Introduction to the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC)

It’s quite possible you’ve never heard of the Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC), but this well kept secret command-line tool is immensely powerful for gathering information from Windows-based systems. Because it can be used both locally and over the network and is installed by default on most Windows-based systems since Windows 2000, it’s exceedingly useful for both penetration testing and forensics tasks.

If you’ve done any scripting for the Windows platform, you’ve probably bumped into the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) scripting API, which can be used to enumerate all kinds of information. The WMIC command-line tool is basically another front-end to access the WMI framework, with the added bonus that numerous queries are pre-defined. The pre-defined queries mean that you won’t necessarily need to spend any time learning the WMI Query Language (WQL), which is syntactically similar to SQL. WMIC is included in the default installation of Windows XP (excluding Home edition) and Windows Server 2003. Although WMIC is not included on Windows 2000, you can still use a Windows XP or Server 2003 client to remotely query Windows 2000 systems and receive similar results. The first time you run WMIC you’ll see a message that WMIC is being installed, but no media is required for installation, nor will anything appear in the Add/Remove Programs list.

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