Manage inventory collection from VMs

You can enable inventory tracking for an Azure VM from the resource page of the machine. You can collect and view the following inventory information on your computers:

  • Windows updates, Windows applications, services, files, and registry keys
  • Linux software packages, daemons, and files

Azure Automation Change Tracking and Inventory provides a browser-based user interface for setting up and configuring inventory collection.

Before you begin

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account.

This article assumes that you have a VM to enable with Change Tracking and Inventory. If you don't have an Azure VM, you can create a VM.

Sign in to the Azure portal

Sign in to the Azure portal.

Enable inventory collection from the VM resource page

  1. In the left pane of the Azure portal, select Virtual machines.

  2. In the list of VMs, select a machine.

  3. On the Resource menu, under Operations, select Inventory.

  4. Select a Log Analytics workspace for storing your data logs. If no workspace is available to you for that region, you are prompted to create a default workspace and automation account.

  5. To start enabling your computer, select Enable.

    View onboarding options

    A status bar notifies you that the Change Tracking and Inventory feature is being enabled. This process can take up to 15 minutes. During this time, you can close the window, or you can keep it open and it notifies you when the feature is enabled. You can monitor the deployment status from the notifications pane.

    View inventory

When the deployment is complete, the status bar disappears. The system is still collecting inventory data, and the data might not be visible yet. A full collection of data can take 24 hours.

Configure your inventory settings

By default, software, Windows services, and Linux daemons are configured for collection. To collect Windows registry and file inventory, configure the inventory collection settings.

  1. On the Inventory page, click Edit Settings at the top of the page.
  2. To add a new collection setting, go to the setting category that you want to add by selecting the Windows Registry, Windows Files, or Linux Files tab.
  3. Select the appropriate category and click Add at the top of the page.

The following sections provide information about each property that can be configured for the various categories.

Windows Registry

Property Description
Enabled Determines if the setting is applied
Item Name Friendly name of the file to be tracked
Group A group name for logically grouping files
Windows Registry Key The path to check for the file For example: "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders\Common Startup"

Windows Files

Property Description
Enabled True if the setting is applied, and False otherwise.
Item Name The friendly name of the file to be tracked.
Group A group name for logically grouping files.
Enter Path The path to check for the file, for example, c:\temp\myfile.txt.

Linux Files

Property Description
Enabled True if the setting is applied, and False otherwise.
Item Name The friendly name of the file to be tracked.
Group A group name for logically grouping files.
Enter Path The path to check for the file, for example, /etc/*.conf.
Path Type The type of item to be tracked. Values are File and Directory.
Recursion True if recursion is used when looking for the item to be tracked, and False otherwise.
Use sudo True if sudo is used when checking for the item, and False otherwise.
Links Value indicating how symbolic links are dealt with when traversing directories. Possible values are:
Ignore - Ignores symbolic links and does not include the files/directories referenced
Follow - Follows the symbolic links during recursion and also includes the files/directories referenced
Manage - Follows the symbolic links and allows alter the treatment of returned content

Manage machine groups

Inventory allows you to create and view machine groups in Azure Monitor logs. Machine groups are collections of machines defined by a query in Azure Monitor logs.


This article was recently updated to use the term Azure Monitor logs instead of Log Analytics. Log data is still stored in a Log Analytics workspace and is still collected and analyzed by the same Log Analytics service. We are updating the terminology to better reflect the role of logs in Azure Monitor. See Azure Monitor terminology changes for details.

To view your machine groups select the Machine groups tab on the Inventory page.

View machine groups on the inventory page

Selecting a machine group from the list opens the Machine groups page. This page shows details about the machine group. These details include the Azure Monitor log query that is used to define the group. At the bottom of the page, is a paged list of the machines that are part of that group.

View machine group page

Click + Clone to clone the machine group. You must give the group a new name and alias for the group. The definition can be altered at this time. After changing the query, click Validate query to preview the machines that would be selected. When you are happy with the group, click Create to create the machine group.

If you want to create a new machine group, click + Create a machine group. This button opens the Create a machine group page, where you can define your new group. Click Create to create the group.

Create new machine group

Disconnect your VM from management

To remove your VM from Change Tracking and Inventory management:

  1. In the left pane of the Azure portal, select Log Analytics, and then select the workspace that you used when enabling your VM for Change Tracking and Inventory.

  2. On the Log Analytics page, open the Resource menu.

  3. Select Virtual Machines under Workspace Data Sources.

  4. In the list, select the VM that you want to disconnect. The machine has a green check mark next to This workspace in the OMS Connection column.


    Operations Management Suite (OMS) is now referred to as Azure Monitor logs.

  5. At the top of the next page, click Disconnect.

  6. In the confirmation window, click Yes to disconnect the machine from management.


Machines are still shown after you have unenrolled them because we report on all machines inventoried in the last 24 hours. After disconnecting the machine, you need to wait 24 hours before they are no longer listed.

Next steps