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Retrieving Hardware Information in C#

Introduction

This article will explain how to use WMI to access hardware information and properties. It will not set properties of hardware, only retrieve information about it.

Getting Started

To get started, start up a new C# project, either a console app or a window, it doesn't really matter. I am going to use a Console App for this article.

Once all that loads up, we need to add a reference to the Windows Management DLL file. To do that, just go to Project->Add Reference. Then scroll down the .NET tab until you find System.Management. Double click on that and it should appear in the lower list box. Click OK. This makes the DLL available for use in the project.

As a side note, this is the way to use any DLL that was made for use in C#, for instance, if you make a DLL yourself and want to use it in another program. This is exactly how to do it. Just add the reference and then add the using 'namespace' directive at the top of your code where namespace is the namespace name in your DLL.

Using System.Management

I always make sure and include the 2 using directives for the management DLL at the beginning of any code I wish to use this for.

using System.Management;
using System.Management.Instrumentation;

Getting the Info

Now, we are ready to get the info. It is a weird process but I will try and explain it the best way I can.

The first step is to set up the query. It is just like a SQL query to a DB.

ManagementObjectSearcher searcher = 
  new ManagementObjectSearcher("Select Name from Win32_CDROMDrive");

That code creates a new ManagementObjectSearcher. The constructor has a few overloads but I always seem to use just this one, which takes a SQL style query into one of the WMI libraries. The rest of the different WMI libraries can be found on Microsoft's site. I'll put the link below.

So now, we have instantiated the query. We now want to go through and get our data. This is a rather simple process. Will will use the foreach operator to go through each of the CD-ROM drives that our query returned.

foreach(ManagementObject cdrom in searcher.Get())
{
   Console.WriteLine("CD-ROM Name: {0}", cdrom.GetPropertyValue("Name"));
}

The GetPropertyValue() function takes the name of the property you wish to access in String format. The only requirement is that you must have included this name in the query from earlier otherwise it will throw an exception.

Sample Program

This is what your final project should look like when you are done. Don't forget to add that reference to System.Management DLL.

using System;
using System.Management;
using System.Management.Instrumentation;

namespace ConsoleApplication1
{
   class Class1
   {
      [STAThread]
      static void Main(string[] args)
      {
         ManagementObjectSearcher searcher = 
           new ManagementObjectSearcher("Select Name from Win32_CDROMDrive");
         foreach(ManagementObject cdrom in searcher.Get())
         {
            Console.WriteLine("Name: {0}\n", 
                          cdrom.GetPropertyValue("Name"));
         }
      }
   }
}

Other WMI

There are tons of properties that can be accessed although some of them don't seem to work sometimes depending on what hardware you have and what not. Check out the main site for all of these:

Some of them are actually really helpful. Just make sure to throw in some exception handling. Otherwise you are in for some real pain.


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