Easy Answers to Hard Questions: Online/Offline


Many of the requests which are made to a Systems Administrator (apart from the usual hygiene stuff) are much easier to fulfill than you may realize.

It seems your boss would like to know how many computers are currently online. Let’s not ask why she wants to know this as we’ve stopped wondering things like that long ago.

Boss: “How many computers do we have in the company?”

SysAdmin: “Oh, that’s easy” you say and you simply look at the main window in Admin Arsenal and read off the count of computer objects that is displayed in the status bar at the bottom of the window. “We have 233 computers.”

Boss: “How many of those computers are being used right now?”

SysAdmin: “Well, let me see how many are online.”

You simply create a new Dynamic Collection and in the filter drop down field you select “Online Status” equals “Yes” and then close the Collection definition window. Selecting the new Collection from the main window now shows only machines that are online.

SysAdmin: “It looks like 191 computers are currently online.”

The online / offline status is determined by the Admin Arsenal Heartbeat feature. To determine the online status of remote machines the Admin Arsenal console will periodically (as defined in your Preferences window) send a ping (along with a few other minor WMI queries) to all computers in your environment. In order for machines to show the correct online/offline status, each machine needs to be able to respond to ICMP Echo Requests. If your environment blocks internal ICMP requests then you can enable them via GPO and the Windows Firewall.

The Heartbeat feature is configured using the Preferences command under the Admin Arsenal menu from the main window.