The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Pet Peeve–Configuration Manager “Software” Inventory

This one has annoyed me for years…need to get on my soapbox for a minute.

Let’s talk about the difference between Hardware and Software Inventory in Configuration Manager. Hardware inventory collects data from WMI and the registry. Software inventory looks at file properties. Hardware inventory runs relatively quickly and isn’t very resource intensive. Software inventory can be very resource intensive if not configured correctly. At a high level, here is what is covered by the two:

Hardware Inventory:

  • Obviously info on system information – Proc, RAM, actual hardware
  • Add/Remove Programs information

Software Inventory:

  • File information
  • Can be configured to actually collect a copy of a file. (be VERY careful!)

I have talked to numerous clients who are looking at Software Inventory to try to gather data about what software is installed…which it does not gather at all. My pet peeve is not with the way that the system is designed…I think it is a very good design. My issue is with the name. Software inventory is NOT an inventory of software. It is an inventory of FILES. A much better name would be to call it what it actually is…File Inventory.

I have seen very few companies with a real need for information on specific files. Most are simply wanting to know what software is installed on which machines…which Hardware Inventory provides. Some valid uses that I have seen include:

  • Locating PST files in an effort to get rid of them.
  • Locating password dump files. (Company had experienced internal espionage issues.)

The key to the valid uses of Software inventory is that they had absolutely nothing to do with installed software. They were looking for files.


September 18, 2012 - Posted by | ConfigMgr, ConfigMgr 2012

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