Capabilities in Technical Preview 1712 for System Center Configuration Manager

Applies to: System Center Configuration Manager (Technical Preview)

This article introduces the features that are available in the Technical Preview for System Center Configuration Manager, version 1712. You can install this version to update and add new capabilities to your Configuration Manager technical preview site.

Review Technical Preview for System Center Configuration Manager before installing this version of the technical preview. That article familiarizes you with the general requirements and limitations for using a technical preview, how to update between versions, and how to provide feedback about the features in a technical preview.

Known Issues in this Technical Preview:

  • Update to a new preview version fails when you have a site server in passive mode. If you have a primary site server in passive mode, then you must uninstall the passive mode site server before updating to this new preview version. You can reinstall the passive mode site server after your site completes the update.

    To uninstall the passive mode site server:

    1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to Administration > Overview > Site Configuration > Servers and Site System Roles, and then select the passive mode site server.
    2. In the Site System Roles pane, right-click on the Site server role, and then choose Remove Role.
    3. Right-click on the passive mode site server, and then choose Delete.
    4. After the site server uninstalls, on the active primary site server restart the service CONFIGURATION_MANAGER_UPDATE.

The following are new features you can try out with this version.

Do not automatically upgrade superseded applications

Based upon your user voice feedback, in this release you have the option to configure an application deployment to not automatically upgrade any superseded version. Now when creating the deployment, on the Deployment Settings page of the Deploy Software Wizard, for either Available or Required install purpose, you can enable or disable the option to Automatically upgrade any superseded versions of this application.

Install multiple applications in Software Center

If an end user or desktop technician needs to install multiple applications on a device, Software Center now supports installing multiple selected applications. This allows the user to be more efficient while not waiting for one installation to finish before starting the next.

When using multi-select mode in the Applications tab, the following criteria determine which apps Software Center enables for multi-select:

  • The app is visible to the user
  • The app isn't already installed
  • Administrator approval isn't required or is already granted
  • The app status is available (for example, not already downloading content)

Try it out!

In the Configuration Manager console: Deploy to a user or device multiple applications for installation, as either available or required (with the deadline in the future). Do not require administrator approval. For more information, see Deploy applications.

In Software Center:

  1. The Applications tab should open by default.
  2. To enter multi-select mode in the list view, click the new icon Software Center multi-select icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Select two or more apps to install by clicking the checkbox to the left of the apps in the list.
  4. Click the Install Selected button.

The apps install as normal, only now in succession.

Client-based PXE responder service

A common challenge for customers is providing PXE services at remote/branch offices with little or no server infrastructure. The distribution point role supports client operating systems, but can't be PXE-enabled due to the dependency on Windows Deployment Services.

New client settings are now available to enable a PXE responder service on Configuration Manager clients. A PXE-enabled boot image must reside in the PXE responder's client cache.

Try it out!

Ensure there are no existing PXE-enabled distribution points or other PXE servers in the test environment that may conflict with this client PXE responder.

In the Configuration Manager console:

  1. In the Software Library workspace under Operating Systems, Task Sequences: create a task sequence using the custom template.
    1. Click Add, select General, and then the Set Task Sequence Variable step. Enter SMSTSPersistContent as the task sequence variable, and enter the value TRUE.
    2. Click Add, select Software, and then the Download Package Content step. Click the gold asterisk and then select a PXE-enabled boot image. Include both x86 and x64 boot images. Configure the step to place it into the Configuration Manager client cache.
    3. Click Add, select General, and then the Set Task Sequence Variable step. Enter SMSTSPreserveContent as the task sequence variable, and enter the value TRUE.
  2. In the Administration workspace under Client Settings: create a custom client device settings policy.
    1. Select the Client Cache Settings group.
    2. Set the Enable Configuration Manager client in full OS to share content setting to Yes.
    3. Set the Enable PXE responder service setting to Yes.
    4. For the Create a self-signed certificate or import a PKI client certificate setting, click Provide a certificate. Select Import certificate if your test environment has PKI, otherwise click OK to create a self-signed certificate.
    5. Configure the remaining settings as necessary for your test environment. (The default settings should work unless there are specific network or security requirements.)
  3. Deploy the task sequence and custom client settings to a collection of target clients to be PXE responders. Wait for the policies to apply and the task sequence to run.
  4. Start another client on the same subnet to PXE/network boot as normal.

Known issues

  • The task sequence editor displays a red error icon for the Download Package Content step when you add a boot image, but the task sequence successfully saves. Opening this task sequence again in the editor also shows a harmless warning that referenced objects cannot be found.
  • The boot image from the Download Package Content step does not show in the custom task sequence's list of references. Also the Distribute Content action is not available.

Change in the Configuration Manager client install

As a result of your user voice feedback, Silverlight is no longer installed on clients automatically.

Change to the Surface device dashboard

The Surface dashboard now displays firmware versions for Surface devices rather than operating system version. In the console, go to Monitoring > Surface Devices. You can view the following items:

  • Percent of Surfaces
  • Percent of Surface models
  • Top five firmware versions

Improvements to Office 365 Client Management dashboard

The Office 365 Client Management dashboard now displays a list of relevant devices when graph sections are selected. In the console, go to Software Library >Overview >Office 365 Client Management. The dashboard is displayed on the right. Selecting criteria from the chart shows a list of devices.

Improvements to the Configuration Manager console

We have made the following improvements to the Configuration Manager console, which were a result of your user voice feedback.

Improvements to operating system deployment

We made the following improvements to operating system deployment, some of which were the result of your user voice feedback.

  • Default log viewer in boot image: In Windows PE, when launching cmtrace.exe, you are no longer prompted to choose whether to make this program the default viewer for log files.
  • Download Package Content step: You can now add boot images to this task sequence step.

Windows 10 Feedback Hub app integration

We love feedback so much that we're now enabling feedback through the Feedback Hub app built-in to Windows 10. When you Add new feedback, be sure to select the Enterprise Management category, and then choose from one of the following subcategories:

  • Configuration Manager Client
  • Configuration Manager Console
  • Configuration Manager OS Deployment
  • Configuration Manager Server

Continue to use our user voice page to vote on new feature ideas in Configuration Manager.

Next steps

For information about installing or updating the technical preview branch, see Technical Preview for System Center Configuration Manager.