Capabilities in Technical Preview 1802 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 1802. 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.

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.

Transition Endpoint Protection workload to Intune using co-management

In this release, you can now transition the Endpoint Protection workload from Configuration Manager to Intune after enabling co-management. To transition the Endpoint Protection workload, go to the co-management properties page and move the slider bar from Configuration Manager to Pilot or All. For details, see Co-management for Windows 10 devices.

Configure Windows Delivery Optimization to use Configuration Manager boundary groups

You use Configuration Manager boundary groups to define and regulate content distribution across your corporate network and to remote offices. Windows Delivery Optimization is a cloud-based, peer-to-peer technology to share content between Windows 10 devices. Starting in this release, configure Delivery Optimization to use your boundary groups when sharing content among peers. A new client setting applies the boundary group identifier as the Delivery Optimization group identifier on the client. When the client communicates with the Delivery Optimization cloud service, it uses this identifier to locate peers with the desired content.

Prerequisites

  • Delivery Optimization is only available on Windows 10 clients

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, Administration workspace, Client Settings node, create a custom client device settings policy.
  2. Select the new Delivery Optimization group.
  3. Enable the setting Use Configuration Manager Boundary Groups for Delivery Optimization Group ID.

For more information, see the Group delivery mode option in Delivery Optimization options.

Windows 10 in-place upgrade task sequence via cloud management gateway

The Windows 10 in-place upgrade task sequence now supports deployment to internet-based clients managed through the cloud management gateway. This ability allows remote users to more easily upgrade to Windows 10 without needing to connect to the corporate network.

Ensure all of the content referenced by the in-place upgrade task sequence is distributed to a cloud distribution point. Otherwise devices cannot run the task sequence.

When you deploy an upgrade task sequence, use the following settings:

  • Allow task sequence to run for client on the Internet, on the User Experience tab of the deployment.
  • Download all content locally before starting task sequence, on the Distribution Points tab of the deployment. Other options such as Download content locally when needed by the running task sequence do not work in this scenario. The task sequence engine is currently unable to obtain content from a cloud distribution point. The Configuration Manager client must download the content from the cloud distribution point before starting the task sequence.
  • (Optional) Pre-download content for this task sequence, on the General tab of the deployment. For more information, see Configure pre-cache content.

Improvements to Windows 10 in-place upgrade task sequence

The default task sequence template for Windows 10 in-place upgrade now includes additional groups with recommended actions to add before and after the upgrade process. These actions are common among many customers who are successfully upgrading devices to Windows 10.

New groups under Prepare for Upgrade

  • Battery checks: Add steps in this group to check whether the computer is using battery, or wired power. This action requires a custom script or utility to perform this check.
  • Network/wired connection checks: Add steps in this group to check whether the computer is connected to a network, and is not using a wireless connection. This action requires a custom script or utility to perform this check.
  • Remove incompatible applications: Add steps in this group to remove any applications that are incompatible with this version of Windows 10. The method to uninstall an application varies. If the application uses Windows Installer, copy the Uninstall program command line from the Programs tab on the Windows Installer deployment type properties of the application. Then add a Run Command Line step in this group with the uninstall program command line. For example:
    msiexec /x {150031D8-1234-4BA8-9F52-D6E5190D1CBA} /q
  • Remove incompatible drivers: Add steps in this group to remove any drivers that are incompatible with this version of Windows 10.
  • Remove/suspend third-party security: Add steps in this group to remove or suspend third-party security programs, such as antivirus.
    • If you are using a third-party disk encryption program, provide its encryption driver to Windows Setup with the /ReflectDrivers command-line option. Add a Set Task Sequence Variable step to the task sequence in this group. Set the task sequence variable to OSDSetupAdditionalUpgradeOptions. Set the value to /ReflectDriver with the path to the driver. This task sequence action variable appends the Windows Setup command-line used by the task sequence. Contact your software vendor for any additional guidance on this process.

New groups under Post-Processing

  • Apply setup-based drivers: Add steps in this group to install setup-based drivers (.exe) from packages.
  • Install/enable third-party security: Add steps in this group to install or enable third-party security programs, such as antivirus.
  • Set Windows default apps and associations: Add steps in this group to set Windows default apps and file associations. First prepare a reference computer with your desired app associations. Then run the following command line to export:
    dism /online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:"%UserProfile%\Desktop\DefaultAppAssociations.xml"
    Add the XML file to a package. Then add a Run Command Line step in this group. Specify the package that contains the XML file, and then specify the following command line:
    dism /online /Import-DefaultAppAssociations:DefaultAppAssocations.xml
    For more information, see Export or import default application associations.
  • Apply customizations and personalization: Add steps in this group to apply Start menu customizations, such as organizing program groups. For more information, see Customize the Start screen.

