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Introduction to Hardware Inventory in Configuration Manager


Updated: May 14, 2015

Applies To: System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1, System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP2, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager SP1

Use hardware inventory in System Center 2012 Configuration Manager to collect information about the hardware configuration of client devices in your organization. To collect hardware inventory, the Enable hardware inventory on clients setting must be enabled in client settings.

After hardware inventory is enabled and a hardware inventory cycle is run by the client, the client sends the inventory information that it has collected to a management point in the client’s site. The management point then forwards the inventory information to the Configuration Manager site server which stores the inventory information in the site database. Hardware inventory runs on clients according to the schedule that you specify in client settings.

You can use several methods to view the hardware inventory data that System Center 2012 Configuration Manager collects. These include the following:

When hardware inventory runs on a client device, the first inventory data that the client returns is always a full inventory. Subsequent inventory information contains only delta inventory information. The site server processes delta inventory information in the order in which it is received. If delta inventory information for a client is missing, the site server rejects additional delta inventory information and instructs the client to run a full inventory cycle.

Configuration Manager provides limited support for dual-boot computers. Configuration Manager can discover dual-boot computers but only returns inventory information from the operating system that was active at the time the inventory cycle ran.


For System Center 2012 Configuration Manager SP1 and later:

For information about how to use hardware inventory with clients that run Linux and UNIX, see Hardware Inventory for Linux and UNIX in Configuration Manager.

Extending Configuration Manager Hardware Inventory

In addition to the built-in hardware inventory in Configuration Manager, you can also use one of the following methods to extend hardware inventory to collect additional information:



Add and remove inventory classes from the Configuration Manager console

In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, you can enable, disable, add and remove inventory classes for hardware inventory from the Configuration Manager console.


Use NOIDMIF files to collect information about client devices that cannot be inventoried by Configuration Manager. For example, you might want to collect device asset number information that exists only as a label on the device. NOIDMIF inventory is automatically associated with the client device that it was collected from.

IDMIF files

Use IDMIF files to collect information about assets in your organization that are not associated with a Configuration Manager client, for example, projectors, photocopiers and network printers.

For more information about using these methods to extend Configuration Manager hardware inventory, see How to Extend Hardware Inventory in Configuration Manager.

What’s New in Configuration Manager


The information in this section also appears in the Getting Started with System Center 2012 Configuration Manager guide.

The following items are new or have changed for hardware inventory since Configuration Manager 2007:

  • In System Center 2012 Configuration Manager, you can enable custom hardware inventory, and add and import new inventory classes from the Configuration Manager console. The sms_def.mof file is no longer used to customize hardware inventory.

  • You can extend the inventory schema by adding or importing new classes.

  • Different hardware inventory settings can be applied to collections of devices by using client settings.