Since SCCM 1511, a new feature is available to ease the client upgrade process. SCCM pre-production client deployment is an integrated way for SCCM administrators to test the upgrade and functionality of the new SCCM client before production deployment.

In previous SCCM upgrade posts, we explained how to upgrade the SCCM client using standard process after a major upgrade. In this post, we will explain how to plan, configure and use the new pre-production client deployment feature after a SCCM 1606 upgrade.


  • SCCM 1511 or later
  • SCMC Client must be installed on a device prior testing the upgrade
  • A collection created for pre-production client

SCCM Pre-Production Client Package

On a SCCM 1511 and later primary site, a new default package is available : Configuration Manager Client Piloting package.

SCCM Pre-production client

The source files are located under Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\StagingClient

SCCM Pre-production client


We need a collection to target the pre-production client deployment. This collection can be an existing collection or a new one. Usually we targeted IT and pilots devices.

SCCM Pre-production client

Step 1 | Upgrade Process

To use the pre-production client to it’s full potential, you must set the Client Update Options in the Upgrade Wizard during a site upgrade.

SCCM Pre-production client

If we select the Upgrade without validating, the client package will be updated to the latest version. This mean :

  • Client Push installation will use the latest version of the client
  • Operating system deployment with Setup and Configure ConfigMgr task will install the latest version of the client
  • If automatic client upgrade is activated on the hierarchy, all clients will be upgraded within the number of days defined in the Hierarchy options

If you prefer to test the upgrade and functionality of new client, it’s not a good process for you.

To use the pre-production client, in the Update Wizard, select Validate in Pre-Production Collection instead :

SCCM Pre-production client

This will automatically upgrade the clients of the specified collection once the site upgrade is completed.

Validate SCCM Pre-Production Client Deployment is Enabled

  • Go to Administration / Site configuration / Sites
  • Select Hierarchy settings

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Under the Client Upgrade tab, Pre-Production client version is up to the latest version, while the Production client version is a version behind.

SCCM Pre-production client

  • The Configuration Manager Client Piloting Package is automatically updated

SCCM Pre-production client

Test in Task Sequence

It’s possible to use the pre-production client in a task sequence.

  • On the Setup Windows and ConfigMgr task, select Use pre-production client package when available and select your pre-production client package

SCCM Pre-production client

Step 2 | Monitoring Piloting Upgrade

Once the site has completed the upgrade, the clients in the pre-production client collection will initiate the client upgrade after their next machine policy retrieval cycle. You can follow the pre-production client deployment in the console.

  • First, let’s look at the client version prior pre-production client upgrade

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Go to Monitoring / Client Status / Pre-production client deployment
  • Verify that your devices are compliant

SCCM Pre-production client

  • If we look back at the client, the Client version as been updated :

SCCM Pre-production client

Step 3 | Promote SCCM Pre-Production Client for Production Deployment

When we are done with testing, it’s time to Promote the pre-production client.

  • Go to Administration / Cloud Services / Updates and Servicing, select the update and click Promote Pre-production Client

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Screen to confirm. We can see the difference between each package. Click Promote

SCCM Pre-production client<

[su_box title=”Important Note” style=”glass” title_color=”#F0F0F0″]Keep in mind that at this point, if you have the client automatic upgrade enabled for your hierarchy, this will begin the upgrade of all clients according to targeted window you configuredSCCM Pre-production client[/su_box]

Validate Promote to Production Client

  • Under Administration / Site Configuration / Sites, select Hierarchy settings and tab Client Upgrade

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Production client version is now the same a the Pre-production client. Also, the check box for Upgrade all client in the pre-production collection was unchecked
  • The Configuration Manager Client package as been updated
  • Screen shot before the Promote to production

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Screen shot after the Promote to production

SCCM Pre-production client

  • Under Monitoring / Client Status / Production Client Deployment, we already have a recap of which client are or not compliant

SCCM Pre-production client

Known Issue

If the Promote Pre-Production client is grayed-out, you have an issue with Role based administration.

If the user that try to Promote Pre-Production client, is part of an Active Directory group and is member of the Full Administrator security scope, then the button will be grey- out.

