Troubleshoot many odd WMI issues with Microsoft’s WMI Diagnostic Utility

February 22, 2013 – 11:17 by in Tips Print Share No Comment

Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) is an important Windows framework which is used by many system components, as well as plenty of third-party applications, so if it’s ever damaged then you could experience all kinds of odd system problems. There’s no single place that you can check to see whether WMI is working, either, as it’s just too complex, and so Microsoft has developed a script called the WMI Diagnostic Utility to provide some in-depth troubleshooting information.

The tool is aimed at system administrators and other IT professionals, so if you’re a Windows novice then it’s probably best to stay away. If you’ve even just a moderate level of PC experience, though – you’ve no problems running the occasional tool at the command line, say – then it could be worth a look.

To run it, extract the contents of the download to somewhere safe, launch an elevated command prompt (right click cmd.exe, select “Run as administrator”), change to your new folder, and enter cscript wmidiag.vbs

And then wait. WMI really is massive, so the script has a lot to do, and it’ll take some time to gather the necessary information (four to five minutes on our test PC). The command window will update occasionally with details of the current test, though. And when it’s done, Notepad (or whatever else is your default for plain text files) will open to display the finished report.

The command window keeps you up-to-date on the script's progress

As you’re scanning the details, you’ll find a lot of very low-level, technical information which isn’t going to mean very much at all. We were told that our test PC had 1848 “WMI static instances”, but no “WMI dynamic instances”, for example. Is this normal, good, bad…? We don’t have the faintest idea.

Amongst all this, though, are plenty of nuggets which you may find useful. So we were told that our system had no WMI system or repository files missing, for instance: just knowing that may be helpful if you’re trying to diagnose some odd Windows problem.

The script also complained that a Registry setting wasn’t what it expected, telling us the precise key and what it’s value should be. Might that also be useful? We don’t know, but again it gives you a starting point. If something similar happened on your system, you could at least enter the key name at Google, see what it’s for, whether the setting might relate to any issues you’re having.

And the script, as well as the documentation which comes with it, also explains how you can fix some problems by running command line tools such as WMIDIAG.

This still isn’t a tool you’ll need to run very often. If your PC is taking an age to boot, say, you’ll be better off following the usual troubleshooting tips first (check your startup programs, your Windows services, clean and defrag your hard drive, and so on).

But, if you’re suffering from major Windows problems, all the regular solutions have failed and you can’t find an answer (or, maybe, you’ve just heard somewhere that your type of problem might be WMI-related), then it may help to run the WMI Diagnosis Utility as a last resort. The tool checks a lot of Windows components, and there’s just a chance that it could uncover something useful.

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