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pcaNSHost.BHF File is not a Valid pcAnywhere file

Created: 18 Apr 2012 | 40 comments

I upgraded our Altiris CMS pcAnywhere solution on Friday to 12.6.8096 and now PCs are coming up with the following error.

 

Anyone got a resolution to this?

Cheers,

Chris

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ICHCB's picture

Sounds like the host file is corrupted.  The BHF file is the host file.   If you rename the current file will it be rebuilt correctly next time the system reboots or launches pcA?

Cheers,.

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Berko's picture

its began after upgrade to  12.6.7 .

there is any solution ?!

Barak Shrefler
Hadassah Medical Center
CISO

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Hi Chris & Barak,

Please let us know the ITMS and pcA version prior ro upgrade?

Thanks,

Vaibhav

Berko's picture

last month i upgrade the smp server from 7.1 sp1->> sp2

yesterday i also upgrade pcanywhere from 12.6 sp2 hf1 ->> 12.6.7

i saw that after the agent updated in the workstations the symantec pcanywhere host service i down and when i start him he become stop again, and in the client side there is a error massage:

 

 

Barak Shrefler
Hadassah Medical Center
CISO

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Thanks Barak.

I am trying to reproduce the issue on my setup. Will give the inputs here as soon as possible.

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Although this issue is cmg to many forum users now but I was not able to reproduce it on my setup.

Kev Gray's picture

We started having the problem after upgrading to the latest version as well.

The previous version we were running is 12.5.0.1021

 

Cheers

Kevin

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Hi Kevin,

12.5.0.1021 seems to be box version, please share the solution version from SIM. Becasue there is an issue going on where if any one on ITMS 7.0 (32bit verision) selects the pl released to upgrade directly to latest pcA release; issues are comming.

Thanks,

Vaibhav

Kev Gray's picture

Hi Vaibhav

We are running ITMS 7.1 SP2 (64bit).  What do you mean by box version?

 

Thanks

Kevin

Kev Gray's picture

Tried deleting the file to see if it would get recreated and it doesn work

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Thanks Kevin for letting us know in detail.

I am trying to reproduce the issue on my setup. Will give the inputs here as soon as possible.

ttiller's picture

Same as Kevin. Updated my Altiris to 7.1Sp2, rolled out new pcAnywhere agent (12.6.8096) and several PC's are displaying the same message. Help

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Although this issue is cmg to many forum users now but I was not able to reproduce it on my setup.

HighTower's picture

Me too.  I just deployed PCAnywhere fresh to roughly 5000 computers and fortunately I have 7 (that I know about!) displaying this error.

I was completely current on everything.

HighTower's picture

Deleting the file and replacing it from a working computer does not help.

ICHCB's picture

The new version locks the host and caller files to the machine so they can't be portable.   

cheers,

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Kev Gray's picture

Just to give everyone an update, I've just had a call from symantec support to say that the update was not meant to be released to SIM and that the development team are currently working on a fix likely uninstall the new version and install the previous version

 

Cheers

Kevin

Ashish Nathavani's picture

Hello Kevin,

Could you please try the blow steps?

 

1. Please collect pcaNSHost.BHF file from the machine where setup is working fine.
2.We need to run awFileMgr.exe utility with /DecryptBeHost command line switch on the captured file (The machine where new version of pcAnywhere is upgraded).
3. To use awFileMgr.exe utility, start command prompt and browse to the PCA installed directory. For e.g. I have installed PCA at C:\Program Files\Symante\pcAnywhere.
4. Description of /DecryptBeHost switch, awFileMgr.exe /DecryptBeHost “Hosts directory full path” “Name of Host file” “Target location”. For e.g. awFileMgr.exe /DecryptBeHost “C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts” “pcaNSHost.bhf” “C:\Temp”
5. After executing above command, we can find the decrypted file at C:\Temp location in Export folder.
6.Now we can move this exported pcaNSHost.bhf file to the machine where we are getting invalid file error.
7. Take the backup of existing file from C:\ProgramData\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts and replace the file with newer one.
8.Re-Start the host service. 
 

 

Thank you!
Kev Gray's picture

Hi Ashish

The command fails when I run it.

