Upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511 in your hierarchy

With the release of System Center Configuration Manager 1511 (short ConfigMgr 1511) marks a new era for ConfigMgr admins. We can now expect frequent upgrades of ConfigMgr being delivered as a service. In this post I’ll walk through the process of upgrading to ConfigMgr 1511, including a step-by-step guide and the requirements for a successful upgrade.


Here’s a brief overview of what’s covered in this blog post regarding the necessary steps required to successfully upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511:

  • What’s new
  • ConfigMgr as a service
  • Known issues
  • Upgrade path
  • Prepare environment
  • Backup hierarchy
  • Test upgrade databases
  • Upgrade hierarchy
  • Verification
  • Upgrade clients

Whats new

ConfigMgr 1511 includes a bunch of new functionality like full support for both managing and deploying Windows 10. Below is a full list regarding the biggest features added in ConfigMgr 1511:

  • Deploy, manage and provision Windows 10
  • Support for up to 175 000 managed devices
  • More frequent and easier to install updates
  • New Software Center
  • Multiple deployments for an Automatic Deployment Rule
  • Support for pilot phase during Client Upgrade
  • Software Update management for Office 365
  • Integration with Windows Update for Business

.. and a lot more.
You can read the general availability statement here:
For more information, I suggest that you read the release notes available here:
Check out the documentation on TechNet as well for the new features and how to implement them:

ConfigMgr as a service

With ConfigMgr 1511 being delivered as a service, this means that future releases can now be aligned with updates to Microsoft Intune which really benefits the hybrid scenario by bringing Intune functionality to ConfigMgr at a much faster rate. Delivering ConfigMgr as a service also let’s you take advantage and manage the new capabilities of Windows 10 that will be released several times a year. Your can read more about the announcement here:

Known issues

I’ll keep this section up to date with on issues that the community have reported for this release of ConfigMgr:

  • Installation wizard complains about unsupported operating system version on Windows Server 2012 R2
  • If you use a custom SQL Server backup task with the full backup model (instead of the built-in Backup task for Configuration Manager), the upgrade can change your your backup model from full to simple.

Upgrade path

As with every Service Pack, Cumulative Update and even new releases like ConfigMgr 1511, you should always begin the upgrade on the top-level Site server in your hierarchy. If you’re running with a Central Administration Site, begin with that and move on down to your Primary Sites. Although,  If your hierarchy also includes Secondary Sites, they would be next on the upgrade list. Simply put, upgrade in the following order:

  • Central Administration Site
  • Primary Site servers
  • Secondary Site servers

Depending on which version of ConfigMgr you’re running, below is a supported upgrade path for each version of ConfigMgr:

VersionUpgrade path
ConfigMgr 2012Upgrade to ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 and then to ConfigMgr 1511
ConfigMgr 2012 SP1Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511
ConfigMgr 2012 SP2Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511
ConfigMgr 2012 R2Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511
ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1Upgrade directly (in-place) to ConfigMgr 1511
SCCM 2007Perform a side-by-side migration to ConfigMgr 1511
SMS 2003You’re doomed

Prepare environment

Before you go ahead and execute the upgrade, it’s recommended that you make sure that your environment in your hierarchy is up to date and meets the following requirements:

  • Latest Windows Updates is installed on every Site server that will be upgraded
  • Verify that you have Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit 10 installed
  • Your hierarchy should be running at least ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 or ConfigMgr 2012 SP2 (see upgrade path section above)
  • Install KB3095113 on your Software Update Point server prior to running the upgrade

As for Cumulative Updates, it doesn’t matter what version you have installed.
Review the upgrade checklist on TechNet to make sure you’re good to go:
IMPORTANT! With ConfigMgr 1511, support for running your Site server on Windows Server 2008 R2 or running the Site database on SQL Server 2008 R2 will most likely be unsupported (or deprecated) within 12 months from the release of this new version. If you’re still using any of these products in your hierarchy, I’d strongly suggest that you look into performing a side-by-side migration instead of upgrading your current hierarchy to ConfigMgr 1511. This is because it’s not supported to do an in-place upgrade of Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012 R2 when running ConfigMgr on that server.
You can read more about the deprecated features here:

