ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1608 – Bag of awesomeness


Hey you!

ConfigMgr Current Branch Technical Preview build 1608 has released.

I highly recommend building a lab VM to host a technical preview build, seeketh out a guide from Niall Brady and others on how to setup the Technical Preview, having one so you can check out impending features is the way to be super cool and be up on the latest product developments.

Here’s a run down of the features available for tire kicking in 1608:

  • ‘New Software’ indicators in Software Center: The Software Center Applications, Updates, and Operating Systems tabs now show which software was recently added. Numbers in the navigation pane show how many new software items are on each tab.
  • Application Requests from Software Center: Users can now request approval for applications and view the request history for applications in the Application Details view in Software Center. The Request button in Application Details no longer redirects to the web-based Application Catalog.
  • Improvements to Asset Intelligence: A new field has been added to the properties for inventoried software that lets you set a parent and child relationship with other software. In the Inventoried Software list, you can view the parent of any software and also hide child software.
  • Keyboard Translation for Remote Control: By default in a remote control session, characters typed on the viewer’s keyboard are sent to the controlled device instead of the keys, whether or not their keyboard layouts match. This behavior may be turned off in the Remote Control viewer Action menu.
  • Improvements to the Prepare ConfigMgr Client for Capture task sequence step: The Prepare ConfigMgr Client step will now completely remove the Configuration Manager client instead of only removing key information. When the task sequence deploys the captured operating system image, it will install a new Configuration Manager client each time.

That last one is VERY important.

Do you know why?

This removes a key argument or reason for using MDT for Gold\Master Image management, the desire to end up with a gold image that doesn’t contain a ConfigMgr Client (in a deactivated state).

I am not an MDT hater, every tool has a place, and there is a place for every tool, but immediately turning to MDT adds complexity often unnecessarily, and moves the novice to intermediate ConfigMgr Administrator (who are the ones mostly implementing or owning ConfigMgr, not rocket scientists) out of the ConfigMgr Console, and into a foreign tool, so as to perform a task that should stay with ConfigMgr, building and capturing images.

We know there are short-falls in what can\cannot be done, and this means MDT still reigns, although much of what it does can be achieved in the environment (Group Policy etc.). Realistically, there should be gaps in what they do as they service customers are different ends of the scale, but Windows 10 Management should be universal between ConfigMgr and MDT. MDT shouldn’t be the only product able to render a Gold\Master Image in a certain way (that most Enterprises opt for), especially if you’ve bought ConfigMgr and want to do it all there.

Consider the Windows 10 Cadence and how rapid it is now, yeah,  you won’t be creating a Gold Image that’ll last a year for much longer, well if you are doing LTSB sure, but CB or CBB, turning over an image often, will mean that MDT environment is going to be busier until we can shift to a single pane of glass, ConfigMgr.