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How to Manage User Device Affinity 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

User device affinity in Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager is a method of associating a user with one or more specified devices. User device affinity can eliminate the need to know the names of a user’s devices in order to deploy an application to that user. Instead of deploying the application to all of the user’s devices, you deploy the application to the user. Then, user device affinity automatically ensures that the application install on all devices that are associated with that user.

You can define primary devices. These are typically the devices that users use on a daily basis to perform their work. When you create an affinity between a user and a device, you gain more software deployment options. For example, if a user requires Microsoft Office Visio, you can install it on the user’s primary device by using a Windows Installer deployment. However, on a device that is not a primary device, you might deploy Microsoft Office Visio as a virtual application. You can also use user device affinity to predeploy software on a user’s device when the user is not logged in. Then, when the user logs on, the application is already installed and ready to run.

In addition to following the procedures in this topic, you can configure user device affinity when you deploy an operating system to a computer. For more information, see How to Associate Users with a Destination Computer.

You must manage user device affinity information for computers. User device affinities are automatically managed by Configuration Manager for the mobile devices that it enrolls.

Use the following procedures to manually configure the affinity between users and devices from the Configuration Manager console.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

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

  3. Select a device from the list. Then, in the Home tab, in the Device group, click Edit Primary Users.

  4. In the Edit Primary Users dialog box, search for and select the users to add as primary users for the selected device, and then click Add.

    noteNote
    The Primary Users list shows users who are already primary users of this device and the method by which each user-device relationship was assigned.

  5. Click OK to close the Edit Primary Users dialog box.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

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

  3. Select a user from the list. Then, in the Device tab, click Edit Primary Devices.

  4. In the Edit Primary Devices dialog box, search for and select the devices to add as primary devices for the selected user, and then click Add.

    noteNote
    The Primary Devices list shows devices that are already configured as primary devices for this user and the method by which each user-device relationship was assigned.

  5. Click OK to close the Edit Primary Devices dialog box.

Use the following procedure to enable your Configuration Manager site to automatically create user device affinities from usage data that is reported by client devices.

Configuration Manager reads data about user logons from the Windows Event log. To be able to automatically create user device affinities, you must enable the following two settings from the local security policy on client computers to store logon events in the Windows Event log.

  • Audit account logon events

  • Audit logon events

You can use Windows Group Policy to configure these settings.

ImportantImportant
If an error causes the Windows Event log to generate a high number of entries, this can result in a new event log being created. If this occurs, existing logon events might be no longer be available to Configuration Manager.

ImportantImportant
Be careful implementing the Audit account logon events and Audit logon events in Windows XP. By default the retention policy is 7 days and it is very likely that these events will fill up the Security Event Log. Standard users will not be able to logon if the event log is full. To prevent the issue, also set the policy Retention Method for the security log to Overwrite events as needed. To allow sufficient data for user device affinity, also set the policy Maximum security log size to a reasonable value such as 5-20 MB.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Administration.

  2. In the Administration workspace, click Client Settings.

  3. To modify the default client settings, select Default Client Settings, and then, in the Home tab, in the Properties group, click Properties. To create custom client agent settings, select the Client Settings node, and then, in the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Custom Client Device Settings.

    noteNote
    If you modify the default client settings, they will be deployed to all computers in the hierarchy. For more information about configuring client settings, see How to Configure Client Settings in Configuration Manager.

  4. For the client setting User and Device Affinity, configure the following:

    • User device affinity threshold (minutes) - Specify the number of minutes of usage before a user device affinity is created.

    • User device affinity threshold (days) – Specify the number of days over which the usage based affinity threshold is measured.

    • Automatically configure user device affinity from usage data – From the drop-down list, select True to enable the site to automatically create user device affinities. If you select False, then an administrative user must approve all user device affinity assignments.

      noteNote
      For example, if User device affinity threshold (minutes) is specified as 60 minutes and User device affinity threshold (days) is specified at 5 days, the user must use the device for at least 60 minutes over a period of 5 days to automatically create a user device affinity.

      ImportantImportant
      After an automatic user device affinity is created, Configuration Manager continues to monitor the user device affinity thresholds. If the user’s activity for the device falls below the configured thresholds, then the user device affinity will be removed. Configure User device affinity threshold (days) to a value of at least 7 days to avoid situations where an automatically configured user device affinity might be lost while the user is not logged on, for example, during the weekend.

  5. Click OK to close the client settings dialog box.

You can import a file that contains user device affinities to enable you to create many relationships at one time. For this procedure, the subject devices must have been discovered and exist as resources in the Configuration Manager database, otherwise this procedure will fail.

Use this procedure to import a file containing user and device affinities to System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, click either Users or Devices.

  3. On the Home tab, in the Create group, click Import User Device Affinity.

  4. On the Choose Mapping page of the Import User Device Affinity Wizard, specify the following information:

    • File name – Specify a comma-separated values (.csv) file that contains a list of users and devices between which you want to create an affinity. In this file, each user-and-device pair must be on a separate line separated by a comma. Use the format <Domain>\<user name>,<device NetBIOS name>.

      ImportantImportant
      The devices listed in the file must already exist as resources in the Configuration Manager database. Otherwise, the import will fail.

    • This file has column headings for reference purposes – If the comma-separated values file has a top-row header line, select this option and the header line will be ignored during the import.

  5. If the file you are importing contains more than two items on each line, you can use Column and Assign to specify which columns represent users and devices and which columns to ignore during import.

  6. Click Next and then complete the Import User Device Affinity Wizard.

Use these procedures to allow users to create their own user device affinity from the Application Catalog.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Administration.

  2. In the Administration workspace, click Client Settings.

  3. To modify the default client settings, select Default Client Settings, and then, in the Home tab, in the Properties group, click Properties. To create custom client agent settings, select the Client Settings node, and then, in the Home tab, in the Create group, click Create Custom Client User Settings.

    noteNote
    If you modify the default client settings, they will be deployed to all computers in the hierarchy. For more information about configuring client settings, see How to Configure Client Settings in Configuration Manager.

  4. Configure the following for the client setting User and Device Affinity:

    • In the Allow user to define their primary devices drop-down list, select True.

  5. Click OK to close the client settings dialog box.

  1. In the Application Catalog, click My Systems.

  2. Enable the option I regularly use this computer to do my work.

When the client setting Automatically configure user device affinity from usage data is set to False, an administrative user must approve all user device affinity assignments. Use the following procedure to approve or reject a Configuration Manager user device affinity assignment.

  1. In the Configuration Manager console, click Assets and Compliance.

  2. In the Assets and Compliance workspace, select the user or device collection for which you want to manage affinity requests.

  3. In the Home tab, in the Collection group, click Manage Affinity Requests.

  4. In the Manage User Device Affinity Requests dialog box, select the affinity requests to approve or reject, and then click Approve or Reject.

  5. Click Close to close the Manage User Device Affinity Requests dialog box.

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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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