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Microsoft Previews New System Center Configuration Manager Features

Microsoft today issued preview of new features for System Center Configuration Manager via a new update release.

The preview is called "Update 1512." It follows Microsoft's new year-month naming convention, this time signifying "2015 December." Update 1512 is designed for use with System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 4. The update is not for System Center Configuration Manager 1511, which is the commercial product Microsoft delivered earlier this month based on a "2015 November" release-to-manufacturing date.

Microsoft wants System Center Configuration Manager users to continue to use Technical Preview 4, but just for beta testing new features before general release.

"We are using the System Center Configuration Manager Technical Preview 4 as the vehicle for you to try out these new updates," Microsoft briefly explained in its announcement of Update 1512. "We would like you to try new features in your lab environment and provide feedback to us before these improvements become generally available."

New Features in Update 1512
Update 1512 includes two new features. They can be accessed via the "Updates and Servicing" node. Microsoft also added a new "What's New" section to the product for further explanation of newly added features.

One of the new features in Update 1512 is a Windows 10 Device Health Attestation capability. It lets IT pros check device compliance details, such as "trustworthy BIOS, TPM and boot software," per Microsoft's announcement.

Next, there's another compliance feature that checks if end users have accepted the terms and conditions specified by the IT department. This terms-and-conditions capability is just for "hybrid" setups that combine System Center Configuration Manager with Microsoft's Intune mobile device management service.

Installer Apps Extension for SCCM 2012
In other news regarding mobile device issues, Microsoft this week released a new System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2 Service Pack 1 extension for hybrid Configuration Manager-Intune users. This extension lets IT pros deploy MSI applications to devices that don't run the System Center Configuration Manager client software.

The new extension supports managed Win32 apps (except for SETUP.EXE) and goes by the predictably long name of "Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 Extension for Microsoft Intune: Support for Win32 MSI apps via MDM."

The extension only supports a single .MSI file. The file can be installed on a per-user basis or on a per-device basis (that is, for all users of the device), according to Microsoft's announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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