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Inside view of SMSTS log file

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Hi Guys,

This post explains how you need to look at the SMSTS file information when comes to troubleshooting. You can use filtering options in CMTrace.exe utility to view log statement in different steps. Please refer the below article to locate SMSTS log file for troubleshooting.

There will be a different phases during OS installation and i have listed them in the below.

  • Booting Information : PXE or Media
  • Client Identity Phase
  • Policy Download Phase
  • Content Location
  • Parsing Task Sequence
  • Starting task Sequence Engine


1. Booting Information:

This phase shows how the machine is booting up whether PXE booted or Media and boot image details.

1 2

Executing TFTP download to copy the variables used in the Task Sequence and write into variables.dat file and we can see IP address details.



2. Client Identity Phase:

SMSTS log list the below details in the Client identity phase.

  • Generatng unkonwn Machine GUIDs.
  • Preparing for Client Identity
  • Add SMBIOS GUID & MAC Address and execute Client identity request.
  • Once request is successful, Client Identity state become KNOWN.
  • Prepare the Client DDR message and sending report to MP



3. Policy Download Phase: 

In this phase, we can find policies download information & current TS running on what mode. If it is set to Downloadon Demand mode,which means the task sequence manager downloads content locally only when it must access the content.

5 6

The below entries show up the Welcome & Task Sequence Selection Page.



4. Content Location Phase:

It will find content location for the packages associated with current task sequence.

9 10


5. Parsing Task Sequence Phase: 

Reads the Task Sequence groups, Steps, Condition and put that information into instruction variables. It will name the each TS group & step by Instruction at 0,1,2,3 as like below screenshot.

For Examples:


11 12




13 14 15

5. Starting Task Sequence Engine Phase:

This phase task sequence manager execute the instructions by order.

Executing Task Sequence Engine


 Group 1 : Install Operating System 


WinPE Step Execution


Partition Disk 0 Step Execution
Apply Operating  System Step Execution

The important thing it is not actually installing OS at this step. It only downloads the OS content and mount on C:\ Drive and save configuration info to unattend.xml file .

The actual OS installation will happen in Setup Windows and Configuration Manager TS step and unattend.xml file will be used during OS installation.

22 23 24 25

Apply windows settings step execution

Reads the properties and condition of this step and write into unattend.xml file . Apply network settings step execution as same as this step.

26 27

Apply Device Drivers Step Execution

Reads the properties of this step and find the suitable drivers through MP -> Database and write the information into unattend.xml file.

28 29 30 31

Group 2 : Setup Operating System


 Setup windows and Configuration Manager step execution

This is where actual OS installation starts and it reads unattend.xml file to apply configuration. Then, will install the Configuration Manager Client.

34 35 36 37 38 39


Installing Configuration Manager client

41 42



and the Task Sequence execution has been completed successfully.

Filtered screenshot of executed instructions:


I hope this post helps you. Thanks!

5 Comments on Inside view of SMSTS log file

  1. Sahil Sharma // January 18, 2016 at 11:51 pm // Reply

    nice info thanks for update..


  2. Very helpful info


  3. Very Detailed Info. Awesome Karthik!


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