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Best WMI Tools & Software for Windows Management Instrumentation Administration!

Best WMI Tools and Software Downloads FREE!

by NMS Admin - Last Updated: May 29, 2024

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

Windows Management Instrumentation, or WMI, is is a technology which enables easier management of Microsoft Windows-based servers and workstations. It collects and reports on configuration information about the computer using a standard interface.

Capabilities of WMI

In addition to viewing configuration information, WMI also can manipulate windows computers by setting configurations of the computer. WMI is not a centralized configuration engine, but rather a framework build to remotely view and set configurations of individual Windows computers.

Historical Context

Before the advent of WMI in the mid-1990s,  doing remote management of Windows computers was very difficult. The first implementation of WMI was rather limited, but this has changed to include support for a wide variety of hardware and software configurations.

Comparison with SNMP

WMI is very similar to another network management protocol that most network administrations are familiar with: SNMP. Like SNMP, WMI is in the middle layer between management applications and scripts, and configuration settings on a server.

Unique Features of WMI

However, unlike SNMP, WMI is designed from the ground up to support countless configurations items. This means that WMI can report on, and control, complex Windows configuration items like mount points.

Our favorite WMI tools are broken into two categories:

  • Browsers and
  • Manipulators

As the names support one category is for browsing WMI objects and the other is for making changes.

There are countless WMI tools,  but the following are great free choices for quickly probing WMI devices and getting information out of them quickly and free!

Here’s the Best WMI Monitoring Tools & Software of 2024

Our methodology for selecting WMI tools and software

We reviewed various WMI tools and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • Alerting and reporting capabilities
  • Support for multi-tenant environments
  • Ease of use, installation, and deployment
  • A facility to analyze WMI status over time
  • Graphical interpretation of data, such as charts and graphs
  • A free trial period, a demo, or a money-back guarantee for no-risk assessment
  • A good price that reflects value for money when compared to the functions offered

1. WMI Explorer (CodePlex)

The WMI Explorer distributed by CodePlex is a favourite tool.  It offers a modern, intuitive interface over what can be a very difficult to discern system.

It exposes the WQL query to get your selected object or properties, as well as script generation to give you the corresponding PowerShell/VBScript to get them.  This can be especially helpful when working with portions of the Windows system that PowerShell does not cover with Cmdlets yet.

One of our favorite features of this WMI Explorer is that it is free, so you can install it at will without having to worry about licensing.

WMI Explorer

Pros:

  • Completely free
  • Uses simple WMI queries
  • Does a good job of simplifying large amounts of polled data

Cons:

  • The interface could use improvement

Download:

https://wmie.codeplex.com/

2. WMI Explorer (Sapien)

While not free, Sapien’s WMI Explorer exposes some very nice features that the CodePlex WMI Explorer does not.

An excellent example is the integrated Technet button that will perform a search for your selected WMI object through Technet.

The UI is also slightly more intuitive, with tabs at the bottom to show PowerShell and VBScript code to retrieve the selected item, along with an embedded PowerShell console for you to experiment with in-browser.

The UI also seems to be styled after the new Ribbon-based Microsoft Office menus, which can help provide a more familiar interface.

sapien

Pros:

  • Easy to use and get started with
  • The interface is familiar, closely resembling Windows Explorer
  • Offers embedded PowerShell console for quick commands
  • Generous 45-day free trial

Cons:

  • Can take time to explore all features on the platform

Download:

https://www.sapien.com/software/wmiexplorer

3. WMI Explorer (Marc van Orsouw)

The big advantage of Marc van Orsouw’s WMI Explorer is that it is entirely PowerShell-based, meaning that it should run on any Windows Server 2008 or newer operating system without needing any installation.

This can be a big advantage if you want to put a WMI Explorer on all of your systems, or if you just want to take a quick peak at a WMI object without needing to go through a hefty install process.

It is fairly feature-bare compared to some of the other options, but it is useful if you just want to quickly find a WMI object for a PowerShell script.

 

wmi-marcvanorsouw

Pros:

  • Great interface
  • PowerShell-based WMI with GUI option
  • Can run on any modern Windows server

Cons:

  • Competing products offer similar features for free

Download:

http://powershell.org/wp/2013/03/08/wmi-explorer/

4. PowerShell

The other tools discussed are centered around finding WMI objects, but PowerShell is second to none when it comes to manipulating the objects once you’ve found them.

