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How to Manage Clients in Configuration Manager

Updated: October 27, 2014

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

When a System Center 2012 Configuration Manager client is installed and successfully assigned to a Configuration Manager site, you will see the device in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Devices node, and in one or more collections in the Device Collections node. When you select the device or collection that contains the device, you can select various management operations. However, there are also other ways to manage the client, which might involve other workspaces in the console, or tasks that don’t use the Configuration Manager console.

Use this topic for overview information for the tasks that can manage a Configuration Manager client from the Assets and Compliance workspace, as well as more detailed information about additional tasks to help you manage the Configuration Manager client. For information about how to configure the client, see How to Configure Client Settings in Configuration Manager.

Managing the Client from the Assets and Compliance Workspace

Use the information in the following tables for an overview of the management tasks that you can perform for client devices in the Assets and Compliance workspace:

noteNote
A Configuration Manager client might be installed but not displayed in the Configuration Manager console. This scenario can happen if the client hasn’t yet successfully assigned to a site, or the console must be refreshed or a collection membership updated.

Additionally, a device can also display in the console when the Configuration Manager client is not installed. This scenario can happen if the device is discovered but the Configuration Manager client is not installed and assigned. Mobile devices that are managed by using the Exchange Server connector do not install the Configuration Manager client. Additionally, devices that are enrolled by Microsoft Intune do not install the Configuration Manager client.

Use the Client column in the Configuration Manager console to determine whether the Configuration Manager client is installed so that you can manage it from the Configuration Manager console.

Managing Clients from the Devices Node

Use the following procedure and table to manage one or more devices from the Devices node in the Assets and Compliance workspace.

ImportantImportant
Depending on the device type, some of these options might not be available.

To manage clients from the Devices node
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, click Devices.

  3. Select one or more devices, and then select one of the available client management tasks from the ribbon, or by right-clicking the device.

     

    Task More information

    Manage user device affinity information

    Allows you to configure the associations between users and devices, which enables you to efficiently deploy software to users.

    See How to Manage User Device Affinity in Configuration Manager

    Add the device to a new or existing collection

    Use these collection-related actions to quickly add the selected device to a collection, by using a direct rule.

    Operations and Maintenance for Collections in Configuration Manager

    Install and reinstall the client by using the Client Push wizard

    The Client Push wizard offers an efficient way to install and reinstall the Configuration Manager client to repair it or to reconfigure it on computers that run Windows with site configuration options and with any additional client.msi properties that you have specified for client push installation.

    TipTip
    There are many different ways to install (and reinstall) the Configuration Manager client. Although the Client Push wizard offers a convenient client installation method because you can run it from the console, this client installation method has many dependencies and is not suitable for all environments. If you cannot successfully install the client by using client push, there are many other client installation methods that you can use. For more information about the dependencies, see Prerequisites for Computer Clients. For more information about the other client installation methods, see Determine the Client Installation Method to Use for Windows Computers in Configuration Manager.

    See How to Install Configuration Manager Clients by Using Client Push.

    Reassign Site

    Reassign one or more 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.

    Remotely administer the client

    You can run Resource Explorer to see the hardware and software inventory information from a Windows client, and remotely administer it by using Remote Control, Remote Assistance, or Remote Desktop.

    See How to Use Resource Explorer to View Hardware Inventory in Configuration Manager.

    See How to Remotely Administer a Client Computer by Using Configuration Manager.

    Approve a client

    When the client communicates with site systems by using HTTP and a self-signed certificate, you must approve these clients to identify them as trusted computers. By default, the site configuration automatically approves clients from the same Active Directory forest and trusted forests so you do not have to manually approve each client. However, you must manually approve workgroup computers that you trust and any other computers that you trust but are not approved.

    WarningWarning
    Although some management functions might work for unapproved clients, this is an unsupported scenario for Configuration Manager.

    You do not have to approve clients that always communicate to site systems by using HTTPS rather than HTTP, or clients that use a PKI certificate when they communicate to site systems by using HTTP. These clients establish trust with Configuration Manager by using the PKI certificates.

    Block or unblock a client

    Block a client that you no longer trust, to prevent it from receiving client policy and to prevent Configuration Manager site systems from communicating with it.

    WarningWarning
    Blocking a client only prevents communication from the client to Configuration Manager site systems and does not prevent communication to other devices. In addition, when the client communicates to site systems by using HTTP instead of HTTPS, there are some security limitations.

    If you later change your mind, you can unblock a client that has been blocked. However, if you unblock an Intel AMT-based computer that was provisioned for AMT when it was blocked, you must take additional steps before you can manage that computer again out of band.

    See Determine Whether to Block Clients in Configuration Manager.

