Memory trick to finding your laptops


I was working with a customer once and we were looking for a good way to separate laptops from desktops within Configuration Manager when we hit upon this little known “memory” trick that I wanted to share.

Often times people use the Win32_SystemEnclosure class and look up the chassis type.  While this is a good, and accurate, way to do it the fact that you have to parse all the possible outcomes to then group into “laptop” and “not laptop” is a little bit of a pain.  An alternative method that we found is to use the Win32_PhysicalMemory class instead.  In there is a property called FormFactor that can be put to use.  We found that a value of 12 would indicate a laptop.  12 means that the memory in the machine is SODIMM, a memory used almost (but not totally) exclusively by laptops.  While this isn’t as fool proof as the system enclosure, I suspect that it will work for most of you out there who are trying to differentiate laptops from desktops in your ConfigMgr inventory.

There is one downside, which is that the Win32_PhysicalMemory class is not collected by default as part of your hardware inventory.  Adding it is easy enough though, just modify your SMS_DEF.MOF and off you go.

Comments (5)

  1. cron22 says:

    I guess I need to learn how hardware inventory works.  I always thought that the description of a computer was all up to the manufacturer and not something that can be discovered in Windows.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great tip Michael!  The good news is that the Win32_PhysicalMemory class is collected by default in SCCM 2012.  This is the best way I have found (so far) and since none of our desktops have SODIMM this will work – at least for now!

    Thanks again,

    Ted Neubauer

  3. There is tons of stuff stored in WMI about Hardware.  The general problem is finding the right stuff and knowing where to look.  As a starting point take a look at my post about WBEMTEST: blogs.technet.com/…/wbemtest-your-easiest-gateway-into-wmi.aspx

  4. Emanuel, your point is well taken.  This is not a fool proof way to do things, which I hope folks realize. In the environments I have worked in it has been a clear differentiator, but that all may change with a new hardware addition to the line.

  5. Emanuel says:

    Very cool  trick, but…

    I thought what could be a clear differentiator between laptops and desktops, but hardware manufacturers make the line blurrier every day by shrinking the good old tower. Some of the AIO's these days use SODIMMs and 2.5" HDDs too. We'll get to a point where the only difference will be the description on the tag on the shelf.

    Anyway, nice hint, Mike.

    P.S. Look at the new HP Z1 (I know, this one hasn't got SODIMMs. Yet). The desktop as I knew it when I was young is no longer an ugly beige crate you could smuggle immigrants into.

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