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Taking computer names as arguments

You can save substantial time by running a script that connects to remote computers by name or as part of an Active Directory domain. This month's scripting column explains how.

If you want to specify just a few server names at a time, the simplest approach is to have the script prompt you to supply those names as arguments. (NetBIOS names should be fine in a simple domain structure, but you'll need fully qualified domain names, or FQDNs, for more complex structures that may have duplicate names.)

The same rules about arguments apply here as well: Any collection of characters separated by any number of spaces is a separate argument; and an argument that contains a space must be within quotation marks. To refer to individual arguments in the Arguments collection you'll need to refer to them by their index number or, if using named arguments, by their name. (Using named arguments would be useful if the script is going to accept more than just the remote computer's name as an argument -- say, if you want to specify both the name of the server and the service to check for.)

Once you've got the computer name as an argument, then you can plug it into the script anywhere that the name of the computer would go. How you do that depends on the structure of the script you're running. If you depend on Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) -- for example, you're collecting performance data -- then it makes sense to use WMI to connect to the remote computer. But scripts using only Wscript objects can use the Wsh Controller object.

Scripting School: Connect scripts to remote computers

  Taking computer names as arguments
  Using WSH Controller
  Reading computer names from a file
  Reading computer names from Active Directory
  Tips for remote script execution

Read all of Christa's scripting columns:
April 2005: Beginner's guide to scripting
May 2005: It's time to increase your scripting expertise
June 2005: Connect users to network resources
July 2005: More on connecting to network resources
August 2005: Find objects with Windows Scripting Host
September 2005: Windows Script Host arguments
October 2005: Scripting School: Turning the environment with WshShell

Christa Anderson
When Christa Anderson began working with Windows Server operating systems in 1992, she became increasingly interested in finding more efficient and flexible ways of performing routine tasks. Christa has written extensively about administrative scripting and taught technical sessions on the subject at conferences such as Comdex and CeBIT, helping people who had never done any scripting to write their own scripts in half a day. In addition to her interest in scripting Windows management, Christa is an authority on server-based computing and the program manager for Terminal Services licensing in Longhorn. If you have a scripting question for Christa, please e-mail her at

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