How To Enable Command Support Console in WinPE (F8)

Jason Barrett Jason Barrett | | Task Sequence

In this article I will show you step by step how to enable command support console in WinPE.

The command support console comes in very handy when troubleshooting errored task sequences as it enables you view the smsts.log files on the machine.

How To Enable Command Support Console in WinPE

To enable command support console we will need to enable the option within the boot image.

To enable command support console follow these steps

  1. Open the SCCM console
  2. Go to \Software Library\Overview\Operating Systems\Boot Images
  3. Right click on “Boot Image (64)” and select properties
    boot image 64 properties
  4. click the customization tab
  5. Tick the box “Enable command support (testing only)”
  6. Click ok
    boot image customization
  7. Click yes on the update distribution points message
    update distribution points
  8. Click next
  9. Click next
  10. Click Close
  11. Start your task sequence again
  12. On the welcome to the task sequence page press the F8 prompt and the command support window will appear
    How To Enable Command Support Console

WARNING : If the command support console is open and the task sequence needs to reboot, the reboot will not happen until you close down the command support console.

How To View smsts.log in Command Support Console

Now that we have enabled access to the console we can now view the smsts.log file should any errors appear.

To do this follow the instructions below

  1. Start the task sequence on a machine
  2. Press F8
  3. In the console type in notepad and hit enter
    open notepad
  4. In notepad click file > open
  5. Select All files for file type
  6. Open the file X:\Windows\Temp\SMSTSlog\SMSTS.log
    open smstslog
  7. You will now see the log file for the task sequence.
    view logs
  8. Logs in notepad are not very easy to use, So I recommend you put a USB stick in to the machine then save the SMSTS.log file to the USB then open the log file on your machine using the cmtrace.exe tool

How To Access Command Support Console In WinPE

If you want to access command support console in WinPE you fist need to enable the feature as I have described above then

Start your task sequence and press the F8 key, if that fails old down the Ctrl button and press F10.

The support console will now appear, if it does not appear check your boot image to make sure the feature is enabled and also re-distribute the boot image.

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