Scanning Microsoft Windows assets

Technology

Total Software Deployment borrows its scanning technology from Total Network Inventory 3. However, unlike TNI 3, TSD only provides information from the Software category. This information can be used to help make a decision about software deployment on a remote computer. All other information is collected to guarantee usage of the Network storage across multiple software. You can setup your TSD and TNI 3 to use the same Network storage. Then you will only need to scan the network in one of the programs, but the Storage will stay up-to-date in both.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is Microsoft's implementation of Web-Based Enterprise Management (WBEM) standard for Windows operating systems.

Using WMI technology, TSD obtains software information, as well as computer registry data.

WMI service is pre-installed on Windows 2000 and higher. For Windows NT, Windows 95 and Windows 98 it is available for download from the Microsoft website.

There are three methods for scanning Windows-based computers that are used in Total Network Inventory, however TSD does not use remote scanning via the RPC protocol.

Manual scanning is the only way to collect information from computers running Windows XP Home Edition. This OS cannot be accessed remotely due to its limitations. Any connection attempt will result in the Access denied error.


Remote scanning via the SMB protocol

How it works

  1. Executable tniwinagent.exe (an agent) is uploaded to the administrator's shared folder admin$ on a remote computer.
  2. TSD's main unit connects to the Service manager on the target PC, installs the agent as a service and starts it.
  3. The agent collects the information and saves it into a compressed file. Then it stops.
  4. The main unit imports the resulting file into the Storage.
  5. The agent service is uninstalled, and the executable is deleted.

No traces of scanning will remain on the target PC after the scan is complete.

Requirements for the target machine

CPU 500 MHz
RAM 64 MB
HDD space 0.5 MB
TCP ports 139, 445
Services Server
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
Remote Registry
Resources ipc$
admin$
Protocols SMB
NetBIOS (for Windows NT4)
TCP/IP
Windows version
NT4 / 2000 / XP Pro, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2003/2008/2012(incl R2)/2016

Manual scanning

How it works

  1. Executable tniwinagent.exe (an agent) is copied to the target PC manually and run. Upon completion of its work, the agent creates a file containing the collected data.
  2. The created file is manually moved to the TSD Network storage.

 

Additionally

The agent can be run by a domain logon script, by the task scheduler or on Windows startup.

Command line parameters of the agent tniwinagent.exe:

  • /path:"\\server\share" allows to set a path to a folder where the data file will be placed;
  • /delay:XX specifies the gap in seconds between the agent's launch time and the start of the scan;
  • /overwrite overwrites the data file in case the target folder already contains its older version (otherwise, new files appended with (2), (3), etc. will be created after each scan).

Requirements for the target machine

CPU 500 MHz
RAM 64 MB
HDD space 0.5 MB
Services Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
Windows version XP Home/Pro, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2003/2008/2012(incl R2)/2016

 

 

Scanning overhead

All scanning methods require CPU time and execution of a variety of disk operations, which is why an insignificant loss of efficiency may occur while scanning a computer. Scanning usually takes 1-2 minutes.

Network traffic generated (on demand):

Method To remote computer
(upload)
From remote computer
(download)
SMB 0.31 MB 0.06 MB

Numbers in the table represent average values including service data size (i.e. packet headers, etc.).

 

Collected information

Operating system

  • Name, version, architecture, registered user, install date, country code, locale;
  • OS type, product key, suite, SKU, supply channel;
  • Internet Explorer version, DirectX version;
  • Etc.

Installed software

  • Name, publisher, version, install date and source, uninstall string;
  • For Microsoft Office: service pack, product ID, product key, supply channel.

 

Total Software Deployment

A tool to manage software deployment in your corporate network.