When there is a file called 'Program' in the root of C the Altiris Agent service will not start. This particular issue will also cause the Deployment Agent (AClient) and Carbon Copy agent to not start. It affects other non-Altiris products as well such as Trend Micro and even some built-in Microsoft services.This can also occur if there is a file called 'Altiris' in the Program files\Altiris directory.
It is caused by the path statement in the registry or other files utilized by a service and/or product missing quotes. Microsoft recommends that quotes be placed around any path with a space in it, and several of the Altiris products do not have quotes around their path statements. So long as there is only a single Program* in the root of C, there is no problem, because the OS can easily identify which one it needs. Adding a folder or file however begins to become confusing. The most dangerous thing to add is a file, with no extension, just called Program. The OS literally can't tell the difference between that file and the folder unless the path statements have quotes around them.
If you have a file like this on the system, you will be warned every time the OS starts to remove it. So, it is recommended by Microsoft that you not use files of this name or anything like it in the root of C or the root of any other Drive with a folder called Program Files on it.
If you have no choice however (i.e. another application created it which you've purchased and have no control over), you may need to add quotes around your other applications, including the Altiris applications mentioned. Exhaustive testing has not been done to see what is affected, but the three applications mentioned in the Environment section at least will not start correctly on a reboot without this.
For the Altiris Agent, change the ImagePath registry key in HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\AexNSAgent to have quotes around it.
NOTE: For the other two services, I've not been able to find a way to correct the issue. It would appear that either an INI file, or a dependency, is getting in the way even after changing all path statements in the registry.
Notification Server (NS) 6.X
Deployment Solution (DS) 6.X
Carbon Copy (CC) 6.X