Additional recommendations

  • Review Windows documentation to Resolve Windows 10 upgrade errors. This article also includes detailed information about the upgrade process.
  • On the default Check Readiness step, enable Ensure minimum free disk space (MB). Set the value to at least 16384 (16 GB) for a 32-bit OS upgrade package, or 20480 (20 GB) for 64-bit.
  • Use the SMSTSDownloadRetryCount built-in task sequence variable to retry downloading policy. Currently by default, the client retries twice; this variable is set to two (2). If your clients are not on a wired corporate network connection, additional retries help the client obtain policy. Using this variable causes no negative side effect, other than delayed failure if it cannot download policy. Also increase the SMSTSDownloadRetryDelay variable from the default 15 seconds.
  • Perform an inline compatibility assessment.
    • Add a second Upgrade Operating System step early in the Prepare for Upgrade group. Name it Upgrade assessment. Specify the same upgrade package, and then enable the option to Perform Windows Setup compatibility scan without starting upgrade. Enable Continue on error on the Options tab.
    • Immediately following this Upgrade assessment step, add a Run Command Line step. Specify the following command line:
      cmd /c exit %_SMSTSOSUpgradeActionReturnCode%
      On the Options tab, add the following condition:
      Task Sequence Variable _SMSTSOSUpgradeActionReturnCode not equals 3247440400
      This return code is the decimal equivalent of MOSETUP_E_COMPAT_SCANONLY (0xC1900210), which is a successful compatibility scan with no issues. If the Upgrade Assessment step succeeds and returns this code, this step is skipped. Otherwise, if the assessment step returns any other return code, this step fails the task sequence with the return code from the Windows Setup compatibility scan.
    • For more information, see Upgrade operating system.
  • If you want to change the device from BIOS to UEFI during this task sequence, see Convert from BIOS to UEFI during an in-place upgrade.

Send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon if you have further recommendations or suggestions.

Improvements to PXE-enabled distribution points

To clarify the behavior of new PXE functionality first introduced in Technical Preview version 1706, we renamed the Support IPv6 option. On the PXE tab of the distribution point properties, check Enable a PXE responder without Windows Deployment Service.

This option enables a PXE responder on the distribution point, which does not require Windows Deployment Services (WDS). If you enable this new option on a distribution point that is already PXE-enabled, Configuration Manager suspends the WDS service. If you disable this new option, but still Enable PXE support for clients, then the distribution point enables WDS again.

Because WDS is not required, the PXE-enabled distribution point can be a client or server operating system, including Windows Server Core. This new PXE responder service continues to support IPv6, and also enhances the flexibility of PXE-enabled distribution points in remote offices.

Note

This service uses the same fundamental technology as the Client-based PXE responder service in Technical Preview version 1712. That feature does not require the overhead of the distribution point role.

Multicast

To enable and configure multicast on the Multicast tab of the distribution point properties, the distribution point must use WDS.

  • If you Enable PXE support for clients and Enable multicast to simultaneously send data to multiple clients, then you cannot Enable a PXE responder without Windows Deployment Service.
  • If you Enable PXE support for clients and Enable a PXE responder without Windows Deployment Service, then you cannot Enable multicast to simultaneously send data to multiple clients

Deployment templates for task sequences

The deployment wizard for task sequences can now create a deployment template. The deployment template can be saved and applied to an existing or new task sequence to create a deployment.

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

Create a deployment template for a new task sequence deployment

  1. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and select Task Sequences.
  2. Right-click on a task sequence and select Deploy.
  3. On the General tab, note there is now an option to Select Deployment Template.
  4. Continue through the Deploy Software Wizard selecting the deployment settings for the task sequence.
  5. When you reach the Summary tab of the Deploy Software Wizard, click on Save As Template.
  6. Give the template a name and select the settings to save in the template.
  7. Click Save. The template is now available for use from the Select Deployment Template option.

