- FREE: RVTools – Display information of virtual machines on ESX hosts and update VMware tools - Fri, Dec 7 2012
- SCCM Client Center – Fix Configuration Manager clients - Thu, Nov 8 2012
- FREE: Veeam ONE Free Edition – Real-time Hyper-V and VMware monitoring - Thu, May 3 2012
I’ve used this great tool for some time now in many different environments, and I can’t say how useful it has been in troubleshooting client computers. You can remotely find out the clients cache location, size, and what's in it, and also find out what packages are advertised to a computer and rerun the advertisement if needed. The list goes on of what you can do with this free tool. The latest version released is version 2.0.4 which was released back on 2011-10-06.
SCCM Client Center
As you can see the tool is broken down into four major group functions Running Executions, Event Monitor, Inventory Agents, Advertisements, and Agent Actions. I’ll break down each of these as we go.
The Running Executions function group is broken down into three sub tabs SMS/SCCM Jobs, Processes, and Services. Once you have connected to an SCCM Client you can use these tabs to display, start, and stop all current running SCCM jobs, running services, or processes. You can also view all jobs that are in queue and see what might be holding up that job like a file download for example. I know what you’re thinking; well I can do all that with the SCCM Console, and that is true but, the problem is that SCCM won’t put it all together in package like SCCM Client Center does.
SCCM Client Center - Running Executions
When troubleshooting SCCM clients, it might be necessary to get deep into the weeds. That is what makes having the Event Monitor function group readily accessible in one all encompassing application such huge time saver. It allows you to access the multiple client logs from one easy to use interface.
SCCM Client Center - Event Monitor
What SCCM tool would be complete without an effective inventory function, and SCCM Client Center delivers. You can either view an interactive inventory of a client's installed applications by querying its WMI classes, or you can choose to pull that application list from the SCCM database. Since it leverages WMI on the client there is almost nothing that we can’t pull from the client that we might need to troubleshoot or report on. If you are troubleshooting patch compliance issues and believe me you will at some point. You can use the inventory function to see what patches have been installed or which ones still need to be installed. Plus you can also open up the WindowsUpdate.log file directly from SCCM Client Center saving you time and desktop clutter.
SCCM Client Center - Inventory
Here you can view all of the applied advertisement policies and even rerun advertisements on the selected client. You can also view when a package was last ran and whether or not it ran successfully , and if available you can extract failure codes to help diagnose installation failures. Some SCCM environments can get really complicated as different departments roles and functions vary over time. Thus it becomes of upmost importance that Maintenance Windows are adhered and managed as needed. SCCM Client Center allows you to do that by letting you view all applicable Maintenance Windows. If necessary, you can even delete or create new Maintenance Windows from the Advertisements function group as well.
SCCM Client Center - Advertisements
Finally we get to the Agent Actions function group. In my experience most SCCM client issues can be fixed by either reinstalling or repairing the SCCM client, and you can do that right from the SCCM Client Center console. If that doesn’t do the trick then you might have to repair or recreate the WMI repository. That can also be done from this same function group.
SCCM Client Center - Agent Actions
Configuration Manager 2012
The only down side I can see with SCCM Client Center is the fact that I doesn’t support Configuration Manager 2012. However, Roger has since been spending his time revamping SCCM Client Center to support Configuration Manager 2012. That new version will be titled Client Center for Configuration Manager12, and the Alpha version was just recently released on Oct. 23, 2012. It can be downloaded here. Here is a sneak peak of what the new version will look like.