How to find various machine-level system information with C# .NET

The Environment class holds a range of properties that help you describe the system your app is running on. Here come some examples with inline comments:

//returns true on my PC as it is a 64-bit OS
bool is64BitOperatingSystem = Environment.Is64BitOperatingSystem;
//returns the machine name, in my case ANDRAS1
string machineName = Environment.MachineName;
			
//returns information about the operating system version, build, major, minor etc.
OperatingSystem os = Environment.OSVersion;
//returns the platform id as an enumeration, in my case it's Win32NT
PlatformID platform = os.Platform;			
//the currently installed service pack, Service Pack 1 in my case
string servicePack = os.ServicePack;
//the toString version of the OS, this is "Microsoft Windows NT 6.1.7601 Service Pack 1" on this PC
string version = os.VersionString;

//I have 4 processors on this PC
int processorCount = Environment.ProcessorCount;

//returns 2 logical drives: C: and D:
string[] logicalDrives = Environment.GetLogicalDrives();

//this is how to find all environmental variables of the system and iterate through them
IDictionary envVars = Environment.GetEnvironmentVariables();
foreach (string key in envVars.Keys)
{
	//e.g. the JAVA_HOME env.var is set to "C:\Progra~1\Java\jdk1.7.0_51\"
	Debug.WriteLine(string.Concat("key: ", key, ": ", envVars[key]));
}

//retrieve the current CLR version, in my case it's "4.0.30319.18444"
Version clrVersion = Environment.Version;

View all posts related to diagnostics here.

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Getting notified by a Windows process change in C# .NET

In this post we saw an example of using the ManagementEventWatcher object and and EventQuery query. The SQL-like query was used to subscribe to a WMI – Windows Management Instrumentation – level event, namely a change in the status of a Windows service. I won’t repeat the explanation here again concerning the techniques used. So if this is new to you then consult that post, the code is very similar.

In this post we’ll see how to get notified by the creation of a new Windows process. This can be as simple as starting up Notepad. A Windows process is represented by the Win32_Process WMI class which will be used in the query. We’ll take a slightly different approach and use the WqlEventQuery object which derives from EventQuery.

Consider the following code:

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Creating a new performance counter on Windows with C# .NET

In this post we saw how to list all performance counter categories and the performance counters within each category available on Windows. The last time I checked there were a little more than 27500 counters and 148 categories available on my local PC. That’s quite a lot and will probably cover most diagnostic needs where performance counters are involved in a bottleneck investigation.

However, at times you might want to create your own performance counter. The System.Diagnostics library provides the necessary objects. Here’s how you can create a new performance counter category and a counter within that category:

string categoryName = "Football";
			
if (!PerformanceCounterCategory.Exists(categoryName))
{
	string firstCounterName = "Goals scored";
	string firstCounterHelp = "Goals scored live update";
	string categoryHelp = "Football related real time statistics";
				
	PerformanceCounterCategory customCategory = new PerformanceCounterCategory(categoryName);
	PerformanceCounterCategory.Create(categoryName, categoryHelp, PerformanceCounterCategoryType.SingleInstance, firstCounterName, firstCounterHelp);
}

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Reading and clearing a Windows Event Log with C# .NET

In this post we saw how to create a custom event log and here how to the write to the event log. We’ll briefly look at how to read the entries from an event log and how to clear them.

First let’s create an event log and put some messages to it:

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Writing to the Windows Event Log with C# .NET

In this post we saw how to create and delete event logs. We’ve also seen a couple examples of writing to the event log. Here come some more examples.

Say you want to send a warning message to the System log:

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Creating and deleting event logs with C# .NET

The Windows event viewer contains a lot of useful information on what happens on the system:

Windows event viewer

Windows will by default write a lot of information here at differing levels: information, warning, failure, success and error. You can also write to the event log, create new logs and delete them if the code has the EventLogPermission permission. However, bear in mind that it’s quite resource intensive to write to the event logs. So don’t use it for general logging purposes to record what’s happening in your application. Use it to record major but infrequent events like shutdown, severe failure, start-up or any out-of-the-ordinary cases.

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Finding all WMI class names within a WMI namespace with .NET C#

In this post we saw an example of using WMI objects such as ConnectionOptions, ObjectQuery and ManagementObjectSearcher to enumerate all local drives on a computer. Recall the SQL-like query we used:

ObjectQuery objectQuery = new ObjectQuery("SELECT Size, Name FROM Win32_LogicalDisk where DriveType=3");

We’ll now see a technique to list all WMI classes within a WMI namespace. First we get hold of the WMI namespaces:

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