How to troubleshoot a failed Altiris Agent push

book

Article ID: 178668

calendar_today

Updated On:

Products

Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server)

Issue/Introduction

 

Resolution

Question
How do I troubleshoot a failed Altiris Agent Push in Notification Server 6.0?

Answer

Check if the actual installation went down to the Client Computers

Check the following reports to give you some idea why the installation is failing and in which computers:

  1. Computers with Altiris Agent installed (under Reports tab > Notification Server Infrastructure > Agent > Altiris Agent Deployment).
  2. All Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 Computers with no Altiris Agent installed (under Reports tab > Notification Server Infrastructure > Agent > Altiris Agent Deployment).
  3. Altiris Agent installation status (under Reports tab > Notification Server Infrastructure > Agent > Altiris Agent Deployment > Altiris Agent Installation Status Reports)
  4. Computers where the Altiris Agent installation failed (under Reports tab > Notification Server Infrastructure > Agent > Altiris Agent Deployment > Altiris Agent Installation Status Reports).
  5. Push (Altiris Agent) install failed (under Reports tab > Notification Server Infrastructure > Agent > Altiris Agent Deployment > Altiris Agent Installation Status Reports).

Configuration of the Altiris Agent Push

  1. View the Installation Settings in order to determine how the push is configured; this is located on the Altiris Agent Installation page by clicking the Installation Settings button.
  2. If the client uses a proxy server, check the option Use Proxy.
  3. Note the field Use different Notification Server and make sure the configuration is correct (or unchecked).
  4. The credential fields are key to the Altiris Agent Installation. If no credentials are chosen, it will use the account specified as the Application Identity/Application Credentials. If you are pushing the Agent in a multi-Domain or Workgroup environment, the account used for the push must have local administrator privileges on the computers you are pushing to.
  5. For pushing to a system in a Workgroup, the credentials should be specified by machine_name\user.

Initiating the Push

  1. A push can be done to one or more computers at one time. Click the Install Altiris Agent button to initiate the push.
  2. The status section on the Agent push page can be useful. Keep this in mind when walking through the items of a Push installation.

    Note: Windows XP systems cannot have Simple File Sharing enabled or a push will fail.

Installer Service—AexSWDInstSvc.exe

  1. The actual install package for the Altiris Agent does not get pushed to the client computer. The installer service, named AeXSWDInstSvc.exe, is pushed to the client computer.
  2. The user account specified on the push page settings, or the Application Identity if no account is supplied, is the account that attempts to access the \\machinename\admin$ share on the destination computer.
  3. As soon as the Installer Service reaches the client computer, it begins to log information into the log file AeXSWDInstSvc.log, located at C:\<Windir>\System32. The .EXE resides in the Admin$ share (generally the %windir%).
  4. It will register the .EXE as a service. This service has limited ability for throttling and check-point recovery when downloading the Agent install Package. If a computer is rebooted before it has successfully downloaded the install package, the service will use check-point recovery to pick up where the download was terminated.
     
    Note: We install as a service so that if the installation is interrupted, such as from a computer reboot, the service will restart and attempt the download/install again.
  5. If a push fails, and the AeXSWDInstSvc log does not exist, then the Installer Service did not reach the client computer. Troubleshoot access rights being used for the push and look at the status in the Altiris Agent push page. If the log does exist, review the details.
  6. There should be an Altiris Agent Installer service running under the Services console of the system.
  7. The installer service runs a minimal prerequisite check. It will check for:
    • Version 6.0 or higher of Microsoft Internet Explorer
    • Windows NT 4 or higher
  8. The installer service will download the actual install package, which is named AeXNSC.exe.
  9. Next it executes the install package.
  10. Check the IIS logs on the Notification Server, and use the IP address of the client you pushed the agent to, to compare communication between the client and the server.
  11. The communication between the client and server are sent as events to the Evtqfast directory just like any other small event generated by an Altiris Agent.
  12. Once the install package is executed, the AeXSWDInstSvc.exe removes itself as a Service.
  13. Lastly, it removes itself (.EXE) from %windir%. The way that it does this is to install the registry key, HKLM/Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/RunOnce/Delete SWD Service. The command line is the following which will be executed at the next machine reboot.

    cmd.exe /c del c:\%windir%\AexSWDInstSvc.exe

Agent Install Package—AeXNSC.exe

  1. If the Installer Service fails to download the AeXNSC.exe file, it will be reflected in the AeXSWDInstSvc.log file. Look for authentication or HTTP request errors.
  2. If the Installer Service fails to execute the downloaded file, it will also be reflected in the AeXSWDInstSvc.log file. Look for execution errors.
  3. If the Install Package is downloaded successfully and executed, it will begin to write to the file AeXNSC.log, located at C:\<Windir>\System32.
  4. Any problems with the Package install will be logged on the AeXNSC.log file.
  5. When the installation is complete, the agent service will be started, and the Agent will begin logging information into the agent.log and subsequent log files.

Communication back to the Server—Agent installed

It is possible that while a push it successful, the Agent Communication is unsuccessful. This may result in erroneous statuses on the Altiris Agent push page.

Common Problems

Authentication and Security

The most common problem for an Altiris Agent push is authentication and security. Below are a list of items that can hinder the complete push and installation of the Altiris Agent.

  • The user account specified in the Altiris Push utility does not have rights to push to the Admin$.
  • The user account specified in the Altiris Push utility does not have rights to install a service (ability to place the Altiris Agent Installer service actively on the computer).
  • Windows XP has Simple File Sharing enabled, which does not provide the rights needed for the first two items above.
  • The Install service posts status messages to Notification Server via the postevent.asp page using anonymous. If the anonymous account does not have rights to this page, the status post will fail.
  • The Event Router takes the posted files from the postevent.asp page and places them in the Evtqfast folder. It uses the anonymous account for this, so anonymous needs to be allowed on the queue folders.
  • If the Installer Service fails to download the AeXNSC.exe file, it will be reflected in the AeXSWDInstSvc.log file. Look for authentication or HTTP request errors.  
  • Disable anti-virus software during the Altiris Agent install, so that files will copy correctly.