SCCM Pre-production clientSCCM Pre-production client

The workaround is to add the account, directly in Administrative Users and give the security role Full Administrator

SCCM Pre-production clientSCCM Pre-production client

For more information here

Comments (19)


08.11.2020 AT 10:32 AM
Any chance you can fix up the images in STEP 2 | MONITORING PILOTING UPGRADE

Holly Newman

06.17.2019 AT 11:12 AM
Great post, thanks. Two questions: 1. I can't find a way to add a collection to the Pre-Production Deployment. This was my first time so I picked too small a collection. Is that not possible? 2. The settings shown in Sites > Hierarchy Settings > Client Update are accurate but grayed out. Is that normal?


03.13.2019 AT 06:02 AM
Have you noticed that "Configuration Manager Client Upgrade Package" deployment is set so that it will only be distributed from directly assigned DP (fast link) and not allowed via neighbor boundary group DP (slow link)? How do people update clients in "slow" boundary groups e.g. VPN?


01.21.2019 AT 10:22 AM
Hi, There has been a strange problem on my 1806 CB. I tried to deploy the pre-production client on a test collection but get a log file entry stating that Automatic Upgrade of Client is Disabled. Not sure what is causing this. Thanks. Regards, Tushar


03.06.2020 AT 12:11 PM
I too am experiencing the same issue on 1906 version. All clients say error 104 install cancelled due to Auto-Upgrade policy disabled. Did you find answer and setting that is required to allow clients to update when using pre-production deployment method.


10.24.2018 AT 02:47 AM
I am not sure which stage that I missed as I cannot run promote client. It greyed out.


06.29.2018 AT 08:38 AM
Hi, Thanks for your clear and informative blog! I've just done an upgrade of a small SCCM infra from 1606 to 1802 (multiple steps). We used a pre-production collection during that process and all went well. However, before promoting the 1802 client to prod, we would actually like to change the collection being used for the pre-prod validation and test further. In the Hierarchy Settings Properties box, where the current pre-production collection is shown, can we just browse to the new/desired collection and select it and the clients in that other collection will then start to be upgraded? Any "gotchas" that we need to watch out for with that approach? Thanks for your advice! Cheers, John


04.09.2018 AT 12:52 PM
Thank you! Too bad it took a day to find your site. Your docs are better than MS docs, which ramble, and have links upon links.

Jonathan Lefebvre

04.10.2018 AT 08:30 AM
Glad you like our blog 🙂 thanks Jonathan


02.28.2018 AT 05:09 AM
The upgrading requires reboot?

Jonathan Lefebvre

02.28.2018 AT 11:08 AM
Hi Dor, no it shouldn't require a reboot. But Pre-Prod is made exactly for that. Test the upgrade of the client itselft, then see that the client is working well before going full release. Jonathan


01.03.2018 AT 08:12 PM
In the instructions under prerequisites, you say SCMC Client, i think you mean SCCM client PRE-REQUISITE SCCM 1511 or later SCMC Client must be installed on a device prior testing the upgrade A collection created for pre-production client

Pedro Roeseler

10.31.2017 AT 07:23 AM
Hi Jonathan. Thanks for posting this guide. I'm facing the "grayed out" problem for the "Promote Pre-Production client". Already deleted the admin account and re-added manually as full administrator but nothing changed. Any other ideas? Cheers, pedro


10.31.2017 AT 09:48 AM
Just to add that I was able to overcome the issue; I had to install the 1706 Hotfix first. After that the option was available again.

Oren Alalouf

08.30.2017 AT 04:29 AM
Hey Jonathan! First of all,great guide thank you for posting. I have a small question regarding the upgrade,specifically managed clients. I manage and maintain the SCCM environment and I'm currently evaluating the afformentioned upgrade process to 1706. My question is , post site upgrade to v.1706, will clients at a lower working version lose functionality at any level? I manage 13k clients and wouldn't want the site to crap out on me 🙂 Would really appreciate a response based on your experience. Thanks in advance, Oren

Jonathan Lefebvre

08.30.2017 AT 08:40 AM
Hi Oren, No. The client will not lose functionality if they don't match the version of the site system. However, upgrading the client is recommended as they are bug fix and new features added with an upgrade. Jonathan