Product lifecycle dashboard

The new Product Lifecycle dashboard shows the state of the Microsoft Product Lifecycle policy for Microsoft products installed on devices managed with Configuration Manager. The dashboard provides you with information about Microsoft products in your environment, supportability state, and support end dates. You can use the dashboard to understand the availability of support for each product.

To access the Lifecycle Dashboard, in the Configuration Manager console, go to Assets and Compliance >Asset Intelligence >Product Lifecycle

Improvements to reporting

As a result of your feedback we added a new report, Windows 10 Servicing details for a specific collection. This report shows Resource ID, NetBIOS name, OS name, OS release name, build, OS branch, and servicing state for Windows 10 devices. To access the report, go to Monitoring >Reporting >Reports >Operating Systems >Windows 10 Servicing details for a specific collection.

Improvements to Software Center

As a result of your feedback installed applications can now be hidden in Software Center. Applications that are already installed will no longer show in the Applications tab when this option is enabled.

Try it out!

Enable the Hide Installed Applications in Software Center setting in the Software Center client settings. Observe the behavior on Software Center when the end user installs an application.

Improvements to Run Scripts

The Run Scripts feature now returns script output using JSON formatting. This format consistently returns a readable script output. Scripts that fail to run may not get output returned.

Boundary group fallback for management points

Starting in this release, you can configure fallback relationships for management points between boundary groups. This behavior provides greater control for the management points that clients use. On the Relationships tab of the boundary group properties, there is a new column for management point. When you add a new fallback boundary group, the fallback time for the management point is currently always zero (0). This behavior is the same for the Default Behavior on the site default boundary group.

Previously, a common problem occurs when you have a protected management point in a secure network. Clients on the main corporate network receive policy that includes this protected management point, even though they cannot communicate with it across a firewall. To address this problem, use the Never fallback option to ensure that clients only fallback to management points with which they can communicate.

When upgrading the site to this version, Configuration Manager adds all non-internet-facing management points into the site default boundary group. This upgrade behavior ensures that older client versions continue to communicate with management points. In order to take full advantage of this feature, move your management points to the desired boundary groups.

Management point boundary group fallback does not change the behavior during client installation (ccmsetup). If the command line does not specify the initial management point using the /MP parameter, the new client receives the full list of available management points. For its initial bootstrap process, the client uses the first management point it can access. Once the client registers with the site, it receives the management point list properly sorted with this new behavior.

Prerequisites

  • Enable preferred management points. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Administration workspace. Expand Site Configuration and select Sites. Click Hierarchy Settings in the ribbon. On the General tab, enable Clients prefer to use management points specified in boundary groups.

Known issues

  • Operating system deployment processes are not aware of boundary groups.

Troubleshooting

New entries appear in the LocationServices.log. The Locality attribute identifies one of the following states:

  • 0: Unknown
  • 1: The specified management point is only in the site default boundary group for fallback
  • 2: The specified management point is in a remote or neighbor boundary group. When the management point is in both a neighbor and the site default boundary groups, the locality is 2.
  • 3: The specified management point is in the local or current boundary group. When the management point is in the current boundary group as well as either a neighbor or the site default boundary group, the locality is 3. If you do not enable the preferred management points setting in Hierarchy Settings, the locality is always 3 no matter which boundary group the management point is in.

Clients use local management points first (locality 3), remote second (locality 2), then fallback (locality 1).

When a client receives five errors in ten minutes and fails to communicate with a management point in its current boundary group, it tries to contact a management point in a neighbor or the site default boundary group. If the management point in the current boundary group later comes back online, the client will return to the local management point on the next refresh cycle. The refresh cycle is 24 hours, or when the Configuration Manager agent service restarts.

Improved support for CNG certificates

Configuration Manager (current branch) version 1710 supports Cryptography: Next Generation (CNG) certificates. Version 1710 limits support to client certificates in several scenarios.

Starting in this technical preview release, use CNG certificates for the following HTTPS-enabled server roles:

  • Management point
  • Distribution point
  • Software update point

The list of unsupported scenarios remains the same.

Cloud management gateway support for Azure Resource Manager

When creating an instance of the cloud management gateway (CMG), the wizard now provides the option to create an Azure Resource Manager deployment. Azure Resource Manager is a modern platform for managing all solution resources as a single entity, called a resource group. When deploying CMG with Azure Resource Manager, the site uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to authenticate and create the necessary cloud resources. This modernized deployment does not require the classic Azure management certificate.