Backup hierarchy

I highly recommend that you have a known-good backup of every Site database in your hierarchy before you attempt to upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511. There’s a great blog post regarding how to perform a backup of your Site databases made by Steve Thompson (MVP) which I recommend:
Steve’s blog post is about setting up backup using SQL Server instead of the built in Maintenance Task in ConfigMgr. Whichever method works just fine, but I’d recommend that you look at switching to performing a backup with SQL Server from now on, if you’re currently using the built in mechanism, since the SQL Server backup can leverage compression that saves you disk space, and at times is much faster.

Test upgrade databases

When you’ve taken a backup of your Site databases that needs to be backed up, follow the instructions in the blog post below to perform a test upgrade of your databases:
Perform a test upgrade of the ConfigMgr database

Upgrade hierarchy

When you’ve prepared your environment, backed up the database(s) and verified that everything is in order, you can now go ahead and perform the upgrade starting with the top-level Site in your hierarchy. Below is a step-by-step guide that takes you through the upgrade wizard. The process is almost the same for a CAS, Primary Sites and a bit shorter for Secondary Sites.
1. Launch splash.hta elevated as a Full Administrator user in ConfigMgr (you’d also need sysadmin permissions on your SQL Server).
2. Click on Install.
3. On the Before you begin page, click Next.
4. On the Getting Started page, make sure that Upgrade this Configuration Manager site is selected and click Next.
5. Accept the license terms and click Next.
6. Accept the prerequisite license terms and click Next.
7. Click Browse on the Prerequisite Downloads page and choose a folder where the files will be stored, e.g. E:\Installation\ConfigMgr_1511\Prereqs. Click Next.
8. Wait for the prerequisite files to be downloaded.
9. On the Server Language Selection page, your previous configuration of languages is shown and it can not be changed since this is an upgrade. Click Next.
10. As for the Client Language Selection page, simply click Next.
11. On the Usage Data page, click Next.
12. Click Next on the Settings Summary page.
13. Setup will now launch the prerequisite checker which displays any errors or warnings that you may have to remediate before you continue with the upgrade. Wait for the process to finish. As a note here, any errors during this check will cause setup not to continue. Warnings may present valuable information that could potentially bring problems in the future. I’d recommend that you remediate any errors or warnings shown in this step before you continue with the upgrade (In my lab environment I’ve not configured enough memory for my SQL Server, but that’s not something I’d recommended in a production environment).
14. Once the prerequisite checker has finished, assuming that everything was in order, click Begin Install.
15. If you’d like to see a detailed view of the actual upgrade process, click on the View Log button to open C:\ConfigMgrSetup.log.
16. After a while the upgrade process should have successfully completed and you will see the following:
At this point, the upgrade is completed but there might still be some jobs running in the back ground. In my lab environment it took an additional 1-2 minutes before everything turned green in the wizard, but that might vary under different circumstances. I’d recommend that you do not attempt to restart the server or begin working until the upgrade process has completely finished and that you’ve verified that the upgrade indeed has completed in the C:\ConfigMgrSetup.log file, looking like this:
Once the wizard has caught up, it should look like this:
Now that the top-level Site in your hiearchy is upgraded, make sure that you verify that everything is working as expected and then continue on with the next Site in line. If you’re running a stand-alone Primary Site server, you can move on to the verification part of this post.


The new version of ConfigMgr 1511 is 5.00.8325.1000. We can verify this with the following methods:


On your Site server check the value called Full Version, found under HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SMS\Setup. It should read 5.00.8325.1000. In addition to the Full Version value, the CULevel should now be set to 0.

