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Article ID: 926079 - Last Review: December 9, 2011 - Revision: 5.1

INTRODUCTION

This article answers the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Microsoft Support Diagnostics Tool (MSDT) when running on the following operating systems:
  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server 2008
The Microsoft Support Diagnostic Tool (MSDT) collects information to send to Microsoft Support. They will then analyze this information and use it to determine the correct resolution to problems that you are experiencing on the computer.

For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 operating systems, MSDT runs on an Internet Explorer session, via installation of an ActiveX control. For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems, MSDT runs via an inbuilt tool called msdt.exe. 

MORE INFORMATION

Q1:How to run MSDT on a Windows Server 2003 or a Windows XP machine?

MSDT can be executed on a Windows Server 2003 or a Windows XP machine via two ways:

1.     Machines with Internet connection: directly via Internet Explorer. In this case, please access the URL sent by Microsoft and follow the instructions below:

a. Go to ‘Tools’ menu and click ‘Internet Options’
b. Under ‘Security’ tab, select ‘Trusted sites’ icon and click ‘Sites’
c. Please add the ‘https://support.microsoft.com’ to the trust sites list
d. Select ‘This computer is experiencing the problem’ and click ‘Continue’
e. Please make sure the ‘Microsoft Support Diagnostic Platform’ ActiveX is installed by checking the presence of a yellow bar asking to install the Add-On. Please click on the yellow bar and follow the instructions to install the control. Click ‘Start collection’ after making sure ‘Automatically collect data’ option is selected.
Note: A delay of 1-5 minutes – depending on the speed of your Internet connection - after clicking ‘Start collection’ is expected.
f. Please wait for the diagnostic execution completes. Depending on the diagnostic package executing, the execution can take several minutes.
g. Select the option to upload data to Microsoft Support

2.     Machines with no Internet connection available – in this case, you will need to open the URL sent by Microsoft on a machine on which Internet connection is available and generate a stand-alone package that will be executed on the machine with no Internet connection. Please read question Q3, which provides details about this scenario.

Q2: How to run MSDT on a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 machine?

MSDT can be executed on a Windows Vista or a Windows Server 2008 machine via two ways:

1.     Machines with Internet connection - directly via Internet Explorer or via msdt.exe tool. In this case, please access the URL sent by Microsoft and follow the instructions described on the page: either clicking on ‘Data collection’ or running MSDT tool and typing the passkey provided. Follow the instructions to run the diagnostic package.

2.     Machines with no Internet connection – in this case, you will need to open the URL sent by Microsoft on a machine on which Internet connection is available and generate a stand-alone package that will be executed on the machine with no Internet connection. Please read question Q3, which provides details about this scenario.

Q3: How to run MSDT on a machine with no Internet connection?

MSDT tool can be executed on a machine with no Internet connection though an executable package generated on a machine on which Internet connection is available. This executable (called Offline package) can be used to obtain diagnostic information on any Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 operating systems and will generate a CAB file with diagnostic data that can be transferred back to Microsoft support.

In order to run MSDT on a machine with no Internet connection, please follow the instructions of either Q1 or Q2 – depending on the operating system – on a machine on which the Internet connection is available to start running the diagnostic package. One the diagnostic package execution is started and you see a screen titled ‘Select which computer is experiencing the problem’ or ‘Which computer has a problem?’, please follow the instruction below:
  1. Follow the instructions below depending on the operating system from the machine running the diagnostic package:
For Windows XP or Windows Server 2003:

a. Select the option ‘The problem is on another computer’ and click ‘Continue’
b. Click ‘Create File’
Note: You may see a delay of 1-5 minutes – depending on the speed of your Internet connection.

c.  Follow the instructions described on the web page to copy the offline package (MSDT-Portable.exe) to the machine being diagnosed.

For Windows Vista or Server 2008:

a. Select the option ‘A different computer’
b. Click ‘Download and save’ on screen titled ‘Save diagnostic tools to removable media’
c. Please indicate a location to save the offline package (MSDT-Portable.exe)

2.  Please execute the offline package (MSDT-Portable.exe) file to the target machine and execute it.
3.  Please wait for the package execution to complete this step can take several minutes.
4.  Click ‘Save results’ after the diagnostic package finishes execution. Please indicate a folder to save the results.
5.  Please note that two files are saved – a CAB file – which contains the diagnostic results and a shortcut (.lnk). Please move both files to a machine on which Internet connection is available.
6.  On a machine with Internet connection, please double click the shortcut file and follow the instructions to send resulting file back to Microsoft Support.

Q4: Does MSDT change my system configuration?

