Collections in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager provide you with the means to organize resources into manageable units, which then enable you to create an organized structure that logically represents the kinds of tasks that you want to perform. Collections are also used to perform Configuration Manager operations on multiple resources at one time. The following table shows some examples for how you might use collections in Configuration Manager:

Operation

Example

Grouping resources

You can create collections that logically group resources that are based on your organization’s hierarchy.

For example, you could create a collection of all computers that reside in the ‘London Headquarters’ Active Directory Organizational Unit (OU). For more information about how to create this type of collection, see How to Create Collections in Configuration Manager.

You could then use this collection to perform operations such as configuring Endpoint Protection settings, configuring device power management settings, or installing the Configuration Manager client.

Application deployment

You can create a collection of all computers that do not have Microsoft Office 2013 installed and then deploy this software to all computers in that collection.

Note
You can also use application requirements to perform this task. For more information, see How to Create Applications in Configuration Manager.

Managing client settings

Although the default client settings in Configuration Manager apply to all devices and all users, you can create custom client settings that apply to a collection of devices or a collection of users.

For example, if you want remote control to be available on all but a few devices, configure the default client settings to allow remote control and then configure custom client settings that do not allow remote control. Deploy these custom client settings to a collection that contains the computers that will not use remote control.

For more information about how to use collections for client settings, see About Client Settings in Configuration Manager.

Power management

For each collection that you create, you can configure power settings such as how soon computers in the collection go into sleep mode when they are inactive.

For more information about how to use collections with power management, see Power Management in Configuration Manager.

Role-based administration

Collections can be used with role-based administration to control which groups of users have access to various functionality in the Configuration Manager console.

For more information about how configure collections for role-based administration, see the Planning for Role-Based Administration section in the Planning for Security in Configuration Manager topic.

Maintenance Windows

Maintenance windows provide a means by which administrative users can define a time period when various Configuration Manager operations can be carried out on members of a device collection. You can use maintenance windows to help ensure that client configuration changes occur during periods that do not affect the productivity of the organization.

For more information about maintenance windows, see How to Use Maintenance Windows in Configuration Manager.

Most management tasks rely on using one or more collections. For example, before you can deploy software updates to devices, you must identify a collection for the deployment of software updates. Although you can use the built-in collection of All Systems, using this collection for management tasks is not a best practice. In all but a testing environment, you will typically benefit from creating your own custom collections to more specifically identify the devices or users to manage.

Built-in and custom collections appear in the User Collections and Device Collections nodes in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Configuration Manager console.

Collections that you have recently viewed appear in the Users node and in the Devices node in the Assets and Compliance workspace in the Configuration Manager console.

Collection Types in Configuration Manager

Configuration Manager has some built-in collections that you can use for common operations. In addition, you can create your own collections that group resources specific to your business requirements.

Built-in collections

Custom Collections

Incremental Collection Updates

When you enable incremental updates for a collection, Configuration Manager periodically scans for new or changed resources from the previous collection evaluation and updates a collections membership with these resources, independently of a full collection evaluation. By default, when you enable incremental collection updates, it runs every 10 minutes and helps keep your collection data up-to-date without the overhead of a full collection evaluation.

Note
When you create a new collection, incremental updates are disabled by default.

What’s New in Configuration Manager

What’s New in Configuration Manager SP1

What’s New in System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

See Also