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What Is Windows Management Instrumentation?

By Jo Dunaway
Updated May 16, 2024
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Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a management facility resident in Windows operating systems and used in business environment systems control rooms. It allows for remote management of local and remote computers and receiving event notifications from event logs on remote systems. These functions can be exceedingly useful to system administrators, information systems techs, and operations managers. If a system administrator needs to know a particular remote computer’s list of installed hot fixes or needs to install an upgrade of a printer driver or make changes to a sysem registry, WMI is the facility for the tasks. An operations manager can schedule processes to run at particular times on remote computers, and access lists of dynamic management data from client programs on remote computers.

If a system administrator has namespace rights to a remote-enabled system, then he or she can log in to the remote system using his or her own administrator credentials. As long as the administrator has access privileges, he or she can do anything on a remote computer that a local operator of that computer can do. When accessing more than one remote computer, an administrator would use what is called “delegation” to forward authentication on to subsequent computers.

Using C++, C#, or .NET Frameworks scripting languages with Windows Management Instrumentation, a control operator can write provider scripts and automation procedures to perform many management tasks on remote computers that are based on Windows Management Instrumentation functions. Although there are over 100 provider scripts resident in more recent Windows operating systems, many businesses are developing different ones in a drive to increase security and make scripts more responsive to individual business. Tests of users of remote systems are there for use in determining the predictability quotient of employees in ease of use and familiarity with using Windows components as well as several other management tasks in a logical and unified interface. Third-party vendors make user interfaces for WMI with scripting functions as well.

If an administrator needs to know the processes running on a remote system, he or she would query the system with a WMI class called Win32_Process. Similarly, Win32_TimeZone is a Windows Management Instrumentation class that specifies time zone information on a system. There are built-in class queries in Windows Management Instrumentation that allow interrogation of remote systems for individual queries; however, sometimes it is necessary to combine class scripts to find out, for example, how much available memory is being used by the remote system. There is a tool called CIM Studio that allows browsing through Windows Management Instrumentation classes.

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