System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) relies on the admin's ability to create queries utilizing data available in the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) database. There are also ways of creating custom reports through SQL Server Views, which I talked about recently HERE, but a command of the namespaces, classes, and instances sitting in the WMI repository is a must have asset of any ConfigMgr administrator. Without a working knowledge, or at least a reference table, the admin is limited in the ability to pull out just the specific data required to properly manage the ConfigMgr client environment.

But, also beyond just ConfigMgr, the WMI repository contains a wealth of information for scripters, allowing those using VB Script or PowerShell to retrieve information to act upon. WMI contains everything about the Windows instance, including hardware, software, and operating system options and parameters. If you've never worked with WMI before, you don't know what you're missing. It's a valuable data store.

There are ways, inherent to the OS, to browse the WMI repository, but those almost require a degree in the WMI interfaces. Try running the WMI Console (WMIC.exe) on a single PC for the first time and you'll get lost pretty quickly. And, then be careful, because making actual changes to the WMI repository can corrupt the entire data store, requiring a full reload of the operating system.

Fortunately, there are those that have worked to make browsing the WMI repository easier.

The latest stable release of WMI Explorer was released recently on CodePlex, bringing it to version 1.0.0.8. WMI Explorer brings an application frontend to the WMI Repository, affording admins and scripters the ability to simply browse the data store to locate namespaces, classes, and namespaces that can be used to query in ConfigMgr and within scripts. But, also it offers more than that, it offers PowerShell and VBS scripts to auto-generated against the selected namespace and custom WQL queries to be created and run. And, there's more. Here's the current feature list:

  • Ability to browse and view WMI namespaces/classes/instances/properties in a single pane of view.
  • Ability to provide alternate credentials for connecting to remote computers.
  • Ability to filter classes and instances matching specified criteria.
  • Ability to view classes/instances in Managed Object Format (MOF).
  • Ability to search classes, methods and properties with names matching specified criteria.
  • Ability to run custom WQL queries.
  • Automatic generation of WQL query for the selected Class/Instance.
  • Automatic script creation (PowerShell and VBS).
  • Highlighting of objects that have been previously viewed in the same session.
  • Lists property enumeration values (if available). This is generally useful for SMS Provider classes.
  • Lists property values containing embedded objects. This is especially useful for SMS Provider classes.
  • Caching of retrieved classes/instances.

WMI Explorer can be downloaded from CodePlex. The main project page is here: WMI Explorer