This is heavily evidenced by the tight integration between PowerShell and the various WMI Explorers.

When combined with information about the attributes from one of the WMI Explorers, PowerShell is the easiest way to programmatically access the underlying data from a local or remote WMI store.

 

powershell

Why do we recommend it?

PowerShell is a powerful scripting language and it has direct access to the Windows operating system. The service is able to deliver Windows services as well as query statuses. The tool can be a little dangerous as well because it can provide hackers access to important operating system values.

Who is it recommended for?

PowerShell is an important tool for systems administrators that like to create their own scripts. This is a great deal more powerful than batch scripts. The system can also be used to construct the classic features of monitoring services, such as alerts and automated responses.

Pros:

  • Completely free
  • Widely used and documented
  • Extremly lightweight
  • Part of Windows Server

Cons:

  • Not the best option for those wanting a GUI

Download:

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/

5. SolarWinds WMI Monitor with SAM

SolarWinds WMI Monitor is part of the Server & Application Monitor (SAM) package. It monitors any Windows application or server, giving you insight into real-time performance. You can use the built-in, community-sourced, or custom templates to start monitoring immediately after download.

WMI Monitor quickly and easily gives you at-a-glance insight into server and application performance with a new desktop dashboard.  You can modify or design your own application templates with the built-in WMI browser – no more WMI scripting…

SolarWinds Server & Application Monitor

SolarWinds also has a great walk-through on how to actually configure and use their WMI Monitor:

Why do we recommend it?

The SolarWinds WMI Monitor is part of the Server & Application Monitor, so you don’t get only WMI readouts with this system, you get a lot of extra monitoring services in the same dashboard. The WMI monitoring screen is customizable, so you can focus on the factors that are important to your company.

Who is it recommended for?

This tool is suitable for any company that runs Windows workstations and servers. The system runs on Windows Server so it is ideal for a Windows-only site. The Server & Application Monitor package wouldn’t be so interesting for companies that mix operating systems on their sites and it isn’t so strong at monitoring Web applications.

Pros:

  • Designed with large and enterprise networks in mind
  • Supports auto-discovery that builds network topology maps and inventory lists in real-time based on devices that enter the network
  • Has some of the best alerting features that balance effectiveness with ease of use
  • Supports both SNMP monitoring as well as packet analysis, giving you more control over monitoring than similar tools
  • Uses drag and drop widgets to customize the look and feel of the dashboard
  • Robust reporting system with pre-configured compliance templates

Cons:

  • Designed for IT professionals, not the best option for non-technical users

Download:

https://www.solarwinds.com/server-application-monitor

Conclusion

There is no shortage of tools at the administrator’s fingertips for working with WMI objects.

In the Windows world, WMI is often replacing SNMP as the protocol of choice for monitoring.  The ability to see information about a remote system easily,  and to combine that with centralized administrative software make WMI and important part of the administrators toolkit.

We’ve gathered some of the Best WMI Monitor Tools & Software of 2024 for you to use in your network and scripting environments, if we’ve missed any, please feel free to send us an email and we’ll update the post asap!

WMI Tools FAQs

What are some common features of WMI tools?

Common features of WMI tools include querying and retrieving system information, configuring system settings, and monitoring system performance.

What are some common WMI tools?

Common WMI tools include Solarwinds Free WMI Monitor, Windows Management Instrumentation Tester (wbemtest), WMI Explorer, and PowerShell.

How can WMI tools be used for system administration?

WMI tools can be used for system administration tasks such as configuring system settings, troubleshooting issues, and monitoring system performance.

What types of system information can be retrieved using WMI tools?

System information that can be retrieved using WMI tools includes hardware and software configuration, network settings, and system performance data.

What are some best practices for using WMI tools?

Best practices for using WMI tools include securing WMI communications using encryption and authentication, limiting user access to sensitive data, and regularly reviewing access logs and activity.

What is the role of WMI in Microsoft System Center?

WMI is a core component of Microsoft System Center for managing and monitoring system information, and is used by various System Center components such as Configuration Manager and Operations Manager.