One of the most common questions I get is “What logs should I look at if my deployment fails?” So here is a little summary of the logs you will be most concerned with when troubleshooting a failed Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 install that are being deployed via Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010 or 2012.
First thing to note is that the location of the logs move around depending on what portion of setup we are talking about. Here is a breakdown of the log locations during a MDT install task sequence:
Before the Image is applied to the machine:
After the system drive has been formatted:
The logs of most interest for troubleshooting a failed install will be:
BDD.LOG – This is an aggregated log of all the MDT Logs.
SMSTS.LOG – This log would be used to troubleshoot Task Sequence errors.
Also note that each MDT script creates its own log files during execution (example: ZTIGather.log, ZTIDiskpart.log, ZTIDrivers.log, etc)
Next Question is: How do I read the logs?
Although you can view the logs with Notepad, it can be hard to make sense of the info in a regular text editor. The MDT logs are most easily read by Trace32 (which is part of the Microsoft SCCM 2007 Toolkit).
Microsoft SCCM 2007 Toolkit
Here is an excerpt of a BDD.log in Notepad:
Here is that same portion of that bdd.log viewed in SMS Trace:
Notice warnings are highlighted in yellow, and errors in red.
Now that you know how to locate more detailed error information in the logs, here are some locations that you can use to search to help find solutions to your issues.
The “Ask The Core Team” Blogs on TechNet:
“The Deployment Guys” Blogs on TechNet:
The MDT Social Forums on TechNet:
The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit homepage on TechNet:
The MDT Help Files also have a lot of information and serve as a good reference for finding proper syntax and examples.
Hopefully, this information will help aid your MDT troubleshooting. Being armed with the proper tools and knowing where to look for the answers is the key to troubleshooting success.
Senior Support Escalation Engineer / Premier Field Engineer