In the SCCM Deploy Windows article I have gone through the process of configuring SCCM OSD components so to automatically deploy WIndows via network boot to clients but as you know sometimes not everything works as intended and one of the most common causes of confusion is how to actually troubleshoot SCCM OSD.
Like with most components in ConfigMgr the main troubleshooting tool are log files and OSD is not an exception to the rule let’s see how we can use client side logs to help isolate issues with OSD or task sequences.
SCCM OSD – Command line support
When a client computer boot from the networks you don’t have much control over the deployment process as you can insert PXE password if configured or select which Task Sequence to run but not easy way to know what’s going under the hood or why a specific Task Sequence failed, for this reason when configuring a new deployment or task sequence it is very useful to enable Command Line Support in the boot image.
Command line support is intended as troubleshooting tool to be used in the testing phase of the deployment but sometimes can be a life saver to enable it for a boot image navigate to Software Library → Operating Systems → Boot Images and right-click on the boot image for which you want to enable command line support and select Properties
In the boot image properties open the Customization tab and check the Enable command support check box
Once the change has been performed you will need to distribute the boot image file to Distribution Points clicking OK will cause ConfigMgr to ask you confirmation to carry one the operation
SCCM OSD – Troubleshooting OS Deployment
What we just did was enabling the support for command line from the WinPE environment which is an essential troubleshooting tool when facing issues in the deployment of a new image, as soon as the client boot in the GUI you are able to open a command prompt pressing the F8 key
While in the above example the Task Sequence is running fine I can still use the command line to access the smsts.log log file which is used to record information about the current deployment and is your best friend when troubleshooting OSD you can open the file directly from the WinPE environment via NotePad
As you can see result is not exactly exceptional as the log is rather difficult to read so what I usually do is copy the file over the ConfigMgr server or my admin workstation to review it
net use z: \szhv-cm01logs copy z: smsts.log
Once the file has been transferred I use CMTrace to review the log file for issues, while the trace below does not come from the same machine I have used to write this article it will give you an idea of how useful the smsts.log file can be in a troubleshooting scenario, I had configured a task sequence and advertised it to a collection for deployment but no matter what the client was booting into WinPE just to reboot without any apparent reason so I let the client boot and copied over the log file and here’s what I’ve found
There are no task sequences available to this computer.. Please ensure you have at least one task sequence advertised to this computer. Unspecified error (Error: 80004005; Source: Windows)
Upon a closer look I realized that I made a mistake in the assignment of the task sequence and made it available sometime in 2017 hence the client was reporting no Task Sequence was available for it.
SCCM OSD – Server Logs
This would not be a proper ConfigMgr post if at least one server log file is mentioned even if when it comes to OSD the mail reference log file is just one SMSPXE.log which is used to record events about the client booting and the boot image servicing, if something goes wrong in the communication between client and server it is usually found here
When deploying an Operating System there are of course other parts and errors that could show up and components that could cause the deployment to fail but the above can help indeed in the troubleshooting process.
I hope you’ve found this post useful and would love to hear from you about techniques and tips about OSD troubleshooting.