When enabled, the Configuration Manager 2007 hardware inventory client agent automatically collects detailed information about the hardware characteristics of clients in a Configuration Manager 2007 site. By using this feature, you can collect a wide variety of information about client computers, such as memory, operating system, and peripherals for client computers.

The hardware inventory feature collects data from client computers by querying several data stores on client computers, such as the registry and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) namespace classes. The hardware inventory client agent does not query for all possible WMI classes, but it does provide the ability to report on approximately 1,500 hardware properties from almost 100 different WMI classes by default.

The information queried by the hardware inventory agent can be modified to inventory custom inventory needs for your organization. For more information about modifying the default information collected by the hardware inventory client agent, see How to Extend Hardware Inventory.

The initial client hardware inventory collected by the hardware inventory client agent is a full inventory collection based on the reporting requirements specified in the site's SMS_def.mof file stored on the primary site server. The initial full inventory establishes a baseline for future inventory collections.

Subsequent inventory collections are performed at the schedule specified in the hardware inventory client agent properties. Typically, only information that has changed, or deltas, will be collected from the initial baseline inventory report created during the first full inventory. Delta inventory reporting greatly reduces network traffic generated by client inventory reporting because the delta inventory data is usually only a fraction of a complete inventory collection.

Client hardware inventory information can be queried to build collections. For example, you could create a collection of all computers that have Pentium 4 processors and at least 512 MB of RAM.

With every hardware inventory collection, Configuration Manager 2007 updates the site database with the current inventory information while keeping a history of previous inventory information collected from the client. Both the current and historical hardware inventory information for a client can be viewed using Resource Explorer. For more information about Resource Explorer, see About Resource Explorer.

The hardware inventory client agent also collects some basic information about installed client software. You can collect information about the applications installed on clients and registered in the client's registry. However, by using software inventory, you can collect a significantly larger amount of information about client software.

To enable and configure hardware inventory client agent settings for a site, you use the general tab of the hardware inventory client agent properties. For more information about enabling and configuring the hardware inventory client agent, see How to Configure Hardware Inventory for a Site.

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