    Manage the client out of band

    For Intel AMT-based computers that are provisioned by Configuration Manager, you can manage these computers out of band by using power actions from the console and by connecting to them by using the Out of Band Management console.

    See How to Manage AMT-based Computers Out of Band in Configuration Manager.

    Clear a required PXE deployment

    Use this option to redeploy any required PXE deployments for the selected computer.

    See How to Deploy Operating Systems by Using PXE in Configuration Manager

    Manage the client properties

    You can view the discovery data and deployments targeted for the client. You can also configure any variables that task sequences use to deploy an operating system to the device.

    Delete the client

    WarningWarning
    Do not delete a client if you want to uninstall the Configuration Manager client or remove it from a collection.

    The Delete action manually deletes the client record from the Configuration Manager database and typically, you should not use this action unless it is for troubleshooting scenarios. If you delete the client record and the Configuration Manager client is still installed and communicating with Configuration Manager, Heartbeat Discovery will recreate the client record and it will reappear in the Configuration Manager console, although the client history and any previous associations will be lost.

    noteNote
    When you delete a mobile device client that was enrolled by Configuration Manager, this action also revokes the PKI certificate that was issued to the mobile device and this certificate is then rejected by the management point, even if IIS does not check the CRL. Certificates on mobile device legacy clients are not revoked when you delete these clients.

    To uninstall the client, see Uninstall the Configuration Manager Client.

    To assign the client to a new primary site, see How to Assign Clients to a Site in Configuration Manager.

    To remove the client from a collection, reconfigure the collection properties. See How to Manage Collections in Configuration Manager.

    Wipe a mobile device

    You can wipe mobile devices that support the wipe command.

    This action permanently removes all data on the mobile device, which includes personal settings and personal data. Typically, this action resets the mobile device back to factory defaults. Wipe a mobile device when the mobile device is no longer trusted; for example, it has been lost or stolen.

    TipTip
    Check the manufacturer’s documentation for more information about how the mobile device processes a remote wipe command.

    When you send a wipe request, there is often a delay until the mobile device receives the wipe command:

    • If the mobile device is enrolled by Configuration Manager or by Microsoft Intune, the client receives the wipe command when it next downloads its client policy.

    • If the mobile device is managed by the Exchange Server connector, the mobile device receives the wipe command when it next synchronizes with Exchange.

    You can use the Wipe Status column to monitor when the mobile device receives the wipe command. Until the mobile device sends a wipe acknowledgment to Configuration Manager, you can cancel the wipe command.

    Retire a mobile device

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

    The Retire option is supported only by mobile devices that are enrolled by Intune.

    For more information, see the Device Life-cycle Management section in How to Manage Mobile Devices by Using Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune.

    Change the ownership of a device

    For System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager only:

    You can change the ownership of devices to Company or Personal if a device is not domain-joined and does not have the Configuration Manager client installed.

    You can use this value in application requirements to control deployments and you can also use this configuration to control how much inventory is collected from users’ devices.

    For more information, see How to Manage Mobile Devices by Using Configuration Manager and Microsoft Intune.

Managing Clients from the Device Collections Node

Use the following procedure and table to manage devices in a collection from the Device Collections node in the Assets and Compliance workspace.

Many of the client management tasks that you can perform when you select a single device or multiple devices from the Devices node can also be performed at the collection level. This has the advantage of automatically applying the management task to all eligible devices in the collection. Although this can be a convenient method to manage multiple clients at the same time, it can also generate a lot of network packets and increase the CPU usage on the site server.

There are also some client management tasks that can only be performed at the collection level, which are listed in the following table.

Before you perform collection-level client management tasks, consider how many devices are in the collection, whether they are connected by low-bandwidth network connections, and how long the task will take to complete for all the devices. When you perform a client management task, you cannot stop it from the console.

To manage clients from the Device Collections node
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

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

  3. Select a collection, and then select one of the available client management tasks from the ribbon, or by right-clicking the collection.

     

    Task More information

    Scan computers for malware and download antimalware definition files.

    See Operations and Maintenance for Endpoint Protection in Configuration Manager.

    Deploy software, configuration baselines, and task sequences.

    For more information about deploying software and configuration baselines, see the following:

    Configure power management settings.

    See How to Create and Apply Power Plans in Configuration Manager. Power plans can only be used with computers that run Windows.

    Enable AMT provisioning.

    Configure this option when the site has been configured to provision Intel AMT-based computers so that you can manage them out of band.

    See Displaying the AMT Status and Enabling AMT provisioning

    Notify computers to download policy as soon as possible.

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

    Use client notification to notify the selected Windows clients to download computer policy as soon as possible outside the configured client policy polling interval.

    Client notification tasks are displayed in the Client Operations node in the Monitoring workspace.

