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What is Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager?

System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), the flagship systems management product from Microsoft, is a comprehensive management solution for computer systems utilizing Microsoft Windows operating systems. With Configuration Manager, IT technicians proactively manage the entire lifecycle of all Windows-powered devices. This includes deploying and maintaining systems and software, responding to security threats, distributing settings, and analyzing inventory data.

If you would like to learn more about Configuration Manager, please visit the Microsoft website.

What benefits does a client receive from Configuration Manager?

  • Reliability: Your device will quickly receive software updates and patches with little to no interaction on your part.
  • Time Efficiency: You will stay more productive as deployment and updating processes run in the background, freeing up more time for teaching, research and management.
  • Flexibility: You can choose when and where to install new software or run maintenance on your device through Self-service portals.
  • Security: IT Technicians will manage the security of your machine so you don't have to. You can rest assured that software patches, antivirus protection, and firewalls are well maintained.
  • Confidentiality: Your data and files will remain confidential; no personal data is scanned, indexed, or transmitted off your device. CMT servers also keep full audit logs of any actions performed by technicians.
  • Compliance: Your device will always be in compliance with federal laws governing requirements for research or student data on University computers.

How does Configuration Manager work?

The Configuration Manager infrastructure consists of several high-performance, redundant servers which provide a database of computer information and data storage for programs, applications, and operating system images for deployment to end-user computers. Configuration Manager utilizes a small software utility known as a "client" to communicate with the servers. This client inventories hardware specifications, software installation information and provides for the automated installation of software updates and security patches. Included with the client is another application called "Software Center", which will be described below.

The client on a Windows OS endpoint checks in with a SCCM Management Point at computer startup and every hour thereafter, consuming 3.5 KB of network traffic. In addition, computer inventory is uploaded once a day, consuming 17 KB of network traffic for delta changes and 73 KB of network traffic for full changes. During the client's active and idle states, CPU usage is normally under 1% and memory usage is approximately 15 to 20 MB.

What information does Configuration Manager collect?

The NU implementation of Configuration Manager has been customized to collect only the data needed to support computers running a Microsoft Windows operating system. This information includes:

  • Hardware Specifications
  • Installed Applications & Usage
  • Services Running
  • Available Software Updates
  • Local User Accounts and Login/Logout Timestamps
  • Security Status (Firewall, SSH, etc)
  • Connected Peripheral Devices

No personal information is collected, such as the contents or names of personal files (documents, email, etc) or any browsing history.

How is the Configuration Manager client installed?

Your IT support group can enroll your NU-issued device remotely or by sending you an invitation by email.

Faculty who wish to enroll must first complete the Opt-In form. After completing the form, faculty will be contacted by their IT support group for assistance.

How do I uninstall Configuration Manager from my device?

Clients who wish to remove their device from Configuration Manager should contact their IT support group for assistance.

What devices does Configuration Manager support?

Generally, System Center Configuration Manager supports all recent versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, and Windows Server. For more information, please see the SCCM Compatibility list.

Is my device enrolled in Configuration Manager?

To find out if your NU-issued device is enrolled, look for the Configuration Manager object found in the Windows Control Panel. Additionally, you may look for a Configuration Manager category in your Windows start menu.

What is Software Center?

The Software Center application is similar to a mobile device app store (such as Google Play or the Apple App Store), but it provides customized content for University Windows systems. This content includes access to university approved software, maintenance task scheduling, support options, and other documentation. The Software Center gives clients the flexibility of choosing what to install and when to install it.

The Software Center is managed and maintained by NU ITS. If you would like to see something added, please submit a request through the MySupport system.

Can I connect to Software Center when I am off-campus?

For Software Center to function, the device must be on the University of Nebraska network, or connected via Virtual Private Network (VPN)

What changes does the installation of Configuration Manager make to a PC?

Configuration Manager installs the client to your PC. The client runs in the background and will not interfere with the operation of your computer. Configuration Manager will also install the Software Center application and the Configuration Manager control panel object. These items consume approximately 100 MB to 500 MB of disk space. When applications or software updates are deployed to an endpoint, Configuration Manager will temporarily cache these items on the endpoint's local drive. These cached items may vary in size, depending on the size of the application or update being deployed and can be cleared automatically or on demand as needed.

How will software be installed on my computer?

Most software installations will be initiated by clients through the Software Center application. Your IT support group may also push software as needed/requested. NU ITS will not distribute software unless requested to do so by the client or department IT staff.

Who has access to my computer?

Select members of your IT support group have the ability to manage your NU-issued Windows device with the Configuration Manager. Configuration Manager Administrators also have campus-wide access.

Will I still have Administrative access to my PC?

There will be no automatic changes to the privileges of your user account by enrolling in Configuration Manager. Your IT support group will contact you if changes are to be made.

What policies are enforced?

At this time there are no policies that are automatically enforced system wide by NU ITS. The distribution of policies is the responsibility of individual IT support groups. If you have any questions about what policies are enforced on your NU-issued device, please contact your IT support group.

NU ITS does provide and maintain a catalog of software, maintenance tasks, and other links in Software Center. The Software Center catalog may also be supplemented by your IT support group.

What if I have other questions?

For more information please contact the System Center Configuration Manager Administrator, Shawn Aguirre.