In Resource Explorer, the Hardware node is used to view the most recent hardware inventory information reported by Configuration Manager clients. This information can be used to determine the hardware installed on clients and specific information about the installed hardware itself.
The information Configuration Manager collects about client hardware inventory is determined through the use of a machine inventory reporting policy based on the contents of the SMS_def.mof file. The client inventory reporting policy is retrieved from the client's management point and automatically evaluated and applied during their normal machine policy polling interval. If the class level reporting property for a class is enabled (set to TRUE) in the SMS_def.mof, and at least one of the properties of the class has reporting enabled (set to TRUE), the data class corresponding the reporting class in the SMS_def.mof will be inventoried. After the inventory report from the client has been processed by the primary site server, the inventory results for the client will be viewable in Resource Explorer. If the reporting property is not enabled (set to FALSE) for a class or class property in the SMS_def.mof, it will not be inventoried or displayed in Resource Explorer.
Because hardware inventory is dependent on the data provided by hardware manufacturers, the data retrieved for some manufacturers may be different from the data retrieved for others. For example, if a client has two local hard drives and one hard drive manufacturer registers the hard drive serial number in the client's WMI repository while another manufacturer does not, you may see the serial number for the first hard drive in Resource Explorer while the second hard drive's serial number field will be empty.
Hardware inventory is also capable of inventorying installed software and registry keys on clients. For example, the Add or Remove Programs data for programs installed on clients is inventoried as part of hardware inventory process. This data is inventoried by reading the client registry and inventorying the uninstall registry key for installed programs.
To determine the most recent time that hardware inventory has been reported for a client you can review the Workstation Status details in Resource Explorer.