WMI documentation in VB.NET

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WMI documentation
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11.6 WMI documentation
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I mentioned earlier that a search engine is often the best way to find whatever WMI documentation exists. The Win32_ classes are quite well documented in Microsoft s MSDN Library site, but a search engine remains the easiest way to land on the right page. I enter the name of the class, and the first hit in Google or Bing is usually a page on http://msdn.microsoft.com. Figure 11.3 shows what a typical documentation page looks like. Here are some tips for using these documentation pages:
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In the table of contents on the left side, click WMI Classes or Win32 Classes to go up a level to the full list of classes. In the main documentation page, methods (if any exist) are listed first, with links to each method s individual documentation page. 13 of this book will contain more information on interpreting the method documentation. Properties are listed next. Read these carefully! Sometimes Microsoft adds properties to a class in newer versions of Windows, meaning the property might not exist in older versions. Other times, different versions of Windows use properties differently, such as the Win32_Processor class. That class changed
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Finding WMI documentation on the MSDN Library website
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between Windows XP and Windows Vista to streamline the way in which the class represents processor sockets and cores. At the end is a list of the operating systems that support the class. Newer versions of Windows contain more classes, so always check this list to make sure the class will exist on the version of Windows you need to use. Microsoft isn t always vigilant about keeping this list up to date, but it s a good guideline to start with.
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11.7 Common points of confusion
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Because I ve spent the last ten chapters telling you to use the built-in PowerShell help, you might be inclined to run something like help win32_service right inside PowerShell. Sadly, that won t work. The operating system itself doesn t contain any WMI documentation, so PowerShell s help function wouldn t have anyplace to go look for it. You re stuck with whatever help you can find online and much of that will be from other admins and programmers, not from Microsoft. Search for root\SecurityCenter, for example, and you won t find a single Microsoft documentation page in the results, which is unfortunate. The different filter criteria that WMI uses are also common points of confusion. You should always provide a filter whenever you need anything other than all of the available instances, but you ll have to memorize that different filter syntax. The filter syntax is passed along to WMI and not processed by PowerShell, which is why you have to use the syntax that WMI prefers instead of the native PowerShell operators. Part of what makes WMI confusing for some of my classroom students is that, although PowerShell provides an easy way to query information from WMI, WMI isn t really integrated into PowerShell. WMI is an external technology, and it has its own rules and its own way of working. Although you can get to it from within PowerShell, it won t behave exactly like other cmdlets and techniques that are integrated completely within PowerShell. Keep that in mind, and watch for little points of confusion that result from WMI s individuality.
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11.8 Lab
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Take some time to complete the following hands-on tasks. Much of the difficulty in using WMI is in finding the class that will give you the information you need, so much of the time you ll spend in this lab will be tracking down the right class. Try to think in keywords (I ll provide some hints), and use a WMI explorer to quickly search through classes (the WMI explorer I use lists classes alphabetically, making it easier for me to validate my guesses).
What class could be used to view the current IP address of a network adapter Does the class have any methods that could be used to release a DHCP lease (Hint: Network is a good keyword here.) Create a table that shows a computer name, operating system build number, operating system description (caption), and BIOS serial number. (Hint: You ve
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