Additional Tasks for Managing the Client

In addition to the management tasks that are available in the Assets and Compliance workspace, you can also manage the Configuration Manager client by using the following tasks:

Configure the Client Cache for Configuration Manager Clients

You can configure the location and amount of disk space that Windows Configuration Manager clients use to store temporary files for when they install applications and programs. Software updates also use the client cache, but software updates are not restricted by the configured cache size and will always attempt to download to the cache. You can configure the client cache settings when you install the Configuration Manager client manually, when you use client push installation, or after the client is installed.

The default location for the Configuration Manager client cache is %windir%\ccmcache and the default disk space is 5120 MB.

ImportantImportant
Do not encrypt the folder used for the client cache. Configuration Manager cannot download content to an encrypted folder.

noteNote
More information about the client cache:

The Configuration Manager client downloads the content for required software soon after it receives the deployment but waits to run it until the deployment scheduled time. At the scheduled time, the Configuration Manager client checks to see whether the content is available in the cache. If content is in the cache and it is the correct version, the client always uses this cached content. However, when the required version of the content has changed or if the content was deleted to make room for another package, the content is downloaded to the cache again.

If the client attempts to download content for a program or application that is greater than the size of the cache, the deployment fails because of insufficient cache size and Configuration Manager generates status message ID 10050. If the cache size is increased later, the download retry behavior is different for a required program and a required application:

  • For a required program: The client does not automatically retry to download the content. You must redeploy the package and program to the client.

  • For a required application: Because an application deployment is state-based, the client automatically retries to download the content when it next downloads its client policy.

If the client attempts to download a package that is less than the size of the cache but the cache is currently full, all required deployments keep retrying until the cache space is available, until the download times out, or until the retry limit is reached for the cache space failure. If the cache size is increased later, the Configuration Manager client attempts to download the package again during the next retry interval. The client tries to download the content every four hours until it has tried 18 times.

Cached content is not automatically deleted but remains in the cache for at least one day after the client used that content. If you configure the package properties with the option to persist content in the client cache, the client does not automatically delete the package content from the cache. If the client cache space is used by packages that have been downloaded within the last 24 hours and the client must download new packages, you can either increase the client cache size or choose the delete option to delete persisted cache content.

Use the following procedures to configure the client cache during manual client installation, or after the client is installed.

To configure the client cache when you install clients by using manual client installation
  • Run the CCMSetup.exe command from the install source location and specify the following properties that you require, and separated by spaces:

    • DISABLECACHEOPT:

    • SMSCACHEDIR:

    • SMSCACHEFLAGS:

    • SMSCACHESIZE:

    noteNote
    For more information about these command line properties for CCMSetup.exe, see About Client Installation Properties in Configuration Manager.

To configure the client cache folder when you install clients by using client push installation
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Administration.

  2. In the Administration workspace, expand Site Configuration, and then click Sites.

  3. In the Sites list, select the site for which you want to configure automatic site-wide client push installation.

  4. On the Home tab, in the Settings group, click Client Installation Settings, and then click the Installation Properties tab.

  5. On the Installation Properties tab, specify the following properties that you require, and separate them by using spaces:

  6. Click OK to save the properties that you have specified.

To configure the client cache folder without reinstalling the client
  1. On the client computer, navigate to Configuration Manager in Control Panel, and then double-click to open the properties.

  2. Click the Cache tab.

  3. Specify the disk space to reserve for the client cache.

  4. To change the location of the client cache folder, click Change Location, and then specify the new location. The default location is %windir%\ccmcache.

  5. To delete the files currently stored in the client cache folder, click Delete Files.

  6. Click OK to close Configuration Manager Properties.

Uninstall the Configuration Manager Client

You can uninstall the Windows Configuration Manager client software from a computer by using CCMSetup.exe with the /Uninstall property. Run CCMSetup.exe on an individual computer from the command prompt or deploy a package and program to uninstall the client for a collection of computers.

WarningWarning
You cannot uninstall the Configuration Manager client from a mobile device. If you must remove the Configuration Manager client from a mobile device, you must wipe the device, which deletes all data on the mobile device.

Use the following procedure to uninstall the Configuration Manager client from computers.

To uninstall the Configuration Manager client from the command prompt
  1. Open a Windows command prompt and change the folder to the location in which CCMSetup.exe is located.

  2. Type Ccmsetup.exe /uninstall, and then press Enter.

noteNote
The uninstall process is silent and displays no results on the screen. To verify that client uninstallation has succeeded, examine the log file CCMSetup.log in the folder %windir%\ ccmsetup folder on the client computer.

