AdvancedRemoteInfo (ARI) lets you access all kinds of information remotely from a Windows machine. You can do similar things with Windows’ Computer Management tool, but ARI represents everything in a clearly arranged table which allows you to get an overview of a Windows machine quickly. Furthermore, ARI has some additional features like the batch mode or the remote screenshot feature.
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ARI has eight panes: Overview, Process, Services, Drivers, Software, Shares, User and Groups. The Overview displays information such as the DNS name, MAC-Address, UP-time, registered owner, logon server, logged on user, and many more. You can also send messages to the user who is logged on. Please check out the screenshot for more.
The process tab lists all processes of the remote machine and enables you to start and end processes remotely. The services pane has the same functionality. Under “Drives” you see all storage media with their size and their available capacity. The software pane displays all installed programs, but not all of them can be uninstalled via ARI. Actually, I didn’t find a program which could be uninstalled. The shares tab allows you to add and delete shares. The last tab shows all users and groups. Unfortunately, you can’t add or delete users here.
ARI also allows you to start a couple of Windows management tools. You can launch Computer Management, initiate a Remote Desktop connection to the last scanned computer, edit its registry and access the event log.
It is also possible to take a screenshot from the remote desktop. However, this only works if you install the screenshot extension on the local computer. I suppose it wasn’t integrated into ARI because of privacy considerations. The user on the remote desktop doesn’t notice if you take a screenshot. Thus, I would be careful about using this feature. Don’t do it without the user’s permission!
Another interesting feature of ARI is its batch mode. It allows you to perform several operations on multiple computers. Computer names can be added manually or imported from a text file. You can send messages to users, shut down and restart computers, and scan computers for information and installed software. The results will be exported to a text file.
ARI has one major downside. It doesn’t support Windows Vista. You can run the tool on Vista, but it will be a bit unstable. You also can scan Vista machines, but ARI will only be able to retrieve limited information. This won’t bother those of you who want to skip Vista anyway. But it is annoying that every time one starts the ARI, it asks you for downloading the latest version even though there is none. However, I really hope that ARI’s author, Matthias Zirngibl, will update the tool again. This review is about version 0.6.5.7
I wonder if there are comparable tools out there that support Vista. If you know of a free one, you can submit it here, leave a comment to this post, or leave me a note via my contact form. I will have a look at it and add it to the 4sysops list of free admin tools. If you have a favorite commercial tool with similar functionality, it would also be nice if you’d share your experience.