In previously published articles I demonstrated how to use the free WBEMTest utility to validate connectivity and credentials. While you can use WBEMTest to browse namespaces, classes and instances it is hardly intuitive. You are better off with a WMI Explorer or Browser.
Microsoft still WMI Administrative Tools.These tools have been around for a while and frankly I was surprised to see them still available for download. Download and run the setup file. There’s nothing tricky or complicated about the setup. I installed it on Windows 8 with no problems.
- WMI Tools consists of several utilities
- WMI CIM Studio
- WMI Event Registration
- WMI Event Viewer
- WMI Object Browser
We’ll skip the even related tools for now. Note that officially these tools aren’t supported beyond Windows XP but with a little tweaking they will still work. Still, I recommend working with them in a non-production environment.
WMI Object Browser
The WMI Object Browser is actually an HTM file (file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/WMI%20Tools/browser.htm) that you need to open in Internet Explorer. When you run the WMI Object Browser, you will need to make sure Internet Explorer is running as administrator. Otherwise you will get access denied messages. If prompted in Internet Explorer, click OK to allow blocked content. The file uses ActiveX controls. You also need to make sure your browser is running in compatibility mode for an earlier version of Internet Explorer. For example, in IE 10, press F12 to access developer tools. Then under Browser Mode select Internet Explorer 7. Don’t forget to change things back when you are finished.
You should be rewarded with something like in the screenshot below.
WMI Object Browser
Next, you’ll need to connect to a namespace. Click on the circled icon. This should give you a dialog box like this:
Browse for Namespace
The browser defaults to the local computer. Enter the namespace path, like root\cimv2 and click Connect. Or you can use the root. The Object Browser will give you an opportunity to use alternate credentials.
WMI Object Browser Login
As with WBEMTest, use credentials in the domain\username or machine\username format. After you connect you’ll get a nice namespace tree like in the next screenshot.
Brose For Namespace
Select your namespace and click OK. From here you should get something like in the following screenshot.
WMI Object Browser with WMI groupings or associations
There is where it gets a little tricky. What you are seeing are WMI groupings or associations. You can expand them any maybe find a class of interest.
Find WMI class
But the better approach is to browse for an instance by clicking on the binoculars icon which gives you:
Classes in the current namespace
These are the classes in the current namespace. Scroll through the list to find classes of interest and then add them as I’ve done (see below).
Scroll through the list to find classes
As you see in the following screenshot I get an object browser for all instances of the selected classes.
Object browser for all instances of the selected classes
Clicking OK simply refreshes the original browser window with a new root.
WMI Object Browser with new root
If you want to explore how WMI classes are related, this is a handy tool. But let’s look at the CIM Studio.
WMI CIM Studio
The CIM Studio is also an HTM file (file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/WMI%20Tools/studio.htm) that must run in an elevated instance of Internet Explorer. It operates much the same way as the Object Browser.
WMI CIM Studio
Connect to a namespace on a computer with appropriate credentials. But this time you’ll get a different layout.
Classes in WMI CIM Studio
Classes that don’t have instances are grayed out. Scroll to a class that interests you and select it. Or you can click on the binoculars and search for a class.
Search for a WMI class
When you have a class selected, the right side pane displays information about the given instance.
Information about the given instance
If you don’t see anything, see my note earlier about setting IE compatibility mode. What I have here is just the class description. I can click on the Instances icon to get actual WMI information. You’ll most likely see something like in the screenshot below which is hard to read.
Double click the entry and you’ll be rewarded with a screen of useful information.
Detailed WMI information
You can browse other classes and instances much the same way. If you are looking for WMI methods, click on the Methods tab to discover them.
I’ll be the first to admit that these WMI tools can be a little intimidating. But I encourage you to test things out. As long as you don’t delete anything you should be fine. There is one other tool I want to cover in another article. But in the meantime you can read about yet another WMI browser that was covered previously on 4sysops: WMI Explorer.