Using WMI Instance Paths (Part 1)

by Apr 16, 2020

Generally, it is the best to move away from the old and deprecated Get-WmiObject command and instead use the modern and faster CIM cmdlets like Get-CimInstance. In most scenarios, they almost work the same.

In a few areas, though, the new CIM cmdlets lack information. One of the most important areas is the property “__Path” that was available with any object returned by Get-WmiObject. With Get-CimInstance, it is missing.

This path is the unique path to a WMI instance. Have a look – this command lists all instances of Win32_Share and returns the WMI paths to these instances:

PS> Get-WmiObject -Class Win32_Share | Select-Object -ExpandProperty __Path
\\DESKTOP-8DVNI43\root\cimv2:Win32_Share.Name="HP Universal Printing PCL 6"
\\DESKTOP-8DVNI43\root\cimv2:Win32_Share.Name="OKI PCL6 Class Driver 2"

Once you know the path to an instance, you can always easily access it via the [wmi] type:

PS> [wmi]'\\DESKTOP-8DVNI43\root\cimv2:Win32_Share.Name="HP Universal Printing PCL 6"'

Name                        Path                      Description 
----                        ----                      ----------- 
HP Universal Printing PCL 6 S/W Laser HP,LocalsplOnly S/W Laser HP   

This is extremely useful, and you can use existing WMI paths or construct your own. For example, to access the C$ share on a different server, by looking at the path you immediately identify the part that needs change:


The __Path property made “WMI explorers” like this one possible, too:

# get all WMI instances
Get-WmiObject -Class CIM_LogicalDevice | 
    # display propertes
    Select-Object -Property __Class, Name, Description, __Path | 
    # let user select some
    Out-GridView -Title 'Select one or more (hold CTRL)' -PassThru |
    # retrieve the full selected instance by path
    ForEach-Object {
        [wmi]$_.__Path | Select-Object * | Out-Default 

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