system-center-configuration-manager-managed-solutionSystem Center Configuration Manager: Support for Windows 10 and Microsoft Intune

By Aaron Czechowski as written on
Windows 10 brings with it powerful new options for deployment and servicing. In System Center, we are committed to providing enterprise customers with best-in-class management for Windows 10 with System Center Configuration Manager, specifically by helping you successfully deploy, manage, and service Windows 10 in the way that suits you best.
As I trust you already know by now, Windows 10 comes in two basic flavors: (1) a Current Branch (also known as Windows-as-a-Service) and (2) the Long-Term Servicing Branch with a more traditional support model. The Current Branch also has the option of Current Branch for Business, which is the same build as the Current Branch, just deferred to a later date to give you time to further validate in your environment. If this is all news to you, stop reading and click here for more information and guidance. Then come on back when you are ready.
The new System Center Configuration Manager
As we announced at Microsoft Ignite with our first technical preview, we will release a new version of Configuration Manager by the end of this calendar year.  This new version will bring full support for the deployment, upgrade, and management of Windows 10.
The new System Center Configuration Manager, as it will simply be called, is designed to support the much faster pace of updates for Windows 10 and Microsoft Intune.  This new version will also simplify the Configuration Manager upgrade experience itself, and allow us to listen and more quickly respond to your feedback.
We have taken your feedback on making Configuration Manager easier to update, and one of the core capabilities of this upcoming release is a brand new approach for updating the features and functionality of Configuration Manager. Moving faster with System Center Configuration Manager will allow you to take advantage of the very latest feature innovations in Windows 10, as well as other operating systems such as Apple iOS and Android when using Configuration Manager integrated with Microsoft Intune for mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) capabilities.
The new System Center Configuration Manager will also be a straightforward in-place upgrade of sites and clients, similar to a service pack.
System Center Configuration Manager will support Windows 10 in any flavor: Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, and Long-Term Servicing Branch. This is because we will be able to deliver incremental updates to support the capabilities of future versions of the Windows 10 Current Branch.
The fact that we are not including a calendar year in the name is a reflection of the fact that the new System Center Configuration Manager will be updated frequently.  In documentation, in product, and for evaluation and volume licensing download sites we will denote each particular version with a version number, for example “v1512”, for a version shipping in December 2015.
We plan to support each version/update for 12 months before we require that customers upgrade to the latest one to continue support. Finally we do intend to ship a version aligned with the rest of System Center and Windows Server when they ship in 2016.
Windows 10 support with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
Back in May, the release of System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 and System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 delivered full compatibility with existing features for Windows 10 deployment, upgrade and management. Also note that we released Cumulative Update 1 in August to further enhance support for Windows 10. (For simplicity, I’ll just refer to these products collectively as “ConfigMgr 2012” for the rest of this post.)
The ConfigMgr 2012 Supported Configuration article on TechNet only lists support for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2015. Knowing that customers are eager to deploy Windows 10 Current Branch now prior to the release of the new System Center Configuration Manager later this calendar year, we are extending ConfigMgr 2012 support for Windows 10 to also include the first two builds of the Windows 10 Current Branch. This translates to the initial build of Windows 10 released this summer, and the second build of Windows 10 expected to release this fall.
We will not extend support for further versions of Windows 10 Current Branch with ConfigMgr 2012 because we need the new System Center Configuration Manager updating model to keep pace with Windows as a Service and Microsoft Intune.
In Summary: Planning and Guidance
Product Version
Release Timing
Windows Servicing Support
System Center Configuration Manager
By end of 2015 for initial release
  • Windows 10 Current Branch, Current Branch for Business, and Long Term Servicing Branch
System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2 CU1
AND System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1 CU1
May 2015, with cumulative updates as needed
  • Windows 10 LTSB 2015,
  • Windows 10 CB/CBB through February 2016*
*ConfigMgr 2012 supports Windows 10 version 1507 (build 10.0.10240) and 1511 (build 10.0.10586) for the lifecycle of these builds. Any new Windows 10 CB/CBB builds released in the future will not be supported With ConfigMgr 2012 and will require System Center Configuration Manager current branch for supported management.
If you want to deploy Windows 10 in your environment today, you should have already upgraded ConfigMgr 2012 to the latest service pack and cumulative update as many of our customers already have.
If you are deploying Windows 10 Current Branch, then you also need a plan to upgrade to System Center Configuration Manager. Once your environment is upgraded to System Center Configuration Manager, then you will be ready to start managing future builds of Windows 10 Current Branch as they are released.
If you don’t think you’ll be able to upgrade your environment to System Center Configuration Manager in the next several months, then you’ll need to deploy Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB 2015 with ConfigMgr 2012 to remain in a supported configuration going forward. Subsequent releases of the Windows 10 Current Branch in 2016 and beyond will not be supported with ConfigMgr 2012.

