Share via

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) Overview


Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

This topic provides overview information about Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). This topic also contains links to additional information that is related to WMI.

Did you mean…

WMI description

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is the Microsoft implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), which is an industry initiative to develop a standard technology for accessing management information in an enterprise environment. WMI uses the Common Information Model (CIM) industry standard to represent systems, applications, networks, devices, and other managed components. CIM is developed and maintained by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF).

WBEM is an industry initiative, overseen by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), to develop a standardized, nonproprietary means for accessing and sharing management information in an enterprise network. It is intended to alleviate the problems usually associated with collecting management and diagnostic data that can include different types of hardware, protocols, operating systems, and distributed applications.

CIM is an extensible, object-oriented data model that contains information about different parts of an enterprise. Through WMI, a developer can use the CIM to create classes that represent hard disk drives, applications, network routers, or even user-defined technologies, such as a networked air conditioner.

The ability to obtain management data from remote computers is what makes WMI useful. Remote WMI connections are made through DCOM. An alternative is to use Windows Remote Management (WinRM), which obtains remote WMI management data using the WS-Management SOAP-based protocol.

WMI offers a simple interface to management data that includes:

  1. A rich and consistent model of the Windows operating system's behavior, configuration, and status.

  2. A COM API that supplies a single point of access to all management information.

  3. Interoperability with other Windows 2000 management services.

  4. A flexible architecture that enables vendors to extend the information model to cover new devices, applications, and services.

  5. A rich query language that enables SQL-based queries of the information model.

  6. A scriptable API that allows seamless local and remote system administration.

The WMI behavior can be modified in Server Manager / Tools / Computer Management / Services and Applications / WMI Control, and in Server Manager / Tools / Group Policy Management / Forest: (ForestName) / domains / DomainName / WMI Filters.

Practical applications

By viewing and making changes to a CIM class, a manager can control different aspects of the enterprise. For example, a manager could query a CIM class instance representing a desktop workstation. The manager could then run a script to modify the CIM workstation instance. WMI would translate any change to the workstation CIM class instance into a change to the actual workstation.

See also

Following is a table of references related to WMI.

Content type


Product evaluation

Content not available


Content not available


Content not available


WMI Scripting Primer: Part 1

WMI Scripting Primer: Part 2

WMI Scripting Primer: Part 3


Troubleshooting and Tips


Content not available

Tools and settings

Content not available

Community resources

Probing the Depths of WMI, a Hey, Scripting Guy article.

Related technologies

Common Information Model (CIM)