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The WMI Explorer is a small program that you can freely download from their community tools site (although you probably will need to register. The download is a single EXE file that is completely portable. The tool hasn’t been revised in a number of years but for the price (did I mention free?) and functionality that’s fine by me.
To use, simply double-click the Wmiexplorer.exe file. It will take a moment or two to populate but then you’ll end up with something like Figure 1.
SAPIEN Technologies WMI Explorer
There is no ability to connect to a remote machine, but if you are interested in common classes and namespaces this shouldn’t be that big a deal. In the tree you will see all of the namespaces on your computer. To the right are all of the classes. Let’s navigate down to the CIMv2 namespace. Again, it may take a moment to read all of the classes.
Browsing classes ^
There’s no way to filter out the system classes so I’ll scroll over until I get to the Win32 classes.
The bottom panel will display information about the class. I’ll click on Properties.
The panels are resizable if that helps at all. Here I can see each property name and its type. Double click on one to view details.
Looking at methods ^
In the class panel I can start typing the name of a different class and focus will jump to that class. I’ll change to Win32_Logicaldisk and click on the Methods tab.
In Figure 5 you can see the methods for this class, and in this case the parameters for the Chkdsk() method. If you’d like to know what this method does, click on Qualifiers and look at the description. You might need to resize some columns.
Getting instances ^
Of course, for me the interesting aspect is retrieving the instances.
Knowing the property name and what kind of value to expect is a big help when writing WMI queries or filters. Like the property detail in a class definition, you can double click any property here for detail.
For the work I do, I like to know the name, what type of value (uin64 in this case) and whether the value is an array or not. With this information I could build and test queries using WBEMTest.
SAPIEN’s WMI Explorer isn’t designed necessarily as a scripting tool. It does exactly what it says it will do, explore WMI. It is very easy to navigate the namespace hierarchy, explore classes and retrieve instances. It only works locally, so if you wanted to explore WMI classes for a product that is installed on another computer, you would have to run this program on that computer. Although the exe file is completely portable and should run on any operating system with a GUI. I haven’t tested it on Server Core.
Next time, we’ll look at one final WMI Explorer that I think you’ll enjoy, especially if you are a PowerShell fan.