  • Audit account logon events
  • Audit logon events

To configure these settings, use Windows Group Policy.

Important

If an error causes the Windows event log to generate a high number of entries, it might create a new event log. If this behavior occurs, existing logon events might not be available to Configuration Manager.

Set up the site to automatically create user device affinities

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, and select the Client Settings node.

  2. To modify the default client settings, select Default Client Settings. On the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Properties group, choose Properties.

    To create custom client agent settings, on the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Create group, choose Create Custom Client Device Settings.

    Note

    If you modify the default client settings, the site deploys them to all computers in the hierarchy. For more information, see How to configure client settings.

  3. In the User and Device Affinity group, set the following settings:

    • User device affinity threshold (minutes): Set the number of minutes of device usage before the site creates a user device affinity.

    • User device affinity threshold (days): Set the number of days over which the site measures the usage-based affinity threshold.

    • Automatically configure user device affinity from usage data: Select True to let the site automatically create user device affinities. If you select False, you need to manually approve all user device affinity assignments.

    Tip

    For example, if you set User device affinity threshold (minutes) to 60 minutes and you set User device affinity threshold (days) to 5 days, the user must use the device for at least 60 minutes over a period of 5 days to automatically create a user device affinity.

After Configuration Manager creates an automatic user device affinity, it continues to monitor the user device affinity thresholds. If the user's activity for the device falls below the thresholds you've set, the site removes the user device affinity. Set User device affinity threshold (days) to a value of at least seven days. This configuration avoids situations in which an automatically configured user device affinity might be lost while the user isn't signed in, for example, during the weekend.

Import user device affinities from a file

To create many relationships at one time, import a file that has the details for multiple user device affinities. Make sure the target devices are already discovered by the site and exist as resources in the Configuration Manager database.

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

  2. On the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Create group, choose Import User Device Affinity.

  3. In the Import User Device Affinity Wizard, on the Choose Mapping page, set this information:

    • File name. Specify a comma-separated values (CSV) file that has a list of users and devices between which you want to create an affinity. In this file, each user-and-device pair must be on its own row, with values separated by a comma. Use this format: <domain>\<username>,<device NetBIOS name>

    • This file has column headings for reference purposes. If the .csv file has a top-row header, select this option. The site ignores the header row during the import.

  4. If the file you import has more than two items in each row, use Column and Assign to specify which columns represent users and devices, and which columns to ignore during import.

  5. Complete the wizard.

Let users create their own device affinities

Set up a user to create their own user device affinity in Software Center.

Set up the site to allow user-created user device affinity requests

1 In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace, and select the Client Settings node.

  1. To modify the default client settings, select Default Client Settings. On the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Properties group, choose Properties.

    To create custom client agent settings, on the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Create group, choose Create Custom Client User Settings.

    Note

    If you modify the default client settings, the site deploys them to all computers in the hierarchy. For more information, see Configure client settings.

  2. In the User and Device Affinity group, enable the setting to Allow user to define their primary devices.

Set up a user device affinity in Software Center

Starting in version 1902, use Software Center to set affinity.

  1. In Software Center, go to the Options tab.

  2. In the Work information section, select the option I regularly use this computer to do my work.

Set up a user device affinity in the application catalog

Important

The application catalog's Silverlight user experience isn't supported as of current branch version 1806. Starting in version 1906, updated clients automatically use the management point for user-available application deployments. You also can't install new application catalog roles. In the first current branch release after October 31, 2019, support will end for the application catalog roles.

For more information, see the following articles:

  1. In the application catalog, choose My Systems.

  2. Select the option I regularly use this computer to do my work.

Manage user device affinity requests from users

When you disable the client setting to Automatically configure user device affinity from usage data, you need to manually approve all user device affinity assignments.

Approve or reject a user device affinity request

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

  2. Select the user or device collection for which you want to manage affinity requests.

  3. On the Home tab in the ribbon, in the Collection group, choose Manage Affinity Requests.

  4. In the Manage User Device Affinity Requests dialog box, select an affinity request, and then choose Approve or Reject.

Next steps

You can also use Microsoft Intune to find the primary use of an enrolled device. For more information, see Find the primary user of an Intune device in the Intune documentation.