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How to Create Collections in Configuration Manager

Updated: April 1, 2014

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

Create collections in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to represent logical groupings of users or devices. You can use collections to help you perform many tasks including application management, deploying compliance settings, or installing software updates. You can also use collections to manage groups of client settings or use them with role-based administration to specify the resources that an administrative user can access. Configuration Manager contains several built-in collections. For more information, see Introduction to Collections in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
A single collection can contain users or devices, but not both.

The following table lists the rules that you can use to configure the members of a collection in Configuration Manager.

 

Membership rule type More information

Direct rule

Direct rules let you choose the users or computers that you want to add as members to a collection. This rule gives you direct control over which resources are members of the collection. This membership does not change unless a resource is removed from Configuration Manager. Configuration Manager must have discovered the resources or you must have imported the resources before you can add them to a direct rule collection. Direct rule collections have a higher administrative overhead than query rule collections because you must make changes to this collection type manually.

Query rule

Query rules dynamically update the membership of a collection based on a query that Configuration Manager runs on a schedule. For example, you can create a collection of users that are a member of the Human Resources organizational unit in Active Directory Domain Services. Unlike direct rule collections, this collection membership is automatically updated when new users are added to or removed from the Human Resources organizational unit.

TipTip
For example queries that you can use to build collections, see the section Example WQL Queries in the topic How to Create Queries in Configuration Manager.

Include collection rule

The include collection rule let you include the members of another collection in a Configuration Manager collection The membership of the current collection is updated on a schedule if the membership of the included collection has changed.

noteNote
You can add multiple include collection rules to a collection.

Example: You create a collection that has two include collection rules. The first include collection rule is for a collection of laptops and the second include collection rule is for a collection of desktops. The new collection will contain all the members in the laptop collection and the desktop collection.

Exclude collection rule

The exclude collection rule let you exclude the members of another collection from a Configuration Manager collection. The membership of the current collection is updated on a schedule if the membership of the excluded collection has changed.

noteNote
You can add multiple exclude collection rules to a collection. If a collection includes both include collection and exclude collection rules and there is a conflict, the exclude collection rule takes priority over the include collection rule.

Example: You create a collection that has one include collection rule and one exclude collection rule. The include collection rule is for a collection of Dell desktops. The exclude collection is for a collection of computers that have less than 4 GB RAM. The new collection will contain Dell desktops that have at least 4 GB RAM.

Use the following procedures to help you create collections in Configuration Manager. You can also import collections that were created at this or another Configuration Manager site. For information about how to export collections, see How to Manage Collections in Configuration Manager.

noteNote
For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

For information about creating collections for computers that run Linux and UNIX, see the Collections of Linux and UNIX Servers section in the How to Manage Linux and UNIX Clients in Configuration Manager topic.

To create a device collection
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, click Device Collections.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Device Collection.

  4. On the General page of the Create Device Collection Wizard, specify the following information:

    • Name: Specify a unique name for the collection.

    • Comment: Specify a description for the collection.

    • Limiting collection: Click Browse to select a limiting collection. The collection that you are creating will only contain members from the limiting collection.

  5. On the Membership Rules page of the Create Device Collection Wizard, specify the following information:

    • In the Add Rule list, select the type of membership rule that you want to use for this collection. You can configure multiple rules for each collection.

      Use the following procedures to configure each membership rule type.

      To configure a direct rule
      1. On the Search for Resources page of the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard, specify the following information:

        • Resource class: In the list, select the type of resource you want to search for and add to the collection. Select from System Resource values to search for inventory data returned from client computers or Unknown Computer to select from values returned by unknown computers.

        • Attribute name: In the list, select the attribute associated with the selected resource class that you want to search for. For example, if you want to select computers by their NetBIOS name, select System Resource in the Resource class list and NetBIOS name in the Attribute name list.

        • Exclude resources marked as obsolete – If a client computer is marked as obsolete, do not include this value in the search results.

        • Exclude resources that do not have the Configuration Manager client installed – If the search results include a resource that does not have a Configuration Manager client installed, this value will not be displayed in the search results.

        • Value: Enter a value for which you want to search the selected attribute name. You can use the percent character % as a wildcard. For example, if you wanted to search for computers that have a NetBIOS name beginning with ‘M’, enter M% in this field.

      2. On the Select Resources page of the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard, select the resources that you want to add to the collection in the Resources list, and then click Next.

      3. Complete the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard.

      To configure a query rule
      1. In the Query Rule Properties dialog box, specify the following information:

        • Name: Specify a unique name for the query rule.

        • Import Query Statement – Opens the Browse Query dialog box where you can select a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager query to use as the query rule for the collection. For more information about how to create these queries and some examples, see How to Create Queries in Configuration Manager.

        • Resource class: In the list, select the type of resource you want to search for and add to the collection. Select a value from System Resource values to search for inventory data returned from client computers or Unknown Computer to select from values returned by unknown computers.

        • Edit Query Statement – Opens the Query Statement Properties dialog box where you can author a query to use as the rule for the collection. For more information about queries, see Queries in Configuration Manager.

      2. Click OK to close the Query Rule Properties dialog box and to save the query membership rule.

      To configure an include collection rule
      1. In the Select Collections dialog box, select the collections you want to include in the new collection.

      2. Click OK to close the Select Collections dialog box and to save the include membership rule.

      To configure an exclude collection rule
      1. In the Select Collections dialog box, select the collections you want to exclude from the new collection.

      2. Click OK to close the Select Collections dialog box and to save the exclude membership rule.

    • Use incremental updates for this collection – Select this option to periodically scan for only new or changed resources from the previous collection evaluation and update the collection membership with only these resources, independently of a full collection evaluation. Incremental updates occur at 10 minute intervals.