Site Properties

1. Launch the ConfigMgr console.
2. Go to Administration – Site Configuration – Sites, right-click on your site and choose Properties.
3. On the General tab, verify that the Version information is correct:

Upgrade Clients

When your whole hierarchy consisting of Site server are upgraded to ConfigMgr 1511, you need to upgrade your Clients as well. Ronni Pedersen has created an excellent blog post that covers the Automatic Client Upgrade (now named Client Upgrade in ConfigMgr 1511) feature, which can be found here:
To enable this feature, go to Administration – Site Configuration and select Sites. Click on Hierarchy Settings and go to the Client Upgrade tab.
I highly recommend that you make use if this feature, unless that you want to create your own custom Client Upgrade Package specifying the necessary parameters for ccmsetup.exe which are required in your environment. If you choose to use Client Upgrade feature, remember to not set the Automatically upgrade clients within days value to low, as it might cause an extra load on your Site servers when too many clients are trying to upgrade at the same time. If you for instance set the value to 2, all of your clients with a lower build number than the Site that it’s assigned to will retrieve the policy and create a local scheduled task to run within a randomized time frame between within 2 days.
A new feature with ConfigMgr 1511 is the option to select a Pre-production collection. I’d suggest that you create a collection and add some systems into that collection. Select this newly created collection by hitting Browse. Configuring the Pre-production collection at this time, will allow for piloting of the client upgrade when the next release of ConfigMgr is available. This is a really nice feature that will assist in making sure that the client upgrades are successful in the future.
Also remember that if you choose to create your own Client Upgrade package, ccmsetup.exe will automatically detect whether the Operating System architecture is 32-bit or 64-bit, so there’s no need to create collections that contains architecture specific clients.
Below is a query that you can use to create a collection containing all clients that has been upgraded to the latest version:

select SMS_R_System.ResourceId, SMS_R_System.ResourceType, SMS_R_System.Name, SMS_R_System.SMSUniqueIdentifier, SMS_R_System.ResourceDomainORWorkgroup, SMS_R_System.Client from  SMS_R_System where SMS_R_System.Client is not null  and SMS_R_System.ClientVersion = "5.00.8325.1000"

I hope your upgrade goes well, and let me know if you have any questions!

Nickolaj Andersen

Chief Technical Architect and Enterprise Mobility MVP since 2016. Nickolaj has been in the IT industry for the past 10 years specializing in Enterprise Mobility and Security, Windows devices and deployments including automation. Awarded as PowerShell Hero in 2015 by the community for his script and tools contributions. Creator of ConfigMgr Prerequisites Tool, ConfigMgr OSD FrontEnd, ConfigMgr WebService to name a few. Frequent speaker at conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, NIC Conference and IT/Dev Connections including nordic user groups.


  • This is pretty thorough, but without an MSDN subscription where can you actually get the software from?

      • Thank you Nickolaj!
        I’ve since been told that unless you have Software Assurance, this software is not freely available. It’s a version upgrade that requires a payment, as opposed to a patch or service pack that doesn’t.

  • Note that this upgrade requires .NET 4.5.2 to be installed on client machines. If not already deployed this can cause Client Deployment to request a non mandatory reboot. Users may receive reboot notifications on their machines.
    CcmSetup is exiting with return code 7
    .Net Install Log
    CommandLine = D:\59c1474f74b2f5a69609\\Setup.exe /q /norestart /log C:\Windows\ccmsetup\logs\dotNetFx452_Setup.log /x86 /x64 /redist
    MSI (D:\59c1474f74b2f5a69609\netfx_Full_GDR_x64.msi) Installation succeeded and requires reboot. Msi Log: dotNetFx452_Setup.log-MSI_netfx_Full_GDR_x64.msi.txt
    Action complete
    Item Requested Reboot.

  • Hello,
    As far as i know with the release of 1602 version it is supported in-place upgrade from server 2008R2 to 2012R2 and SQL upgrade as well.

