ConfigMgr 1906

ConfigMgr 1906 was released today, it wont show up immediately in you ConfigMgr consoles, and I’d suggest to wait a week (or so) before applying to your production environments, but there are some really cool  features.

The pick of features for me at the moment are:

Application groups

Create a group of applications that you can send to a user or device collection as a single deployment. The metadata you specify about the app group is seen in Software Center as a single entity. You can order the apps in the group so that the client installs them in a specific order.

This feature is pre-release.

Install an application for a device

From the Configuration Manager console, you can now install applications to a device in real time. This feature can help reduce the need for separate collections for every application.

Task sequence debugger

The task sequence debugger is a new troubleshooting tool. You deploy a task sequence in debug mode to a collection of one device. It lets you step through the task sequence in a controlled manner to aid troubleshooting and investigation.

Clear app content from client cache during task sequence

In the Install Application task sequence step, you can now delete the app content from the client cache after the step runs.

Reclaim SEDO lock for task sequences

If the Configuration Manager console stops responding, you can be locked out of making further changes to a task sequence. Now when you attempt to access a locked task sequence, you can now Discard Changes, and continue editing the object.

Pre-cache driver packages and OS images

Task sequence pre-cache now includes additional content types. Pre-cache content previously only applied to OS upgrade packages. Now you can use pre-caching to reduce bandwidth consumption of:

  • OS images
  • Driver packages
  • Packages

For more information, see Configure pre-cache content.

Improvements to OS deployment

This release includes the following improvements to OS deployment:

  • Use the following two PowerShell cmdlets to create and edit the Run Task Sequence step:
    • New-CMTSStepRunTaskSequence
    • Set-CMTSStepRunTaskSequence
  • It’s now easier to edit variables when you run a task sequence. After you select a task sequence in the Task Sequence Wizard window, the page to edit task sequence variables includes an Edit button. For more information, see How to use task sequence variables.
  • The Disable BitLocker task sequence step has a new restart counter. Use this option to specify the number of restarts to keep BitLocker disabled. This change helps you simplify your task sequence. You can use a single step, instead of adding multiple instances of this step. For more information, see Disable BitLocker.
  • Use the new task sequence variable SMSTSRebootDelayNext with the existing SMSTSRebootDelay variable. If you want any later reboots to happen with a different timeout than the first, set this new variable to a different value in seconds. For more information, see SMSTSRebootDelayNext.
  • The task sequence sets a new read-only variable _SMSTSLastContentDownloadLocation. This variable contains the last location where the task sequence downloaded or attempted to download content. Inspect this variable instead of parsing the client logs.

More frequent countdown notifications for restarts

End users will now be reminded more frequently of a pending restart with intermittent countdown notifications. You can define the interval for the intermittent notifications in Client Settings on the Computer Restart page. Change the value for Specify the snooze duration for computer restart countdown notifications (hours) to configure how often a user is reminded about a pending restart until the final countdown notification occurs.

Additionally, the maximum value for Display a temporary notification to the user that indicates the interval before the user is logged off or the computer restarts (minutes) increased from 1440 minutes (24 hours) to 20160 minutes (two weeks).

For more information, see Device restart notifications and About client settings.

Software updates

Additional options for WSUS maintenance

You now have additional WSUS maintenance tasks that Configuration Manager can run to maintain healthy software update points. The WSUS maintenance occurs after every synchronization. In addition to declining expired updates in WSUS, Configuration Manager can now:

  • Remove obsolete updates from the WSUS database.
  • Add non-clustered indexes to the WSUS database to improve WSUS cleanup performance.

For more information, see Software updates maintenance.

Configuration Manager console

Role-based access for folders

You can now set security scopes on folders. If you have access to an object in the folder but don’t have access to the folder, you’ll be unable to see the object. Similarly, if you have access to a folder but not an object within it, you won’t see that object. Right-click a folder, choose Set Security Scopes, then choose the security scopes you want to apply.

For more information, see Using the Configuration Manager console and Configure role-based administration.

If you want to get your hands on 1906, for the time being you’ll need to run the PowerShell script enableearlyupdatering1906.ps1, on your site server, which can be found here