Cheers, Kevin

C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere>awFileMgr.exe /DecryptBeHost "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts" "pcaNSHost.BHF" "C:\Temp"
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awcfgmgr.dll] Starting InitialCheck()...
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awcfgmgr.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: RegQueryValueEx failed (RingNumToCall)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awcfgmgr.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: Integrity Flags indicate 0
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awcfgmgr.dll] IsFullSystemCheck: RegQueryValueEx() failed! (Permission Problem?) (2)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awcfgmgr.dll] Finished InitialCheck() -- Status = 1
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awgui32.dll] Starting InitialCheck()...
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awgui32.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: RegQueryValueEx failed (RingNumToCall)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awgui32.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: Integrity Flags indicate 0
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awgui32.dll] IsFullSystemCheck: RegQueryValueEx() failed! (Permission Problem?) (2)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awgui32.dll] Finished InitialCheck() -- Status = 1
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\PCACMNDG.dll] Starting InitialCheck()...
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\PCACMNDG.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: RegQueryValueEx failed (RingNumToCall)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\PCACMNDG.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: Integrity Flags indicate 0
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\PCACMNDG.dll] IsFullSystemCheck: RegQueryValueEx() failed! (Permission Problem?) (2)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\PCACMNDG.dll] Finished InitialCheck() -- Status = 1
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awio.dll] Starting InitialCheck()...
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awio.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: RegQueryValueEx failed (RingNumToCall)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awio.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: Integrity Flags indicate 0
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awio.dll] IsFullSystemCheck: RegQueryValueEx() failed! (Permission Problem?) (2)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awio.dll] Finished InitialCheck() -- Status = 1
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awofrwrk.dll] Starting InitialCheck()...
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awofrwrk.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: RegQueryValueEx failed (RingNumToCall)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awofrwrk.dll] IsIntegrityEnabled: Integrity Flags indicate 0
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awofrwrk.dll] IsFullSystemCheck: RegQueryValueEx() failed! (Permission Problem?) (2)
[C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awofrwrk.dll] Finished InitialCheck() -- Status = 1
Incorrect command line. Please type /? for help.

Ashish Nathavani's picture

Hi Kevin,

Are you having Administrator rights on the machine? We need Admin rights to access Hosts folder of Application Data.

Thank you!

 

Ashish Nathavani's picture

Hi Kevin,

Could you just paste out put of awFileMgr.exe /? command?

Thank you!

Kev Gray's picture

It looks like the same errors appear when this command is run but the screen is quickly cleared then the expect command options are show:

awFileMgr.exe
        /ImpInstalledFiles
        /DecryptTemplates "template output directory"
        /EncryptBeHost "host input directory" "host file"
        /EncryptCallHost "call host input directory" "call host file"
        /EncryptCaller "caller input directory" "caller file"
        /DecryptBeHost "host input directory" "host file" "host output directory"
        /DecryptCallHost "host input directory" "call host file" "call host output directory"
        /DecryptCaller "caller input directory" "caller file" "caller output directory"

  ImpInstalledFiles will encrypt all the files in the default installation locations.
  Decryptions will copy files to the specified directory plus "Export" added by the IO engine.
  Encryptions will overwrite existing files in the input directory.

Vaibhav Sharma's picture

Please let me know if [HOWTO75111] http://www.symantec.com/business/support/index?pag... can be of some use for you at this time.

Thanks,

Vaibhav

thePUNISHER666's picture

We have deployed the following script to stop the error appearing in the mean time until a fix can be found.

net stop awhost32
SC config awhost32 start= disabled

We aren't actually using PC Anywhere at this point as we are still rolling out Altiris to clients.

We have also had major complaints about overall network performance since the upgrade of the PC Anywhere client was deployed last Friday and we can't be sure that the issues aren't related.

Thanks

Chris

emc2's picture

 

Could you send me the justification of this issue ? Because  I need to give an explanation of it to my client.

File is not valid pcAnywhere file

C:\ProgramData\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\pcaNSHost.bhf

I just deployed PCAnywhere fresh to roughly 5000

 

 

Thanks

 

emc2's picture

Somebody has one solution for this issue ?

Menz's picture

 

Hi all,
I have the same problem in a 2000 PCs environment, we use PcAnywhere for service desk, and now we can't connect to customers.
 
Is possible do a downgrade to the previous version ? Or please let me know asap a solution about that !
 
Thanks
emc2's picture

Hi everybody

Friends who use Altiris 7.1, we can do about this big problem that we are presenting.

What was the root cause and especially as we move forward with the administration of our console?

 

Regards !  Saludos !

altiriscomau's picture

Machnes are getting pop up upon bootup, cannot remote machines any more, and there appears to be no uninstall allowed via the SIM for this update.

We need a fix fast!

Ray's picture

So I updated to the 12.6.8096 also and I am was also seeing the same issues as most of you, this is how and what I did to fix my issues.

First - on your Console make sure you have "Encryption Level" set to AES256, mine was set to None and they refuse to talk with None selected.

 

Second - the devices that are recieveing the error displayed below will need to be reinstalled using the Uninstall command pcAClientInstallManager.exe /uall

and THEN the reinstall command pcAClientInstallManager.exe /iall

 

All of my devices are windows XP SP3, hope this helps someone out.

 

HighTower's picture

For me uninstallation and reinstallation did not solve the problem.  The workaround posted in the TECH article below got me running again.

ICHCB's picture

Thanks Ray, 

The mismatched encryption I am told is working as intended.   If you want to use no encryption you have to use the console and select advanced and then none for the encryption level.   I have seen good luck also with the uninstall and then reinstall.   It seems the upgrade is what was not going well.  

cheers.

