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Use SCCM’s CMTrace like a Pro

CMTrace is a real time log file viewer for System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). CMTrace makes reading log files much easier to read by highlighting warning messages in yellow, error messages in red, merge multiple log files together at once as they are updated and the ability to look up error codes within the application.

CMTrace comes with the installation of Configuration Manager and is also available separately via the System Center Configuration Manager Toolkit.

Below are some instructions and information on using CMTrace which will assist you with using the application.

Make CMTrace the default for viewing logs

When you first open CMTrace on a computer you will be prompted with a pop up asking if you wish to set the log as the default application for viewing log files. Click Yes on the pop up to set CMTrace as default.

Error Lookup

Error Lookup translates generic error codes into something that you can understand. This is really useful when you are troubleshooting issues as shown in the log files.

You can open the Error Lookup window by navigating to Menu > Tool > Error Lookup or by pressing CTRL+L on your keyboard.

Error Lookup in CMTrace

When reviewing reports you can also use the error lookup feature in CMTrace to troubleshoot the errors.

Merge Multiple Log Files

Reviewing multiple logs while troubleshooting issues that log their actions into multiple files can be easily merged into the one view within CMTrace making things a lot easier.

To do this, open CMTrace. Click File > Open. Navigate and select the logs that you wish to merge by pressing the ctrl key while selecting them. Tick the Merge selected files checkbox before clicking Open.

Merge log files in CMTrace

Highlight lines with certain keywords

When you are analysing log files you have a few options that will help you look for an issue. You can search for the keywords and you are also able highlight certain lines that contain keywords. To highlight the lines navigate to Tools > Highlight. After entering the keyword CMTrace will search and highlight the lines with those keywords.

Distribute CMTrace to Clients

CMTrace isn’t installed as part of the SCCM Client installation which means when troubleshooting an issue on a local computer it can be difficult without the CMTrace tool. Instead of carrying around the tool on a USB or keeping it in a central location the easiest way to ensure you have access to CMTrace is to create an application deployment with a detection method that will copy the executable to any device running the SCCM Client.

We have written a quick guide on how to create and deploy the application here.

Taylor North

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