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Inventorying Computer Hardware

Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Scripting Guide

The inventory process helps determine the number of computers in your organization and how these computers have been configured. This type of information can be very useful in a number of situations:

  • Preparing to upgrade to a new operating system or a new software package.

    The inventory helps determine which computers have hardware that is compatible with the new produc. It also helps you determine whether these computers have sufficient hardware resources to run the new product.

  • Planning the information technology budget.

    The inventory helps determine which computers have adequate hardware to last through the next budget period and which computers require hardware upgrades or need to be replaced.

  • Replacing computers in an organization.

    The inventory helps determine which hardware can be used elsewhere in the organization and which hardware cannot.

  • Taking help desk calls from users.

    The inventory helps determine the hardware configuration of a user's computer. This kind of information is important for help desk personnel trying to remotely diagnose and resolve computer problems.

WMI contains many classes that enable you to retrieve detailed information about computer hardware. For example, Table 8.4 lists hardware categories that can be retrieved either by using the System Information snap-in or by using the equivalent WMI classes.

Table 8.4 System Information Categories and Their WMI Equivalents

System Information Category

WMI Class

CD-ROM

Win32_CDRomDrive

Sound Device

Win32_SoundDevice

Display

Win32_VideoController

Infrared

Win32_InfraredDevice

Keyboard

Win32_Keyboard

Pointing Device

Win32_PointingDevice

Modem

Win32_POTSModem

Network Adapter

Win32_NetworkAdapter

Serial Ports

Win32_SerialPort

Parallel Ports

Win32_ParallelPort

Drives

Win32_DiskDrive

SCSI

Win32_SCSIController

Printers

Win32_Printer

USB

Win32_USBController

In addition to the classes listed in Table 8.4, a number of other WMI classes are useful in taking inventory of computer hardware. WMI classes exist for almost all hardware components on a computer. (However, there are proprietary hardware devices that do not support WMI.) Some of these classes are listed in Table 8.5.

Table 8.5 Additional WMI Classes for Retrieving Hardware Information

WMI Class

Description

Win32_Baseboard

Provides information about the computer motherboard (also known as the baseboard or system board). The motherboard contains the bus, the processor and coprocessor sockets, memory sockets, keyboard controller, and other electrical components.

Win32_Bus

Provides information about the internal bus. The bus allows the computer to transfer data between the central processing unit, system memory, and peripheral buses.

Win32_DesktopMonitor

Provides information about the monitor or display device used by the computer.

Win32_Fan

Provides information about fans, including the CPU cooling device, installed in the computer.

Win32_PhysicalMemory

Provides information regarding physical memory devices installed in the computer.

Win32_PNPEntity

Provides information about all Plug and Play devices installed in the computer. Plug and Play devices are hardware devices that conform to the Plug and Play standard, allowing them to be installed on a computer without the need for manual configuration.

Win32_Processor

Provides information about each processor installed on a computer.

The information available through the various WMI classes is almost identical to the hardware information available using graphical user interface (GUI) tools. For example, Figure 8.3 compares the Win32_PointingDevice class with the data available in the System Information snap-in.

Figure 8.3 Win32_PointingDevice and System Information

sas_cpm_03c

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