A. The Microsoft Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE) 2004 instance that SMS uses or a customized WinPE instance that SMS updates doesn't have a management console that you can use for troubleshooting purposes. The entire deployment process is driven by the graphical SMS OS Deployment Feature Pack shell. For troubleshooting purposes, you can replace this shell with a "lab" version. This lab shell version lets you open a console session during the WinPE initialization process by pressing F8. While the console is open, the computer won't reboot and you can view any logs that might have been generated (normally created in the C:\minint\smsosd\osdlogs folder) to help ascertain the cause of problems.

The lab version of the shell is called osdshell.lab.exe. You simply replace the standard osdshell.exe with this lab version to enable the F8 ability to start a console session. If you're using a Microsoft Remote Installation Services (RIS)-integrated OS deployment environment, you replace the osdshell.exe file in the OS's system32 folder with the lab version. If you're using a CD-ROM-based deployment, you need to replace the osdshell.exe file in the source folder of your SMS deployment (e.g., C:\sms\osd), then update your OS package files and rebuild the CD-ROM. This process is explained in detail in the SMS OS Deployment Feature Pack documentation in the "Using the Lab Shell for Windows PE" section.