Absolute Manage – Adding Dell Warranty to Inventory

by on January 23, 2011 » Add the first comment.

Update: As of Absolute Manage 6.0, this is no longer needed. AM 6 now includes this functionality.

Having warranty information on the machines you manage is important to have as part of your PC life-cycle management. It makes it easier to plan future PC replacements, assess risk and possibly know when to purchase another extension for warranties (unlike Apple, Dell has more flexible extended warranty options).Out of the box, Absolute Manage only gathers warranty data for Apple products. This is likely because of the vast number of PC manufacturers, and not all the major vendors provide a way to systematically retrieve warranty data (Dell and Apple do). To be fair, most other PC life-cycle management products don’t collect any warranty data. For example, to collect warranty data with LANDesk, you have to purchase an expensive 3rd party add-on called Data Translations Services from Managed Planet. A couple years ago, I posted a way to add Apple warranty data to LANDesk. This Dell script could potentially be adapted to also work with LANDesk by using external unmodeled data.

A high level overview includes:

  1. Create a VBScript
  2. Create and deploy script as a software package
  3. Create “Custom Information Items” so results are added to inventory

Save The Script

I knew I was going to be in over my head if I tried to write a VBScript or Power Shell script myself, so searched online for an existing one instead. I fully expected to have to modify someone’s existing script, but I lucked out and found one that worked with no modifications (other than adapting for Dell’s new fields which this site updated with my mods). The script I’m using can be found at here at iBoyd.

Save the contents of that script to a text file and name it something like DellWarrantyGrabber.vbs.

Create Software Package

In Absolute Manage, create a new software package (I’m assuming you know how to do this already, if not, see the manual) and use your DellWarrantyGrabber.vbs as the payload. Make sure you set the platform as “Windows”, set the Installation User Context as “System account user” and you can also configure the “Installation Conditions” with the following settings:

The key name above is “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Days Left”. Save the package. Install the package to a couple PC’s and verify the results appear in the registry in “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\”. The results should look something like:

Once you are sure the package is working, you can assign it to the “All PC’s” group if you know you have all Dell’s (keep in mind the VM’s on your Macs are considered PC’s). Or create a smart group that only includes Dell’s and assign to that (probably safer).

Custom Information Items

CIF’s are an extremely handy way to add additional data to inventory. Data can either be manual (entered from the admin console) or dynamic (retrieved from each machine). There are 6 bits of information the script grabbed from Dell. You might not need to report on all 6. For instance, “Provider” and “Warranty Extension Notice” probably will not be of much use, but who knows. I used all 6 just for the sake of completeness.

NOTE: I’m assuming you know how to create a Custom Information Item. If not, see the manual. Or you can download these I exported.

All 6 CIF’s will be identical, the only difference being the registry key being read. Below is an example of one:

Absolute Manage custom information item
The 6 names (you can make the names anything you want) and registry paths you will enter into each CIF is:

Dell Warranty Days Left – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Days Left
Dell Warranty Description – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Description
Dell Warranty End Date – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\End Date
Dell Warranty Extension Notice – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Warranty Extension Notice
Dell Warranty Provider – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Provider
Dell Warranty Start Date – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\DellWarrantyInfo\1\Start Date

You can duplicate the first one you make to save some clicks.

A note about dates

The “End Date” you would normally want to save with a “Data Type” of “Date” for the purpose of reporting. However, I was unable to get this to work. I reported it to Absolute’s support and they found that it is a bug that only occurs when running a DOS/VBScript with the Windows agent. They later also replied that the date has to be in ISO format for dynamic info items, e.g. 2010-12-30T05:25:13Z but I have not taken the time to modify the script to handle this. If you make the change, please share by commenting below.

The Result

I hope you’re able to put this to some good use. Please let me know if anything is not clear. Enjoy!

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