Uploading inventory information
The inventory system uses the FastTrack Scripting Host engine to collect hardware, software and
user information and you can add your own script-based custom information.
Once licensed, you can access your inventory by selecting "My Inventory" under "My Account"
in the top-menu or from the "My Cloud Inventory" button in the script editor. There is no additional cost using FastTrack Inventory as long
as your executing computers are licensed and within maintenance period.
To upload inventory information, all you have to do is to issue the UploadInventory command
from any FastTrack Scripting Host script. If you are using FastTrack Logon for logon scripts,
the most obvious way would therefore be to just include the UploadInventory command in for example your postlogon.fsh file and that's it.
You can also deploy an MSI file that you can generate with a couple of mouse-clicks in the script editor.
This MSI is effectively just a single-line UploadInventory command script wrapped as a daily random time triggered scheduled task on target computers.
The UploadInventory command will upload between 500 and 2500 bytes of data on a typical computer in encrypted format.
The upload only happens when information is actually changed, which is important to know, as this means that you
do not have to be concerned that the command is called too often from your scripts in relation to network
traffic. It is not necessary to identify yourself for uploading, because your data are automatically identified from your license or trial key.
FastTrack Scripting Host 8.4.1 will be released in May 2013. With this version, you can choose between cloud based or an internal web server and database.
FastTrack Inventory demonstration
Before you read on, you can press play on the video below to watch Senior Technical Writer Steve Dodson from Binary Research International
walk you through the basics of FastTrack Inventory. The video demonstrates the essentials presented on this page.
Generating a Windows Installer package
If adding the UploadInventory command to your logon script does not cover your needs,
another option is to deploy through group policies. For this an msi file is required.
If you are using version 8.1 or newer, you can simply click the "Compile Inventory MSI" button
in the script editor as shown below, and you have the needed msi file. If you are using an older version,
generating an msi or exe file is explained further down under custom information upload.
Once you have your msi file, you can deploy it through group policies, as demonstrated on the
FastTrack Inventory deployment page
. On that page you
will also find alternative deployment options. If you use the exe generation feature, it will do a one-time inventory,
whereas the msi option will install a scheduled task on the target computer to upload data daily.
Note that when you deploy an MSI, it will intentionally not do an initial upload on install, because this would
cause all computers to upload more or less at the same time. If you need to test that everything works as intended,
you can go to the scheduled task list on one or more computers and manually start the scheduled task to verify the
data upload as shown below.
Using the UploadInventory command
In the example below, the UploadInventory command is simply added to the existing FastTrack Scripting Host logon script.
It is safe to always issue the command, as the UploadInventory command will detect if there are changes in what
would be uploaded. If there are no changes, nothing happens.
The information uploaded is only between 500 and 2500 bytes of data on a typical computer and happens only when information is changed.
In real life this means that the upload will happen only a couple of times a month per computer.
However, if you do have concerns about how often information is uploaded, the command can be controlled through normal script logic. For example
if you want to force the upload to happen only once a month, then you could simply use the OnceAMonth condition to control
If OnceAMonth Then UploadInventory
Viewing the inventory
To view the uploaded inventory data, simply log on to your account
go directly to the URL https://www.fasttrackscript.com/Inventory
You must logon with the credentials that you received when you purchased your licenses. If you are not sure what your password is,
enter the email address used for purchasing the licenses and click on the "Forgot My Password" button.
Once logged on, you can see and filter your own data, as you could at the Demo Center demo
(which uses data from the fictitious company Acme Corporation). We will use the demo center data here as an example;
when you log on to your
inventory, you will of course see your own uploaded data.
The inventory is basically divided into three categories: Hardware/user inventory, software inventory and events. Events are available under
the "Event Log" tabs on the overview and client detail pages, and would be the equivalent
of the event log on a client, except that events are logged online. When the commands UploadEvent, UploadWarning and UploadError are used in
your scripts, the event is uploaded and you will be able to see all and filter events across all computers. If you have an important event like a server
backup script or an automated client operating system installation, it could be relevant to log results online, to be able to get an overview of
important events at all times from anywhere.