The CMG wizard still provides the option for a classic service deployment using an Azure management certificate. To simplify the deployment and management of resources, we recommend using the Azure Resource Manager deployment model for all new CMG instances. If possible, redeploy existing CMG instances through Resource Manager.

Configuration Manager does not migrate existing classic CMG instances to the Azure Resource Manager deployment model. Create new CMG instances using Azure Resource Manager deployments, and then remove classic CMG instances.

Important

This capability does not enable support for Azure Cloud Service Providers (CSP). The CMG deployment with Azure Resource Manager continues to use the classic cloud service, which the CSP does not support. For more information, see available Azure services in Azure CSP.

Prerequisites

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, Administration workspace, expand Cloud Services, and select Cloud Management Gateway. Click Create Cloud Management Gateway in the ribbon.
  2. On the General page, select Azure Resource Manager deployment. Click Sign in to authenticate with an Azure subscription administrator account. The wizard auto-populates the remaining fields from the Azure AD subscription information stored during the integration prerequisite. If you own multiple subscriptions, select the desired subscription to use. Click Next.
  3. On the Settings page, provide the server PKI certificate file as usual. This certificate defines the CMG service name in Azure. Select the Region, and then select a resource group option to either Create new or Use existing. Enter the new resource group name, or select an existing resource group from the drop-down list.
  4. Complete the wizard.

Note

For the selected Azure AD server app, Azure assigns the subscription contributor permission.

Monitor the service deployment progress with cloudmgr.log on the service connection point.

Approve application requests for users per device

Starting in this release, when a user requests an application that requires approval, the specific device name is now a part of the request. If the administrator approves the request, the user is only able to install the application on that device. The user must submit another request to install the application on another device.

Note

This feature is optional. When updating to this release, enable this feature in the update wizard. Alternatively, enable the feature in the console later. For more information, see Enable optional features from updates.

Prerequisites

  • Upgrade the Configuration Manager client to the latest version
  • Enable the client setting Use new Software Center in the Computer agent group

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

  1. Deploy an application as available to a user collection.
  2. On the Deployment Settings page, enable the option: An administrator must approve a request for this application on the device.
  3. As a targeted user, use Software Center to submit a request for the application.
  4. View Approval Requests under Application Management in the Software Library workspace of the Configuration Manager console. There is now a Device column in the list for each request. When you take action on the request, the Application Request dialog also includes the device name from which the user submitted the request.

Use Software Center to browse and install user-available applications on Azure AD-joined devices

If you deploy applications as available to users, they can now browse and install them through Software Center on Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) devices.

Prerequisites

  • Enable HTTPS on the management point
  • Integrate the site with Azure AD
  • Deploy an application as available to a user collection
  • Distribute any application content to a cloud distribution point
  • Enable the client setting Use new Software Center in the Computer agent group
  • The client must be:
    • Windows 10
    • Azure AD-joined, also known as cloud domain-joined
  • To support internet-based clients:
  • To support clients on the corporate network:
    • Add the cloud distribution point to a boundary group used by the clients
    • Clients must be able to resolve the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the HTTPS-enabled management point

Report on Windows AutoPilot device information

Windows AutoPilot is a solution for onboarding and configuring new Windows 10 devices in a modern way. For more information, see an overview of Windows AutoPilot. One method of registering existing devices with Windows AutoPilot is to upload device information to the Microsoft Store for Business and Education. This information includes the device serial number, Windows product identifier, and a hardware identifier. Use Configuration Manager to collect and report this device information.

Prerequisites

  • This device information only applies to clients on Windows 10, version 1703, and later

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, Monitoring workspace, expand the Reporting node, expand Reports, and select the Hardware - General node.
  2. Run the new report, Windows AutoPilot Device Information and view the results.
  3. In the report viewer click the Export icon, and select CSV (comma delimited) option.
  4. After saving the file, upload the data to the Microsoft Store for Business and Education. For more information, see add devices in Microsoft Store for Business and Education.

Improvements to Configuration Manager Policies for Windows Defender Exploit Guard

Additional policy settings for the Attack Surface Reduction and Controlled folder access components have been added in Configuration Manager for Windows Defender Exploit Guard.

New settings for Controlled folder access
There are two additional options when you configure Controlled folder access: Block disk sectors only and Audit disk sectors only. These two settings allow Controlled folder access to be enabled for boot sectors only and does not enable the protection of specific folders or the default protected folders.

