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What’s New in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Updated: June 2, 2014

Applies To: System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

noteNote
The information in this topic applies only to System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

Use the following sections to review information about significant changes in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager since System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1:

One of the most significant changes is support for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

For more information about the supported operating system versions and editions that System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager supports, see Supported Configurations for Configuration Manager.

The following sections contain information about Setup and site installation changes in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

The following options in Setup for site installation are new or have changed for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • When you run Setup to install a new primary site or central administration site, you can select non-default locations for the site database files. The option to specify non-default file locations is not available when you specify a SQL Server cluster.

For more information, see the Install Sites and Create a Hierarchy for Configuration Manager topic in the Site Administration for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following sections contain information about site and hierarchy changes in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

noteNote
The Active Directory schema extensions for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager are unchanged from those used by System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1. If you extended the schema for Configuration Manager 2007 or the release version or service pack version of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, you do not need to extend the schema again for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

The following are new for site system roles in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

The following items are new or have changed for migration in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • Some UI labels and descriptions are updated to reflect the functionality of migrating, not upgrading, distribution points between hierarchies that run the same version of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

  • When you use the Reassign Shared Distribution Points Wizard, you have the same options as when you deploy a new distribution point, including options make the distribution point a pull-distribution point and to add it to boundary groups in the destination hierarchy.

For more information about migration, see the Introduction to Migration in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager topic in the Migrating Hierarchies in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following sections contain information about client deployment and client operations changes in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

The following items are new or have changed for client deployment in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • You can now install the client certificate and enroll Mac computers by using the new enrollment wizard for the Mac client as an alternative to using the CMEnroll tool command-line tool.

  • You can now use the renew certificate wizard to renew the Mac client certificate.

  • You can now select Resultant Client Settings from the Configuration Manager console to view the effective client settings that will be applied to the selected device. The resultant client setting accounts for the prioritization or combination of attributes where multiple client settings have been deployed to the same device.

  • Configuration Manager now supports the Unified Write Filter available in certain Windows Embedded operating systems.

  • If you use wake-up proxy, you no longer have to manually configure Windows Firewall on clients to allow TCP/IP ping commands when you specify the Power Management client setting, Firewall exception for wake-up proxy.

  • A new property has been added for Ccmsetup.exe, /ExcludeFeatures:<feature>. This property prevents the specified feature from installing the client installation. For this release, the only supported feature is ClientUI, which prevents the Software Center from installing on the client. For more information, see CCMSetup.exe Command-Line Properties.

For more information, see the Introduction to Client Deployment in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Clients for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for client assignment in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • You can now reassign Configuration Manager clients, including managed mobile devices, to another primary site in the hierarchy. Clients can be reassigned individually or can be multi-selected and reassigned in bulk to a new site.

For more information, see the How to Assign Clients to a Site in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Clients for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new for mobile device management in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • Users can enroll Android devices by using the company portal app which will be available on Google Play. The company portal app is supported on Android devices as of Android 4.0. When users download the company portal app the installation includes the management agent. The management agent gives you the following management capabilities.

    • You can manage compliance settings which include password, camera, and encryption settings.

    • When you deploy apps to Android devices, you now have the option to install the apps directly to the device.

    • Users are prompted to take required actions, such as app installations or updating device passcodes by using Android notifications.

  • Users can enroll iOS devices by using the iOS company portal app which will be available in the App store. The company portal app can be installed on iOS devices as of iOS 6. The company portal app will allow users to perform the following actions:

    • Change or reset passwords.

    • Download and install company apps.

    • Enroll, unenroll, or wipe company content from their devices.

  • Devices that run Windows RT, iOS and Android now support a deployment purpose of Required. This allows you to deploy apps to devices according to a configured schedule.

  • Wipe and retire functions now include the option to only remove company content from devices, see the table in Device Life-cycle Management for information about what company content is removed.

  • You can configure enrolled devices as company-owned or personal-owned. Company-owned allows you to get software inventory on on all mobile devices. You can configure devices as personal-owned or company-owned by using the Change ownership action. Change ownership is only available for devices that are not domain-joined and do not have the Configuration Manager client installed.All mobile devices will report software inventory on company content when they are personal-owned or company-owned. iOS and Android will report a full software inventory on the device if they are set as Company-owned.

  • You can use Windows Intune to manage Windows 8.1 devices that are not joined to the domain and do not have the Configuration Manager client installed.

  • Extensions for Windows Intune allow you to integrate new mobile device management capabilities into the Configuration Manager console. For example, email profiles allow you to provision devices with settings to connect to corporate email. For more information about extensions for Windows Intune, see Planning to Use Extensions in Configuration Manager.

For more information, see the Deploying the Configuration Manager Client to Mobile Devices section in the Introduction to Client Deployment in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Clients for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for collections in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • A new management option allows you to configure maintenance windows to apply to task sequences only, software updates only, or to all deployments.

