Retrieving Motherboard Serial Number using WMI

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A simple way to get system information is through Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI).

WMI was firstly introduced part of Windows 2000. It’s designed to help your system, applications, and networks.

WMI has amazing design; It’s implemented like a large database that contains several tables and types. And you can query it using SQL statements (really!).

.NET Framework includes a various classes for dealing with WMI. These classes reside on assembly System.Management that you can reference it into your project.

Querying WMI is very simple. First, create a ManagementObjectSearcher object that will hold the SQL query. Then you execute the query by calling the Get() method of the ManagementObjectSearcher object, returns a collection of ManagementObject objects. These object looks like rows in a database that you can access its columns -PropertyData objects- and retrieve its values.

In WMI tables called classes, rows called objects, and columns called properties.

The following example demonstrates how to get Motherboard information like its name and serial number:

// C# Code
// First we create the ManagementObjectSearcher that
// will hold the query used.
// The class Win32_BaseBoard (you can say table)
// contains the Motherboard information.
// We are querying about the properties (columns)
// Product and SerialNumber.
// You can replace these properties by
// an asterisk (*) to get all properties (columns).
ManagementObjectSearcher searcher =
    new ManagementObjectSearcher
    ("SELECT Product, SerialNumber FROM Win32_BaseBoard");
// Executing the query...
// Because the machine has a single Motherborad,
// then a single object (row) returned.
ManagementObjectCollection information = searcher.Get();
foreach (ManagementObject obj in information)
{
    // Retrieving the properties (columns)
    // Writing column name then its value
    foreach (PropertyData data in obj.Properties)
        Console.WriteLine("{0} = {1}", data.Name, data.Value);
    Console.WriteLine();
}
// For typical use of disposable objects
// enclose it in a using statement instead.
searcher.Dispose();
' VB.NET Code
' First we create the ManagementObjectSearcher that
' will hold the query used.
' The class Win32_BaseBoard (you can say table)
' contains the Motherboard information.
' We are querying about the properties (columns)
' Product and SerialNumber.
' You can replace these properties by
' an asterisk (*) to get all properties (columns).
Dim searcher As New ManagementObjectSearcher _
    ("SELECT Product, SerialNumber FROM Win32_BaseBoard")
' Executing the query...
' Because the machine has a single Motherborad,
' then a single object (row) returned.
Dim information As ManagementObjectCollection = searcher.Get()
For Each obj As ManagementObject In information
' Retrieving the properties (columns)
' Writing column name then its value
    For Each data As PropertyData In obj.Properties
        Console.WriteLine("{0} = {1}", data.Name, data.Value)
    Next
    Console.WriteLine()
Next
' For typical use of disposable objects
' enclose it in a using statement instead.
searcher.Dispose()
' VB6
Set colProcessList = GetObject("Winmgmts:") _
    .ExecQuery("SELECT SerialNumber, Product FROM Win32_BaseBoard")
For Each objprocess In colProcessList
    MsgBox ("Serial Number=" & objprocess.SerialNumber)
    MsgBox ("Product=" & objprocess.Product)
Next

To read more about WMI and get lists of classes and features that it supports, see WMI Reference.

A long time ago, I used that mechanism to protect my application from copying it from a PC to another. The application asks the user for the serial number if he changed his PC (frankly, Motherboard). Did you validate? The serial number itself is an encrypted hash of the Motherboard serial number!

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  • RaiulBaztepo

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • RaiulBaztepo

    Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • meemo

    thankssssssssssss