Released with SCCM 1906, the Task Sequence debugger is a new troubleshooting tool for SCCM administrators and engineers; specifically, those responsible for creating and revising Operating System Deployment (OSD) task sequences for their organization.  Many of those responsible for creating task sequences are all too familiar with investing lots of time and effort into trying to identify a failure in a task sequence that usually doesn’t produce a very meaningful error to work from.   

It only makes sense for Microsoft to develop a debugging tool for this like we see in almost every development tool.  Developing task sequences might not ever get confused with developing code for applications, but it’s none the less valuable to be able to debug and step through ito identify and remediate the bugs therein. 

Requirements 

  • SCCM 1906 Release 
  • Updated 1906 client on which the debugger will be used. 
  • Updated Windows 10 ADK and SCCM 1906 boot images. 
  • Enable debugging using a debug-specific task sequence deployment or leveraging variables within the task sequence. 
  • debugging collection which you will target with your debugging-enabled task sequence. 

Debugging Scenarios 

  • Bare metal OSD Task Sequences 
  • Reimaging OSD Task Sequences 
  • Non-OSD Task Sequences (task sequences used to run sequence of actions not related to Operating System deployment). 

Deploying the Task Sequence Debugger 

Select the task sequence that you would like to Debug and choose “Debug” from the menu and then choose the targeted collection to which you will do your debugging.  Choose the rest of your deployment options and then complete the wizard to deploy the debugging deployment to your debugging collection.

sccm task sequence debugger, SCCM Task Sequence Debugger

sccm task sequence debugger, SCCM Task Sequence Debugger

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Using the Task Sequence Debugger

After deploying the TS, simply launch the deployed debug deployment from a targeted device using PXE boot or boot media and once the task sequence begins, you will be presented with the TS debugger that looks like this:

sccm task sequence debugger, SCCM Task Sequence Debugger

In the top half of the debugger, you can see the list of sequences in the TS that you can run through along with each of the debugger controls.  The lower half of the debugger (labeled Task Sequence Variables) shows you all the defined variables that are currently stored in memory in the TS environment.  This can become especially handy when troubleshooting customized variables for things such as OSDComputerName for naming a machine during the task sequence in the Apply Windows Settings step.

Here are the controls that you can use that are familiar to other debuggers:

Step: From the current position, run only the next step in the task sequence.

Run: From the current position, run the TS normally to the end, the next break point, or to the next failure.  Use the Set Break control to define the break point before using Run.

Set Current:  Select a step in the debugger and then use Set Current to define the current action to start from.  This allows you to skip ahead or move backwards to a desired point in the TS.

Set Break: Referenced above in the Run control, this allows you to define the break point.  When using the Run control, it will stop at the defined break point.

Clear All Breaks: Remove any existing break points.

Log File: Launches the smsts.log file with the CMTrace log viewer.

Cmd Prompt: Launches a Windows command prompt (CLI).

Cancel: Closes the debugger and fails the TS.

Quit: Kills the debugger but allows the TS to continue to run normally.

The SCCM Task Sequence Debugger should certainly prove to be resourceful when trying to identify and remediate issues. This should be a great tool to add to any SCCM technician’s toolkit!

 

Reference:
Debug a task sequence
Task Sequence Debugging – OSD Video Tutorial: Part 24

 

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