Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a set of specifications from Microsoft for consolidating the management of devices and applications in a network from Windows computing systems. WMI provides users with information about the status of local or remote computer systems. It also supports such actions as the configuration of security settings, setting and changing system properties, setting and changing permissions for authorized users and user groups, assigning and changing drive labels, scheduling processes to run at specific times, backing up the object repository, and enabling or disabling error logging.
The next-generation of WMI is called Windows Management Infrastructure (MI). The MI application programming interface (API) contains the interfaces, enumerations, structures and unions developers need to create native WMI providers and clients. According to Microsoft, MI is fully compatible with previous versions of WMI, which means that if newer providers are written using the MI framework, they can be accessed using WMI scripts and applications.
Historically, WMI was the Microsoft implementation of Web Based Enterprise Management (WBEM), which is built on the Common Information Model (CIM), a computer industry standard for defining device and application characteristics so that system administrators and management programs can control devices and applications from multiple manufacturers or sources in the same way.