In short - "it depends".
Sometimes it can be down to things like "broken WMI". Often enough it amounts to "different versions / out of date inventory scanners" (do a comparison of the Inventory Scanner versions on the devices where you're getting "proper" versus "Machine"-strings for instance). Could be something relatively simple as that.
By and large its down to "what the inventory scanner can get to" -- which is usually limited either by the inventory scanner's version/capabilities (i.e. "a inventory scanner from 2008 isn't going to be able to make much sense of Windows 10"), and somtimes it's a problem on the device itself (i.e. the "broken WMI" example/situation referred to above").
Depending on what your situation is, you may need to involve support here (if you're using consistent / up-to-date inventory scanners, yet getting disparate results in otherwise similar machines) ... it COULD be a bug (in which case they'll help troubleshoot & gather data) or it could be a device-specific problem (bits of broken OS / WMI type thing).
If you have a "spare" difficult machine lying around, for instance, does it behave differently / consistently if you can re-image it & put down the latest agent? (Not a small ask, I know, just thinking "ideal scenario" to test, to see whether it's likely an OS and/or "old files" type issue).
Hope that helps.
Also - please get into the habit of posting what general version you're on, so people have a vague idea for how in-date / out-of-date you are (i.e. "I'm on 9.5 SP2" // "I'm on 2018.1 + SU1" type of thing) . It does help give context.
Thanks for the reply phoffmann,
Yes, I should have added our version: IEM 2017.3.3 All endpoints have the same version of the agent, though there are some configuration settings difference between workstations and servers. I did verify that they have the same inventory scanner.
I have seen in the past where a laptop would show as a 'workstation' rather than 'portable', but when I ran a full sync scan it would update to Portable. However on the desktops, I haven't seen them change from Machine to Workstation. I've seen this difference on PCs that are the exact same model,on the same VLAN, etc. Looks like about 1/3 of our desktops are showing as 'Machine'.
So, it sounds like this isn't determined by a rule within the system (like what we see in Data Analytics DTS), but purely from what the WMI scans find, is that right?
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It's something the Inventory scanner does (rather than a DTS rule) natively ... so things like "broken WMI" can play a role.
I'd suggest potentially opening a ticket with support ... running a debug-scan for inventory *MAY* help you here ... see this for more info -- How to generate a client debug inventory output file for Ivanti support -- and note the log-file that's being pointed to (Warning - running debug-mode will generally create 10-15 MB of debug info there!).
That debug-log may help identify why (/why not) a device is / isn't being picked up properly ... so run it on two devices (1 where it's fine, 1 where it isn't) and compare notes, as it were.
That should help, hopefully / provide a decent starting point.