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Unable to find the sms task sequencer - MDT 2013 on Windows server 2012R2 RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello All,

    I have an issue deploying Windows 7 using MDT 2013. About every 1 in 4 times the installation fails with "Unable to find the sms task sequencer". Looking at the logs it shows it can't find the tsmbootstrap.exe file that should be in the tools folder. In fact the tools folder doesn't exist in the MININT. Neither is there an X drive mapped to the deployment share which also contains the tools folder although I don't know if there should be.

    If you boot into recovery mode and diskpart / clean the disk and run the deployment again it works. Its not happening on every machine and once you have manually cleaned the disk with diskpart the error does not seem to be reproducible.

    The caveats are that I am installing windows to partition 3 on the drive (from reading other posts this seems to be frowned upon when using MDT but I can't really find out why) and the disks I am imaging may have old Ghost images of windows 7 or XP on them.

    Anyway - any ideas greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014 3:38 PM

Answers

  • Multi partition configurations can cause havoc, are you performing "new" installations, or refreshing? Both scenarios should be handled by MDT just fine. under "newcomputer" installations, the drive will be repartitioned, if running a "refresh" sceanario, then we will just put the new OS on whatever partition is available.


    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    Saturday, July 26, 2014 5:20 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello and thank you for your help. Firstly I did read your blog but there are often legitimate reasons for needing additional partitions and in this case we are imaging laptops which go out to places that have no connectivity and very little support so a recovery partition is required to allow the user to "reset" their laptop if necessary which happens more often than you'd think. Secondly I appreciate the pointer but again its not really an answer - just a re-iteration of what I already know is happening - I just don't know why. In the end I seem to have solved the issue myself or at least found a work around. The original task sequence contained a format task which created 4 partitions, a boot partition, a recovery partition, a C drive and a data drive for storing images on. When deployed to a computer with a formatted drive this worked fine. However, when deployed to a computer with a pre-existing OS on it - it would fail with the aforementioned error. As there seems to be a number of people experiencing this problem when mucking about with partitions I did some messing myself and found the following workaround. I've changed the format and partition task to automatically create a bootable boot partition by ticking the "create extra active partition" check box and unticking "make this partition bootable" on the C drive partition. I've then added a further two partitions o the default OSDisk partition - the recovery partitions and the data drive - in that order. Now when I image instead of 1. Boot partition, 2. Recovery Partition, 3. C: Windows drive 4. Data Drive I get 1. Boot Partition, 2. C: Windows Drive,  3. Recovery Partition 4. Data Drive. Allowing MDT to create the boot partition itself and installing Windows on the default partition seems to have fixed the issue. Both steps seem to be necessary for it to work. Even though this is transparent to the users its still not ideal as it means I've got a recovery partition stuck in the middle of the disk but it does work. Go figure. I'm guessing there's a bug in one of the MDT scripts somewhere when it comes to formatting, partitioning drives when there are already existing partitions as I don't seem to be the only one with this issue.  Anyway - for the moment this will do but if anyone comes up with an actual fix to do it the way I want please let me know. Many thanks

    • Marked as answer by Regnodulous Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:46 AM
    Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:46 AM
  • Just a quick update - I eventually worked this out. The trick is that when you edit the "format and partition disk" task do not delete and recreate the default C drive (OSDisk) entry. You can edit it and change the size and/or untick the "make boot partition" tick box but don't delete it. When I originally had this error I simply deleted all the partitions and set them back up in the order I wanted. even though there was no discernible difference between the entry I created and the original there must be some bug in MDT which takes exception to this. The other oddity I noticed is that the first time you try to add an additional partition - the partition appears before any that already exist. If you then re-edit the task after closing and saving it partitions are added after ones that already exist. There also seems to be no option to move partitions up and down the list. Anyway - by manipulating the above logic and NOT deleting the original C drive partition created by the Task Sequence template it would seem that the error goes away. Weird but there you go... Hopefully this might help someone else.

    • Marked as answer by Regnodulous Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:00 AM
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:00 AM

All replies

  • Multi partition configurations can cause havoc, are you performing "new" installations, or refreshing? Both scenarios should be handled by MDT just fine. under "newcomputer" installations, the drive will be repartitioned, if running a "refresh" sceanario, then we will just put the new OS on whatever partition is available.


