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9.0 WMI query analyser, in C# and VB.NET

Windows Management Instrumentation, (WMI) is a common object model for a host of technical information about a systems hardware and software configuration. It can be used to query either a local machine, or if permissions allow, a remote computer. This technology can be used to enumerate and detail any of the following aspects of the operating system:

  • List, start, stop and suspend services
  • List, Start (spawn) and stop processes
  • Read the NT event log
  • Enumerate Hard-drives, CD-Rom drives, Partitions etc.
  • Read computer operating specifics (CPU speed, memory  etc.)
  • Read BIOS settings
  • Get Network adapter-specific information, such as MAC addresses.
  • Query WDM (Windows Driver Model) devices, such as Web-cameras
  • Read & write to remote Windows registries
  • Query the Active Directory

Although each of the above actions may be performed using low-level windows API calls, or in certain other cases, other classes within .NET. However WMI provides a simple all-encompassing namespace/class object model, putting this wealth of information at your fingertips. Furthermore, it gives the ability to perform all of these actions remotely, without the need for a custom-built server application.

To give an example, imagine you wanted to develop a system to automatically deploy software patches on an enterprise-wide basis. In order to get each computer to accept, and execute these patches, you would need to develop a service that could listen for requests to execute these executables, build some form of authentication mechanism for security, then deploy this service to all computers on the network. Alternatively, if you used WMI, you could use one central computer to send WMI requests to all the computers on your network to install the patch, et viola, no need for the deployment of a custom server.

WMI is a huge subject, so therefore it is practically impossible to provide a comprehensive example program that covers anything. However, this application can be used to make WQL (WMI query language) on the root\cimv2 namespace of the CIM (Common Information Model). The book Network programming in .NET (Buy at Amazon UK) (Buy at Amazon US) covers a much wider scope of WMI, and explains how to leverage it to access the bounty of information held within this vast, yet simple object model.

To use this application, type in the name of a remote computer (or localhost) into the space provided. If you require different account privileges, then you must also provide the NT username and password for this computer in the spaces provided. You may then type a WQL query into the ‘Query’ box, and press ‘Execute’. In the example below, we have used “select * from Win32_NetworkAdapterConfiguration” (see screenshot below)

(Source code availabile in the book Network Programming in .NET (Buy at Amazon UK) (Buy at Amazon US) , Chapter 12, example 4)

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