Configuration management is the process of managing the settings for hardware and software components. It includes identifying them, accounting for them, controlling them and recording changes to their settings based on a given starting baseline. It typically refers to the process of identifying and documenting the settings of hardware and software in a networked computer system. In practice it means to change the settings of some original specification in order to make the components behave in a particular way and have specific, desired qualities. Configuration management can be used to test and manage changes through the operational life of technological components or software.
When changes are made to these components that results in undesirable system operation it must be possible to return them to a configuration that operated correctly before changes were made. This is called change management and relies on the records kept of previous configuration settings.