    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    Saturday, July 26, 2014 5:20 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello and thanks for your reply. I'm performing "newcomputer" installations. I even tried moving the format and partition task out of the "new Computer" task sequence so that it runs every time regardless. The weird thing is that if I boot to a windows disk and diskpart > clean the disk before deployment it seems to work every time. The problem seems to be when the disk has something already on it. Am I missing something obvious? Thanks
    Monday, July 28, 2014 12:33 PM
  • I've looked into it a bit further and sat there and watched both a successful installation and an unsuccessful one. The problem seems to be simple in that the Z drive is not mapped to the Deploymentshare after the Operating System is installed and the computer is restarted. I just can't work out why. If the drive is manually formatted before an image it works. If the drive has something else on it (a factory window s7 image for example) it doesn't. The format disk task definitely runs in both cases???

    Many thanks for any ideas you might have. Nat

    Monday, July 28, 2014 1:49 PM
  • If you still need assistance, please copy your bdd.log/smsts.log file(s) to a public site like OneDrive, and copy the link here.

    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    Monday, July 28, 2014 4:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello - i've uploaded the files as requested. I've been through them myself but I think I must be missing something obvious. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=A6FAB88E754CA207&resid=A6FAB88E754CA207%21121&authkey=AMG8gvuIImbL89s

    https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=A6FAB88E754CA207&resid=A6FAB88E754CA207%21122&authkey=AJdhr26PLfjD4fk

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:16 AM
  • First off, let me point you to my latest blog entry on multiple partitions: http://keithga.wordpress.com

    There is nothing in your partition configuration that should cause problems, per se.

    However... There are a couple of things that are bothering me. I can't see where bootstrap.ini is processed *anywhere*!?!?! Where did it go? Where is DeployRoot set? it should point to the network share.

    WHen starting up litetouch for the first time in State Restore, MDT will attempt to find the TSMBootStrap.exe file, if it can't find it it will look over the network. However in this case it did not. There's your mystery.

    If you upgraded your deployment share from a previous version of MDT, that could be the problem.


    Keith Garner - Principal Consultant [owner] - http://DeploymentLive.com

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014 5:35 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello and thank you for your help. Firstly I did read your blog but there are often legitimate reasons for needing additional partitions and in this case we are imaging laptops which go out to places that have no connectivity and very little support so a recovery partition is required to allow the user to "reset" their laptop if necessary which happens more often than you'd think. Secondly I appreciate the pointer but again its not really an answer - just a re-iteration of what I already know is happening - I just don't know why. In the end I seem to have solved the issue myself or at least found a work around. The original task sequence contained a format task which created 4 partitions, a boot partition, a recovery partition, a C drive and a data drive for storing images on. When deployed to a computer with a formatted drive this worked fine. However, when deployed to a computer with a pre-existing OS on it - it would fail with the aforementioned error. As there seems to be a number of people experiencing this problem when mucking about with partitions I did some messing myself and found the following workaround. I've changed the format and partition task to automatically create a bootable boot partition by ticking the "create extra active partition" check box and unticking "make this partition bootable" on the C drive partition. I've then added a further two partitions o the default OSDisk partition - the recovery partitions and the data drive - in that order. Now when I image instead of 1. Boot partition, 2. Recovery Partition, 3. C: Windows drive 4. Data Drive I get 1. Boot Partition, 2. C: Windows Drive,  3. Recovery Partition 4. Data Drive. Allowing MDT to create the boot partition itself and installing Windows on the default partition seems to have fixed the issue. Both steps seem to be necessary for it to work. Even though this is transparent to the users its still not ideal as it means I've got a recovery partition stuck in the middle of the disk but it does work. Go figure. I'm guessing there's a bug in one of the MDT scripts somewhere when it comes to formatting, partitioning drives when there are already existing partitions as I don't seem to be the only one with this issue.  Anyway - for the moment this will do but if anyone comes up with an actual fix to do it the way I want please let me know. Many thanks

    • Marked as answer by Regnodulous Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:46 AM
    Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:46 AM
  • Just a quick update - I eventually worked this out. The trick is that when you edit the "format and partition disk" task do not delete and recreate the default C drive (OSDisk) entry. You can edit it and change the size and/or untick the "make boot partition" tick box but don't delete it. When I originally had this error I simply deleted all the partitions and set them back up in the order I wanted. even though there was no discernible difference between the entry I created and the original there must be some bug in MDT which takes exception to this. The other oddity I noticed is that the first time you try to add an additional partition - the partition appears before any that already exist. If you then re-edit the task after closing and saving it partitions are added after ones that already exist. There also seems to be no option to move partitions up and down the list. Anyway - by manipulating the above logic and NOT deleting the original C drive partition created by the Task Sequence template it would seem that the error goes away. Weird but there you go... Hopefully this might help someone else.

    • Marked as answer by Regnodulous Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:00 AM
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014 8:00 AM