  • We have successfully upgraded to SCCM 1511, but we are, so far, unable to take advantage of the Automatic client upgrade feature. When on that tab, the “Upgrade all clients in the hierarchy using production client” and “Do not upgrade servers” are greyed out, so we’re unable to check them….
    Production client version listed at 5.00.8325.1000 and modified 5/6/2016.
    Thoughts on why we are unable to access this function?

  • In my environment we have the following deployed:
    ConfigMgr 2012 R2 (5.00.7958.1000) (no CU’s)
    And would like to take it up to ConfigMgr Version 1602 (5.00.8355.1000)
    I’m assuming my path would be:
    ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 (5.00.8239.1000)
    ConfigMgr Version 1511 (5.00.8325.1000)
    ConfigMgr Version 1602 (5.00.8355.1000)
    And for each stage would have the following sub steps
    A. Pre-Upgrade Configurations for Configuration Manager Sites
    B. Test the Configuration Manager Site Database for the Upgrade
    C. Upgrade a Configuration Manager Site
    D. Perform Post-Upgrade Tasks on Configuration Manager Sites
    as per or similar articles.
    At what point do I have to upgrade the client on all my workstations?
    Can I leave the client at the ConfigMgr 2012 R2 level (5.00.7958.1000) until I have the server at ConfigMgr Version 1602, and then send out an update client command?
    Or do I have to get the clients up to each level before proceeding to the next upgrade? (which would mean add a week or two between each upgrade.)
    I would like to do this in a day or over weekend and not have to worry about the clients until done.
    Will the “old” clients talk to an updated server with out issues? I understand new features would not be enabled, but would all old features still be active?
    Thanks in advance for the help.

    • Hi Simon,
      I’m not sure if you’ve read this post fully, but as I’ve stated, you can perform an in-place upgrade directly from ConfigMgr 2012 R2 (no CU’s) to ConfigMgr 1511. And then from 1511 you can upgrade to 1602. This is documented here as well:
      Regarding you clients, they will continue to operate. However, you should not expect any of the new functionality that come with ConfigMgr 1602 to work on your ConfigMgr 2012 R2 clients.
      I’d do the following:
      1. Perform a testdb upgrade of your ConfigMgr 2012 R2 database.
      2. Backup your database.
      3. Run an in-place upgrade to ConfigMgr 1511.
      4. Enable the pre-production client deployment option under Administration -> Sites -> Hierarchy Settings -> Client Upgrade.
      5. Upgrade to ConfigMgr 1602 using the Updates and servicing node in the console.
      6. Configure the pre-production client deployment to target a device collection containing a couple of systems (this will immediately deploy the latest version of the ConfigMgr client to those systems).
      7. When the pre-production client deployment have successfully been verified that they’re all working, stage the latest ConfigMgr client version into production.
      I hope this helps.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. That sounds like what I was hoping for on the clients. And the confirmation of just having 2 upgrades versus 3 is great.
        I have a couple of follow up questions:
        Question 1 – Database Testing
        For the upgrade test of the database, it mentions that the SQL server you test it on needs to be the exact same version. Articles from others just mention same edition.
        My SCCM database is run on a machine with these stats:
        Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (SP1) – 11.0.3000.0 (X64) Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.2 (Build 9200: ) (Hypervisor)
        I have a test SQL machine that has these stats:
        Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (SP1) – 11.0.3128.0 (X64) Standard Edition (64-bit) on Windows NT 6.2 (Build 9200: ) (Hypervisor)
        These both appear to be SQL Server 2012 SP2, but on slightly different patch levels.
        Will this work for the test?
        Question 2 – Console Updating
        What do you recommend for the console updating? I would also like to avoid updating them twice, once for each upgrade.

  • Hi, we’re going from SCCM 2012 R2 CU5 to SCCM 1511. We are on SQL 2012 Standard, and we would like to go to SQL 2014 Standard. Should we proceed with the SQL upgrade first or after the SCCM upgrade?

