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Microsoft utility helps admins diagnose WMI services

Microsoft created its WMI Diagnosis Utility to help experienced administrators learn about possible problems in a system's Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) setup.

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is a subsystem in Windows that lets you programmatically access a good deal of information about the system or running applications. But WMI is a fairly esoteric system, and from the outside, it's hard to determine if it's running correctly. If something goes wrong with WMI, the symptoms can be hard to trace; what may look like a problem in another part of the system entirely may in fact be a WMI problem.

Microsoft created its WMI Diagnosis Utility to help an experienced administrator learn about possible problems in a system's WMI setup. It consists of a VBScript program and a collection of data files in Excel spreadsheet format, which the admin can use to check the WMI namespaces in the system he is scanning against the expected results.

When you run the script, it checks every possible namespace that it has data for and logs the results to a very long and detailed results file. For this reason, the tool really isn't for use by anyone except experts who know how to interpret the results.

However, whenever it logs an error (look for the string !!ERROR in the log), it will suggest a fix for any problems it encounters (assuming one is available). The most critical errors that indicate a functional problem with WMI will be logged prominently and will return a "Fail" code. Less critical errors will be logged but without causing the entire analysis to be logged as a failure.

There are a few ways to cut through the thicket of data that the script returns and get the most relevant bits of information. For instance, if you only want to scan a given namespace, you can pass the basenamespace parameter to the script. This limits the script's scanning to the namespace in question and will speed things up if you know you're experiencing problems with a given namespace. More details on how to narrow the scope of the scan or find more precise results are listed in the script's documentation. Which, as you might guess, is extremely detailed..

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators.

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