Updates and Servicing in ConfigMgr TP3

by [Published on 25 Nov. 2015 / Last Updated on 25 Nov. 2015]

This article examines the new update model introduced in System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 3 that replaces the need for installing service packs, cumulative updates, or optional extensions such as those used to manage mobile devices with Microsoft Intune.

System Center Configuration Manager is a member of the Microsoft System Center suite of management solutions and is widely used in mid- and large enterprises for deploying operating systems and applications, ensuring compliance, and managing servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Through its integration with Microsoft Intune, Microsoft's cloud-based platform that lets you manage PCs, mobile devices and mobile applications from the cloud, Configuration Manager can be used to manage both on-premises and cloud-connected devices from a single unified management console.

The current versions of Configuration Manager 2012 SP2 and Configuration Manager 2012 R2 SP1 form one of the three pillars of the Microsoft Cloud OS platform with the other pillars being the Windows Server operating system and the Microsoft Azure public cloud service. Cloud OS represents Microsoft's approach to how IT can deliver on the needs and challenges businesses are facing today and embraces datacenters, private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid solutions. For more information about Microsoft's Cloud OS and the role of System Center 2012 R2 in this vision, I recommend my free ebook Introducing Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 (Microsoft Press, 2014) which was co-written with Symon Perriman and the System Center team at Microsoft and which you can download from this page on the Microsoft Virtual Academy site.

Together with the upcoming release of the next version of Windows Server, Microsoft is also going to be releasing an updated version of the entire System Center suite. This will include an updated version of ConfigMgr that will include numerous new capabilities and improvements such as on-premises mobile device management (MDM), improved mobile application management, enhanced data protection for mobile devices, and support for Windows 10 including in-place upgrades, sideloading apps, bulk enrollment of Windows 10 devices with on-premises MDM, compliance settings for Windows 10, and more.

One key improvement in System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 3 (ConfigMgr TP3) is a new update model that makes it easier for you to keep your ConfigMgr deployment up to date with the latest updates and features. Since System Center is one of the key pillars of Microsoft's software infrastructure for managing datacenters, private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid clouds, it's important to be able to keep its components like ConfigMgr up to date to ensure smooth operations and avoid potential problems for your Microsoft cloud solution. To help us understand how this new update model works in ConfigMgr TP3, I've asked my colleague Chris Shilt to provide us with a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. Chris is a Premier Field Engineer (MFE) with Microsoft and has been working with System Center Configuration Manager in one iteration or another for over 12 years. Prior to working at Microsoft, he managed software updates for a major command with the U.S. Air Force. I previously worked with Chris as the Series Editor for the free ebook Microsoft System Center Software Update Management Field Experience (Microsoft Press, 2015) which he co-authored with Andre Della Monica, Russ Rimmerman and Rushi Faldu and which you can download from this page on the Microsoft Virtual Academy site. And while you're at it you might want to check the articles titled "Performing Windows 10 in-place upgrades with ConfigMgr 2012" and "Performing Windows 10 in-place upgrades with ConfigMgr TP3" which can be found in my section on WindowsNetworking.com as Chris also contributed the content to make these articles possible. And now let's hear from Chris concerning the new update model in ConfigMgr TP3.

Introduction

Version 1509 for Technical Preview introduces a new update model that helps keep your Configuration Manager deployment current with the latest updates and features. This model replaces the need to install separate service packs, cumulative updates, or Extensions for Microsoft Intune, to gain new functionality. This service model is similar to those seen with other Microsoft products like Windows 10.

With this article, I'll show you what to expect when installing updates using the new model. You can read more about Updates and Servicing on the TechNet Library.

Updates for Configuration Manager

Updates for Configuration Manager can include fixes and features that apply to multiple areas or components of Configuration Manager including:

  • Site servers
  • The SMS_Provider
  • Configuration Manager consoles
  • Configuration Manager clients

Typically, updates are cumulative so you will not need to install each previous update before installing the most recent update. However, it is possible that some updates will have a prerequisite of a previously available update.

Discover New Updates

By default, Configuration Manager will check for updates every 7 days (beginning from the date you installed Configuration Manager TP3). You can restart the SMSEXEC service to force an update check.

Navigate to Administration then Cloud Services then Updates and Services to view available updates.

Updates appear in the Updates and Servicing node:

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Figure 1: Step 1 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

When an update is found, Configuration Manager will automatically download the update. You can monitor updates that are downloading in the dmpdownloader.log file:

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Figure 2: Step 2 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

They download to the EasySetupPayload folder in your installation folder:

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Figure 3: Step 3 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

When the download is complete, the update status becomes "Available". Right-click the update and select Install Update Pack to begin the installation:

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Figure 4: Step 4 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Review the information about the update then click Next to when you are ready to begin the installation:

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Figure 5: Step 5 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Select the checkbox to accept the licensing terms. Click Next to continue:

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Figure 6: Step 6 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Review client update options. Click Next to continue:

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Figure 7: Step 7 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Review features included (if applicable). Click Next to continue:

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Figure 8: Step 8 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Click Next to continue:

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Figure 9: Step 9 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Click Close to complete the Configuration Manager Installation Wizard:

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Figure 10: Step 10 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Monitor Installation

Navigate to Monitoring then Overview then Site Servicing Status to monitor the installation status:

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Figure 11: Step 11 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Under the hood, we can see the change file dropped in the cmupdate.box inbox:

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Figure 12: Step 12 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

We can get details on the update by monitoring the CMUpdate.log log file:

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Figure 13: Step 13 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Or from the console:

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Figure 14: Step 14 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Setup will not proceed if there are warnings. Select Retry installation to ignore prerequisite warnings and continue installation:

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Figure 15: Step 15 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

If you retry the installation, you are warned that the prerequisite warnings will be ignored. Click OK to continue:

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Figure 16: Step 16 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Prerequisite tests will run again, but will be ignored. Once the CM Update service starts it will wait 10 minutes:

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Figure 17: Step 17 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

600 seconds entry in log:

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Figure 18: Step 18 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Done:

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Figure 19: Step 19 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Status updated to Installed:

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Figure 20: Step 20 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

This update contained updates to the Configuration Manager console. Close and reopen the Configuration Manager console to upgrade the console. Click OK to continue:

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Figure 21: Step 21 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Downloading files dialog:

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Figure 22: Step 22 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Installing:

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Figure 23: Step 23 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

When complete, the console will reopen. To verify version, click the blue down arrow and select About Configuration Manager:

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Figure 24: Step 24 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Version is 5.0.8315.1000:

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Figure 25: Step 25 of how updating and servicing works in ConfigMgr TP3.

Conclusion

Be sure to review the Updates and Servicing documentation on the TechNet Library for known issues and troubleshooting steps. Also, check out the System Center Configuration Manager Feedback page on UserVoice to provide feedback on Updates and Servicing.

See Also


The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch avatar

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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