What is NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS File?

Learn what is NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS in Configuration Manager and how to use it to prevent the content library from being installed on a specific drive.

Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
What is NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS File in SCCM

In Configuration Manager, the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file prevents site system role component installation. It also prevents the content library from being installed on a specific drive.

When you place the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file on a drive, site role components will be installed on a different NTFS formatted disk drive.

Admins who have been working on Configuration Manager since version 2007 surely know the importance of NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file. Even today, if you are running the current branch version of Configuration Manager, the NO SMS ON DRIVE.SMS file is still valid and useful.

After installing the distribution point role, I create this file on the root drive to ensure no site system role component is installed on the drive. It is also a best practice to hide this file once you create it to prevent its deletion.

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What is NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file?

The NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file is an empty file that you place on a drive to prevent Configuration Manager from placing the files on the drive. Configuration Manager will not install site role component files on a drive that contains a file named NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS.

To prevent the content library from being installed on a specific drive, you create an empty file named NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE. Copy it to the root of the drive before the content library is created.

When this file is placed on the content library drive, it also prevents the content from being distributed to the server. I will do a small test at the end of this post to prove this point.

How does NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file works?

Practical Example: You have prepared a Windows server to install the SCCM distribution point role. You are sure that you want the content library folders to be created on another drive and not on root drive (C:\ Drive).

While configuring the distribution point role, at one point you specify the drive settings and specify the drive where SCCM creates the content library.

If the specified drive has little free space, the Configuration Manager attempts to place the files on the next available drive, which is C:\. This is not what you want, and you do not want the files saved to the C:\ drive. This is where the SMS file comes into play.

When you place the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file on the C:\ drive, it restricts the Configuration Manager from placing any files on that drive. If site role installation files are already present on the drive before placing the SMS file on the drive, the installation files are not moved.

How do I Create NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file?

The steps to create the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file are as follows:

  • Login to the Windows server on which you have planned to install the distribution point role.
  • Navigate to Root Drive (C:\ Drive). Right click anywhere and select New > Text Document.
  • Do not add any text or content and leave this as an empty file.
  • Rename this file as NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS. Note that the extension of this file should be .SMS.
 Create NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file
Create NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file

So what happens when you create the NO SMS ON DRIVE.SMS file on drive containing the content library folders? The answer is: Your content distribution to this DP will fail, and you’ll end up seeing errors in the distmgr.log.

Here is a simple test that I am going to perform and demonstrate what happens when you place the NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS on the content library drive. Please do not do this on your production server because it will halt the content distribution permanently.

NO SMS ON DRIVE.SMS file on Content Library Drive
NO SMS ON DRIVE.SMS file on Content Library Drive

After placing the file in the content library drive, when I redistribute application content in SCCM, it fails with the following errors:

  • Failed to find a valid drive on the distribution point
  • Failed to take a snapshot of one or more contents in package MEM0000A
Failed to find a valid drive on the distribution point
Failed to find a valid drive on the distribution point

Delete the SMS file and redistribute the content to the distribution point server, the content distribution works perfectly fine. I hope you understood what NO_SMS_ON_DRIVE.SMS file is and how to create it and use it effectively.

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Prajwal Desai
Posted by Prajwal Desai
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Prajwal Desai is a Microsoft MVP in Intune and SCCM. He writes articles on SCCM, Intune, Windows 365, Windows Server, Windows 11, WordPress and other topics, with the goal of providing people with useful information.
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