This is NOT the only way to distribute the cmtrace.exe file to multiple computers.  It may not even be the best way to distribute it either.  You should read and verify compliance with regards to your System Center suite license terms to be sure you are within compliance.  This procedure and the outcome may not be supported by Microsoft.  Use at your own risk. Batteries not included.  Void where prohibited.  Kids, ask your parents before using.


The intent of this little exercise is to demonstrate how to deploy a file to a specified folder on Windows computers within an Active Directory domain using Group Policy Preferences.  You can use this to deploy almost anything, such as Sysinternals’ utilities (like this nice article on deploying Bginfo), data files, and so on.

I strongly recommend you do this first in a separate, isolated test environment.  Never, NEVER, create new GPO’s and link them in a production environment without testing them in a safe environment first.  Even then, when you decide to implement in production, create a special “pre-flight” OU to verify the results before linking the GPO to the full set of target computers (or users).

Basic Process

  1. Navigate to the SYSVOL on one of your domain controllers.
  2. Drill down to the “scripts” subfolder beneath the domain tree.
  3. Create a new folder named “cmtrace”
  4. Copy CMTrace.exe from the TOOLS folder on one of your Configuration Manager Management Point site servers, and paste the copy into the “cmtrace” folder you created earlier.
  5. Open GPMC
  6. Expand Domains / Your Domain / Group Policy Objects
  7. Right-click and select New
  8. Name the GPO (e.g. “C – Servers – CMTrace Setup”), and click OK
  9. Right-click the new GPO and select Edit
  10. In the Group Policy Management Editor, expand Computer Configuration / Preferences / Windows Settings
  11. Right-click Folders, select New > Folder
    1. Leave Action = Update
    2. Enter Path C:\Apps (or whatever you prefer)
    3. Click OK
  12. Right-click Files, select New > File
    1. Leave Action = Update
    2. Source = \\<your domain>\netlogon\cmtrace\cmtrace.exe
    3. Destination = C:\Apps\cmtrace.exe
    4. Click OK
  13. Right-click on the “C – Servers – CMTrace Setup” heading in the left-hand panel (the top-most node in the tree view) and select Properties
  14. Check “Disable User Configuration settings”
  15. Click Yes to confirm
  16. Click OK
  17. Close the Editor
  18. In the main GPMC console, navigate to the desired OU to link the new GPO
  19. Right-click the OU and select “Link an existing GPO…”
  20. Select the new GPO, click OK

Once this is done, you can either wait for the policy to roll out, or force an update on selected machines to confirm the update.

TIP: If you want to pre-define the .LOG file association, you can configure that via Group Policy as well.


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