F8 Troubleshooting Environment Steroids (F8TES)
Replace the OSD Boot Image "Enable CMD Support (testing only)" feature with something that is more robust, helpful, and useful outside of testing like the F8 Troubleshooting Environment Steroids (F8TES).
Info: Display full name of task sequence and its ID
Info: Display full name of TS Deployment and its ID
Info: Display full name and type of error step
Info: Display error code
Info: (Stretch Goal) Display useful error message for top 10 errors
Button: “Open Command Prompt”
- Launches the command prompt
- Defaults to Insert instead of Overwrite (it currently defaults to overwrite in the WinPE phase)
Button: “Open SMSTS.log”
- Launches CMTrace and opens SMSTS.log
- Knows where the current log file is so you don't need to know where it bounces around to
- Includes CMTrace.exe in the task sequence environment so it persists in target OS phase
- Stretch goal: just include CMTrace in the client package so it always gets installed to windows\system32\ during client setup (in OSD and standard client install)
Button: “Show TS Variables”
- Simple out-gridview style view of variable name and value
- Allows filtering of built-in, non-built-in variables
- Hides the built-in variables for storing passwords, other long/garbage-looking variables
Buttons: "Retry Step" & "Skip Step and Continue"
- Stretch goal... Maybe a v2 goal.
- Would it try to download policy again and resume from step with same name?
- Would it check if the content has been updated and redownload if needed?
Feature: When launched, the built-in error message box should stop being modal. Mouse support in RDP to VM scenario is bad... can't move modal box out of the way to see the step name, and don’t want it blocking this UI. Bring modal back up when closing.
Feature: The task sequence reboot countdown should be paused while F8TS is displayed so it doesn’t reboot while troubleshooting.
Feature: Allow setting a password so that it can be lightly controlled (it would be just as insecure as a Network Access Account but better than security-through-obscurity).
Feature: Have the F8 Command line be a Boot Image feature, but have this F8 Troubleshooting Environment Steroids thing be a Task Sequence Deployment feature so it could be more selectively enabled.
Feature: Maybe for version 3: Include the ability to easily integrate and launch DaRT. Needs easy way to integrate into WinPE, target OS.
Feature: Maybe for version 4: Is there a way to enable the Remote Control features on the client during target OS phase so you can remote in without DaRT.
Updating status to planned.
We shipped our 1905 Technical Preview today.
This preview contains the first release of the task sequence debugger. We’ll continue working on it to address more of the asks in this item.
Would be great to have a option to do a "Test Task Sequence" which could be deployed to any specific device to see, if the variables set in TS will work correctly.
Currently you have to run the Task Sequence on a device to see if the variables set in the TS will work...or not. For bigger environments, this means that each test may take several hours.
With the otion to run a "test deployment" it will be possible to have a quick check for each step.
Levi Stevens commented
Any update on this?
Excellent suggestions from Nash, which will be particularly useful during the early build stages, before the Build Task Sequence starts reporting back Status Messages. I agree with others that F8 functionality seems to have become less reliable recently.
Cripes, I'd settle for an F8 environment where the mouse still worked and the f8 command window still blocked reboots. F8 functionality took a nosedive with Windows 10.
Awesome. Reading that UserVoice entry shows other helpful ideas as well. Glad to see it's making traction.
Patrik Holmqvist commented
Nash Pherson (MVP) commented
The other two from the #MMSMOA #HackAThon discussion are:
Nash Pherson (MVP) commented
The retry option would save SO much time... OSD sure likes to fail right towards the end... don't make us repeat from beginning!
David Goppert commented
Instead of having an OSD task sequence fail and reboot automatically (or choosing to ignore failures within the task sequence) it would be nice to have the option to remediate the issue in real time. All it would really take would be aa pop-up If a step fails, giving the option to retry the step via SCCM, reboot and retry, or skip and continue.
Daniel Persson commented
Yes a retry button when a step have failed.
Currently, a user can press F8 (if enabled) to bring up a Command Prompt during OSD for some debugging. It would be very helpful to take this a step further to also allow some option (maybe another F key) that would bring up a debug console that allows deeper investigation, such as viewing the current values of all TS variables, the current command line being run, status of packages, launch the log viewer, setting TS values manually for testing, disabling/skipping specific TS steps, verifying the state of the WinPE (ex: .NET/PS installed, drivers, other PE components), etc.
Robby Moeyaert commented
Quite often problems a TS encounters are "fixable", but you can only completely restart a TS from the beginning, not say "restart from this step" or "restart from the failed step".
It would be nice to have such an option, as it would for example allow you to log on, investigate, fix the possible issue and basically tell the TS to continue where it left off.
Similarly, you could force the TS to maybe halt execution till you resolve the issue, and only continue after a time-out or after you give a specific instruction.