Thursday, October 28, 2010

Troubleshooting Task Sequences

In my last blog I explained some Troubleshooting issues in ConfigMgr 2007, especially foccussed on Windows Deployment Services (WDS). But what to do when the Task Sequence is running, and you get an error during deployment? This blog will help you troubleshooting on that part!

During the time your Task Sequence is running; where to find the logfiles when it goes wrong? First of all enable "command prompt support" on both boot images. This enables pressing F8 during deployment in the WinPE stage. This will become very useful when troubleshooting deployment issues. This because you can open the various logfiles, access network shares or try to ping/access your Distribution point(s).

During installation the smsts.log file is located at different places. Everytime the device is booted again while the Task Sequence is still running, the smsts.log will be copied to a smsts--.log file, and a new smsts.log file will be created.

1. System booted in WinPE and the local harddisk is not modified (smsts.log in the "x:\windows\temp\smstslog" folder)
2. System booted in WinPE and the local harddisk is partitioned and formatted (smsts.log in the "x:\smstslog" folder and after that in the "c:\_SMSTaskSequence\Logs\Smstslog" folder
3. System booted in Windows before the ConfigMgr client is installed (smsts.log in the "c:\_SMSTaskSequence\Logs\Smstslog" folder)
4. System booted in Windows after ConfigMgr client is installed (smsts.log in the "c:\windows\system32\ccm\logs\Smstslog" folder)
(When using a x64 device, you can find it in the "c:\windows\SysWOW64\ccm\logs\Smstslog" folder)

From this point you can examine the smsts.log in order to find out what went wrong. The messages displayed give you mostly a good idea on where to start looking.

When watching these logfiles; Trace32 is the recommended way. This because Notepad will not dynamicly update the information you see, and Trace32 will do that for you. Also any warnings are displayed in yellow, and any errors are displayed in red. In that way you have a quick view what's wrong during deployment. Remember that trace32 only works in a x86 environment, so for the x64 boot image it will not work. Then you must copy the logfiles to a fileshare, and open it from another x86 machine with Trace32 installed on it.

For error solving there is an additional option to look for error codes. This can be found in Trace32 - Tools - Error lookup. Now you are ready for true troubleshooting in Task Sequences! Trace32 is part of the "System Center Configuration Manager 2007 Toolkit V2" and can be found here:

The following list provides specific information about each tool in the toolkit.
  • Client Spy - A tool that helps you troubleshoot issues related to software distribution, inventory, and software metering on Configuration Manager 2007 clients.
  • Delete Group Class Tool - A tool used to remove inventory group definitions along with history data, tables, views and stored procedures for the group.
  • Desired Configuration Management Migration Tool - A tool used to migrate from the DCM Solution for SMS 2003 to DCM in ConfigMgr 2007.
  • Desired Configuration Management Model Verification Tool - A tool used by desired configuration management content administrators for the validation and testing of configuration items and baselines authored externally from the Configuration Manager console.
  • Desired Configuration Management Substitution Variable Tool - A tool used by desired configuration management content administrators for authoring desired configuration management configuration items that use chained setting and object discovery.
  • Management Point Troubleshooter Tool - A tool that checks a computer system before and after a management point installation to ensure that the installation meets the requirements for management points.
  • Policy Spy - A policy viewer that helps you review and troubleshoot the policy system on Configuration Manager 2007 clients.
  • Preload Package Tool - A tool used to manually install compressed copies of package source files on Configuration Manager 2007 sites.
  • Security Configuration Wizard Template for Configuration Manager 2007 - The Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) is an attack-surface reduction tool for the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Security Configuration Wizard determines the minimum functionality required for a server's role or roles, and disables functionality that is not required. The Configuration Manager 2007 Service Pack 2 Security Configuration Wizard template supports new site system definitions and enables the required services and ports.
  • Send Schedule Tool - A tool used to trigger a schedule on a Client or trigger the evaluation of a specified DCM Baseline. You can trigger a schedule either locally or remotely.
  • Trace32 - A log viewer that provides a way to easily view and monitor log files created and updated by Configuration Manager 2007 clients and servers.

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