I've been using Scriptomatic since it was first released in 2002. A while ago, I heard there was supposed to be a new version, but I've been unable to find it. When is this new version supposed to be released?

Scriptomatic 2.0 is almost here! Soon, you should be able to download this tool from Microsoft's TechNet Script Center (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/default.mspx). For those of you who don't know what Scriptomatic is, you can read a very funny (that's right, funny) article, "Scriptomatic Tool" (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/tools/wmimatic.mspx), that introduces Scriptomatic 1.0.

You can expect a load of fantastic improvements with Scriptomatic 2.0. Its interface, which Figure 1 shows, provides a good way to frame the improvements. Starting from the top left, you'll notice a new drop-down list box named WMI Namespace. From here, you can select any of the namespaces in the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) repository. In version 1.0, you can select WMI classes from the CIMV2 namespace only—no other namespaces are available. This improvement is important because there are many useful namespaces other than the commonly used CIMV2. For example, the root\DEFAULT namespace contains the StdRegProv class, which is extremely important for WMI-based registry modifications. The root\Microsoft-IISv2 namespace is also useful for WMI-based Microsoft IIS 6.0 metabase edits.

Under the WMI Namespace list box are the new CIMv2 and WMI Source buttons. Clicking the CIMv2 button makes returning to CIMV2 from other namespaces easy. The WMI Source button lets you set the computer from which the WMI namespaces are enumerated. This option is particularly useful when you want to access namespaces or class properties that aren't available on the computer on which Scriptomatic is running.

An obvious improvement appears on the right side of Scriptomatic 2.0's interface. There you'll see the Language and Output Format sections. The Language section lets you automatically generate scripts in VBScript, JScript, Perl, and Python. VBScript was the only language option in version 1.0.

The Output Format section lets you view the script output at a command prompt, from a .txt file (typically in Notepad), in an HTML Web report, in an XML report, or as a comma-separated value (CSV) file for easy import into Microsoft Excel. After selecting an output format, click Run to view the script output. When you click Run in version 1.0, the output goes to a command prompt only—there are no other output options.

One less obvious improvement is buried below the Open button. You use this button in both Scriptomatic versions to open and view a script file within the Scriptomatic interface. In version 2.0, you can either type the pathname to open a file or click the Browse button to select a file from the Choose File dialog box. In version 1.0, your only option is to type the file's pathname.

The Target Computers (comma-delimited) text box at the bottom of Scriptomatic 2.0's interface lets you specify multiple computers as the target of the script that the tool creates. You can type the computer names or use the Load From File button to pass in a comma-delimited text file of computer names. In version 1.0, the target computer is set to the local computer; if you want to target a different computer, you have to edit the script.

Another less obvious improvement is that Scriptomatic 2.0's interface loads significantly faster than that of its predecessor. In version 1.0, the CIMV2 namespace loads and enumerates most of the classes in the namespace before the interface appears. In version 2.0, the CIMV2 namespace loads after the interface appears.

Yet another less obvious improvement is that Scriptomatic 2.0 can handle WMI properties that are stored as arrays. Scriptomatic 1.0 doesn't display properties stored as arrays, unless you have the release from the CD-ROM that accompanies the Microsoft Windows 2000 Scripting Guide. (For more information about this limited release, see the Windows IT Pro Web-exclusive article "Scrutinizing Scriptomatic," http://www.windowsitpro.com, InstantDoc ID 44300.)

Scriptomatic 2.0 is quite an improvement over version 1.0. If you haven't used Scriptomatic before, I suggest you download it and start playing with it right away.