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Enterprise Mobility + Security


Author: Brian Huneycutt, Software Engineer, Enterprise Client and Mobility

One of our top requested Configuration Manager features is the ability to automatically update our own client. The framework for doing so was put in place with Service Pack 2 for System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, and Service Pack 1 for System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. With the release of cumulative update 1, administrators can now take advantage of this feature.

If the automatic client upgrade feature is enabled on a site server, cumulative update 1 will present a new option during the installation process as seen in the screenshot below. For additional information on this feature, refer to the “How to Automatically Upgrade the Configuration Manager Client for the Hierarchy” section of How to Install Clients on Windows-Based Computers in Configuration Manager on TechNet.

Choosing the “Automatically apply” option results in the installer performing the following steps:

  1. Places the most recent client patch file on the site server.
  2. Updates content on the distribution points for this site and any child sites. Note this only occurs when the cumulative update runs on the Central Administration Site (CAS).
  3. Updates the client package on the Management Point of the local site; this source is used in the event there are no distribution points available for client installation. Note that in the case of a hierarchy, the cumulative update should be run at child sites to update their local Management Points as well.

In addition to the above, future client installations using the Client Push method will apply the new patch automatically.

The time frame for updating the client depends on the automatic client upgrade settings.

Note that the client version displayed on the Automatic Client Upgrade tab of the Site Settings Properties dialog box will not change with the installation of a cumulative update.

Update August 7, 2015

Updating to cumulative update 1 does require prior installation of SP2, or R2 SP1.  The new installation page is only present when the automatic client upgrades is enabled. However, you can enable it after the fact and then re-run the update installer at a later time. CCMSetup has been revised to take advantage of the automatic upgrade feature when it is enabled; the cumulative update installer will ensure the latest client patch you have installed in your environment is applied to the client. It will make use of BranchCache as well.

For operating system deployment (OSD) scenarios, you can still use the PATCH= parameter if you need the update applied right away. Otherwise, the installation of the update will take place at some random interval within the value specified for the “Automatically upgrade clients within days” parameter of the automatic client update settings.

Granularity of targeting is limited. As of SP2 / R2 SP1 there is a “Do not upgrade servers” option in the Automatic Client Upgrade settings. For more control you would need to use a different deployment method.

While further implementation details are discoverable (as we know some administrators have already done), we aren’t covering them in our documentation at this time; we don’t want anyone to get used to a manual approach that can change, or yield unexpected results.

Brian Huneycutt
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This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties and confers no rights.