“Dial Me In Baby” and the other magical files of Configuration Manager

10/22/14 update - Added archive_reports.sms section

Back in the SMS 2.0 days I was doing phone support and I would often have to listen to statements of disbelief when I told customers to create a Dial_Me_in_baby.sms file in order to enable logging to troubleshoot their issues.  While that file is no longer needed (all server logs are turned on by default) I thought I would do a short post on the magical files of SCCM.  The files who mere existence affects the behavior of our product.


In the old SMS 2.0 days server logging was not enabled by default.  It could be enabled component by component, but that was a pain.  The other option was to create an empty text file in the root of the C drive called Dial_Me_In_Baby.sms then stop and start the SMS Executive service.  On startup it would see the file and enable logging for all components, with default log sizes.


This log was similar to Dial_Me_In_Baby except that it changed the logging level to include debug level logging.  Not many folks realize that there are multiple levels of server logging on SMS/SCCM and use of this file was one way to get additional details in the logs (as if all of you want MORE detail in the logs).  For some background on these two files see http://www.myitforum.com/articles/1/view.asp?id=3918

UPDATE: My co-worker Larry Mosley pointed out that this file is also used to disable SCCM's exception handler.  Normally when SCCM crashes we "catch it" and handle it with some special logging and such. Using this file excepts that so crashes can be caught by various debugging tools.


This file is in use today and is used by configuration manager to avoid inventorying itself.  When a software inventory is being run and the client agent is recursively walking through the directory structures on the hard drive it checks each folder for the existence of this file.  If the file is found then inventory of that that directory and all sub directories is skipped.  It is usually hidden but if you look for the hidden file on one of your clients you should find it in a few places, the cache directory being one of them.


This file is used to retain inventory reports on the client.  When it exists in \ccm\inventory\temp then all hardware and software inventory XML files will be retained on the client after they are sent to the MP.


Ideally this would never be needed, but the ideal and the real are not always the same, and thus it exists.  There are several points in deployment of SCCM server roles, such as a distribution point, when you want to keep SCCM from using one drive partition.  In most cases the default SCCM behavior is to choose the NTFS formatted drive with the most free disk space.  If you don’t want a specific drive to be used then make a No_SMS_ON_Drive.sms file on the rot of the partition to be skipped, and it will be removed from consideration by the SCCM process.

Comments (2)

  1. Rod – But of course!  MyITForum has always been full of good and interesting info. 🙂

  2. Rod Trent says:

    hehe…you even pulled a way old myITforum article!

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