During Operating system deployment using SCCM task sequence, one of the most important log file is smsts.log whose location used to get changed during multiple phases of deployment.

During SCCM OSD, we can press F8 to open Command prompt and can navigate to any folder to look out for the logs.

Where is smsts.log file located?

What is the location of smsts.log file? this is a very basic question and confuses newbies. The answer to this question is “it depends”, based upon which phase of deployment you are in, the location of smstslog folder will also change. Operating system deployment has to go through multiple phases during build process, which starts with:

  • WinPE (before format and partition Disk)
  • WinPE (after format and partition Disk)
  • Full OS – before SCCM client agent install
  • Full OS – after SCCM client agent install
  • Full OS – Task sequence completion / failure phase

smsts log locations during operating System Deployment will keep on changing during the build process unlike Application deployment and packaging deployment log flow. Hence, based upon the above information, the location would be:

WinPE (before format and partition Disk)


WinPE (after format and partition Disk)

X:\smstslog\smsts.log and then it will be copied to c:\_SMSTaskSequence\Logs\smstslog\smsts.log

Full OS – before sccm client agent install


Full OS – after SCCM client agent install


Full OS – Task sequence completion / failure phase


Note: When in full OS phase, irrespective of any step, smstslog location is temporary. Once the task sequence completes / fails and error is gone. It is moved to logs folder. For example:
c:\windows\ccm\logs\smstslog\smsts.log will move to c:\windows\ccm\logs and smstslog folder will be deleted.
While collecting the logs, make sure everything under c:\windows\ccm\logs should be collected with all files and folders/sub files under it.

How to get the logs when task sequence fails ?

How to copy smsts.log to network share, this is what we are going to discuss now. If Command Support is enabled in boot image properties, you can press F8 to open command prompt. You can either use USB drive to copy the logs from source or you can also copy logs to network location by using net use command to map network drive. Following are the steps to follow:

  1. Press F8 to open cmd prompt
  2. Run : Net use h: \\SCCM01.MANBAN.COM\d$
  3. It will prompt for username, provide a username which has access to network location, use the format <domainname>\<username>
  4. Prompt for password will appear, provide the password and press enter, “The command completed successfully” notification will appear
  5. Run : xcopy “c:\windows\ccm\logs” “h:\CollectLogs” /s /y

Note: use the following parameter for the command : xcopy source destination /s /y, where /s means all directories and subdirectories and /y for suppressing prompt for confirmation overwriting


How to open the logs ?

Cmtrace.exe is the utility which is present in OS deployment boot images as well as in SCCM Client agent install folder. Following is the location of cmtrace:

WinPE Phase: x:\sms\bin\x64\cmtrace.exe

Full OS (with SCCM Client agent installed) : c:\windows\ccm\cmtrace.exe