SCCM Troubleshooting 101: Log Files

October 16, 2014   //   Microsoft System Center, , , , , ,

As my last blog mentioned, one tool in the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) troubleshooting toolbox is the monitoring workspace console. The monitoring workspace console provides a wealth of information and is a great place to start looking when you receive an error message. But sometimes the console’s description may not provide enough information to help you troubleshoot the issue you may be having. That’s where the SCCM log files can help. Check out my recent blog on SCCM Troubleshooting 101: Log Files to learn more.

SCCM has extensive log files to help provide in depth information when you receive and error message. The location of the log files depends on the SCCM component generating the log, the specific configuration of site systems and clients in your environment. For clients, the logs are generally located in C:WindowsCCMLogs (This will be different for older versions of SCCM).

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

Once you know what log you need to examine, you can open the log file and start reviewing it. For example, if you are troubleshooting package and program deployment, you need to look at the execmgr.log on a client machine. By default, if you double click to open the log file, it will open in Notepad as a text file.

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

Opening the log file in Notepad will certainly allow you to get information, but there is another tool in the SCCM troubleshooting toolbox that will revolutionize log file review – CMTrace.
CMTrace is a log file viewer that is now included with SCCM 2012 R2. It can be found on the SCCM site server in the installation location. In my lab, it is found here:

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

When you launch CMTrace for the first time, you will be prompted to make it the default viewer for log files. I always accept by saying “Yes.”

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

Now you can use CMTrace to view the execmgr.log. Potential errors and warnings are highlighted as shown and automatic scrolling is enabled so that the log can be viewed in real-time.

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

If you need to examine multiple log files, you can use CMTrace to merge the files together. You click open, select the log file, and check the box for “Merge selected files.”

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

CMTrace opens all of the selected logs and merges them together for a complete view.

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

Finally, CMTrace provides an error lookup tool. If an error code is referenced in the log file you are viewing, you can enter the error code into the tool and get a brief description of what the code means.

To use the error lookup, go to Tools | Error Lookup.

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

Enter your error code and click Lookup.

SCCM Troubleshooting 101 Log Files

So far we have seen what the SCCM console provides for troubleshooting (check out Jeff’s past blog post – SCCM Troubleshooting 101: AN Overview) and looked at SCCM logging. CMTrace is a powerful tool for helping as we examine the many log files SCCM generates. Next time, we will look at a specific troubleshooting scenario and put all of our new knowledge to good use. If you are still having trouble troubleshooting your SCCM environment, SWC’s System Center team has extensive experience with SCCM and is ready to help you with all of your troubleshooting needs.

To learn more about please join us for our next complimentary Chicagoland Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 event.

For a great description of SCCM log files, check out Microsoft’s Technical Reference for Log Files in Configuration Manager here.

This blog, is part of a three part series. Below are additional SCCM 101 troubleshooting blogs:

Part I – SCCM Troubleshooting 101: Overview
Part III – SCCM Troubleshooting 101: An Example

PAST TECHNICAL MICROSOFT SYSTEM CENTER POSTS

If you enjoyed this blog from Jeff Poling, please check out a few of his past technical Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 posts:
PSA: Mainstream Support for Microsoft System Center 2007 Ends July 8th
Integrating Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2
Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection 2012 R2

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If you want to learn more about Microsoft System Center, please check out some of the past posts from SWC’s Microsoft System Center team:
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Watch our video to learn more about SWC’s approach to Microsoft System Center 2012 R2.