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If you find that this solves your problem please mark it as the solution! 

pro.gti's picture

Here is the article to track to see developments on this issue and hopefully a corresponding fix

http://www.symantec.com/docs/TECH187737

 

 

HighTower's picture

Based on the TECH article I whipped together this script that I threw in DS 6.9:

REM Checks and Fixes PCAnywhere Host

for /F "tokens=3 delims=: " %%H in ('sc query awhost32 ^| findstr "        STATE"') do (
  if /I "%%H" NEQ "RUNNING" (

 

del "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\ADS*.CIF"  
copy /Y "\\MYDSSERVER\Software\Symantec\PCAnywhere\SMP\InvalidFileFix\pcANSHost.BHF" "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\pcANSHost.BHF"
copy /Y "\\MYDSSERVER\Software\Symantec\PCAnywhere\SMP\InvalidFileFix\ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - Standard.cif" "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - Standard.cif"
copy /Y "\\MYDSSERVER\Software\Symantec\PCAnywhere\SMP\InvalidFileFix\ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - SuperUser.cif" "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - SuperUser.cif"

"C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awFileMgr.exe" /EncryptBeHost "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\application data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts" "pcANSHost.BHF"
"C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awFileMgr.exe" /EncryptCaller "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\application data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts" "ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - Standard.cif"
"C:\Program Files\Symantec\pcAnywhere\awFileMgr.exe" /EncryptCaller "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\application data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts" "ads.MYDOMAIN+altiris remote control - SuperUser.cif"
   net start awhost32

  )
)

If you haven't read the TECH article yet you absolutely need to before you try this script as you won't have the desired files without generating them yourself.

This script queries to see if the "Symantec PCAnywhere Host Service" (awhost32) is running and exits if it is.  If the service is present and NOT running then it copies the files from a network share, imports/encrypts them, and then starts the service.

NOTE:  the above syntax is for Windows XP.  Windows 7 will be slightly different but that's covered in the TECH article.

Edited to obscure our domain info.

Edited again to add a "del" line to the script.

HighTower's picture

I added the following line to the script before the .CIF file copy:

del "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Symantec\pcAnywhere\Hosts\ADS*.CIF"  
 

This was necessary as some of my machines had additional garbage CIF files present.  Also, not all of our computers were fixed after overwriting the existing .CIF files.  I needed to delete them and put down my fresh copy.

 

robertser's picture

We started getting the same errors after rolling out new pcAnywhere agent.  Thankfully we have only had it reported on about 20 systems.  I fixed it by replacing the file on the PC from a backup copy I had from 6 months ago when I had built a uninstall/reinstall script for pcAnywhere.  Replacing it with this old file and then restarting the services fixed the problem.  For some reason the upgrade corrupts the file on some PCs.

Another annoying piece that happened was once your computer received the new version you could only remote into systems that were also running the new version.  This made it so that we had to do a shotgun upgrade.  Very Very poor planning Symantec!!!!  Its a shame that pcAnywhere has become the hated step-child at Symantec and receives very little support and updates.  When it is finally updated they are poorly tested and cause all sorts of issues. I would highly recommned to everyone to not use pcAnywhere.  It is very problematic, slow, and missing many critical features.

I also didn't like the above statement from support that said it was released to SIM prematurely.  I have heard that statement many times from Symantec on products.  HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN???  That is just another example of poor quality control and lack of oversight and groups communicating internally.

Symantec has ruined Altiris.  Another great company and product that has been destroyed.

Gary Karasik's picture

Agreed. Because there's no transitional phase where I can temporarily keep the newer version talking to the older version (for instance, a 2-week window, so I could arrange to get on site at branch locations where I don't have technical help), I can't do the upgrade without losing contact with some of my branches; also, because of the encryption being tied to individual computers and no export function built into the GUI (you'd think that would be a no-brainer), there's no longer any practical way to transfer config files (CHF, BHF, CIF) between installs.

But there's another way to look at this, and that is that because pcAnywhere was treated as an unwanted step-child, it took them a lot longer than it otherwise would have to senselessly and irretrievably mess it up.

On the other hand, Backup Exec was a wanted step-child, and it also took them a long time to senselessly and irretrievably mess it up, which they've just finally gotten around to doing with the recently-released BE2012. With both BE and pcAnywhere I'm simply sticking with the current versions.

We need a new verb to describe this phenomenon. I propose "to symanteck," meaning "to senselessly and irretrievably, and with no apparent user benefit, screw around with and completey mess up an otherwise useful software product." Usage: "I used to love pcAnywhere, but they've gone and symantecked it."

GaryK

Ray's picture

Just an update:

We have also had to replace the Pcanshost.bhf on some devices with the script posted by hightower with some modifications, you can single these out by the stopped service on the device.  Points to you sir for posting a fix.