Post 10 – Collecting Inventory and Creating Simple Collections

In post 9 we Deployed the client client and managed the client settings in Various ways.

In this post we will collect inventory and create simple collections.

Load up the configuration manager server, Configmgr. Once open, load the configuration manager console. Select Administration, and Client Settings. From the previous post we have not changed of the settings in the Hardware Inventory tab:

Default Hardware Inventory Settings

Default Hardware Inventory Settings

By default, it runs every 7 days which is fine as we don’t expect many changes on the hardware of the client machines. ConfigMgr is polling Windows Management Interface (WMI) data. To see how the local wmi data looks on your machine you can go to cmd. Run wmic, and select -? to see the commands available.

wmi

To view what Config Manager sees on other machines, go to Assets and Compliance. Select Devices, and select a server.  Go to Start, and Resource Explorer. Expand the Hardware field to see what hardware is currently on the machine.

DC1 reported hardware

DC1 reported hardware

If you want to see more specific information in the hardware inventory you have to change the clients setting. Go to Administration, Client settings, and next to Hardware Inventory classes select Set Classes:

 

Hardware Inventory Classes

Hardware Inventory Classes

Very Specific Gathering of Hardware Information

The other option in Hardware Inventory is to collect IDMIF files and NOIDMIF files. These are files you will store in teh Windows Directory idmif or noidimf files on the clients. This would store specific information that is not collected by default. You can see how to access these types of files on Configuration Manager located at:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Configuration Manager\inboxes\clifiles.src\hinv\configuration.mof

It’s a text based file that you can use for additional gathering of hardware things, and will require a little bit of programming, and knowing how to resolve things from the registry. You can also use third party tools.

Software Inventory

By default, the software inventory is collected every 7 days:

software gathering default

software gathering default

You can choose whether or not to inventory software on clients, What level of detail to capture, inventorying of specific file types, collection of files and change the display names for the manufacturer or product.

Some potential file types that you may want to collect information on include *.exe and *.dll so that you can see the properties set on each system for the version number, or what’s the path. This can be used to create collections to find out where software exists.

*.exe and *.dll selected

*.exe and *.dll selected

To collect the actual file select Set Files. I am not sure how this would be that helpful as you would instantly collect large amounts of files.

The Set Names button is for normalizing data, for example you may see machines that say Microsoft Corp, or Microsoft Corporation. This will help you normalize the data. There are also third party tools to help you normalize the data. This will help you in the next post about Querying the data.

Configuration Manager doesn’t have to just deploy to computer names, you can set up your collections any way you wish which makes Configuration Manager so powerful. You can deploy to specific characteristics of servers, desktops or laptops.

Standard Collections using Direct Membership

Go to Assets and Compliance and Select Device Collections. Select Create Device Collection, and call it ConfigMgr Servers. When you create a collection you have to limit it to another collection. Select Browse and select All Systems.

Create device collection

Create device collection

Select Next. You have to define the membership rules . The membership rule can be a direct rule, a query rule, an include collection or a exclude collection. 

 

Membership rules

Membership rules

Select Direct Rule. This will open the Create Direct Membership Rule Wizard. Select Next at the starting page, on the next page we will add the configmgr server. In Value type in Configmgr and select Next.

 

Create direct membership

Create direct membership

It will search for the entry provided and find it. Select CONFIGMGR and select Next.

Select Resources

Select Resources

At the confirmation page select Next, the direct membership rule wizard has completed. Select Close.

Wizard has completed

Wizard has completed

Now viewing the membership of ConfigMgr Servers shows the ConfigMgr server. A collection of one.

configmgr servers collection

Configmgr servers collection created

I chose to remove this collection as I will not be needing it.

Adding the Asset intelligence Synchronization Point

Now that data is being gathered, what does it mean. You need to add the Asset Intelligence Synchronization Role in order to help better define what the software is.

Go to Administration, Servers and Site System Roles, and Select Add Site System Roles. Select Next.

Add system roles wizard

Add system roles wizard

On the proxy settings page select Next.On the available roles for this server select Asset Intelligence Synchronization Point and select Next.

Asset intelligence role selected

Asset intelligence role selected

As we I don’t have a cert for this server.. I went with the default. Select Next.

asset intelligence cert

asset intelligence cert

Leave the schedule at default and select Next. This will run every 7 days.

Asset Intelligence synchronization schedule

Asset Intelligence synchronization schedule

Confirm the settings and select Next. The Asset Intelligence Role has been added.

Asset Intelligence role added

Asset Intelligence role added

Go to Assets and Compliance and select Asset Intelligence.

asset intelligence basics

asset intelligence basics

Selecting Edit Inventory classes at the top of the screen sets what classes WMI will collect:

Edit inventory classes

Edit inventory classes

 

On the next post we will customize Queries for collections. 

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