Frequently Asked Questions About Hardware Inventory and Audit

Here you can find answers for frequently asked questions about hardware inventory, hardware audit methods and related topics.

Table of Contents

Why do I get an error when I try to extract hardware inventory information using WMI?

WMI technology is based on a various Microsoft technologies such as RPC and DCOM, so there some preconditions for WMI to work in every specific environment. You can get different errors in case of problems caused by different reasons, but typical errors can be caused by following reasons.

  • A computer you try to audit is turned off. Note that it's possible to collect data from powered on PCs only, of course.
  • A computer you try to audit isn't Windows PC. WMI is the Microsoft technology that works on Windows only.
  • WMI is disabled. You have to enable it on every remote PC in order to audit them.
  • Access is denied. You have to have an administrative permissions to be able to collect inventory information from a remote PC.
  • RPC server is unavailable. You need to check that RPC is working correctly on a remote PC and it isn't blocked by a firewall.

If you can't identify the reason of the problem and resolve it, you can refer the WMI Troubleshooting guide by Microsoft.

Is it possible to collect hardware inventory information if WMI is disabled?

Yes, it is possible. Most of hardware inventory information is stored in the Windows registry, so it can be extracted either locally or remotely. You can use hardware inventory tools that can extract data from the Windows registry. These tools can perform audit of remote PCs if they have the Remote Registry service started. It is started by default in a typical system configuration, so in most of cases you don't need to apply any configuration changes.

Useful Resources
  • WMI Reference contains information about infrastructure that provides an access to software and hardware inventory information on Windows-based operating systems.
  • Microsoft Script Center is aimed to educate network administrators how to use Windows PowerShell and other scripting solutions to perform audit, inventory, management and other administrative tasks.