Posts by Erwin Richard

    About octoscan.config File
    On start Octoscan2 reads a configuration file named octoscan.config in the program directory.

    General Syntax
    Configuration parameters can be set by using the follwing syntax:
    ParameterName = value
    Boolean values can be specified as 'true/false' 'yes/no' or '1/0'

    Parameters can be set on conditions:
    if condition
    ParameterName1 = value1
    ParameterName2 = value2

    Comments start with a #

    For a full list of supported parameters and conditions, see the OctoSAM Windows Scan online Documentation.

    Sample Configurations

    # basic configuration file example
    # write generated .scan file to central shared folder 
    # enable metering (Default = false)
    Metering = true

    Depending on your GPO structure, you may want to turn off metering for server systems:

    # meter all systems
    Metering = true
    if server
        #except servers
        Metering = false

    You may choose not to report hardware and configuration when Octoscan2.exe is started in a remote session:

    # meter all systems
    Metering = true
    if remotesession
        # do not deliver hardware (wmi) scan if the scanner is called from a remote terminal session
        ScanHardwareInfo = false

    Use regular expressions for pattern matching:

    # do not scan users that start with adm- (our administrators)
    # pattern matching uses regular expressions
    if match user adm-.*
        Scan = false

    Conditions can be nested:

    # do not scan if a user called adm-* logs in on a server via terminal services
    if server
        if remotesession
            if match user adm-.*
                Scan = false

    Test Configuration File Syntax
    To test a configuration file you can start octoscan2 with command-line parameters /show /keep.
    You will get notifications about configuration statements that octoscan did not understand.

    Octoscan2 /show /keep

    Test Configuration Logic
    Octoscan2 reports the setting of all configuration parameters in the generated .scan file.
    To test your configuration, run Octodump on the generated .scan file. In section octoscan_config you will see all configuration parameters with their values after the configuration file has been processed. Note that the 2 Parameters DoHardwareScan and DoSoftwareScan cannot be set explicitely, they are evalutated by the configuration parser on various conditions for the current scan.

    OK, you have successfully installed Octoscan2 to a central network share and are running it via GPO in your environment.
    But what if you want to update the scanner software to take advantage of the newest features? Windows does not let you overwrite an .exe file as long as a copy is running somewhere. Also, starting with Windows Server 2003, you can no longer rename an .EXE file while the program is running.

    A clean way is of course to change the GPO to point to new location, but that is sometimes not desirable because you may have many GPO and/or you may not have the permissions to change the GPO.

    Alternative 1: Close open file handles

    A straightforward method is to close open files on the share, and then just replace the .exe. For this, you need to have Administrator rights on the server.
    To my experience, scanners already started will continue to run. If some fail, there is not much damage, since the .scan file gets written right at the start of the scan. Worst case you lose some metering data. Anyway, it's a good idea to do this during off-peak hours.

    Since OctoSAM 1.9.3, there is a script to close open handles to Octoscan2.exe only. The script must be run as Administrator.


    Alternative 2: Use emacs style update

    The second method is a bit more elaborate. It is inspired by the way the legendary Unix editor emacs does it. This method relies on support built-in to the Octoscan2.exe program. Here's how it works:

    • Copy the new Octoscan2.exe to the central share but name it Octoscan2-1.exe.
    • The GPO will still start Octoscan2.exe but at the start, Octoscan2.exe will detect that there is a newer Octoscan2-1.exe and will replace itself with the newer executable.
    • After a couple of days, there will be no long-running processes started from Octoscan2.exe, which allows you to replace the original Octoscan2.exe.
    • Now, on start Octoscan2.exe will detect, that Octoscan2-1.exe is older or the same date and will just keep on running. After another few days, you will have no running instances of Octoscan2-1.exe on your network and you can safely delete the file.

    Octoscan2 allows up to 3 updates (Octoscan2-1.exe, Octoscan2-2.exe and Octoscan2-3.exe) to be placed in the same share, but it's a good Idea to clean up after update-1 or update-2.

