Assets and Compliance – Device collections Part 1 (Direct rule)

Assets and Compliance – Device collections Part 1 (Direct rule)

Part 1

Device collections as the name implies is a collection of devices, you can for example create a device collection that contains all the PC´s for the Service desk or the HR department by Active directory groups. You can create a device collection based on what OS the device is running, different manufacturer like HP, Dell or Fujitsu and even what kind of mouse they have plugged in. The limitation for what criteria you base you device collection comes down to WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) and its query language WQL but more on that in a later post.


As for now i want to focus on how to create a simple device collection and adding devices to this collection using “direct rule”.

 Direct Rule

Open up System Center Configuration Manager 2012  and click on “Assets and compliance” in the lower left and then go to “Device Collection”
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Here you will see the 4 default Device collections that exist by default

All Systems

All Unknown Computers

All Desktop and Server Clients

All Mobile Devices

DO NOT MODIFY THESE! Copy them and make a new one of you want to experiment or modify!

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Depending on your environment the folder structure will be different but for this guide i have created the following structure:


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Go to the Device collection and to create a new Device collection you can either click on the button “Create Device collection” in the top left corner of the screen or just right click on the Service desk folder or in the window to the right.

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A wizard will appear where you have to enter a Name for the device collection and also choose on how to limit the collection

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Limiting collection is mandatory and it acts like a possible security layer so one only can add members from that specified collection. But by using the “all system” device collection as limiting collection there is no limit since All systems are in the “All Systems” device collection. Depending on your environment the complexity of device collections could vary but only use “All system” when creating sub-collections that will later be used as a limiting collection. 



Click on “browse” and the following windows will show up:

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Here you have to choose from what Device collection you want to be able to add resources from, in this case we have to choose “all desktops” since the computers we want to choose from are in that collection. Press “ok” and then “next”

Membership Rules

Press “Add Rule” and select “Direct Rule” and then “next” and a new wizard will appear and press next.

By default Resource class will be “System Resource” and Attribute name “name” and this is WMI.

In Value you will enter the String that in this case is the Computer name that you want to add to the device collection. Name standards are different from environment to environment but in this example i´m using the followings standard for my Service desk computers SDXXX (XXX = numbers) and we can use wildcards and WQL operators so for me to get all the SD computers i will just write SD% and click “next”

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At the next page you will see all the resources that matches your search from the previous page. As you can see we have 4 different computers here and I want them all so I will click “Select All” and click “next”


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Click next on the “Summary” and “Progress” page and hopefully you will see the following result:

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After you have clicked “closed” you will come back to the this page and just click “next” until you are finished with this wizard. Incremental updates and schedule full updates is not really important when using “direct rule” but more about those topics later when we talk about “Query rule”

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Depending on how many resources you added it can take some time for the device collection to update, but generally when it’s below a few hundred it will only take 10 seconds or so but you have to switch view and go back in to the location of the device collection for the visual member count to update.

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Right click on the device collection and choose “show members” if  you want so see which resources are included in the device collection.

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Or if you want to add more resources to the device collection click “Add resources”

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Adding resources this way is faster than going through the wizard every time and it will get you the same result. just enter String in this case Resource name and I´m gonna search for a specific Payroll computer in the collection “All desktops” so i will just type PR001 and the computer with computer name PR001 will show up, press “add” and then “ok” to add them all to the device collection.

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If you wanted to search for the 10 first PR machines you could do this: PR0[0-1][0-9] instead of PR001 it will then search for all the computers with name starting with PR001 up to PR010.


This was just a short guide on Device collections and “Direct Rule”, hopefully it helped you in some way. I will be back soon again with more information regarding  Device collections in SCCM 2012. If there´s any question just post them below and i will answer them as quickly as i can.

 Part 2









#beginner, #device-collection, #direct-rule, #sccm, #system-center-configuration-manager, #wmi, #wql