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System Center Online Services: Asset Inventory Service Frequently Asked Questions

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AIS General Information

Q. What platforms does System Center Online—Asset Inventory Service (AIS) support?

A. The AIS client software is supported on the following operating systems:

  • Windows Vista Ultimate, Enterprise, or Business
  • Windows Server 2003 operating systems
  • Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Service Pack 4 (subsequent service packs are also supported)

The AIS client software runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the preceding operating systems, as applicable.


Q. Which browsers are supported for accessing the AIS Web service?

A. The supported browsers are Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 6.


Q. I've registered for Asset Inventory Service. How long do I wait before I can log on to AIS?

A. Typically, you can log on to AIS 24 hours after registering.


Q. One of our AIS administrative users has left the company. How do I remove the departed AIS user from our account?

A. You can remove AIS users from your account. To remove a user from the AIS account, do the following:

  1. Open the User Management area of the Management and Support workspace.
  2. Select the user you want to delete in the User Management pane.
  3. In the Actions pane, click Delete.
  4. In the Delete User window, confirm that you want to delete the user by clicking OK.


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Deployment and Installation

Q. I don't have Active Directory or Systems Management Server (SMS). How else can I distribute the SCO client software?

A. Save the client software to a network share or external media for distribution.


Q. My client software installation is slow when distributed to my environment. Why?

A. When deploying multiple clients using Systems Management Server (SMS) or Group Policy schedules, schedule these installations for off-peak hours to reduce network traffic.


Q. How can I tell if my Asset Inventory Service client software is successfully installed on a computer?

A. The quickest way to verify that your client software is deployed and communicating is to view the Computers workspace and then search for each client computer in question in the All Computers node.


Q. After installation of the client software, when can I expect to see the client computer listed in the AIS inventory?

A. The client software runs for the first time within five hours after installation has completed. Inventory for a client computer is typically displayed on the AIS Web site within one hour after completing installation of the client software.


Q. If I am creating an image for my corporation, should I install the client software before or after the image is created?

A. You should deploy the client software after the image has been installed on the machines. The client software can be reinstalled (or reimaged) on the same machine a maximum of 365 times.


Q. Is there a limit to how many times I can install the client software on the same computer (that is, reimage a computer)?

A. The client software can be installed up to 365 times on the same computer. After 365 installations, the AIS client software is unable to contact the Web-based service. This limit might be increased in the future.


Q. Can I use Group Policy to manage AIS client computers?

A. You can download an administrative template file that contains three Group Policy settings. With the settings, you can assign a client computer to a group, provide the addresses of non-default or backup proxy servers with which client computers communicate, or turn off fallback to Microsoft Update, so the client software is not updated by Microsoft Update. Download the administrative template file, sconline.adm, from the Management and Support workspace on the AIS Web site.

For more information about sconline.adm, see "Client Configuration Settings in the AIS Administrative Template File" in the AIS Help.


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Q. How often will my client computers report inventory by default?

A. By default, client computers will send inventory to the AIS service once a month, or approximately 30 days after the client software installation.


Q. How often will my client computers check in with the AIS service for inventory requests?

A. AIS client computers check in with the service every 24 hours at the same time, between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. local system time. If the client computer is not on, check-in occurs shortly after the computer is turned on again. If a client computer is moved to another time zone and the system clock is adjusted, the client computer still checks in with AIS at the originally assigned local time.


Q. How often can I make my client computers send the latest inventory to the service?

A. Inventory update requests are supported by the AIS service as frequently as once a week. Inventory could be reported as frequently as 5 times a month, with 4 manual inventory update requests, in addition to the default monthly scheduled inventory. Each time the client computer checks in with the service, it is informed of the latest "Inventory Update" request. The client computer will honor the request only if the request is later than the latest inventory upload done by the client computer. Scheduled monthly inventories will occur as usual.


Q. I have some client computers listed in my AIS inventory for which I no longer need to collect inventory, but I do not have physical access to these computers. How do I stop collecting inventory from these computers?

A. You can retire computers from your inventory for which you no longer need to collect data. To retire a computer, do the following:

  1. On the AIS Web site, click Computers to open the Computers workspace.
  2. Select the computer you want to retire from the list in the All Computers pane.
  3. Click Retire computer. A message box displays a warning and prompts you to retire the computer.
  4. Click Yes. The computer is removed from the All Computers list.

When you retire a computer, the computer is removed from the AIS inventory. Although the AIS client software remains installed until it is removed by an administrator on the client computer, the client software no longer communicates with the AIS Web-based service.

Retiring a computer does not completely remove the computer's inventory from the AIS database. You can still view inventory for the computer in historical reports on your inventory.

As a security best practice, you should remove the AIS client software from any client computers that you want to retire from the AIS inventory.


Q. I have just brought a client computer online which has been offline for an extended time. How can I force the computer to provide inventory data to AIS, instead of waiting for the next AIS update?

A. To force the client to provide inventory data to AIS, manually run the SCOnline-Full task in Task Scheduler.

  1. Open Windows Task Scheduler.
    • On a computer running Windows Vista, click Start, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Task Scheduler.
    • On a computer running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, open Scheduled Tasks by clicking Start, pointing to Control Panel, and then clicking Scheduled Tasks.
    • On a computer running Windows 2000, click Start, point to Settings, point to Control Panel, and then click Scheduled Tasks.
  2. In the Task Scheduler or Scheduled Tasks tree pane, open %windir%\Tasks.
  3. Right-click the task SCOnline-Full-{89C1481E-9333-4a66-9014-18C9F60CA82D}.
  4. On the shortcut menu, click Run.

The client computer's inventory is uploaded to AIS immediately.


Q. Can I update inventory for just one or a few of my client computers?

A. The Update Inventory command updates the AIS inventory for all computers the next time computers are scheduled to check in with AIS. Each computer checks in once every 24 hours from the time the client software is installed. You can update inventory by using this command only once every 7 days.


Q. On how many client computers does my AIS account allow me to collect inventory?

A. Your AIS account allows you to collect inventory on a maximum of 20,000 client computers.


Q. A program report doesn't show computers or software titles that are showing up in the list of inventoried computers in the Computers workspace, or the list of inventoried software titles in the Software workspace. Why does this discrepancy occur?

A. A program report shows only software titles that were inventoried in the 60 days before the end date you selected for your report (by default, the end date is the date the report is created).


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Q. What time zone is reflected in System Center Online AIS reports?

A. Time stamps are adjusted to the local time zone for the computer that is displaying the report.


Q. Why am I not seeing software reported that I know is installed on a client computer?

A. In order for software to be inventoried, it must be fully and properly installed. Characteristics of properly installed software can include:

  • The software is listed in Add or Remove Programs registry keys.
  • The software was installed with an MSI-based installer.
  • The software is visible on the Start menu and/or the Quick Launch toolbar next to Start.
  • The software is listed in the Program Files directory.
  • The software is listed in Auto-Start.


Q. Why do SoftGrid applications not appear in my Asset Inventory Service Reports?

A. SoftGrid virtual application inventory support is planned for future enhancements of AIS.


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Q. How many license agreement pairs, license groups, and license statements am I allowed to have in AIS?

A. AIS allows you to store a maximum of 400 license agreement pairs, 50 license groups, and 50 license statements.


Q. Are there software titles for which AIS can't get licensing information?

A. Yes. AIS cannot detect licensing information for the following software titles.

  • Microsoft Digital Image Suite Anniversary Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2003 Proofing Tools
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Professional


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