  • Hi Nikolaj,
    Thanks to your guide I was able to do an in-place upgrade from ConfigMgr 2012 SP1 to 1511 succesfully at a customer. It saved me a lot of time, I didn’t have to gather all the info on TechNet etc.
    I followed it to the letter. So I can confirm that your guide is correct, but you already know that 😉
    Keep up the good work.
    Kind regards,

  • Hi Nikolaj,
    I have the following situations, I am using at the time windows 2008 R2 , SQL 2008 R2, sccm 2012 R2 SP1 CU2.
    I wan to upgrade to sccm 1511 but with windows 2012 R2 and SQL 2014 SP1. I want do that with backup/restore
    I decide to do the following steps on the new machine:
    1) install windows 2012 R2 with the same name
    2) install SQL 2014 SP1
    3) backup the runing sccm 2012 R2 SP2 via site maintenence on the current runing machine
    4) backup all the DBs of sccm 2012 R2 SP1 with SQL 2008 R2 ont the current machine
    4) restore the backup of sccm 2012 R2 SP1 on the new machine with CD sccm 2012 R2 SP1(splash.exe)
    5) restore the SQL DBs to the SQL 2014
    6) upgrade to the sccm 1511
    Have I to install the sccm 2012 R2 SP1 on my new machine again? I thing I dont need to do that? What do you mean?

  • I’m not seeing any Windows 10 updates in “All Windows 10 Updates”
    I installed the hotfix on WSUS, and I can see them there and approve them, but it doesn’t pull into SCCM. Am I doing something wrong? I setup a Servicing Plan, but nothing shows up.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,

  • Hi Nikolaj,
    In the upgrade path section your write about the minimum version of ConfigMgr to be installed in order to upgrade to ConfigMgr (CB). Microsoft states different, maybe your information was bases on earlier/older information?
    According to MS;
    A fully licensed installation that runs one of the following:
    •System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1
    •System Center 2012 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 2
    •System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager
    •System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager with Service Pack 1
    In place upgrade to System Center Configuration Manager (CB) is supported

    • Hi Niels,
      Yes, as of matter of fact it’s very wrong. I’ve updated the section accordingly with the documentation on TechNet. Thanks for pointing that out!

      • Hi Nickolaj,
        Now the below scenario is also supported as per the same guid?
        An evaluation install of System Center Configuration Manager
        A release candidate install of System Center Configuration Manager

  • Hello, First great job in this article.
    Did the procedures, installed the KB referring to WSUS; the WSUS console appears to products and Classification option -> Upgrades, OK.
    However in Administration -> Sites -> Software Update Point -> Classification does not show the Upgrades option.
    Any idea what could be?
    It is mandatory to update the Windows ADK v1511, since I already have the Windows 10 version ADK (10240)?
    Thank’s for your attention.

    • The new SCCM is expected to be available sometime this month. Given that the 1511 designation is the same one given to the “Fall Update” of windows 10, I assume that this will be the official release version. Hopefully, if Nickolaj has it and is already writing about it, that means that us mere mortals should be getting it in the next few days…

  • A couple of comments about your ‘important’ note:
    Support for using SQL 2008r2 is not ending within 12 months, according to the page you linked to, though it is listed as deprecated so I expect that it probably will stop being supported within a couple of years.
    Also, you wrote that in place upgrade from server 2008r2 to server 2012r2 isn’t supported. Are you thinking of something else perhaps? In place upgrades from 2008r2 to 2012r2 are definitely possible, and a supported upgrade path, as per
    Other than that, great post, and I look forward to following it soon to upgrade my own environment!

    • Hi Steve,
      Regarding Site servers running e.g. Windows Server 2008 R2, an in-place upgrade to e.g. Windows Server 2012 R2 is not supported (and this is probably where I wasn’t able to make myself clear, it was late 🙂 ) for ConfigMgr, read more about that here:
      I’ll update the post so that I’m not confusing anybody.
      I’d say, although it might not be unsupported directly, even though I think that’s the way forward if you’d look the Windows as a service releases support periods. But nothing here has been written in stone yet, it’s my qualified guess and I wanted to highlight it.


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