    NB: This method does not work when you start the scanner with psexec on a remote machine. In this case, configure a separate folder with Octoscan2.exe and octoscan.config for psexec invocation.

    These are the recommended and tested settings for simple Installations. Complex sites may have different requirements or standards.
    When you want to start the OctoSAM Inventory scanner from a central share, you have to make sure that:

    The 'Downloaded from the Internet' Flag on Octoscan2.exe is not set

    Depending on how you downloaded OctoSAM software, octoscan2.exe might be marked as 'downloaded from the Internet'. Make sure to clear that flag when you copy Octoscan2.exe to the central network share.

    The Central Share is in the Intranet Zone

    If the central share is not already in the "Local intranet" zone, add the server to the Intranet Zone through Group Policy. In the example, all servers within the domain are in the local intranet zone.

    Note that these GPO settings are NOT applied on servers where Internet Explorer is in 'Enhanced Security Mode'.


    Also make sure that all parts of the path to Octoscan2.exe are readable. Bypass Traverse Checking is not supported for the start of Octoscan2 due to a bug in the Windows 7 TCP stack.

    Start the Scanner Through GPO

    There are several ways where to configure the scanner start. Recommended is through User Policy -> Administrative Templates -> System -> Logon ->Run these programs at Logon

    Release 1.8.10 centers around usage metering on Terminalserver / Citrix. A new immediate metering mode has been added to the inventory scanner to accurately report software usage in terminal server farms.

    The machine object has been extended with new fields for easier querying of hardware related information.

    All 3rd party components have been updated to current versions

    Release 1.8.9 adds many new features to the active directory interface. Integration in complex AD architectures is easier with many new configuration options for connecting to AD via LDAP or LDIF files. New queries make it easier to find discrepancies between Active Directory and the OctoSAM Repository.

    1.8.9 also rebrands visible product names from Octopus to OctoSAM.

    Both releases add a lot of significant improvements to queries, the user interface and diagnostic messages.


    • Hardware and Configuration:

      • Installed Services
      • SQL Server Instance Information
      • WMIMonitorID replaces X_VesaDisplay for Windows 7 and later
      • History of IP Addresses
    • Performance:

      • Loading of filtered Software tree re-engineered
    • Stability Updates / Bugfixes


    Octoscan2.EXE and OctoDump.EXE are no longer delivered with the .msi because of virus false positive alerts. The two executables are available in the Support Files download.

    OctoscanLicenseManagerServerObserverService needs to be uninstalled before update and re-installed afterwards. There was a typo in the executable name.

    Octopus provides 3 different context menus:

    Object context menu on object nodes in trees

    and in the header of an object document window

    The grid data display has two different context menus depending on the position within the grid:
    Column Header Section:

    Details Section:

    Context menu items I'd like to point out:

    • Save Layout / Reset Layout
      Allows to memorize your grid layout including grouping, sorting, visible columns, filters etc. so that you have the same layout when you open the same grid next time.
      For Queries, one layout per query can be stored.
    • Cell Range Selection
      If checked, you can select any rectangular portion of the grid. This can be useful if you want to copy and paste to Excel or other applications
    • Database
      Contains basic database operations such as deleting the object(s)

    Starting with Octopus 1.8.5 you can zoom and pan all line and bar charts.

    Use the ctrl key and the mouse wheel to zoom into a chart. Once zoomed in, you can pan the chart with your mouse.
    This way you can see all details of the chart, even if you selected a large amount of data.

    Octopus 1.8.5 Release available in the Filebase

    New Features:

    - Flexera FlexLM licensemanager monitoring
    - Support for SWID tags
    - New and improved queries
    - Local push Installation of the scanner module for laptops
    - Automatic cleanup of local data at end of monitoring period
    - Additional hardware information on the Machine object for easier reporting and simpler queries:

    - Improved graphs - zoom/pan
    - Syntax highlighting for XML and SQL code
    - Performance impovement in the GUI
    - Improved Excel export, native .xlsx export
    - Imporoved signature import and export handling
    - Support for Windows 8.1
    - Support for Server 2012
    - Various Bugfixes