In this post, I will cover different ways to download SCCM baseline media. You can use the sccm installation media for new Configuration Manager server installations.
When installing a new ConfigMgr server in production, you must use the most recent baseline version installation media. Microsoft releases new baseline versions on a regular basis, so it is critical that you download the most recent SCCM baseline media for installations.
For example, the latest baseline SCCM installation media has been released for SCCM 2303. You can use this installation media to install SCCM 2303 in your new setup. Furthermore, see the SCCM release cadence to know the changes that Microsoft has announced for ConfigMgr releases.
What is SCCM Baseline Media?
A SCCM baseline media includes all the setup files required to install SCCM or Configuration Manager. If you want to install Configuration Manager from scratch, then baseline install media is what you need.
Microsoft periodically releases SCCM baseline media, and I have highlighted them in my article on SCCM build numbers and versions. By using the latest baseline version to install a new hierarchy, you avoid installing an outdated or unsupported version of Configuration Manager. After you install a baseline version, the additional versions of Configuration Manager are available as in-console updates.
What are the uses of SCCM baseline install media?
The baseline versions are downloadable media (from the Microsoft Volume License Service center, VLSC, Evaluation Center) that can be used for a variety of installation methods.
- Clean installation of a new Configuration Manager (Current Branch) site in a new hierarchy.
- Upgrade from a support version of System Center 2012 Configuration Manager.
To stay current, Microsoft recommends not using baseline versions after upgrading to Configuration Manager current branch. Instead, only use in-console updates to stay up to date. That’s true because you use the ConfigMgr baseline version to install the Configuration Manager in a new hierarchy. Once that’s done, you don’t need the baseline version. The new updates should be available as in-console updates.
Methods to Download SCCM Baseline Media for New Installations
There are three different locations from where you can download SCCM baseline media, and they are listed as follows:
- Microsoft Evaluation Center
- Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center
- Microsoft Visual Studio Subscriptions (formerly known as MSDN)
The sccm installation media remains the same no matter from where you download the baseline version of Configuration Manager. Before installing the Configuration Manager using baseline media, make sure you go through the SCCM licensing. If you are an organization, you must have SCCM licenses before you deploy it in production.
Method 1: Download SCCM Baseline Media from MSDN/Visual Studio
You can download the latest baseline version media from Visual Studio Subscriptions (formerly known as MSDN Subscriptions). You need to subscribe to take advantage of all the tools, cloud services, software access, training and partner benefits.
Use the following steps to download the baseline media of SCCM from Visual Studio Subscription:
- For Visual Studio subscription, login to https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/subscriptions/.
- Click the Downloads tab and in the search box type the product name, for example, Configuration Manager and click Search.
- To download the baseline media, click the Download button next to the SCCM version.
- Save the installation media to your computer.
According to my understanding, you can download the most recent ConfigMgr installation media as well as up to two previous releases. When a new SCCM baseline version is released, the latest baseline media may not be available in the Visual Studio Subscriptions portal right away. This is due to the time it takes Microsoft to make the baseline media available to MSDN subscribers.
Method 2: Download SCCM Baseline Media from VLSC
You can download the latest SCCM baseline media from Microsoft VLSC (Volume Licensing Service Center). The Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) gives you easy access to Volume Licensing benefits.
By logging in to this portal, you can download products and keys, manage your Volume Licenses, grant permissions, view account details etc. You will require an account to access the Volume Licensing Service Center. In case you don’t, please contact your licensing administrator.
From Microsoft VLSC, you can download SCCM Baseline Media using the following steps:
- First, login to the Volume Licensing Service Center.
- Next, click Downloads and Keys tab. Since there are several products listed, use the search box to find your product.
- Click Download and from the list of products, select the latest ConfigMgr baseline media version.
Once again, don’t panic if you don’t see the latest SCCM baseline media in the downloads section. Microsoft will upload the media soon after they release the update for everyone. If you have already found the product that you were looking for, click on download icon. Save the ConfigMgr installation media to your computer.
Method 3: Download SCCM Baseline Media from Microsoft Evaluation Center
The last method to download the baseline media of Configuration Manager is from the Microsoft Evaluation Center. The evaluation center hosts many products of Microsoft and the downloads are available for everyone, and you don’t need any subscription.
I’d like to emphasise that any product downloaded from the Microsoft Eval Center is fully functional for a set number of days. That is why it is referred to as the Evaluation version. And you should be aware of this limitation before downloading. The Microsoft Evaluation Center is occasionally unavailable due to maintenance or a site upgrade. In such cases, you must wait for the site to become operational.
Use the following steps to download the latest baseline media for SCCM from Microsoft Evaluation Center:
- Launch the browser and access evaluation Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.
- Under Get Started for Free, click Download the EXE.
- Fill in some basic details and click on the “Download now” button.
- The SCCM baseline media is now downloaded to your computer.
Note that when you download the baseline installation media of SCCM from Microsoft Evaluation Center, it is fully functional for 180 days. This means you can install the SCCM using the baseline media and test all of its features for up to 180 days. After the evaluation period is over, you must activate the product. Learn how you can convert SCCM evaluation version to a licensed version.
After you download the ConfigMgr baseline media, you get an .exe (executable file). You must extract the components to a folder, and you can then launch Configuration Manager setup.
Next Steps after installing a Baseline Version of Configuration Manager
After you install a baseline version, later versions of Configuration Manager are available as in-console updates. Use these updates to update your infrastructure to the latest version of Configuration Manager.
- You install in-console updates to update the version of your top-level site.
- Updates you install at the central administration site (CAS) automatically install at child primary sites. Control this timing by using a service window at the primary site. For more information, see Service Windows.
- Manually update secondary sites to a new update version from within the console.
I hope this article helped you to understand the basics of SCCM baseline media and its uses. The sccm baseline versions are used for new Configuration Manager server installations. You can download the latest SCCM installation media from Microsoft Evaluation Center, Volume Licensing Service Center, and Visual Studio Subscriptions. You are welcome to leave your questions in the comments section.