This post introduces Configuration Manager technical preview 1801 features. Just few days ago Microsoft released Technical Preview 1801 for System Center Configuration Manager. I have documented all the SCCM technical preview build numbers and release dates over here. While Configuration manager technical preview 1801 brings lot of new features, I am equally excited to try out these features. To try out preview 1801 features, you can install this update on your lab setup running configuration manager tech preview.

Note – Currently configuration manager technical preview version 1711 is a baseline version. You can download it from here.

Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1801 Features

Here are some of the Configuration manager technical preview 1801 features. I would love to see all these features in current branch soon.

Phased Deployments

This is something new and exciting feature of preview 1801. However this is only applicable to deploying task sequences. Basically phased deployments allows a sequenced rollout of software without creating multiple deployments. You rollout the deployment to a collection. If you are happy with deployment success, the deployment progresses to next collection that you specify. So where do you see this phased deployment option ?. Right click task sequence and see a option called “Create Phased Deployment“. You have the option to specify deployment success percentage. You could then set days to automatically begin this deployment after success of pilot phase. There is also a stop criteria feature that allows to stop deployment in all phases based on percentage that you specify.

SCCM Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1801 Features

Reassign Distribution Point

I was hoping my user voice item (merged with another request) “Request to add support for Distribution Point Maintenance mode” would be added. If you feel this is worthy, vote for it. However we have a new feature called Reassign distribution point. This feature lets you reassign a distribution point to another primary site without redistributing the content. You will find this option on the top bar when you go to Administration > Overview > Distribution Points. If you have got multiple DP’s and want to reassign multiple distribution points, you must first assign a single distribution point and then proceed with additional servers one at a time. Also you cannot reassign a cloud distribution point.

Hardware Inventory Improvements

The Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1801 brings some good hardware inventory improvements. You can now inventory new classes with string lengths greater than 255 characters. This is applicable for newly added classes. To check this feature you can click Hardware Inventory > Set Classes > Add > Connect to WMI namespace. Select new Class and click Edit. Change the Length of at least one property that is a string, other than the key, to be greater than 255.

New Settings for Windows Defender Application Guard

By using Configuration Manager Endpoint, you can create and deploy Windows defender application guard policies. However to deploy these policies you must use the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (Windows 10 version 1709). The tech preview 1801 adds two new host interaction settings for WD app guard. You can allow websites access to the host’s virtual graphics processor. Another setting includes files downloaded inside the container can be persisted on the host.

Improvements to client settings for Software Center

We have been noticing lot of improvements and additions to software center from past few releases. One such example includes customizing software center in SCCM 1710. This update brings improvements for Software Center customization under the client settings. Under Client Settings > Software Center, you will now notice software center settings with a Customize button. Clicking the customize button allows you to specify color scheme, set a logo, company name. With a check box you can now hide unapproved applications in software center. You can choose the tabs that would be shown in software center.

Automatic deployment rule evaluation schedule Improvements

This feature allows you to run the Automatic Deployment Rule at a specific number of days after a patch Tuesday is released. No company patches the day when critical updates are released. In most of the organizations, the patches are tested thoroughly and then deployed to computers. Under ADR properties you can now define offset from a base day.