For more information, see How to Create Collections in Configuration Manager.

The following items are new or have changed for compliance settings in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • New mobile device settings and mobile device setting groups have been added. These can be found on the Mobile Device Settings page of the Create Configuration Item Wizard.

  • New iOS 7 settings have been added as part of an extension. For more information, see Compliance Settings for Mobile Devices in Configuration Manager.

For more information, see the Introduction to Compliance Settings in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

Remote connection profiles are new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations:

  • Deployment of remote connection profiles that allow users to remotely connect to work computers from the company portal, when they are not connected to the domain or if they are connected over the Internet.

For more information, see the Introduction to Remote Connection Profiles in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

Certificate profiles are new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations:

  • Deployment of user and device certificates for managed devices by using the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP). These certificates can be used to support Wi-Fi and VPN connections.

  • Supported devices include those that run iOS, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and Android.

  • Deployment of root certification authority (CA) certificates and intermediate CA certificates, so that devices can create a chain of trust when they use server authentication for network connections.

  • A certificate registration point must be deployed in the central administration site or a primary site and the Configuration Manager Policy Module must be installed on a server that is running Windows Server 2012 R2 with Active Directory Certificate Services and the Network Device Enrollment Service role. This server must be accessible from the Internet and communicate with an enterprise CA to issue the certificates. For more information about the changes in the Network Device Enrollment Service to support this scenario, see What's New in Certificate Services in Windows Server 2012 R2.

For more information, see the Introduction to Certificate Profiles in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

VPN profiles are new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations:

  • Deployment of VPN profiles that provision devices with the settings and certificates that they need to access corporate networks.

  • Supported devices include those that run iOS, Windows 8.1, Windows RT and Windows RT 8.1.

For more information, see the Introduction to VPN Profiles in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

Wi-Fi profiles are new in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations:

  • Deployment of Wi-Fi profiles that provision devices with the settings and certificates that they need to access corporate Wi-Fi hotspots.

  • Supported devices include those that run iOS, Windows 8.1, and Windows RT 8.1, and Android.

For more information, see the Introduction to Wi-Fi Profiles in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

Email profiles are a new extension for Windows Intune in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. They provide the following capabilities and have some dependent configurations

  • Deployment of email profiles that provision devices with email profiles and restrictions by using Exchange ActiveSync.

  • Supported devices include those that run iOS, and Windows Phone 8.

For more information, see the Introduction to Email Profiles in Configuration Manager topic in the Assets and Compliance in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following sections contain information about changes for software updates, software distribution, operating system deployment and task sequences in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

The following items are new or have changed for software updates in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • New maintenance window dedicated for software updates installation. This lets you configure a general maintenance window and a different maintenance window for software updates. When a general maintenance window and software updates maintenance window are both configured, clients install software updates only during the software updates maintenance window. For more information about maintenance windows, see How to Use Maintenance Windows in Configuration Manager.

  • You can now change the deployment package for an existing automatic deployment rule. New software updates are added to the specified deployment package every time an automatic deployment rule is run. Deployment packages can become very large over time and might impact replication scenarios, particularly when a new distribution point is added to your hierarchy or when a distribution point is added to a distribution point group. You can now change the deployment package periodically to keep the size of the deployment package from getting too large. For more information about automatic deployment rules, see the Automatic Deployment of Software Updates section in this topic.

  • You can now preview software updates that meet the property filters and search criteria that you define in an automatic deployment rule. Software updates preview lets you review the software updates before you create the deployment. The Preview button is located on the Software Updates page in the Automatic Deployment Wizard and on the Software Updates tab in the properties for the automatic deployment rule.

For more information, see the Introduction to Software Updates in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Software and Operating Systems in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for application management in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • Web applications in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager are a new deployment type that allows you to deploy a shortcut to a web-based app on users’ devices.

  • Windows 8.1 introduces the app bundle (or .appxbundle package) to help optimize the packaging and distribution of Windows Store apps and resource packages. Configuration Manager extends the existing Windows app package deployment type to recognize .appxbundle package files.

  • The create application wizard includes a new option that allows you to configure featured applications. These applications are displayed prominently in the company portal.

  • You can specify a privacy link for each application that users can review before they install the application.

For more information, see How to Create Applications in Configuration Manager and How to Create Deployment Types in Configuration Manager.

The following items are new or have changed for operation system deployment in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • Support for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. For more information about supported operating system versions, see Prerequisites For Deploying Operating Systems in Configuration Manager.

  • Support for boot images created by using the Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) for Windows 7 SP1 and based on Windows PE 3.1. For more information about customizing and adding boot images to Configuration Manager, see How to Customize Windows PE Boot Images to Use in Configuration Manager.

  • Added support for PXE boot of IA32 UEFI computers. For more information about operating system requirement for a PXE-enabled distribution point, see the Operating System Requirements for Typical Site System Roles section of the Supported Configurations for Configuration Manager topic.