Manage Conflicting Records for Configuration Manager Clients

Configuration Manager uses the hardware ID to attempt to identify clients that might be duplicates and alert you to the conflicting records. For example, if you reinstall a computer, the hardware ID would be the same but the GUID used by Configuration Manager might be changed.

When Configuration Manager can resolve a conflict by using Windows authentication of the computer account or a PKI certificate from a trusted source, the conflict is automatically resolved for you. However, when Configuration Manager cannot resolve the conflict, it uses a hierarchy setting that either automatically merges the records when it detects duplicate hardware IDs (the default setting), or allows you to decide when to merge, block, or create new client records. If you decide to manually manage duplicate records, you must manually resolve the conflicting records by using the Configuration Manager console.

To change the hierarchy setting for managing conflicting records
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Administration.

  2. In the Administration workspace, expand Site Configuration, and then click Sites.

  3. In the Sites group, click Hierarchy Settings, and then click the Client Approval and Conflicting Records tab.

  4. Click either Automatically resolve conflicting records to automatically merge conflicting records, or click Manually resolve conflicting records, and then click OK.

    noteNote
    When Configuration Manager can resolve the conflict by using the computer account or a PKI certificate, this setting is ignored and the conflict is automatically resolved.

To manually resolve conflicting records
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Monitoring.

  2. In the Monitoring workspace, expand System Status, and then click Conflicting Records.

  3. In the results pane, select one or more conflicting records, and then click Conflicting Record.

  4. In the Conflicting Record dialog box, select one of the following, and then click OK:

    • Merge to combine the newly detected record with the existing client record, creating one unified record.

    • New to create a new record for the conflicting client record.

    • Block to create a new record for the conflicting client record, but mark it as blocked.

Initiate Policy Retrieval for a Configuration Manager Client

A Windows Configuration Manager client downloads its client policy on a schedule that you configure as a client setting. However, there might be occasions when you want to initiate ad-hoc policy retrieval from the client—for example, in a troubleshooting scenario or when you are testing.

Use the following procedures to initiate ad-hoc policy retrieval from the client outside its scheduled polling interval, either by using the Actions tab on the Configuration Manager client or by running a script on the computer. You must be logged on to the client computer with local administrative rights to perform these procedures.

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

You can use client notification to initiate client policy retrieval outside the scheduled client policy polling interval.

You can manage clients that run Linux and UNIX. For information about policy retrieval for clients that run Linux and UNIX, see the Computer Policy for Linux and UNIX Servers section in the How to Manage Linux and UNIX Clients in Configuration Manager topic.

To initiate client policy retrieval by using client notification (Configuration Manager SP1 only)
  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

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

  3. Select the device collection containing the computers that you want to download policy and then, in the Home tab, in the Collections group, click Client Notification and then click Download Computer Policy.

    noteNote
    You can also use client notification to initiate policy retrieval for one of more selected devices that are displayed in a temporary collection node under the Devices node.

To manually initiate client policy retrieval by using the Actions tab on the Configuration Manager client
  1. Select Configuration Manager in the Control Panel of the computer.

  2. Click the Actions tab.

  3. Click Machine Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle to initiate the computer policy, and then click Run Now.

  4. Click OK to confirm the prompt.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for any other actions that you require, such as User Policy Retrieval & Evaluation Cycle for user client settings.

  6. Click OK to close Configuration Manager Properties.

To manually initiate client policy retrieval by using a script
  1. Open a text editor, such as Notepad.

  2. Copy and insert the following into the file:

    on error resume next
    
    dim oCPAppletMgr 'Control Applet manager object.
    dim oClientAction 'Individual client action.
    dim oClientActions 'A collection of client actions.
    
    'Get the Control Panel manager object.
    set  oCPAppletMgr=CreateObject("CPApplet.CPAppletMgr")
    if err.number <> 0 then
        Wscript.echo "Couldn't create control panel application manager"
        WScript.Quit
    end if
    
    'Get a collection of actions.
    set oClientActions=oCPAppletMgr.GetClientActions
    if err.number<>0 then
        wscript.echo "Couldn't get the client actions"
        set oCPAppletMgr=nothing
        WScript.Quit
    end if
    
    'Display each client action name and perform it.
    For Each oClientAction In oClientActions
    
        if oClientAction.Name = "Request & Evaluate Machine Policy" then
            wscript.echo "Performing action " + oClientAction.Name 
            oClientAction.PerformAction
        end if
    next
    
    set oClientActions=nothing
    set oCPAppletMgr=nothing
  3. Save the file with a .vbs extension.

  4. On the client computer, run the file using one of the following methods:

    • Navigate to the file by using Windows Explorer, and double-click the script file.

    • Open a command prompt, and type: cscript <path\filename.vbs>.

  5. Click OK in the Windows Script Host dialog box.

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