How To Create An Automated PC Health Reporting System

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By Ryan Dube on 2nd November, 2013 | Windows |  No Comments

Imagine the next world, in places you’re having lunch with some friends and suddenly your phone makes an SMS ding. You recognize the sound as the alert tone you determine for your personal computer issues. Checking the note, you read: “Computer Alert: Your home computer system has had 3 hacking attempts.”

The whole notion of having systems in place that could alert you to all issues with your computers isn’t really inside the science fiction realm anymore. We’ve covered all sorts of useful remote techniques to monitor your computers, like creating Growl notifications, monitoring computer health with SpeedFan, or simply connecting for your systems remotely using Remote Desktop.

Having your personal machine send individual notifications for specific computer problems could take a great deal of work, especially as it involves diagnosing what could sometimes be pretty complex problems, and after that sending the SMS using your router out in to the Internet. Doable, yes. Easy, no.  So, what if your personal machine could post you a full health report within the form of all your various computer log files that you can troubleshoot your own home computer issues or identify concerns, wherever you are located within the world?

That’s what we’re likely to do today - create an automatic notification system where your personal machine will collect important log files and computer status information after which send all that to you inside form of an archived file daily via email.


Tools Needed For Your Automated Notification System


To set up this system on your home computer, you’re planning to need a few software tools that we’re then going to piece together making them work in harmony. First, download and install Microsoft Security Essentials. This will perform all of the computer scans and logfile collections, after which package all this up nicely in the archive file.

Also, make sure that you’re signed up for an IFTTT account and try creating several recipes, which means you get used to it. You’ll also need a Dropbox account that’ll store one last reports (although not entirely necessary). You can check out or Dropbox guide for help setting it up. Finally, follow my Blat setup self-help guide to install the Blat command-line email tool.


Setting Up MS Security Essentials


Once you might have those four tools installed capable to go, it’s time to schedule tasks that’ll collect your personal computer information and email it.

Microsoft Security Essentials provides command line parameters it is possible to use to package up log files. The command to get this done is “mpcmdrun.exe -Getfiles -Scan”. You can find the executable in the c:\program files\microsoft security client\ folder. When you run that command through the prompt, this is what the script looks like.

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It takes only a minute to own, and then it packages every one of the files into a CAB file and places it inside the c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Support\ folder as “MySupportFiles.cab”.

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As you will see, there’s a lot of knowledge that gets accumulated and put inside the CAB file - log files, system info, security threat info, product registration info, plus more.  The first thing you want to do is run this being a scheduled job daily. The easiest way to do this, which means you don’t have to worry about the path (with spaces within it), is set up the path with your Path system variable - Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Environment Variables.

Click “Path” under System variables, and enter in “;c:\program files\microsoft security client\” after the Variable value field. While you’re in that room, add the directory in places you placed Blat.exe as well, in order that the next step on this process works without issues.

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Now (after you reboot) you might just open any command prompt and type “mpcmdrun.exe”, and yes it would launch Microsoft Security Essentials.

Time to setup the scheduled task! Go to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Computer Management -> Task Scheduler”.

Create a whole new task as well as set it up to run each day at a specific time. To run the program, affect the action to “Start a program”, enter “mpcmdrun.exe” inside the Program/script field, and type “-GetFiles -Scan” in the “Add arguments” field.

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In my case, I set it up to own at 8AM daily, first thing inside the morning.

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What you've working now is that MS Security Essentials will recreate a fresh, updated copy of the MySupportFiles.cab file in c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Microsoft Antimalware\Support\.


Automatically Emailing System Status


The next thing is to grab that file and send it in your email account. Whether you look at the email from the hotel while you’re traveling or from a phone while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, you will receive the notification from your computer with the attached information.

With Blat set up on your machine (see the guide link in the start of this short article), you are able to run the following command through the command prompt to transmit the file to any email address you prefer:

blat -body “Here’s today’s file” -to myemail@gmail.com -subject “PC Log Files” -attach “c:\programdata\microsoft\microsoft antimalware\support\MPSupprtFiles.cab”

You can run this as being a new scheduled task (like you did for MS Security Essentials), but just use “blat” because the program/script (since you already setup the PATH variable above). For the parameters, just use the rest in the command shown above, and use your own email address that you’d like for you the files to.

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If you schedule this task to operate an hour after Microsoft Security Essentials creates the CAB file, then you’ll automatically have the latest, freshest copy of the file with all of your computer’s latest data. Just open the file with any Unzip tool that actually works with CAB files, and you can review your personal machine’s status data, and identify any issues irrespective of where you are.


Storing Your Health Report in Dropbox


Now, in case you really want to beat and store those log files within the cloud, everything you should do is set up a filter within your email client to look for all incoming emails using the subject you set in your Blat command. In my case it absolutely was “PC Log Files”.

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Have this filter automatically set a label to the email as “PC Log Files.” We’ve offered help in the past with establishing filters, should you need it.

Next, you’ll must create an IFTTT recipe to view your email take into account any email with that label (you’ll need to be having an email service IFTTT works with). If you’re just how to choose IFTTT, our useful IFTTT guide can really help.

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The trigger will be the email label. The action will likely be extracting the attached file and putting it in your Dropbox account. This is pretty easy in the event you just choose Dropbox since the output option and select “Add file from URL”.

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This will place the email attachment to your Dropbox folder “PC Reports”, as shown below.

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This Is How This Will Work


So, at this point in your project, here’s what you’ve accomplished. Every day at a certain time, your personal machine will now automatically run MS Security Essentials and may collect and compact each of the latest log files and reports into one convenient zip file. About an hour later, your personal computer will automatically email that report file in your email address, as well as a copy is likewise bounced for a Dropbox account for easy access and safekeeping.

Honestly, could automation make life any easier?

Would you use any sort of Windows automation such as this? Are there any other interesting uses can can envision by using this kind of automation for? Share your own ideas and projects within the comments section below!

Check out more about: computer automation, computer security, text message

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