As we've come to expect, 1702 offers a raft of new features for managing our estate of devices. There are some big hitters such as:
- Support for express installation files for Windows 10 updates
- Ability to add software update points to boundary groups to control which SUP clients can use
- Being able to configure Office 365 installation settings from the Office 365 Client Management dashboard
Note that there are some deprecations also. Most notably, support has been dropped for the following:
- SQL Server 2008 R2 for site database servers
- Windows Server 2008 R2, for site system servers and most site system roles
Often though, my favourite features are less obvious. I've got two in this latest release:
1. I've always hated when customers ask me to create an OSD solution and give them the ability to deploy the OS using stand-alone media. I didn't like the idea of sending USB keys out in the field with no version control and no great way to withdraw them if they were superseded. Now we can set start and expiration dates on standalone media. Perfect, we can now timebomb the media so that it won't work after a pre-defined period.
I've configured the media so that it can't be used for a few days and will then expire in 2 months. I don't care if I never get it back now.
2. A new hardware inventory class (SMS_Firmware) and property (UEFI) have been added to determine if a computer is enabled to start in UEFI mode. This is a welcome addition so that we can report on the UEFI status of the estate. You're missing a trick if you're not using UEFI and enabling security features like Secure Boot. After all you already own it. That's like not locking the doors of your house or car because you couldn't be bothered.
I hope you're enjoying 1702. Until next time.....