      ImportantImportant
      Collections configured by using query rules that use the following classes do not support incremental updates:

      • SMS_G_System_CollectedFile

      • SMS_G_System_LastSoftwareScan

      • SMS_G_System_AppClientState

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentState

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentErrorAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentCompliantAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentNonCompliantAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_User_DCMDeploymentCompliantAssetDetails (for collections of users only)

      • SMS_G_User_DCMDeploymentNonCompliantAssetDetails (for collections of users only)

      • SMS_G_System_SoftwareUsageData

      • SMS_G_System_CI_ComplianceState

      • SMS_G_System_EndpointProtectionStatus

      • SMS_GH_System_*

      • SMS_GEH_System_*

    • Schedule a full update on this collection – Select this option to schedule a regular full evaluation of the collection membership.

  6. Complete the wizard to create the new collection. The new collection is displayed in the Device Collections node of the Assets and Compliance workspace.

noteNote
You must refresh or reload the Configuration Manager console to see the collection members. However, the members will not appear in the collection until after the first scheduled update, or you manually select Update Membership for the collection. Depending on the complexity of the collection rule and the number of entries in the Configuration Manager database, it can take a few minutes for a collection update to complete.

To create a user collection
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, click User Collections.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create User Collection.

  4. On the General page of the Create User Collection Wizard, specify the following information:

    • Name: Specify a unique name for the collection.

    • Comment: Specify a description for the collection.

    • Limiting collection: Click Browse to select a limiting collection. The collection you are creating will only contain members from the limiting collection.

  5. On the Membership Rules page of the Create User Collection Wizard, specify the following information:

    • In the Add Rule list, select the type of membership rule you want to use for this collection. You can configure multiple rules for each collection.

      Use the following procedures to configure each membership rule type.

      To configure a direct rule
      1. On the Search for Resources page of the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard, specify the following information:

        • Resource class: In the list, select the type of resource you want to search for and add to the collection. Select from User Resource values to search for user information collected by Configuration Manager or User Group Resource to search for user group information collected by Configuration Manager.

        • Attribute name: In the list, select the attribute associated with the selected resource class that you want to search for. For example, if you want to select users by their Organizational Unit (OU) name, select User Resource in the Resource class list and User OU Name in the Attribute name list.

        • Value: Enter a value that you want to search the selected attribute name for. You can use the percent character % as a wildcard. For example, if you wanted to search for users in the Contoso OU, enter Contoso in this field.

      2. On the Select Resources page of the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard, select the resources that you want to add to the collection in the Resources list, and then click Next.

      3. Complete the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard.

      To configure a query rule
      1. In the Query Rule Properties dialog box, specify the following information:

        • Name: Specify a unique name for the query rule.

        • Import Query Statement – Opens the Browse Query dialog box where you can select a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager query to use as the query rule for the collection. For more information about queries, see Queries in Configuration Manager.

        • Resource class: In the list, select the type of resource you want to search for and add to the collection. Select from User Resource values to search for user information collected by Configuration Manager or User Group Resource to search for user group information collected by Configuration Manager.

        • Edit Query Statement – Opens the Query Statement Properties dialog box where you can author a query to use as the rule for the collection. For more information about queries, see Queries in Configuration Manager.

      2. Click OK to close the Query Rule Properties dialog box and to save the query membership rule.

      To configure an include collection rule
      1. In the Select Collections dialog box, select the collections you want to include in the new collection.

      2. Click OK to close the Select Collections dialog box and to save the include membership rule.

      To configure an exclude collection rule
      1. In the Select Collections dialog box, select the collections you want to exclude from the new collection.

      2. Click OK to close the Select Collections dialog box and to save the exclude membership rule.

    • Use incremental updates for this collection – Select this option to periodically scan for only new or changed resources from the previous collection evaluation and update the collection membership with only these resources, independently of a full collection evaluation. Incremental updates occur at 10 minute intervals.

      ImportantImportant
      Collections configured by using query rules that use the following classes do not support incremental updates:

      • SMS_G_System_CollectedFile

      • SMS_G_System_LastSoftwareScan

      • SMS_G_System_AppClientState

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentState

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentErrorAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentCompliantAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_System_DCMDeploymentNonCompliantAssetDetails

      • SMS_G_User_DCMDeploymentCompliantAssetDetails (for collections of users only)

      • SMS_G_User_DCMDeploymentNonCompliantAssetDetails (for collections of users only)

      • SMS_G_System_SoftwareUsageData

      • SMS_G_System_CI_ComplianceState

      • SMS_G_System_EndpointProtectionStatus

      • SMS_GH_System_*

      • SMS_GEH_System_*

    • Schedule a full update on this collection – Select this option to schedule a regular full evaluation of the collection membership.

  6. Complete the wizard to create the new collection. The new collection is displayed in the User Collections node of the Assets and Compliance workspace.

noteNote
You must refresh or reload the Configuration Manager console to see the collection members. However, the members will not appear in the collection until after the first scheduled update, or you manually select Update Membership for the collection. Depending on the complexity of the collection rule and the number of entries in the Configuration Manager database, it can take a few minutes for a collection update to complete.

To import a collection
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, click User Collections or Device Collections.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Import Collections.

  4. On the General page of the Import Collections Wizard, click Next.

  5. On the MOF File Name page, click Browse and then browse to the MOF file that contains the collection information you want to import.

    noteNote
    The file you want to import must have been exported from a site running the same version of Configuration Manager as this one. For more information about exporting collections, see How to Manage Collections in Configuration Manager.

  6. Complete the wizard to import the collection. The new collection is displayed in the User Collections or Device Collections node of the Assets and Compliance workspace.

noteNote
You must refresh or reload the Configuration Manager console to see the collection members for the newly imported collection.

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