Script tasks suddenly begin failing to execute with return code -1

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Article ID: 184874

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Updated On:

Products

Management Platform (Formerly known as Notification Server) Task Server

Issue/Introduction

Many script tasks, most of them simple, were previously running successfully on all computers. Then, suddenly, the tasks started failing on a high percentage of targeted computers.

Cause

Whenever things like script tasks, that used to work fine, suddenly quit working-- the usual suspects are always recent upgrades to the platform or agent, or other installed programs that update themselves, work from a common distributed configuration, and whose purpose is to get into the business of other programs.

In this case a program called "Malwarebytes" had recently decided to shut down command prompts and other things the SMA was attempting to do.   

Explanation:  When a script task runs the command is written to a file in "C:\Windows\Temp" and whose name starts with "Aex" and ends with ".cmd"  Example:   "AeX_{ACB45018-6AE8-463C-A349-DA05670D1383}_636.cmd"

Cmd.exe is launched and passed the file to run.  In this case Malwarebytes had determined this behavior to be some form of attack and shut it down before it could get off the ground.  This is why the failure was returned immediately in the client UI and the SMP Console.

Environment

Management Platform 8.5 RU3

Task Management Solution 8.5 RU3

Resolution

It was found that configuring the Malwarebytes program to exclude the folder structure under ".\Program Files\Altiris\" the problem resolved and things went back to normal.