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Using tracing

The server running Automated Deployment Services (ADS) has an extensive tracing capability that you can use to troubleshoot complex network problems. You can enable the components in the Windows Server 2003 family to log tracing information to files. You must enable the tracing function by changing settings in the registry under:



  • Incorrectly editing the registry may severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should make a back up copy of the registry and back up any valued data on the computer.

    For more information about the registry and how to use the Registry Editor, see Registry Editor.

You can enable tracing for ADS by setting the registry values described below. You can enable and disable tracing for the ADS components while they are running. The ADS components that are capable of tracing have a subkey under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Tracing registry key:

ADS component subkeyDescription
AdsAgentAdministration Agent
AdsBmClientController service component that handles BMDP/BMCP traffic.
AdsBMDPController service component that handles BMDP traffic.
AdsBuilderSvcDeployment Agent Builder service
AdsCtlrSvcController service
AdsImgCheckimgcheck command
AdsImgMountimgmount command
AdsImgSvcImage Distribution service
AdsProviderADS Controller service's Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
A management infrastructure in Windows that supports monitoring and controlling system resources through a common set of interfaces and provides a logically organized, consistent model of Windows operation, configuration, and status.
AdsPxeSvcADS PXE service


  • To enable tracing for the ADS PXE service, you must change the account that the ADS PXE service uses to log on to the Local System account. After changing the account, you must restart the ADS PXE service. For instructions on how to use the Services snap-in to change the user account that the ADS PXE service uses to log on, see To configure how a service is started.


  • The Local System account is a powerful account that has full access to the system. When you are finished running a trace on the ADS PXE service, change the account that the ADS PXE service uses to log on back to the Network Service account, which has the same level of access to resources and objects as members of the Users group.

To enable tracing, configure the following registry entries for each ADS component subkey:

EntryData TypeDescription and Values
EnableFileTracingREG_DWORDYou can enable logging tracing information to a file by setting EnableFileTracing to 1. The default value is 0.
FileDirectoryREG_EXPAND_SZYou can change the default location of the tracing files by setting FileDirectory to the path you want. The file name for the log file is the name of the component for which tracing is enabled. By default, log files are placed in the %systemroot%\Tracing folder.


  • If you turn on tracing for any of the ADS components, including those running on devices, the tracing log files are generated and stored in the %systemroot%\Tracing folder, which has read permissions for everyone. For maximum security you should restrict access to this folder to the administrator account only, which prevents users who are not members of the administrators group from viewing the traces.
FileTracingMaskREG_DWORDFileTracingMask determines how much tracing information is logged to the file. The default value is FFFF0000.
MaxFileSizeREG_DWORDYou can change the size of the log file by setting different values for MaxFileSize. The default value is 10000 (64K).


  • Tracing consumes system resources and should be used sparingly to help identify network problems. After the trace is captured or the problem is identified, you should immediately disable tracing. Do not leave tracing enabled on multiprocessor computers.
  • The tracing information can be complex and very detailed. Most of the time this information is useful only to Microsoft Product Support Services engineers or to network administrators who are very experienced with ADS.

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