Configuration Manager: a progress update on the current branch and a new servicing branch

As written on
Today, 101 years ago, the Ford Motor Company manufactured its 1 millionth Model T automobile. Thanks to our customers, we also have a reason to celebrate today as we are continuing to see an incredible adoption of our own model, the current branch of Configuration Manager. Our current branch model was designed to provide our customers with ongoing product improvements, faster updates, and timely support for new Windows releases.
Since the release of the current branch in December of 2015, over 21,000 organizations managing more than 43 million devices have transformed client management for their organizations by upgrading to Configuration Manager 1511 or later, allowing them to  keep their management tools up to date at an unprecedented rate and scale. With three current branch releases to date, the move to later versions is accelerating: more than half of these organizations have already updated to the latest version 1606. In the wake of this strong customer adoption, we are including the latest version of Configuration Manager in newly released System Center 2016 for server management, and at the same time we are introducing a new branch type.
In short, System Center Configuration Manager (version 1606) is now included with System Center 2016. Our customers can now upgrade Configuration Manager 2012/R2 directly to version 1606 of the current branch and start taking advantage of new management features, faster and easier updates, support for new Windows releases, and more. For the overwhelming majority of our customers, the current branch of Configuration Manager will be their preferred installation option, and we have seen this further validated by the upgrade momentum we noted above.
Today, we are also making available the Long-Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) of Configuration Manager. Up until this point, if Software Assurance or equivalent subscription rights (most normally from Intune or EMS) became expired, customers, per product terms, would have to move back to the most recent release they owned perpetual rights to, e.g., System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager. The LTSB of Configuration Manager now delivers an alternative option that will be supported on a fixed 10-year lifecycle, although it is important to understand the limitations inherent in a long-term serviced management product vs. the easily updatable current branch model our customers have been rapidly moving to.
While the LTSB is derived from the current branch of Configuration Manager (version 1606), it is scaled back and reduced in functionality to permit the extended support model. LTSB of Configuration Manager will not receive new functionality or support for new Windows 10 and Windows Server releases. It will continue to receive security updates only. By design, LTSB of Configuration Manager is intended to be fixed in functionality and very infrequently updated, so any features or components that require continuous updating or are tied to a cloud service have been removed. These removed features include:
  • Support for Windows 10 Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB)
  • Support for the future releases of Windows 10 LTSB and Windows Server
  • Windows 10 Servicing Dashboard and Servicing Plans
  • The ability to add a Microsoft Intune Subscription, which prevents the use of Hybrid MDM and on-premises MDM
  • Asset Intelligence
  • Cloud-based Distribution Point
  • Support for Exchange Online as an Exchange Connector
  • Any pre-release features available in the current branch of Configuration Manager
Based on the strong adoption of the current branch of Configuration Manager, positive feedback from our customers, and the future of Windows and the industry in general shifting to more frequent and smaller updates, we highly recommend our customers continue upgrading to the current branch of Configuration Manager. We expect that for the overwhelming majority of you this is the best model and approach of delivering an up to date management offering.
Configuration Manager (version 1606) can be downloaded from Volume Licensing Service Center (search for “System Center Config”). It can also be downloaded from Microsoft Evaluation Center and MSDN. The setup process of Configuration Manager (version 1606) allows you to choose to install either the current branch or LTSB.

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