The software inventory part is a list of software that is installed on all clients. This will allow you to quickly spot illegal software and
will also allow you to get specific numbers of installations to verify if you are sufficiently licensed. Installed applications are aggregated
across all computers on the main "Software View" and "Software Overview" tabs and a list of installed applications on a specific client is
available on the client detail "Installed Software" tab.
Finally we have the hardware/user inventory. The "Client Overview" tab will give you hardware information that is typically interesting
aggregated in 3D pie charts. You can copy those to your own documents by right-clicking and saving the image files.
For example the split of operating system versions and bits looks like this for the fictitious company Acme Corporation at the demo center:
The "Client View" tab is used to show and filter clients, which you would typically use to identify who has which computer or which computers
meet certain hardware criteria. The filter function here can also be used to filter across hardware and software. You can select hardware and
user criteria and you can also combine these criteria with software information like a specific version of certain software that must be installed.
All filters are "and" filters meaning that all selected criteria must be met to display a client.
In the example below, the demo center data was filtered to show computers that are eligible for a hardware change. The criteria
used are all computers that have a 1.8 GHz or slower CPU and 50 GB or less of free disk space. Seven computers fit these criteria:
To view more-detailed information about a specific computer, click the magnifying glass to the right.
Clicking the details button on ACMEPC0005 (see above) will bring up the detail view (only the first four windows are shown here):
Adding custom information
If you take another look at the script editor screenshot at the top, you can see that it is
possible to feed the UploadInventory a "List Of Custom Values". It is likely that you have
some information from for example your Active Directory that you would like to pair with the
web inventory. This is what the "List Of Custom Values" is for. You can use the built-in
functions or you can create your own script logic to add custom information to the inventory. For example:
If the "Description" properties are indeed very descriptive for both users and computers in
organization, you can just upload these as custom values. In the case above, we are
uploading the description of the computer and user and the department of the user. Once this is
executed on the client computers, the information is shown at the bottom of the detail views as custom information:
The caption of custom information is, by default, "Custom info" followed by a sequential number. To
change the captions to reflect the custom information sent by your
uploading script, the "Edit my custom property name mappings"
link can be clicked to change the captions. Once this is done and saved, the view could now look like this:
The custom mappings will also take effect in the filter list.
Our second custom field is now mapped to a caption named "Department". If we go back to the
inventory list and click the filtered search, we will find that the mapped "Department" is now a filter value:
If you need to execute your inventory as a recurring scheduled task instead of just including
it in your logon script or similar, you can simply save a script with the UploadInventory
command and then hit the "Compile Script To Msi File" button in the script editor.
You must remember to select the scheduled task option, when generating the msi file.
You can then deploy the msi file through group policies, as demonstrated on the
FastTrack vs SkyBox
A common confusion about FastTrack Inventory is the exact relationship between FastTrack Scripting
Host and SkyBox. Here is an explanation of the two.
SkyBox is a light-weight configuration-less version of FastTrack Inventory that you get on
www.skyboxinventory.com. It does not allow you to
include custom information or use advanced features like software metering or online event log, but you
do get a basic hardware and software inventory that is quick to set up.
SkyBox uses software called "SkyBox Client" to upload data instead of using the FastTrack Scripting Host
commands explained on this page. Your inventory is viewed by logging on to a web account on
SkyBox is for companies that are looking only for a basic inventory with no need for any
FastTrack Scripting Host features.
FastTrack Inventory is the deluxe inventory that gives you everything and you can upgrade your
SkyBox license to a FastTrack Scripting Host one. The term FastTrack Inventory means the combination of using
FastTrack Scripting Host commands to upload data instead of the SkyBox Client, combined with a SkyBox web account
to view the collected data. Your FastTrack Scripting Host license automatically gives you a free SkyBox web
account at www.skyboxinventory.com, which you
are automatically redirected to, if you click "My Inventory" under "My Account" on this web site.
FastTrack Inventory is free, if you are licensed with FastTrack Scripting Host and because it replaces the SkyBox Client, you have
all the advanced features such as including custom information.