SCCM Technical Preview 1901

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SCCM Technical Preview 1901 is out since 2-3 days now, it's time to update your test version 😉
For those who don't have one and who wanted to know what will happen in the next Current Branch (normally 1902), here are the new features in this version:

Dashboard

It is now possible to see the health of customers, filtered status by collections, online / offline / number of active days, failures only.

screen capture

Specified Priority for Windows 10 Feature Updates

It is now possible to adjust the priority with which clients install a feature update.
By default, clients now install feature updates with higher processing priority.
These parameters are taken into account from Windows 10 1709


Dedicated monitoring for phased deployments

Phased deployments now have their own monitoring node. This node makes it easy to identify the phased deployments you have created.

Run CMPivot from the central administration site 

Configuration Manager now supports running CMPivot from the central administration site in a hierarchy.

The main site still manages communication with the customer. When running CMPivot from the central administration site, it communicates with the primary site through the high speed subscription channel. This communication does not rely on standard SQL replication between sites.

Improvements to the Run PowerShell Script task sequence step 

Based on your feedback, the task sequence step Run a PowerShell script now includes the following enhancements:

  • Specify the credentials of the alternate user with the option Perform this step as the next account .
  • Specify one waiting time (minutes) . This option terminates the step if the script runs beyond the timeout value.
  • Specify a working directory with the field Start in .
  • In the tab Options , specify the success codes . Include other exit codes from the script that the step should evaluate as success.

Office products on the life cycle dashboard 

The product lifecycle dashboard now includes information about the installed versions of Office 2003 through Office 2016. The data is displayed after the site runs the Lifecycle Summary task, which is every 24 hours.

Management rules for collections 

Management information includes new rules with recommendations on the management of collections. Use this information to simplify management and improve performance.

The following rules are in the group Collections :

  • Collections without query rules or direct members
  • Collections with the same start time of re-evaluation
  • Collections with polling time greater than two seconds
  • The following rules include configurations that may cause unnecessary load on the site. Review these collections and then either delete them or turn off rule evaluation:
    • Collections without query rules and incremental updates enabled
    • Collections without query rules and enabled for scheduled or incremental evaluation
    • Collections without query rules and full assessment schedule selected

Find device views using a MAC address 

Based on feedback on UserVoice, you can now find a MAC address in a device view of the Configuration Manager console. This property is useful for operating system deployment administrators when troubleshooting PXE-based deployments.

Maintenance mode of the distribution point 

You can now define a distribution point in maintenance mode. Enable maintenance mode when you install software updates or make hardware changes to the server.

When the distribution point is in maintenance mode, it presents the following behaviors:

  • The site does not distribute any content.
  • Management points do not report the location of this distribution point to clients.
  • When you update the site, a maintenance mode distribution point is always updated.
  • The properties of the distribution point are read-only. For example, you cannot modify the certificate or add limit groups.
  • Any scheduled task, such as content validation, always runs on the same schedule.

Be sure to enable maintenance mode on multiple distribution points. This action can impact the performance of your other distribution points. Depending on how your limit groups are configured, clients may have taken longer to download or may not be able to download content.

Optimized image service 

When you apply software updates to an operating system image, there is a new option to optimize output by removing superseded updates. The optimization of offline maintenance only applies to images with a single index. This feature is based on feedback on UserVoice.

When you schedule to apply software updates to an operating system image, the site uses the Windows Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool. During the maintenance process, this change introduces the following two additional steps:

  • Run DISM on the mounted offline image with settings /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase . If this command fails, the current maintenance process fails. It does not make any modification of the image.
  • After Configuration Manager commits the changes to the image and has been unmounted from the file system, it exports the image to another file. This step uses the DISM parameter /Export-Image . It removes unnecessary files from the image, reducing its size.

Use Azure Resource Manager for cloud services 

Starting with version 1810 of the current branch of Configuration Manager, the classic service deployment in Azure is deprecated for use in Configuration Manager. This version is the last to support the creation of these Azure deployments.

Existing deployments continue to function. As of this release of the Technical Overview branch, Azure Resource Manager is the only deployment mechanism for new instances of the cloud management gateway and the cloud distribution point.

Import a unique index from an operating system image 

When you import a Windows image (WIM) file into Configuration Manager, you can now specify to automatically import a unique index rather than all image indexes in the file. This option offers the following advantages:

  • Smaller image file
  • Faster offline service
  • Optimize image maintenance, for a smaller image file after offline maintenance

Create a Configuration Manager Tech Preview Lab in Azure 

Automatically create and configure virtual machines in Microsoft Azure with the Technical Preview branch of Configuration Manager. It uses Azure templates to simplify and automate the creation of a lab using Azure resources.

Specify a custom port for the Wake On Lan proxy

You can now specify a custom port number for the WOL wake up proxy.

See people recently signed into the console

Based on your feedback on UserVoice, you can now view the latest connections for the Configuration Manager console. The view includes active connections and those that have recently connected.

Preconditions 

  • Your account needs permission from lecture on the object SMS_Site.
  • Allow the SMS Provider to use a certificate. Use one of the following options:
    • Enable enhanced HTTP (recommended)
    • Manually link a certificate based on a public key infrastructure to the 443 port in IIS on the server that hosts the SMS Provider role

Stop the cloud service when it exceeds a threshold 

Configuration Manager can now stop a Cloud Management Gateway (CMG) service when the total data transfer exceeds your limit. The GCM has always had alerts to trigger notifications when usage reaches warning or critical levels. To help reduce unexpected Azure costs due to increased usage, this new option disables the cloud service.

Client provisioning mode timeout 

During an operating system deployment task sequence, Configuration Manager places the client in provisioning mode. In this state, the client does not process the site policy. This behavior allows the task sequence to run without the risk of additional deployment to the client. When the task sequence completes, succeeds or fails, it exits client provisioning mode.

If the task sequence fails unexpectedly, you can leave the client in provisioning mode. For example, if the device reboots in the middle of task sequence processing and cannot be recovered. An administrator must manually identify and correct clients in this state.

Now the task sequence sets a timestamp when it puts the client into provisioning mode. A client in provisioning mode checks the time since the timestamp every 60 minutes. If it has been in provisioning mode for more than 48 hours, the client automatically exits this mode and restarts its process.

48 hours is the default provisioning mode timeout. You can adjust this timer on a device by setting the value ProvisioningMaxMinutes in the following registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\CCM\CcmExec If this value does not exist or is 0 , the client uses the default value of 48 hours.

Improvements to operating system deployment 

This technical preview release includes the following improvements for operating system deployment:

  • Based on your feedback on UserVoice, there is a new action Show the task sequences.
  • Based on your feedback on UserVoice, the task sequence error dialog now displays more information. It specifies the name of the failed task sequence step.
  • When you set the task sequence variable OSDDoNotLogCommand set to true, it also hides the command line from the Run log file command line step. Previously, it only hid the program name in the package install step in smsts.log.
  • When you enable a PXE responder on a distribution point without the Windows Deployment Service, it can now be on the same server as the DHCP service. Add the following parameters to support this configuration:
    • Set the value DoWotListenOnDhcpPort DWord on 1 in the following registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SMS\DP .
    • Set DHCP option 60 to PXEClient .
    • Restart the SCCMPXE and DHCP services on the server.

Now at work!

You know what remains to be done for those who are in Technical Preview… Update!


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Steven Bart

Founder of StevenBart.com - Vevey, Switzerland. I have been in IT since 2001, I work as a Workplace Architect and mainly deal with the administration of MEMCM (SCCM), the mass deployment of workstations and applications. Learn more about me.

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