New settings for Attack Surface Reduction

  • Use advanced protection against ransomware.
  • Block credential stealing from the Windows local security authority subsystem.
  • Block executable files from running unless they meet a prevalence, age, or trusted list criteria.
  • Block untrusted and unsigned processes that run from USB.

Microsoft Edge browser policies

For customers who use the Microsoft Edge web browser on Windows 10 clients, you can now create a Configuration Manager compliance settings policy to configure several Microsoft Edge settings. This policy currently includes the following settings:

Prerequisites

  • Windows 10 client that is Azure Active Directory-joined.

Known issues

  • On-premises domain-joined devices cannot apply this policy in this release. This issue also pertains to hybrid domain-joined devices.

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

Create the policy

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, go to the Assets and Compliance workspace. Expand Compliance Settings and select the new Microsoft Edge Browser Profiles node. Click the ribbon option to Create Microsoft Edge Browser Policy.
  2. Specify a Name for the policy, optionally enter a Description, and click Next.
  3. On the Settings page, change the value to Configured for the settings to include in this policy, and click Next.
  4. On the Supported Platforms page, select the operating system versions and architectures to which this policy applies, and click Next.
  5. Complete the wizard.

Deploy the policy

  1. Select your policy and click the ribbon option to Deploy.
  2. Click Browse to select the user or device collection to which to deploy the policy.
  3. Select additional options as necessary. Generate alerts when the policy is not compliant. Set the schedule by which the client evaluates the device's compliance with this policy.
  4. Click OK to create the deployment.

Like any compliance settings policy, the client remediates the settings on the schedule you specify. Monitor and report on device compliance in the Configuration Manager console.

Report for default browser counts

Now there is a new report to show the count of clients with a specific web browser as the Windows default.

Known issues

  • When you first open the report, it only shows the count and not the BrowserProgID. To work around this issue, edit the query for the report to the following syntax:
    select BrowserProgId00 as BrowserProgId, Count(*) as Count
    from DEFAULT_BROWSER_DATA as dbd
    group by BrowserProgId00

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, Monitoring workspace, expand Reporting, expand Reports, select Software - Companies and Products.
  2. Run the Default Browser counts report.

Use the following reference for common BrowserProgIDs:

  • AppXq0fevzme2pys62n3e0fbqa7peapykr8v: Microsoft Edge
  • IE.HTTP: Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • ChromeHTML: Google Chrome
  • OperaStable: Opera Software
  • FirefoxURL-308046B0AF4A39CB: Mozilla Firefox

Support for Windows 10 ARM64 devices

Starting in this release the Configuration Manager client is supported on Windows 10 ARM64 devices. Existing client management features should work with these new devices. For example, hardware and software inventory, software updates, and application management. Operating system deployment is currently not supported.

Changes to Phased Deployments

Phased deployments automate a coordinated, sequenced rollout of software across multiple collections. In this Technical Preview version, the phased deployment wizard can be completed for task sequences in the admin console and deployments are created. However, the second phase does not start automatically after satisfying the success criteria of the first phase. The second phase can be manually started with a SQL statement.

Try it out!

Try to complete the tasks. Then send Feedback from the Home tab of the ribbon letting us know how it worked.

Create a phased deployment for a task sequence

  1. In the Software Library workspace, expand Operating Systems, and select Task Sequences.
  2. Right-click on an existing task sequence and select Create Phased Deployment.
  3. On the General tab, give the phased deployment a name, description (optional), and select Automatically create a default two phase deployment.
  4. Populate the First Collection and Second Collection fields. Select Next.
  5. On the Settings tab, choose one option for each of the scheduling settings and select Next when complete.
  6. On the Phases tab, edit any of the phases if needed then click Next.
  7. Confirm your selections on the Summary tab then click Next to proceed.
  8. When the success criteria for the first phase has been reached, follow the instructions to start the second phase with a SQL statement.

Start second phase with a SQL statement

  1. Identify the PhasedDeploymentID for the deployment you created with the following SQL query:
    Select * from PhasedDeployment
  2. Run the following statement to start the production phase:
    UPDATE PhasedDeployment SET EvaluatePhasedDeployment = 1, Action = 3 WHERE PhasedDeploymentID = <Phased Deployment ID>

Next steps

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