ConfigMgr 1703 Technical Preview

ConfigMgr 1703 TP has just been released and I am really exited by all the new features! Three of the ones you should check out are the Collapsible task sequence groups, the ability to control Windows Analytics and the direct links to applications in software center

Collapsible Task Sequence Groups

MDT has had this for a long while but now ConfigMgr gets it as well. This will help out while editing a task sequence. And it looks a bit like this

Collapse

Windows Analytics

There is now a new settings group in the client settings that’s called Windows Analytics and there you can enter your Commercial ID (found in the settings of OMS) and select the type of telemetry data sent to Windows Analytics.

It looks a bit like this

CommericialID

When you get data back you can connect Windows Analytics with ConfigMgr and then get collections based on the data in Windows Analytics. For instance a collection with all machines that are ready for the next version of Windows without known upgrade issues.

Shiny!

Create direct links to applications in Software Center

So one request that has been around for a while is the ability for admins to give end users a direct link to the install section of an app in software center. This has previously been done with a workaround and calling the WMI methods involved. Starting with 1703 you can now easily deploy your own link as URL links.

Its pretty straight forward, create a URL link specify the link to be Softwarecenter:SoftwareID=<ApplicationID>

To find the ID either use powershell and the Get-CMApplication command or use the gui end show the column named “CI Unique ID”

You will then end up with a URL looking something like this

Softwarecenter:SoftwareID=ScopeId_96EF26AC-1571-4633-9CE4-1A51DCC38B84/Application_3e312927-bcd9-4fea-8066-0e407d051037

Note that this new feature requires the new agent version available with 1703 and does not work with previous agent versions.

Below is a short script that can help you easily create these shortcuts. Just run it on your CM Server or a machine with the console installed. Select the applications you want and it will create the shortcuts on your desktop ready for distribution to other machines.

<#
Created:     2017-03-31
Version:     1.0
Author :     Peter Lofgren
Twitter:     @LofgrenPeter
Blog   :     https://syscenramblings.wordpress.com

Disclaimer:
This script is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, confers no rights and
is not supported by the author

Updates
1.0 - Initial release
#>

# Import the ConfigurationManager.psd1 module
Import-Module "$($ENV:SMS_ADMIN_UI_PATH)\..\ConfigurationManager.psd1"
# Set the current location to be the site code.
Set-Location "$((Get-PSDrive -PSProvider CMSite).Name):"

#Get Application Name
$AppName = Get-CMApplication | Select LocalizedDisplayName | Out-GridView -PassThru
foreach ($App in $AppName) {
  $Application = Get-CMApplication -Name $App.LocalizedDisplayName

  #Get Application ID
  $ID = ($Application.CI_UniqueID -split "/")[0] + "/" + ($Application.CI_UniqueID -split "/")[1]

  #Create URL Link on desktop
  $Shell = New-Object -ComObject ("WScript.Shell")
  $Favorite = $Shell.CreateShortcut($env:USERPROFILE + "\Desktop\$($App.LocalizedDisplayName).lnk")
  $Favorite.TargetPath = "SoftwareCenter:SoftwareID=$ID";
  $Favorite.IconLocation = "C:\Windows\ccm\SCClient.exe, 0";
  $Favorite.Save()
}

$Favorite.Save()

If you want to read more about the other new features check out the post by the team here https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/enterprisemobility/2017/03/30/update-1703-for-configuration-manager-technical-preview-branch-available-now/

/Peter

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