There are a number of features in ConfigMgr 2012 to ensure clients remain healthy, operational and efficient. The reality is that somewhere between 5% and 15% of your clients will experience issues and may stop communicating with ConfigMgr. ConfigMgr 2012 directly addresses the problem with ConfigMgr Client Heath Evaluation. This agent (which runs as a scheduled task separate from the ConfigMgr agent service) detects and remediates the most common causes of client failure, reporting its activities to ConfigMgr.
ConfigMgr clients will now upgrade themselves to the latest version if it is below the specified version, you enable this from Site Settings and you can configure the maximum number of days before the client must upgrade. In addition to this you will have control over how the Clients’ installation files are downloaded or not if the Distribution Point is on a Slow link and can even have a fallback source location. Note: Microsoft recommend using this as a catch-all after the bulk of any upgrade has finished.
To protect clients from malware, ConfigMgr 2012 now has Endpoint Protection fully integrated, so no more running two separate infrastructures. The Endpoint Protection client is installed using ConfigMgr 2012 client settings, so no need to create any Packages or Programs. Endpoint Protection reports and dashboard are integrated into ConfigMgr console further simplifying operational tasks. There is even an out-of-the-box security role for the Endpoint Protection Administrator, defining all the necessary rights to enable the role to be delegated.
Keeping up to date with software updates is an important step to ensuring the health and functionality of a client. A significant improvement to management of software updates in ConfigMgr 2012 comes with the ‘Automatic Deployment Rules’ feature. Administrators can ensure updates are automatically downloaded, approved and deployed based on specific criteria, instead of manually carrying out tasks. For example, this could be used to automatically deploy all critical updates for Windows 7, or to automatically deploy recent signature definitions for Forefront Endpoint Protection.
If you do not want to automatically deploy, the rule can be configured to retrieve compliance information from client computers for the software updates without deploying them.
Power Management, introduced in ConfigMgr 2007 R3, is enabled by default in ConfigMgr 2012 and includes some minor enhancements. It continues to enforce the same peak and non-peak power plan settings for turning off the display, inducing sleep or hibernate, controlling battery notifications and button actions and scheduling desktop computers (deliberately not laptops) to wake from sleep.
You can now copy settings from another Collection so you only have to tweak the differences. Also, users can now exclude their PC from power management which you can report on and override. 1E NightWatchman Enterprise fills in the gaps, enabling scheduled shutdown and wake-up for all systems, overriding processes that prevent computers going to sleep and enabling potential application issues when resuming to be addressed.