  • Ability to create prestaged content files for task sequence content. The Create Prestaged Content action creates a compressed, prestaged content file that contains the files and associated metadata for the content in the task sequence. By default, Configuration Manager detects and adds the dependencies associated with the task sequence to the prestaged content file. You can then manually import the content at a site server, secondary site, or distribution point. For more information about prestaged content, see the Determine Whether To Prestage Content section in the Planning for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

  • Added virtual hard disk management from the Configuration Manager console. You can create and modify virtual hard disks, and upload them to Virtual Machine Manager.

  • New task sequence steps:

    • Run PowerShell Script: This task sequence step runs the specified Windows PowerShell script on the target computer.

    • Check Readiness: This task sequence step verifies that the target computer meets the specified deployment prerequisite conditions.

    • Set Dynamic Variables: This task sequence step gathers information and sets specific task sequence variables with the information. Then, it evaluates defined rules and sets task sequence variables based on the variables and values configured for rules that evaluate to true.

    noteNote
    For more information about task sequence steps, see Task Sequence Steps in Configuration Manager.

  • New task sequence built-in variables:

    • SMSTSDownloadRetryCount: Use this variable to specify the number of times that Configuration Manager attempts to download content from a distribution point.

    • SMSTSDownloadRetryDelay: Use this variable to specify the number of seconds that Configuration Manager waits before it retries to download content from a distribution point.

    • TSErrorOnWarning: Use this variable to specify whether the task sequence engine treats the requirements not met warning from an application as a fatal error. You can set this variable to True or False. False is the default behavior.

    • SMSTSMPListRequestTimeout: Use this variable to specify how much time a task sequence waits before it retries to install an application after it fails to retrieve the management point list from location services. By default, the task sequence waits one minute before it retries the step. This variable is applicable only to the Install Application task sequence step.

    • _TSAppInstallStatus: The task sequence sets the _TSAppInstallStatus variable with the installation status for the application during the Install Application task sequence step. The task sequence sets the variable with one of the following values:

      • Undefined: Set when the Install Application task sequence step has not been run.

      • Error: Set when at least one application failed because of an error during the Install Application task sequence step.

      • Warning: Set when no errors occur during the Install Application task sequence step, but one or more applications, or a required dependency, did not install because a requirement was not met.

      • Success: Set when there are no errors or warning detected during the Install Application task sequence step.

      noteNote
      For more information about built-in task sequence variables, see Task Sequence Built-in Variables in Configuration Manager.

For more information, see the Introduction to Operating System Deployment in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Software and Operating Systems in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for content management in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

  • The following changes are introduced for pull-distribution points:

    • Pull-distribution points support the prioritization of their source distribution points. A priority can be assigned to one or more source distribution points, and the pull-distribution point attempts to locate content from a distribution point assigned to the lowest numbered priority before attempting to contact a distribution point associated with the next higher numbered priority.

    • Pull-distribution points push status for completed actions to the site server. This replaces the requirement to have Distribution Manager (distmgr) on the site server poll each pull-distribution point periodically to obtain this status, and helps to reduce the overall processing load for distmgr on the site server.

    For more information see the Planning for Pull-Distribution Points section in the Planning for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

  • From the Distribution Status node in the Monitoring workspace of the Configuration Manager console, you can cancel distributions that are in progress to a distribution point, and redistribute distributions that have failed.

    For more information see the Content Status Monitoring section in the Operations and Maintenance for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

  • You can use the new built-in report named Distribution point usage summary to view details about how individual distribution points are utilized, including how many unique clients access the distribution point, and how much data transfers from the distribution point.

  • You can configure multiple Network Access Accounts at each site. For more information, see Configuring Site Components in Configuration Manager.

  • Clients that use Windows BranchCache to download content and that have a download interrupted now resume the download where it left off, without having to restart the download from the beginning.

  • The following additional optimizations are introduced to improve performance during deployment of content:

    • Each time Configuration Manager transfers content to a distribution point, it calculates the speed of the transfer. During subsequent content deployment, this information is used to prioritize which distribution points receive content first. This is done to maximize the number of distribution points that receive content in the shortest period of time.

      For more information see the Plan for Distribution Point Priority section in the Planning for Content Management in Configuration Manager topic.

    • To improve concurrent distributions, when Configuration Manager validates content on distribution points, it validates up to 50 files during each WMI call to a distribution point. Prior to this version, Configuration Manager used a single WMI call to a distribution point to validate each individual file.

For more information, see the Introduction to Content Management in Configuration Manager topic in the Deploying Software and Operating Systems in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following sections contain information about changes for monitoring and reporting in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager.

The following items are new or have changed for reporting in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager:

For more information, see the Introduction to Reporting in Configuration Manager topic in the Site Administration for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

See Also

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For additional resources, see Information and Support for Configuration Manager.

Tip: Use this query to find online documentation in the TechNet Library for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. For instructions and examples, see Search the Configuration Manager Documentation Library.
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