Introduction to WMI

WMI is a middle-layer technology that enables standardized management of Windows-based computers. It collects computer management data from a wide variety of sources and makes it accessible by using standard interfaces. WMI can be accessed remotely, but it does not consolidate the management data in a central location - that is one of the functions of SMS. You can also use WMI to set configuration details on your computer and to detect and respond to changes in the configuration of your computer (using WMI events).

WMI is the Microsoft implementation of the Web-based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standard, which was developed by the Desktop Management Task Force.

WBEM builds on a series of industry-wide initiatives to standardize computer management. Those initiatives include the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) and Desktop Management Interface standards. Standardizing computer management allows you to use multiple tools to address your various computer management needs without requiring a separate infrastructure for each tool. For example, SMS and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) both use WMI. You can use SMS for centralized inventory collection of all your computers and use MOM to alert you to critical changes in your servers, but your servers do not require two different types of client agents to collect configuration information. Using WMI you can also write scripts to change computer settings and then distribute those scripts to your SMS clients.

WMI is available for all Microsoft Windows® 95 or later operating systems. It is installed with Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and the Microsoft Windows Server(tm) 2003 family and is available for download for the other supported versions of Windows. There are three significant versions of WMI:

  • Version 1.1 (build 698), which ships with SMS 2.0. It is also included with Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4 and later.

  • Version 1.5 (build 1085), which ships with SMS 2003 and Windows 2000. It is available for all WMI-supported operating systems except Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 family.

  • Version 5.1.2600.0, which ships with Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 family.

You can determine which version of WMI is installed on your computer by using the WMI Control. For more information, see the "Using WMI Management Tools" section later in this appendix.

WMI can collect and set configuration details for a wide variety of hardware types, operating system components and subsystems, and application systems because it uses providers to work with those systems. Providers are relatively simple components that the developers of the systems make available. WMI uses the providers to interact with the systems. Any system that has a WMI provider can be managed with WMI and can therefore be managed by any computer management application (such as SMS and MOM) that uses WMI. WMI providers are available for a wide variety of systems including:

  • Microsoft Exchange

  • Microsoft SQL Server(tm)

  • SNMP

  • Domain Name Service (DNS)

  • Active Directory┬« directory services

  • SMS

  • The operating system

  • Windows Installer

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

  • Microsoft Office 2000 and Office XP

  • Internet Information Services (IIS)

  • Cluster

  • Systems Network Architecture (SNA)

  • Windows drivers (WDM)

  • HTTP Monitoring

  • COM+ Monitoring

Many other providers are also available, and a variety of computer system vendors are developing additional WMI providers. For more information about WMI support, see your system documentation. WMI support is usually included when you install the system, but in some cases there might be extra setup steps that you must follow.

Using WMI, WMI-based management applications, and the WMI providers included with your systems, you can efficiently manage all your computers and their systems with a small set of management tools.

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