The ConfigMgr Technical Preview 2101 is now available to test in your lab. This is the first SCCM technical preview release of year 2021. Let’s explore what’s new in Configuration Manager technical preview 2101.
The ConfigMgr technical preview version 2101 follows naming convention of YYMM. This means 21 is the year 2021(YY), and 01(MM) is January month. The same naming convention is also applicable for Windows 10 operating system.
I had to again rebuild my technical preview lab from scratch because my system crashed and I lost all my lab VM’s. This time I am going to ensure the backups are in-place to avoid the situation. Rebuilding the tech preview lab takes time and I can’t afford to build it again and again.
If you are setting up the technical preview lab like me, the latest technical preview that you can download is ConfigMgr Tech Preview 2010. Once you install the tech preview version 2010, you get the updates for next SCCM technical preview builds.
If you already have the technical preview setup, you can check for updates and proceed with installing ConfigMgr technical preview 2101. Just to remind you that this is a technical preview build and should not be installed on production setup. If you wish to try the technical preview features, you can do that in your lab setup.
Install Configuration Manager Technical Preview 2101
To install the Configuration Manager Technical Preview 2101, go to Updates and Servicing node of the ConfigMgr console. If you don’t see the technical preview 2101 update, click Check for Updates. Right click Configuration Manager technical preview 2101 and click Install Update Pack.
The Configuration Manager Technical Preview 2101 includes :-
- Configuration Manager site server updates
- Configuration Manager console updates
- Configuration Manager client updates
- Fixes for known issues
- New features
I will enable the option to ignore the prerequisite check warnings as this is my technical preview lab. Click Next.
The prerequisite warnings will be ignored, click Next.
Close the Configuration Manager Updates wizard.
Finally upgrade the old version of ConfigMgr console 5.2010.1091.1000 to 5.2103.1040.1000. The ConfigMgr Technical Preview 2101 update installation is complete. Before testing the new features, remember to update the client agents to machines.
ConfigMgr 2101 Technical Preview New Features
The SCCM 2101 technical preview comes with some exciting set of new features. Let’s explore the new features.
Download and Install New Custom Console Extensions
You can now download new custom console extensions and apply it for your ConfigMgr console. We did see the console extension feature in SCCM 2010 where you could install the Microsoft community hub.
In ConfigMgr technical preview 2101, under updates and servicing node, you will find a new option called Console Extensions. When you download custom extensions from community hub, you can find them under console extensions.
When you right click a custom console extension, you get several options. Of course the one that comes with technical preview 2101 is WebView2 Extension. You can right click WebView2 Extension and click Install.
When you download a new console extension, you may need to approve the installation before you install it on all sites.
Using Task Sequence to Deploy Feature Update
The ability to deploy feature update using task sequence is really a nice feature. This was also a uservoice feedback and Microsoft have included this in SCCM technical preview 2101.
If this new feature is included in next current branch version, you can easily upgrade a Windows OS on a client computer by deploying a feature update via task sequence. This would also help a lot of ConfigMgr admins.
If you wish to test this feature, you must first create a new task sequence to upgrade an OS. Next, edit the task sequence and select the Upgrade Operating System step. Select the option to Install the feature updates.
Exclude OU from Active Directory User Discovery
In ConfigMgr technical preview 2101, you can exclude organizational units (OU) from Active Directory User Discovery. Under the AD user discovery properties, select the General tab. Click the Yellow star icon and in the Active Directory container window, you see Select sub containers to be excluded from discovery.
To exclude any OU, click the Add button and select the OU and click OK.
New PowerShell Cmdlets
Configuration Manager technical preview 2101 introduces new PowerShell cmdlets to manage your configuration manager and it’s components. Some of the new cmdlets include.
- Get-CMApplicationGroup – Get an application group.
- New-CMApplicationGroup – Create a new application group.
- Publish-CMThirdPartySoftwareUpdateContent – Use this to publish third-party update content.
- Remove-CMApplicationGroup – Removes a specific application group.
- Set-CMApplicationGroup – Use this PowerShell cmdlet to remove a specific application group.
Configuration Manager CMPivot Permissions
Starting with Configuration Manager technical preview 2101, CMPivot no longer requires SMS Scripts read permission. In addition, the default scope permission is also not required.
You can take a look at changes in CMPivot permissions by Configuration Manager version.
ConfigMgr Support Center Changes
SCCM Support Center has been there for long time now. With tech preview 2101, Support Center is split into the following tools :-
- Support Center Client Data Collector
- Support Center Client Tools
For those of who using the support center tool, the support center viewer, onetrace and log file viewer will still be part of Support Center.
Delete Aged Status Messages
This nice feature in Configuration Manager technical preview 2101 allows you to delete aged status messages for a selected distribution point. In the SCCM console, navigate to Monitoring > Distribution Status > Distribution Point Configuration Status. Right click the SCCM distribution point and click Delete Aged Status Messages.
You get to delete the aged status messages based on following duration.
- Older than 30 days
- Older than 90 days
- Older than 1 year