MSDT may change the configuration of the computer. For example, MSDT may enable debug-related logging and then require that you reproduce the problem that you are experiencing. Some of these logging may be maintained enabled until the diagnostic package upload the troubleshooting information to Microsoft Support. MSDT may also enable diagnostics that collect additional information about the problem. In addition, MSDT can also install run time packages to be able to execute certain diagnostic packages – such as PowerShell or .NET Framework. Not all configuration changed by MSDT will be reverted when package finishes execution – in particular, for scenarios where a runtime package is installed – the run time package – such as PowerShell – may be kept  installed on the machine.

Q5: Which components and files remain on the computer after MSDT uploads files to Microsoft?

If you are running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, a DLL Msdcode.dll remains on the computer. This file is an ActiveX control used to securely transfer files and diagnostic utilities from Microsoft and to upload information back to Microsoft. This file is stored in the %windir%\Downloaded Program Files folder.

All the files that MSDT creates during diagnostic execution when running on a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 are stored in a folder called %temp%\~odc folder during the data collection process, but deleted after you send the results to Microsoft as well as if you abort data collection or select the ‘No, do not send the files to Microsoft’ option in the ‘Send files to Microsoft’ screen.

If you are running Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, all the files that MSDT creates during diagnostic package execution are stored in a folder called %temp%\MSDT_{GUID} folder (where GUID is a folder representing a GUID for execution) and deleted after you send the results to Microsoft as well as if you abort data collection or select the ‘No, do not send the files to Microsoft’ option in the ‘Send files to Microsoft’ screen.

In addition, as described on Q4, some run-time components, such as PowerShell or other packages may remain on the machine. Some diagnostic packages may also enable tracing or specific logs that may remain enabled on the machine until the diagnostic uploads troubleshooting information to Microsoft Support.

Q6: Will MSDT change the PowerShell Execution Policy?

Some diagnostic packages may alter the PowerShell Execution policy to RemoteSigned’ temporarily and revert the original configuration after collecting information. Please be aware that the policy may remain ‘RemoteSigned’ if you cancel diagnostic execution before the package ends execution. 

Q7: Does MSDT run correctly on a localized version of the Windows operating system?

MSDT runs correctly on a localized version of Windows. However, only some content descriptions are localized. Therefore, some user interface appears in English.

Q8: How do you start MSDT on a ServerCore installation of on Windows Server 2008?

A Server Core installation of Windows Server 2008 does not have browser capability. Therefore, you must start MSDT manually. As long as the Windows Server 2008 ServerCore machine has access to the Internet, follow the steps below to execute MSDT and collect diagnostic information from the machine:
  • At a command prompt, type Msdt.exe, and then press ENTER.
  • Type your pass key, and then click OK.
Note: To obtain the pass key value, open the URL link in an e-mail message on a Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 system that has Internet Access, and then note the 10-digit pass key value.

Q9: Which are the URLs that need to be configured on a firewall/ proxy to allow running a diagnostic package on a Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008?

The following URLs are accessed when running a diagnostic package:

  • https://support.microsoft.com/dcode
  • https://dcupload.microsoft.com
  • https://dcodews.partners.extranet.microsoft.com


Troubleshooting

This section lists the most common problems when running MSDT on a machine with Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP operating systems.

P1: After opening the URL sent by an engineer to execute MSDT on a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, the diagnostic package cannot be executed: the only option available is to create the Offline package via ‘Create File’ button.

This problem happens because the URL sent to you is for executing a diagnostic package designed to run on a Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or a Windows Server 2008 machine. If you need to diagnose a Windows 7 based machine, please ask the engineer to send you a passkey to execute MSDT on a Windows 7 machine. If you want to generate an offline package to execute on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008, please click on ‘Create File’ option generate the offline package (MSDT-Portable.exe) and follow the step 2-6 of Q3 above.

P2: When running the offline package (MSDT-Portable.exe) on a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 machine, you receive the error: ‘This application is not supported on this Operating System’ and the application quits.

This problem happens since the offline package executable (MSDT-Portable.exe) is not compatible with a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 machine. If you want to obtain data from a Windows 7 machine, please ask the engineer to send you a passkey to use a on a Windows 7 based machine and generate an offline package compatible with this operating system.

P2: When generating an offline package on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you will see a message saying to locate the MSDT-Portable.exe file on a folder called ‘[WinTempFolder]’, and you cannot find the file.

This problem happens when the MSDT ActiveX control was not installed on the machine. Please make sure that https://support.microsoft.com is added to the Trusted Sites list and that you allow installing the ActiveX when prompted. Please check the Question 3 (Q3) for additional instructions.

P3: When generating an offline package on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, Internet Explorer seems to stop responding.

This problem may happen when the Internet connection to support.microsoft.com is slow. Please wait for a few minutes until the ActiveX can complete downloading the package and generate the executable. If the problem persists after a few minutes, please contact your support engineer.


Additional information
KB 973559 - for Windows 7
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973559 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/973559)


Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=151500) for other considerations.

APPLIES TO
  • Customer Service and Support Information
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard without Hyper-V
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Web Server 2008
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
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