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ConfigMgr 1710 TP – Software Center Improvements

Technical Preview 1710 for Configuration Manager

If you work with System Center Configuration Manager also known as SCCM(don’t say that too loud) you may be familiar with the monthly Technical Previews. These monthly previews show incremental improvements to the product, the majority of which come from User Voice.  It is no over exaggeration when I say that the monthly TP updates and quarterly updates to the product  have improved it massively.

I had the privilege of meeting David (DJam) James (Director of Engineering, ConfigMgr, Microsoft) a few weeks back at a WMUG event in London. When you hear how the entire team restructured how they approach updating the product and the inclusion of User Voice as part of the development, its incredibly impressive. Many were writing off Configuration Manager but the community and dedication of David and his team have made it what it is today.

Technical Preview 1710 overview

  1. Allow up to 512×512 pixel icons for application in Software Center
  2. Check compliance from Software Center for co-managed devices
  3. Configure and deploy Windows Defender Application Guard policies
  4. Improved descriptions for pending computer restarts
  5. Support for Windows Defender Exploit Guard

Software Center 512×512 Icons

I just wanted to write a quick blog about one update in particular this month, the support for larger icons in Configuration Manager and why the cosmetic feel of the product is extremely important.  As admins we love the nuts and bolts of the product, Maurice and I are big fans of Compliance Items as you can see from the blog, do you think the end user gives a damn about that, eh no.

The first time I heard the phrase “Shiny” in relation to Configuration Manager was Ami Casto she was talking about a new feature but at the time this got me thinking what is the end users opinion of Software Center as a delivery method for software. In January I wrote about this in Software Center – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly I recognized that the end user doesn’t care how you packaged it, licenced it, or how you deploy it what they want is a simple to use for want of a better word “App Store”.

The best examples of App stores are Google and Apple. With a UI so easy a child can use it.

Not very Shiny

If you have spend so much time packaging, testing and deploying applications then give it an icon and description. It looks so much more professional to the end user instead this looks a load of generic applications.

Lets make it Shiny

So starting from 1708 TP you can now hide tabs in Software Center, add a company logo and with support for larger icons Software Center looks pretty slick.

Vanilla Software Center

So this is the basic out of the box Software Center

To make this a shiny software center experience go to Client settings

  1. Add a company name or logo (logo size is 100×400)
  2. Select a color (aka colour in UK English spelling)
  3. Enable or disable tabs as you see fit
SCConfigMgr Software Center

Now with some simple branding Software Center looks and feels more of an extension of your company.

Maurice (who i’m pretty sure has just given up on sleep considering how much he gets done) logged a bug issue on Microsoft connect regarding the logo not rendering correctly or being cut off. This has now been fixed in 1710TP, so a big thank you to him for that.

https://connect.microsoft.com/ConfigurationManagervnext/feedback/details/3139956/technical-preview-1708-software-center-logo-issue

Let me know what you think on twitter.

(5285)

Terence Beggs

An Irish man living in London, after completing a BSc in Computer Science in 2005 he started working in the IT Industry. Currently Senior Systems Officer at London Metropolitan University managing Azure and several thousand endpoints across several campuses in London. Technology focuses include SCCM, MDT, Azure, Office 365, Active Directory, Group Policy, Application Packaging, PowerShell, Virtualization and Automation.

15 comments

  • For some reason when I enable these setting it doesn’t actually do anything on the client machines, but I can’t work out why? We have 1710, 5.00.8577.1005 Agents and Windows 10 1709 16299.192 OS. Any ideas where I should look? Thanks 🙂

    • Can you clarify, do you mean the new look and feel or the icons are still small.

      Thanks

      • I can see the new look and feel software center, but it doesn’t display our custom icon or our custom background colour, I’ve made sure it’s below the 100×400 size limit and is in the .PNG format. Also for some reason it is displaying the name based upon the “Organization name displayed in Software Center” setting under the “Computer Agent” section of the client settings.

      • in Client Settings – under Computer Agent, does it have “Use New Software Center = Yes”, check your default and any custom settings you created.

        Thanks
        Terence

      • Are your clients running 1703 or 1709? I notice that for 1703 clients nothing has changed but for 1709 our custom settings are shown.

      • I belive i was running both 1703 and 1709 but it was a few months ago and my lab has been rebuilt a few times.

  • Nice Article !!
    Many of our users say that the Software Center “search” doesn’t return results properly , any suggestions to improve search ?

    • I have only found this once, Software Center had over 100 items and it seemed to only be able to search the first 50 but that was a few years ago. Unfortunately i cant replicate this issue at the moment, i also asked around and no one else i know seems to have that issue.

      What version are you using, is this a TP or Production issue for you.

      • Production issue , many users complain they don’t get results back unless they the exact name of the app.
        I have added keywords and a description in application catalog to improve search.
        Anything else i can do for a better user experience ?

      • I would tweet someone like David James and ask them about this as i have not had this issue, @djammmer

  • “Shiny!” Hahaha…. I remember hearing that word a million times in an hour of Ami’s presentation. Anyway, great improvement so far on TP1710, and just like you, I wish we had icons enabled for packages and task sequences already. I can’t wait to have that, and many other improvement. Lets get the software center more shiny… lol!

  • glad to see a rise in icon size. i actually did a YouTube video last week on how annoying this was. does mean i now need to track down new icons for everything LOL

    • Multi layer icons help, I have a previous post on this for CB. Yeah the fuzzy icon drives me nuts.

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