This article applies to Altiris 6. For a current Altiris 7.1 best practice see:
Shared GUID cleanup script
What is a shared agent guid, and how can I correct the problem?
A Shared Altiris Agent Guid is a configuration problem that causes mismatched inventory data, and prevents accurate management and event-message storage of managed computers by the Altiris Notification Server. The Altiris Agent Guid is the primary mechanism by which the Altiris Notification Server uniquely identifies each resource record in the NS database. In this situation, we are concerned with computer resource records. There are several potential causes of shared guids. They all originate from circumvention of the normal agent deployment process, or external changes to the agent's configuration. The end result is that two or more managed computers each claim to be the sole owner of the Agent Guid (which is supposed to be globally unique).
OS Imaging: By default, the Notification Server will generate a new Guid upon the first request from a brand new Altiris Agent. The Altiris Agent then stores its assigned Guid in the registry for Windows, and on the file-system for the Linux, Unix and Macintosh platforms. Shared Guids can be caused by imaging a workstation that already has an Altiris Agent installed. Each restored copy of the workstation will have the same assigned Guid. This issue exists in all imaging solutions, with the exception of Deployment Server (DS) version 6.5 or better. The best solution is to schedule the Altiris Agent to install immediately after restoring an image (This can be done as a DS job). An alternate solution is to always remember to delete the guid from the workstation prior to imaging (error prone).
Software Packaging: This cause is less likely to occur, but simple software repackaging tools will include the Altiris Agent's registry or file location of the guid as part of the software package. Activity by the Altiris Agent can fool the packaging tool into thinking that the Guid belongs to the package. Deploying the bad software package overwrites the good guid with the one from the capture station. To avoid this problem, don't install the Altiris Agent on the workstation used for snapshoting the original software installation job.
The purpose of this document is to demonstrate how to use the Notification Server’s shared GUID diagnostics kit to successfully identify and remove computers within the Notification Server database. The attached MS Word document contains screenshots for additional clarity (it is now considered out-of-date, and is merely provided for historical reference).
Note: For a SMP 7.0 version, see TECH142625 "Shared GUID toolkit for NS 7.0"
You can install the diagnostics kit by following the steps below. This utility contains several collections, a report, a package to remove the shared guids, and platform specific tasks. These items are all created in a Shared Guid Diagnostics v6.04 folder that is created by the import.
Note: Altiris NS Agent version 1508 or later is required for this to work.
Possible Duplicate Guids
Machines that have run the Reset Guid Task.
GUIDs Shared between 2 or more computers.
Reset Guid Tasks
By default, when this package in imported, the owner of the folder and items will be null. The administrative role will have access to this utility, but if permissions are to be set, you should set the ownership by doing the following:
To completely remove the Duplicate Diagnostic utility from your system, you should follow the steps below. Delete the following objects through the NS console (right-click > Delete).
1. Reset Guid tasks (3).
2. Possible Shared Guid collections (3)
3. Machines that have run the Reset Guid task collection
4. Guids shared between 2 or more computers report
5. The Reset Guid Agent Package. (You must first delete each "program" by clicking the delete button on the Programs tab of the package).
Problem: After running this tool, computers have been removed from my static collections
Answer: The attached report "Computers with Duplicate GUIDs and their old collection memberships.xml" can be used to help identify what collections were affected. Altiris Administrators will have to add the computers back to the collections they were removed from. Thank you to Altiris customer Vince Fanelli for creating this report.
Problem: My collection is not updating with any computers, and I know there are shared GUIDs in the database.
Answer: By default, the Collection will update on the automatic schedule for collections. You can change the time the update will happen by changing the “Automatic Collection Updating”.
Problem: My collection still shows a list of computers after the scheduled task has had time to run. Why are there still computers in the Possible Duplicate GUIDs collection?
Answer: This collection will report a list of computers that have changed their GUIDs in the last month. If the task has run successfully on these computers, then these computers should not update the GUID again. You will have to wait for a month before the computers will be removed from this collection. To accurately determine if there are any remaining computers that are reporting a duplicate, the report GUIDs shared between 2 or more computers should be used.
Problem: I have run the Reset Guid task for all computers. Now the GUIDs shared between 2 or more computers report is showing a number of computers if the Number of days to report on is set to a high number like 100. Are there still sahred GUIDs in the database?
Answer: No. This report will check the database for computers that have shared this GUID at some point in time (default setting is seven days). You will need to watch the results of this report to ensure there no new activity. You will see machines show up in this report if they report back to the Notification server with a GUID used by another computer. The computer will then take over the GUID and the next time the other computer checks in, it will repeat the process.
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This will clear the history and restart the chat.