SCCM ConfigMgr How to Automatically Upgrade Clients to Newer Version

ConfigMgr SP1 provides loads of new features like Pull DP, Cloud Based DPs , Unix, Linux, Mac client support and Intune Integration. First of all, we need to upgrade ConfigMgr 2012 infrastructure to Service Pack 1. That means, all the servers (CAS, Primary and Secondary) need to be upgraded to SP1. More details planning and Upgrade check-list for CM 2012 hierarchy here.  Once hierarchy is upgraded to SP1, we need to get the SCCM 2012 RTM Clients to SP1. Why to upgrade clients to CM 2012 SP1? Ok, It’ll work even with CM 2012 RTM client. Upgrade the clients to SP1 is recommended because only upgraded clients can take advantage of new features introduced in ConfigMgr 2012 SP1.

Following methods can be used for SCCM / ConfigMgr 2012 R2 as well.  However, I don’t recommend to use the “Automatic Client Upgrade” option from Hierarchy Settings (when you’ve complex hierarchy with CAS + Primary servers + Different Language packs).

How to automate the upgrade of CM 2012 RTM clients to SP1? In this post, I’m going to walk through 3 options which may help to upgrade clients automatically.

1. Software Distribution : Create and Deploy a Package and Program !

(A) You must have already noticed that there is a default package called “Configuration Manager Client Package” with no Programs init. Note that we can’t use that package for Software Distribution Client Upgrade. That package is read only package can only used for OSD. When you right click on “Configuration Manager Client Package”, you won’t be able to see “Deploy” and even “create a program” options.

(B) So you need to create a new package from a definition file (definition file is already there in your server).

(C) Select the publisher name as “Microsoft”. You could see two definition files Device Management Client Transfer and Configuration Manager Client Upgrade. Select the second one (Configuration Manager Client Upgrade).

(D) Select “Always Obtain Source files from a source folder” option.

(E) Type in the UNC patch “\\SERVER-FQDN\SMS_XXX\Client”. Replace Server-FQDN with your site server name and XXX with your Site Code.

(F) Click on NEXT and Finish.

(G) Once the package is created, distribute the content to all the required DPs.

(H) Create a Deployment (advertisement) for that package and target to the required clients. Another tip is to change the site code in the command line if you want. The default command line in the program is “CCMSETUP.EXE /noservice SMSSITECODE=AUTO“. You can replace auto with your side code.

2. “Automatic Client Upgrade” option from Hierarchy Settings !

More Details on Upgrade Client Automatically when new client updates are available option is available here. However, it seems this is not a very good method when you want to upgrade all the clients in a particular site. This would very useful once you finish the mass upgrade of clients and there are some smaller number of clients still in previous version. Using this option you can target those clients. Update : in SP1 this is option is really good one and I would prefer to go with this one 🙂

3. Software Update Based Client Installation / Upgrade Method

Software update-based client installation publishes the SCCM client to a SUP as an additional software update.  The ConfigMgr provides the client with the SUP server name and port from which to obtain new software updates. This information is included in the client policy. This would be treated as normal software update deployment. The advantage of this method is mainly on compliance report.

More details about other upgrade methods are explained in the following Technet documentation here.

About Author 

Anoop is Microsoft MVP and Veeam Vanguard ! He is a Solution Architect on enterprise client management with more than 13 years of experience (calculation done on the year 2014) in IT. He is Blogger, Speaker and Local User Group Community leader. His main focus is on Device Management technologies like SCCM 2012,Current Branch, Intune. He writes about the technologies like SCCM, SCOM, Windows 10, Azure AD, Microsoft Intune, RMS, Hyper-V etc...

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Posted in: Configmgr2012, System Center 2012, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager