About using Altiris client tasks in diagnosing client-side issues


Article ID: 181039


Updated On:


Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server) Inventory Solution Task Server Software Management Solution




If you diagnosing an issue and would like a managed computer to run some specific commands and you would like to review the results; then you may find that creating and running a custom client task to run those commands, could be helpful.

Note: While running tasks on a regular basis is usually not desirable, running tasks occasionally to diagnose particular issues can be very helpful:

  • a task can be run without needing to establish an RDP session to the computer
  • a task can run with similar privileges to other Altiris activities (e.g. as system)
  • a task can be set to run on several computers simultaneously
  • a task can be scheduled to run at a later time
  • a task can be scheduled to run several times
  • a task's results can be stored for a while for later review

Here are some tips about creating tasks.

Create and run the "Get IP Configuration" task, and confirm the return results. This is a good task to use to confirm that tasks are performing properly on the computer of interest.

Note, tasks are designed to run immediately on a computer which is already up and running and communicating.

- On your newly created task,
- in the "Task Status" section, click Quick Run, and select a computer of interest, click Run. The job should show as running in the window below.

- wait a little while for the job to dispatch and run

- Double click on the job run line, and
- in the a new window that appears, click on the computer name,
- in the Task Instance Details window, check the returned results.

If results haven't come back yet, then wait and click refresh in the upper left corner. This screen will also note whether client had received the task and if it was started.

2. create a new "Run Script" task similar to the following:

The top section:

give the task a descriptive name,
the script type should be left as "Command Script".

In the body of the task include DOS commands that might be helpful in diagnosing the particular issue. Some possible commands are described below.

Click "Advanced" to configure the advanced settings.

On the Script tab,
in the Run As section

Set the user you want, possibly Symantec Management Agent credentials

In the Other section

Set "Show Script" to "Hidden", so the end-user will not see a pop-up when the task runs.

Enable "Save script output with task status", so that the text output from the are returned to the NS, for later review.

On the Task options tab

Enable the end task after 5 minutes. In some case you may want to increase this time out.

When this option is set then if the task does not return results to the NS in the allotted time the NS will cancel the task. When this option is set to a fairly short time, then if the task fails to start or fails to return results, then the NS will cancel the task fairly quickly. This can be helpful because in some cases as long as one version of a task is active/running then another version of the same script will not run on the same computer.

click OK

3. Run the newly created task and monitor the results, detailed instructions are listed above.

Additionally, in some cases if you may wish to schedule the task to run periodically.

Note: if you scheduled a task for diagnosing an issue, then either specify when the task should no longer run, or unschedule the task manually when you are finished.


Possibly useful commands

Commands that you may want to include. Depending on the particular issue you are trying to diagnose there probably are certain commands that would be helpful.

For example, if the issue is with a software install then you might include command like:
   cd .....

Or if the issue is with gathering Inventory then you might include command like:

   wmic path Win32_BIOS get SerialNumber /value
   wmic path Win32_BIOS get * /value

Additionally, you may want to run other diagnostic commands that may be helpful. Here are a few suggestions.

    whoami, can display the user who is running the script, possibly: "nt authority\system". 

    ipconfig/all, can show the IP configuration, including the IP address of the DNS servers. 

    nslookup ...can show whether a particular DNS name (e.g. FQDN) can be resolved to an IP address, and what address is resolves to.

    ping ..., an confirm network connectivity.

    set, shows all defined environment variables and their values for the current run environment. 

    reg query ..., command can display registry keys.