we use a really old image that literally has over 1000 applications installed. I am trying to find out a way to determine if those Very old apps are still used. I am hoping for some time of monitoring solution that will monitor for say 6 months and give a list of apps that are still used or more importantly those that are not used. On top of applications i would also like to check drivers epically printer drivers there are almost 200 printer drivers currently installed in the image.

We are also trying to rebuild a new image but the task is daunting to find out what people still need.

I am also open to other suggestions.

Thanks
War
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In one simple paragraph, you have outlined one of main reasons why large enterprises spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in implementing proper standard operating envionrments, packaging, distribution, and asset management practices (software and hardware).

Welcome to your new hell, lol.

Ok, enough dooms day saying :). There are a bunch of application metering tools out there that can monitor usage of any given applications (SMS, altiris, ect) though if I recall correctly, you typically have to specify which applications to monitor...not sure if that will help you or not since you're looking to monitor anything and everything running across all your systems. I can't think of a tool that would really do that for you, but maybe one of the guys here can think of one.

How large is your environment? Do you have any type of inventory tools that can tell you all apps installed on all your systems? Every environment I've been in with this issue has resulted in a terribly tedious manual process involving gathering all this data, parsing it, identifying apps to be removed and followed by end user verification of said removal...it's ugly, it's long...but can be rewarding...so long as new process are put in place so it doesn't happen again.

Good luck,
- J
Answered 01/18/2010 by: jcarri06
Senior Purple Belt

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We have Sms 2003 currently that could take an inventory, but as you say you have to manually enter all the exe you want to track. we also have Epolicy,hercules but i am not sure those can monitor applications.
Answered 01/18/2010 by: warzer
Senior Yellow Belt

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Take a look at MousTrax Domain Reporting Tool. It's a 2-script (VBS) tool which was designed to take hardware and software invenotory of a domain. It's biggest advantage is that it's free, its second biggest that it's quite nicely modularised so that you can tailor - and add to, of course, its functionality. I've used it at a couple of clients and never fail to be impressed.

No affiliation, etc., etc.
Answered 01/19/2010 by: VBScab
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It sounds to me that our screwed friend here is looking for a usage reporting tool, which I don't think (I could be wrong here, haven't used it personally) that the Domain Reporting Tool does.

At this point, you're really looking for an active monitoring solution. Many generic enterprise management tools have either a usage addon you can buy, or a built-in usage component, but if your applications are not standard, you're looking at a bunch of up-front work to get your exe's to monitor registered with whatever solution you end up using. I've personally used both the SCCM solution (Asset Intelligence) and the Bigfix solution (DSS SAM) and found Bigfix to be, in general, cheaper and better.

You don't specify what size shop you're using, or if you have a tool and/or the budget to purchase a new tool for enterprise management. But if you have some cash and little time, I would highly recommend implementing an enterprise management tool, or researching the one you have to see what they offer for license management (what you're looking for usually falls under licensing, even though you want to use it for a different purpose.)

If you have a ton of time and little cash, you might consider writing a service that monitors currently active executables and writes to a giant log/database. Such a script would be brutally time consuming to write and tailor to your environment, but its only price would be the opportunity cost of writing it.
Answered 01/19/2010 by: Jsaylor
Second Degree Blue Belt

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we are a goverment entity, and money is not an issue if it does what we need it to do. We are in the middle of ordering system center Config manager as an upgrade to sms 2003 but that is still a few months out. we have about 600 workstations using the old image i am worried about. but monitoring application in the future and on the new workstations (2000) would be nice to have. there are about 30 or so custom build apps and the rest are off the shelf in one way or another.

the Mousetrax scripts only seem to give a list of whats installed not if its used any more. I definatly am looking for an active monitor solution, but with out having to enter in everysingle exe that is on the machine.

Does anyone know if its possible to import a list of exe to track in sms or config manager? so that way i can use one of the inventory tools to export a list of exe then import in to sms for monitoring?

Thanks
War
Answered 01/19/2010 by: warzer
Senior Yellow Belt

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If you're running SMS 2003 SP3, you should look into Asset Intelligence first then. I recall it being an enormous mess to try and sort through all of the data, but it should at least be able to do what you want it to do.
Answered 01/20/2010 by: Jsaylor
Second Degree Blue Belt

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