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Reading computer names from a file

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 have more than a few server names to check, or if you want to always check the same servers, storing the names in a file is easier and more accurate than typing them in each time you run the script.

If you'll always run the script from the same computer, you can store the server names in a file called servers.txt (one server name to each line), then call that file from the script. To read the file, use a VBScript COM object called a File System Object (FSO) that can represent files or folders; VBScript doesn't know how to interact with files, but it knows how to interact with COM objects. In this case, the FSO will point to and read from the text file in which you've stored your server names. The text file's location shouldn't change, so you can hard-code it into the script. However, you must specify that you want the script to read a file.

Before you can work with the string of names in the file, you must put the names into an array. In their simplest and most common form, arrays are one-column tables of data. The rows in arrays are identified by index numbers from zero through the final row number -- the upper bound of the array. You can create an array and populate it manually, or you can create an array and populate it from a chunk of existing data. To make the array from existing data, use the Split function to divide the sComputerName variable's content into chunks, using the carriage return/line feed (vbCrLf) as the delimiter. The code that converts the contents of sComputerName into the aComputers array looks like this:

aComputers = Split(sComputerName, vbCrLf)

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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