Welcome to the Recast Endpoint Management Recap, April 2020 by Gary Blok
We were hoping at this point we'd be reminiscing about the time in quarantine, gearing up for MMS in the coming week, and an overall lighter mood. But instead we've double down on our efforts, trying to win at staying home and yet being productive. During this time, we need to remember the importance of community, helping each other out, even from a distance. Its the little things that mean so much, sending a direct message to someone who posts about a hard time, writing a card, or try setting up a zoom meeting. It's the social interactions while physically distancing that will help many of us stay strong and keep marching forward.
One thing that's been helpful to me, is I've been signing up for several user groups, now that many are offering remote offerings. I've even been joining the Microsoft tech community.
Keep your eyes on Twitter, follow those groups in Eventbite / Twitter. There are probably more, and if you're part of one, send us the info and we'll get it added.
As always, the layout to the post:
- Events / Conference News
- Microsoft Product Announcements
- Hardware Vendor Updates (Tools / Security / Features)
- Community Tools / News
- Recast Updates
That's the idea, a high level overview of things going on that you'll want to be aware of and you can dig into them further on your own. If you're new to this monthly post, you'll want to look back at previous months, so much great content.
Events & Conferences
Upcoming Events and User Group info:
- Microsoft Events for 2020 are all virtual. [zdnet.com]
- GeekWeek - Truesec - March 23-27, 2020, Chicago - Date Change: Dec 6-11
- MMS MOA - Postponed to July 26th-30th
Microsoft Products & Announcements
Microsoft has posted a page with a lot of great resources during this time, to help IT professionals, Educators, Families, and Remote Business, along with how Microsoft is helping in the battle on Covid-19 on their Responding to COVID-19 together page.
Microsoft Edge Browser (Based on Chromium Engine): LANDING PAGE
Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection - [Resource Hub]
ConfigMgr What's New Landing Page
ConfigMgr Tech Preview Landing Page
- TP 2003
- Onboard Configuration Manager clients to Microsoft Defender ATP
- New feedback wizard
- Improvements to Microsoft Edge Management dashboard
Intune What's New Landing Page - This updates so frequently, that it's best you just bookmark it if you use Intune.
Hardware Vendor Updates - Microsoft Surface Highlight Edition
Several things going on this month: I can confirm that there was a recent release for Dell Command Configure 4.3, PowerShell Provider 2.3, and Monitor10.3. All of these releases support the latest BIOS attribute updates for newer Intel processors.
- [Enterprise Tools Landing Page]
- Dell Command Monitor - Updated 2020.04 - Several bug fixes - [User Guide] [Reference Guide]
- Dell Command Configure (CCTK) - Updated 2020.04 - Added support for additional functions
- Dell Command Update - Last Update 2020.02 - DCU 3.1.1 was released at the end of February. It was a minor update that addressed some bug issues. Includes support for proxy enhancements, DCH drivers, and addresses some arbitrary overwrite issues. Dell recommends using the latest version of the software to ensure optimum experience in the update process.
- Dell Command PowerShell Provider - Updated 2020.04
- Dell Update Catalog - MeMCM catalog upgrade to the v3 schema to support categories so that you can reduce the update import from a static 4-5K items to only those models you care about. Only PatchMyPC and Dell support this currently
Lenovo (a more in-dept review of their available offerings this month)
- [Enterprise Tools Landing Page][Blog Site]
- Enterprise Deployment Solutions Portal - centralized content for IT admins who deploy, manage and patch Lenovo ThinkPad/ThinkCentre/ThinkStation products. Provides links to:
- Deployment Recipe Cards
- MEMCM Driver Pack
- Enterprise Client Management Forum
- Think Deploy Blog
- Tools for patching and managing PCs
- Guides, whitepapers, etc. Especially the Dock Deployment Guide
- Lenovo System Update Suite of Tools
- Lenovo System Update: user-facing solution for automating Lenovo Updates
- Can be configured to pull from Lenovo servers or from a local repository
- Update Retriever: used by admins to manage a local repository of Lenovo Updates
- Additional feature for downloading hardware drivers to create your own MEMCM driver pack
- Thin Installer: no-install solution for automating Lenovo Updates
- Great for use in a task sequence or with scripts
- Can combine with a repository into a package deploy-able through MEMCM
- Lenovo Patch for MEMCM (annual subscription)
- Plug-in to MEMCM console
- Provides access to a large 3rd party catalog of updates as well as Lenovo Updates Catalog
- Enhanced meta data for identifying updates and their supported models
- Smart Filter feature for grouping content
- Ability to schedule automated publishing of content based on Smart Filters
- Lenovo Updates Catalog
- V2 available now for subscribing to within MEMCM console
- V3 should be ready very soon (this month)
- Lenovo Vantage for Enterprise
- Side-loadable version of Lenovo Vantage UWP app which supports GPO customization of interface
- Provides System Update function, Hardware Settings, Diagnostics, etc
- New version in the works to address more commercial customer requirements
- Think BIOS Config Tool
- HTA GUI application for managing BIOS settings using the Lenovo WMI BIOS interface
- Can generate profile of settings that can be applied in task sequence by command line
- No, it unfortunately cannot set a supervisor password if one does not exist.
For Deep Details of each, check out March's Recast's Endpoint Management Recap, but this our friends [@CarlLuberti] Microsoft released the Surface Deployment Accelerator. I've read over the blog and some of the code, while it was designed for Surface Devices, the code is all available on GitHub and you can easily use it for any device.
- Surface Enterprise Management Mode [SEMM]
- The Configurator, PowerShell module, and script samples can be downloaded from the SurfaceTools for IT page
- Device Firmware Configuration Interface [DFCI]
- Surface Data Eraser [SDE]
- Surface Diagnostics Toolkit [SDT] : Coming SOON!
- Project Mu [Link]
- DFCI on Project MU [Link]
Community Tools \ Blogs
Check out some of our favorite tools for ConfigMgr, along with several blog posts covering a wide range of areas and ideas to all help with Endpoint Management.
One more note, I do my best to provide Twitter accounts with the blog posts, both to provide credit where credit is due, and so you can then follow them yourselves to stay in the loop as things are coming out and ideas are being discussed on twitter.
One announcement from the community, SCConfigMgr -> MSEndpointMgr: Get used to it, bookmark it. [Official Announcements]
Podcasts / Blog Series / Video Blogs
ConfigMgr Task Sequence / OSD / WaaS
Other SysAdmin Goodies
Throw Backs [Older Post, but still super relevant]
Recast Software Updates
- Right Click Tools version 4.2 is now live! The Client Information and System Information Tools both got facelifts with new user interfaces, the Remote Software Center now has the ability to display deployments to users and the Hardware & Firmware Audit Dashboard now has UEFI, SecureBoot Status and Bios version as drill-down options.
- Download the latest version to receive 30 days free of Right Click Tools Enterprise edition
- Watch the 4.2 webinar recording to get a closer look at what's new
- Check out Gary Blok's series of How to Build a ConfigMgr Lab from Scratch
Thanks for checking out the post, and look forward to more monthly updates of what's going on. If you think we missed something, or want any other news added, find us on Twitter: @RecastSoftware