ATUS changed the system we use to manage, patch, update, and inventory Windows computers from Dell KACE to SCCM (Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager) beginning in Spring 2017. This centrally-managed system now manages over 4000 machines. Through coordination between ATUS and almost all departments with decentralized IT staff, we have been able to standardize the Windows user desktop experience and have realized numerous advantages to performance, reliability, security, and efficiency.
What will be new?
- All ATUS-supported departments have had their department's computer “objects” transitioned into the new SCCM managed organizational unit. There were very few changes experienced (e.g., desktop icons appearing after patches installed).
- As with KACE, we are powering on (“auto on”) Windows computers every Wednesday and Thursday morning, identifying versions of software that have patches available, and deploying the updates. Computers are turned on at 2:00 a.m. since some of the larger updates require a significant amount of time and we want to allow for enough time for processes to complete before you arrive at work.
- Windows Updates will be installed with other patches and updates. These will be applied during the maintenance window of 2:00-5:30 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Windows updates were previously installed on Tuesday afternoons beginning at 5:00 p.m.
- Computers that have not been accessed for 6 months will be disabled. After the change, if you cannot login to a computer you used to be able to login to, just let us know so it can be re-enabled. For most departments, student workstations or rarely used laptops are often the most likely to experience this behavior.
- As we continue to add software patching and updating capabilities, you will notice fewer instances of software prompting you for updates. We are working toward removing these prompts while we keep your machines up-to-date, silently and in the background.
What stays the same?
- Although no action is required on your part, it would be a good practice to save your work and Shut down your computer at the end of yourwork day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If there are Windows computers that must be exempted from this process for business necessities, please let us know.
- On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, you may find that your computer is powered on when you get to work. During this phase of the project, we have greatly expanded the software tiles we are patching.
- Since some patches will require restarting your computer to complete the update process and for your computer to function optimally. Generally your computer will reboot during the maintenance window but in some cases you may be prompted to restart your computer. Shutting down your computer at the end of each workday generally alleviates this issue.
- Large software upgrades like Windows 7 to Windows 10 and Office will still be coordinated closely with users.
Learn more about SCCM.